COMPELLED BY LOVE
2 Cor. 5:14
A. HUMOR: school is back in session.
1. “How did school go today?” a mother asked her little boy. “Fine”, the little fellow replied. “We had a new teacher and she wanted to know if I had any brothers or sisters and I told her I was an only child”. “What did she say?” his mother asked. “The teacher said, “Thank goodness!”
2. TEACHER: “Here’s a math problem. If your dad earned $800 a week and he gave your mother half, what would she have? STUDENT: “A heart attack.”
3. A new teacher, trying to make use of her psychology courses, started her class by saying, “Everyone who thinks you’re stupid, stand up.” After a few seconds, little Johnny stood up. The teacher said, “Do you think you’re stupid, Johnny?” “No ma’am,” he said, “but I hate to see you standing up there all by yourself.”
“For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that [Jesus] died for all …. that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again.” 2 Cor. 5:14-15
1. Usually, when we think of missions, we think of the Great Commission. But missions didn’t begin with the Great Commission, missions began with God. It first beat in His heart before it was ever made a major purpose of the church. It’s still the heartbeat of God we ought to be moved by today.
2. Paul said the love of Christ compelled him. Let’s look at what he meant by that.
I. THE LOVE OF CHRIST (FOR THE LOST)
A. THE POWER OF WONDER
First century believers went every where telling about Jesus because their lives had been filled with wonder! Christ’s demonstration of love strikes us with wonder.
1. WONDER: THAT GOD WOULD DECIDE TO SAVE MAN
a. It’s not a wonder that God would make man. But it was a wonder that God decided to redeem man. If I had been God when Adam & Eve disobeyed and fell into sin, and I had looked ahead and seen all the misery in store for the human race, I would have taken that opportunity to pull the plug on the human race and quit while I was ahead.
b. But God didn’t do that!
2. WONDER: THAT JESUS WOULD VOLUNTEER
a. Why in the world would Jesus, the Prince of the Universe, who stood to gain nothing and to lose everything, volunteer to die in order to save the depraved human race?
b. What was in it for Him? We didn’t know Him yet
3. WONDER: THAT THE FATHER WOULD LET JESUS SUFFER SUCH EXTREMES.
a. The extreme of becoming human; of suffering such horrible abuse for us.
b. Jesus had to experience all sin! He had to be immersed in filth; all the rapes, murders, sodomies, incests…
4. WONDER: THAT GOD WOULD LET HUMANS LIVE IN HEAVEN.
a. Letting humans live in heaven forever is like having rowdy company move into your house – not for a day or week or month, but for eternity.
b. It’s like asking for trouble. Like having a bunch of hyperactive kids move into your house. They would definitely disturb your peace. Why would God do that?
5. WONDER: THAT HE WOULD LET US EAT FROM THE TREE OF LIFE
a. If I were God, living forever, and had the human race, living only short life spans; and knowing how bothersome they are, would I want to give them a lifespan equal to my own?
b. God had it right the first time by placing an angel at the gate of the Garden of Eden to keep humans from reentering the Garden and eating of the Tree of Life and living forever. Why would He change His mind now?
6. WONDER: THAT GOD WOULD PUT HIS HOLY SPIRIT INSIDE US.
a. That’s getting too close for comfort! I like to be around people, but as evil as most people are in their hearts (Paul said that he “inwardly burned”) how could God subject the Holy Spirit to people who are often actively sinning?
b. Undoubtedly there was no other way; we had to have the Holy Spirit inside us to transform us from the inside out.
