Christian Restoration: The Plan

This morning, we’re continuing our new message series filled with hope and encouragement inspired by History Channel’s American Restoration entitled, “Christian Restoration”. We’re learning that no matter how broken and hopeless we, or our circumstances, may currently be, God is fully able and willing to restore and renew us!

This morning, we’re going to learn the overview of how God’s restoration process operates. Each of us are born into very different circumstances. We all make very different choices in life. Each of us need very different and unique restoration work completed in our own lives, but there are some common things that we all need to have restored. Before we continue into specifics, we’re first going to cover the restoration work that we all share in common.

The first step in any restoration project is to assess the current state of the object and assess any damages, missing parts, or parts that do not belong. This can be done by comparing the object to it’s original, brand new state. The goal is to restore the item so that it holds the highest value that can be reasonably obtained. The closer to the object’s original state with as many original parts as possible, the higher that object’s value will be.

It also helps to know how any damages occurred. For example, if you’re restoring a classic car, it helps to know its history. If its been kept in a garage in California in a constantly dry and steadied temperature environment, you’ll be dealing with vastly different issues to restore it than if it had been in a flood and then stored behind a Pennsylvania barn exposed to an ever changing environment.

As the first step in God’s restoration project in our lives, we have to allow God to examine our lives and compare our current self to the person that He created us to be. Anything that doesn’t match up will need to be worked on. Since God already knows everything about us, this step requires us to do more work than God.

James 1 reveals that one of our very first steps is to be honest with ourselves as we look into the mirror of God’s word and the person of Jesus Christ and see where we’re doing well and where we’re missing it and need restored.

Those areas where we are missing it are referred to as sin. No one likes to be called a sinner, but if you’re part of the human race and not Jesus Christ, then you’re a sinner. We’ve all missed it and we all continue to miss it so long as we remain here on the earth in these broken down bodies. We’re all broken and we all need restored!

The way that we became broken and damaged in need of this restoration is the same for us all. We were born.

Genesis 3 and Romans 5 reveal that because Adam, the first man ever to be created, sinned, that we all are born into sin. The world was created by God in perfection with no sickness, pain, sin, death, or brokenness. God walked with Adam and Eve just as you and I would walk together because nothing separated them. Given this perfection, Adam was warned of one thing; not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. He was told that if he did eat from it, that he would die.

However, just because there was no sin in this perfect earth, didn’t mean that there wasn’t temptation! Adam and Eve both were tempted to eat that fruit and they sinned by doing what they knew they were not to do. They thought that their ways, thoughts, and opinions were better than God’s. At that very moment, Adam and Eve did not drop to the ground physically dead. However, they died at that instant spiritually, being separated from God. The physical death and brokenness soon followed. Every person born following that decision, which is all of us, is born spiritually dead and awaiting physical death.

The next step in any restoration project is to plan out the resources needed to finish the job and setup a time frame in which the job will be completed and the budget needed. Even this step can take some serious time, research, and work. A good manager will set deadlines and goal markers for the restoration project. They might use a white board or chalkboard, maybe a bunch of post-it notes, or fancy computer software to keep track of the project using Gantt charts. They’ll also take precautions to preserve the current state of their project as to prevent any further damage from occurring.

God’s restoration project is no different. He met Adam and Eve in the garden and assessed the damage that had been done. To prevent any further damage, He guarded the tree of life and booted them from the garden.

He also put together a plan. He knew that the perfect earth that He had created had become corrupted and would break down and come to an end. He came up with a plan to restore His creation to Himself, considered the cost, set deadlines in place, and created post-it notes to remind Him, and ourselves, of the work to be done.

He planned to put an end to the current order of things by restoring it and making it all new. However, He was in a predicament because He is a just God. The cost of sin had been permanently marked up as death – an eternal death forever away from Him in torment. He didn’t desire to see His creation, especially mankind that was created in His very own image destroyed by this death, but the cost is still the cost. Unfortunately, there was no way for mankind to restore themselves because they had become forever corrupted.

As an estimate for the cost of this project, God shed the blood of an animal and made a covering for Adam and Eve. They were the first to see the high price of their sins. They were the first to see the way that life could be before sin, and the painful way of life as a result of sin.

God also created post-it notes posted along a time line in the form of various feasts and festivals and a system of animal sacrifice to pay the price for people’s sins. These notes reminded people and God of the coming salvation that He would provide for them.

God then planned to step in and become a man, but born outside of the bloodline of Adam and Eve, as to be without sin. He planned to live the perfect, sinless life, then give it up in an undeserved death. In this way, the cost of sin could be paid for and mankind restored to Himself once again with nothing separating them. It was a down payment reassuring that the restoration project would be fully funded.

