Sermons

Summary: Willingly entering into the love of God allows Him to order your life in such a way that everything you do will be in the center of His will.

Cows have amazing eyes. Because of their position on the cow’s head, they are able to see a full 300 degrees around them. While they are grazing, cows simply need to move their head slightly to the left or right in order to be aware of what is going on around them. With their heads so close to the ground, they do not even have to worry about their body blocking their view. Only four relatively slender legs block their view, and a small shake of the head takes care of that problem.

Pity the poor rancher. If he approaches a cow in any direction, it walks away from him as soon as he comes within three hundred feet of the cow. How can the rancher bring it to a place where he can brand it, treat it with medication, or any other reason he needs to exercise control over his herd.

The method used to do all these things employs something called a “cattle squeeze”. If cows see no threat to their safety, they will quite willingly go through a narrow passage. It helps if they see some sort of light at the other end. They are drawn to that light, and the awareness that at the other end of the narrow passage there is a wide-open space of freedom available to them.

While the cow is inside this narrow passage, the operator closes the front and back doors of the cattle squeeze, preventing escape. Then, by means of a lever, the two sidewalls are squeezed together, immobilizing the cow. After the treatment, the sidewalls are released, and the front door is opened, allowing the cow to scurry for safety. The next cow, none the wiser, since it has not seen what has happened to its compatriot, proceeds into the cattle squeeze, repeating the process.

In his second letter to the Corinthians, chapter 5, Paul gives some of the priorities that govern his ministry.

· He earnestly desires to be in his home in heaven (v. 2).

· He walks by faith, not by sight (v. 7).

· He wants to be well pleasing to God (v. 9).

· He looks forward to the judgment seat of Christ (v. 10).

· He knows the fear of the Lord (v. 11).

· He does not live for himself, but for Jesus Christ who died for him and rose again (V. 15).

· He resolves to know people the way Jesus Christ sees them, not the way the world sees them (v. 16-17).

· He has received a ministry of reconciliation (V. 18-19).

· He is an ambassador for Christ (V. 20).

Paul clarifies the key point that colors all his views regarding his ministry in verse 14.

For the love of Christ constrains (4912) us, because we judge this way, if one died for all, then all die:

The word for constraint is sunecho.

It is the Greek word for cattle squeeze.

Paul is saying that the love of Christ is a cattle squeeze. Paul enters into a place where the love of Christ restricts his freedom to act on his own. It is a squeeze that Paul enters willingly.

Throughout history, there has been a debate about whether Christians have freedom of choice, or whether their God has predetermined every action they take.

· How far can we walk away from God before we realize that we are no longer in his presence?

· How much do we need to do for Him before we hear that we are good and faithful servants?

· If we love Him and want to do His will, how do we know which actions glorify Him and which actions go against His purposes?

Paul answers this way.

The love of God is a cattle squeeze.

· The love of God restricts our actions to those condoned by the operator of the squeeze.

· If we are in the presence of the love of God our actions can only be those God approves of.

· If we operate within the presence of the love of God we can rest in the assurance that whatever our thoughts, whatever our desires, whatever our actions may be, we will be in the center of God’s will and purposes for us.

We do however have a choice.

Do you remember the cow?

It is grazing in an open field, only concerned about where the next mouthful of food will come from. It is comfortable, going wherever it pleases. It has no patience for the man who seeks to protect it from sickness and to call it his own. The cow enters unwillingly the place where the rancher imposes his will over it.

This is where the analogy breaks down. The cow has no choice. In most cases, the rancher even tricks it into entering the cattle squeeze.

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