7. WONDER: THAT GOD LOVES US!
I John 3:1, “Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us…”. This is the greatest love story of all time. Why?
a. It’s an incomprehensible love. Eph. 3:19, “And to know the love of Christ, which passes knowledge, that you might be filled with all the fullness of God.”
b. It’s an undeserved love. Rom. 5:8
c. It’s a sacrificial love. I John 4:10
d. It’s a constraining love. 2 Cor. 5:14
e. It’s an everlasting love! Jer. 31:3
B. LOVE’S DANGER & URGENCY
1. BUT GOD DID LOVE US THAT MUCH! “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” Jn. 3:16.
2. THE WORLD IS A “PERISHING” WORLD. Drop the word “perish” out of this verse and the importance of God’s action is lost. The world is in a DANGEROUS position: LOST & DESTINED FOR HELL.
3. There is an urgency in reaching the lost. Jesus likened them to grain standing in the fields needing to be harvested, as destructive storms approached (Matthew 9:37-38).
4. A missionary led an old man to the Lord in the Amazon jungles. After the old man experienced being born again, he began to cry. The missionary asked, “Why are you crying? Because you’re glad to be saved?” “No,” the native said, “but because my mother and father died without Christ. Jesus came two thousand years ago; what took you so long to get here?”
C. ARE THE LOST HAPPY WITH THEIR RELIGIONS?
1. In Algeria, a man slashes his head again and again until his blood flows. He then sticks newspaper to the blood and sets it on fire. Why? Because his religion says he is laying up merit for himself. Do you think his religion satisfies him?
2. Aboriginals in Australia. Someone dies or becomes ill in a village. The witch doctor must find a victim. He seizes an infant, and despite its mother’s cries, he fills its mouth with sand until it chokes to death. Would you be willing to trade places – to see your baby murdered before your eyes?
3. In non-Christian areas of Africa, twin babies are always killed. If you were in Africa, your religion would compel you to destroy them.
4. In India, Hindu widows for centuries have been forced to lay beside their husbands on funeral pyre’s and be burned to death in screaming agony. (Today there’s still honor killings & bride burning.) Would you exchange your religion for theirs? Do you think they enjoy it?
5. A missionary was asked, “Give us proof of the transforming power of the cross.” He replied, “When I arrived in the Fiji Islands, my first duty was to bury the hands, arms, feet, and hearts of 80 victims whose bodies had been roasted and eaten at a cannibal feast. I lived to see those very cannibals, who had taken part in such horrible feasts” become Christians of high moral and ethical caliber. Their lives were transformed.
D. “NO GREATER LOVE”
1. Paul said, “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” Rom. 5:6-8.
2. Paul points out that on rare occasions, people will die for those they consider dear or worthy; but virtually no one would die for a criminal or reject, yet that is what Jesus did for us. While we were “sinners” and “enemies,” Christ died for us!
3. Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command” Jn. 15:13-14. There are many people who love us; our parents, our spouses, our children, etc. In this verse, the Lord Jesus claims that He loves us with a love far greater than any other person we’ve ever known, a loved even greater than the love of our mothers!
4. This great love drove Jesus to abandon his throne, his honor, his riches (2 Corinthians 8:9), and his eternity and enter a world of time, death, sweat, poverty, obscurity, and scorn. What Jesus did was infinitely more difficult than what He might have done. He could have destroyed us and started over.
5. Instead, he allowed himself to be treated as a criminal, suffer death by the cruelest means, become the bearer of all sin, and die forsaken by God the Father! No wonder a song was written, “Amazing Love, How can it be, that Thou, My God, shouldst died for me!”
II. THE LOVE OF CHRIST COMPELS ME
Paul’s love FOR Christ compelled him. What was important to Jesus was also important to him. In Luke 14:23, the servants of the King were told to “go into the highways and hedges and COMPEL them to come in.” It indicates we are to be “forceful” (not physically; unlike Acts 26:11) in our attempts to persuade the lost to accept Christ.
A. IF JESUS WAS A SOULWINNER…
1. Jesus said, “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” Lk. 19:10. Christians are “those like Christ.” Jesus said, “Follow Me, and I’ll make you fishers of men” Mt. 4:19. Jesus obviously intends we also be soulwinners.