He also created post-it notes following that time leading up to the completion of the project when the restoration would be made complete. These are the signs of the end times that Jesus told us about. Just like any restoration project, when these signs are in your face, you feel the pressure and urgency with the deadline approaching.

Now God is a good and faithful project manger. His timing is always perfect and He never misses a deadline. We’re living in the latter days of His restoration project where our sins have already been paid for and the end of the project is drawing near.

Up until now, we’ve gained knowledge about God’s plan of restoration. Now, here’s the good part. This is where the restoration rubber meets the road!

Think about this. There are companies that do restoration work all over the place. If I’m in a car accident and need to have my car restored, I have a choice of many repair shops in our area. Most of these shops are fully equipped to handle whatever restoration that a vehicle may need. However, as you drive around the area, you’ll find broken down vehicles sitting in yards everywhere. The junk and scrap yards receive several cars every day. Most of these cars really don’t even need all that much work done to them to be usable vehicles.

There’s certainly no lack of people that could use a reliable, restored vehicle, either. Yet these cars are just laying around until they are eventually destroyed by fire. Why aren’t these cars getting restored and put to use?

Well, either the owner doesn’t want to put the time or have the knowhow to restore the car themselves, or they don’t see the value of putting the money into having someone restore it for them. They look at these cars and see junk.

In the same way, we are broken and in need of God’s restoration. However, not all of us are being restored. Some of us are just living out our days until our destruction by fire comes. Why is this?

Some of us just don’t have the knowhow. We don’t know about who God is or how to allow Him to restore us. Some of us just don’t give God the time that He needs to work in and through our lives. Some of us look in the mirror and just see junk. We don’t believe that we’re even worth God restoring. Some of us aren’t willing to pay the price.

You see, every restoration job has it’s cost. Even though Jesus paid the price for our sins by giving up His life, the cost of allowing Him to restore us is steep! The price that Jesus requires is for us to give up our lives and to trust Him with them. Some of us just aren’t willing to pay that cost. There are sins that we hold onto because we enjoy them and know that God will remove them. Sure, He has promised to satisfy our desires with good things, but can we really trust Him? As long as we embrace sin in our lives, God cannot restore us. Whatever He restores will just be destroyed again. Sin brings curses into our lives and death. God’s desire is to restore us and give us blessings and life. Check out Deuteronomy 30, the choice is ours. Are we willing to lay down our lives and be like clay in the potter’s hands?

Although written to the nation of Israel, this still applies to us here this morning. Hear the cry and plea of God, allow Him to restore you and bring you life!

Ezekiel 18:19-32
19 “Yet you ask, ‘Why does the son not share the guilt of his father?’ Since the son has done what is just and right and has been careful to keep all my decrees, he will surely live. 20 The one who sins is the one who will die. The child will not share the guilt of the parent, nor will the parent share the guilt of the child. The righteousness of the righteous will be credited to them, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against them.

21 “But if a wicked person turns away from all the sins they have committed and keeps all my decrees and does what is just and right, that person will surely live; they will not die. 22 None of the offenses they have committed will be remembered against them. Because of the righteous things they have done, they will live. 23 Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign Lord. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?

24 “But if a righteous person turns from their righteousness and commits sin and does the same detestable things the wicked person does, will they live? None of the righteous things that person has done will be remembered. Because of the unfaithfulness they are guilty of and because of the sins they have committed, they will die.

25 “Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ Hear, you Israelites: Is my way unjust? Is it not your ways that are unjust? 26 If a righteous person turns from their righteousness and commits sin, they will die for it; because of the sin they have committed they will die. 27 But if a wicked person turns away from the wickedness they have committed and does what is just and right, they will save their life. 28 Because they consider all the offenses they have committed and turn away from them, that person will surely live; they will not die. 29 Yet the Israelites say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ Are my ways unjust, people of Israel? Is it not your ways that are unjust?

30 “Therefore, you Israelites, I will judge each of you according to your own ways, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. 31 Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, people of Israel? 32 For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent and live!

And as God told Cain just before the first murder in human history:
Genesis 4:7
If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.

Accepting the salvation provided by Jesus is the beginning step of God’s restoration process. However, we cannot accept this great salvation and then continue damaging ourselves and expect God to be able to restore us. It just doesn’t work. Upon salvation, God gives us the Holy Spirit and His empowering grace not just to forgive our sins, but to give us the power to overcome them! We simply cannot continue choosing sin over restoration any longer! We must rule over it in our lives! God’s restoration plan for our lives is far too awesome and valuable for us to resist Him. It will be worth it!

* The Skit Guys, God’s Chisel *
http://skitguys.com/videos/item/gods-chisel