2. We constantly see Jesus confronting a). the Woman at the Well; b). Zaccheaus; c). Nicodemus; d). the Man Born blind; and others. He set us the example of how to conduct our lives.
3. Jesus was the Light while He was here; now we’re to be the light to those in darkness. “You are the light of the world…” Mt. 5:14.
B. IF I’M ENTRUSTED W/ THE SAME MISSION…
1. “On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!" After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. Again Jesus said, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you." Jn. 20:19-21
2. The destiny of the human race was placed into the hands of Jesus. But now, Jesus has placed the destiny of other people’s lives into OUR hands. GOD IS COUNTING ON US!
3. Nothing is more VALUABLE than the human soul. Jesus said, “And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?” Mt. 16:26 NLT.
4. WHAT LEGACY WILL YOUR LIFE LEAVE BEHIND?
a. Louis Pasteur, the pioneer of immunology, lived at a time when thousands of people died each year from rabies. Pasteur had worked for years on a vaccine. Just as he was about to begin experimenting on himself, a nine-year-old, Joseph Meister, was bitten by a rabid dog. The boy’s mother begged Pasteur to experiment on her son. Pasteur injected Joseph for 10 days – and the boy lived.
b. Decades later, of all the things Pasteur could have had etched on his tombstone, he asked for three words: “Joseph Meister lived”. Our greatest legacy will be those who live eternally because of our efforts.
C. IF IT’S THE GREAT COMMISSION AND NOT THE GREAT SUGGESTION…
1. Jesus commanded: “Preach the Gospel to every creature!” Shedding a few tears at the altar won’t do it. God asks, “Whom shall I send and who will GO for us?”
2. If a person in the military disobeys orders, they are court-martialed. That’s essentially what happened in Matthew 25:41-43; they were court-martialed for not obeying orders! Commands are given to be obeyed.
D. IF JESUS GAVE HIS LIFE FOR IT…
1. If something was so important to Jesus that he gave his life for it, and if Jesus is important to me, I would make sure the work He cared about was completed.
2. This has been the case of many missionaries who died trying to reach a people-group; friends or family have often (out of love & desire to honor the fallen), taken up their banner and completed the task they had started. How much more shall we honor the Life of Him who loved us and died FOR US!
1. In 1989, an 8.2 earthquake almost flattened Armenia, killing over 30,000 people in less than four minutes.
2. In the midst of chaos and destruction, a father rushed to his son’s school. But instead of a school, he found a shapeless heap of rubble. Instead of despairing, this sight made him spring into action. He ran to the back corner of the building where his son’s class used to be and began to dig.
3. Why? What real hope did he have? All he knew was that he had made a promise to always be there for his boy.
4. As he was digging, well-meaning parents tried to pull him out of the rubble saying: "It’s too late!" "They’re dead!" "You can’t help!" "Go home!" "There’s nothing you can do!"
5. Then the fire chief tried to pull him off the rubble by saying, "Fires and explosions are happening everywhere. You’re in danger. Go home!" Finally, the police came and said, "It’s over. You’re endangering others. Go home. We’ll handle it!"
6. But this father continued to dig for eight hours ... 12 ... 24 ... 36 hours. Then, in the 38th hour, he pulled back a boulder and heard his son's voice. Immediately, he screamed, "ARMAND!"
7. Back came the words, "Dad!? I told them! I told the other kids that if you were still alive, you’d save me! You promised me, you’d always be here for me! You did it, Dad!" (Taken from Max Lucado’s book, "He Still Moves Stones")
8. Our Heavenly Father loves us just as much! He sent Jesus to die for us 1 Peter 1:18 says “it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish or defect.” “Precious” means “of great value, precious, especially dear.” God loved YOU that much!
B. ALTAR CALL
1. Salvation Call: Call for those who are lost to accept Christ as their Lord and Savior.
2. Call for people to allow Christ’s passion and burdened for the lost to become the compelling force that governs the purpose and forms the heartbeat of their lives.