Summary: To provide the graduates (and others) with a few characteristics of a life devoted to Jesus.
Living for Jesus
2 Corinthians 5:11 – 7:1
Key Verse 5:15
And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
Sermon Objective: To provide the graduates (and others) with a few characteristics of a life devoted to Jesus.
Mahatma Gandhi was the Prime Minister of India until his death in 1948. His cabinet was unique to most in the east because it consisted of many faiths and, specifically, many Christians. This gave Gandhi the opportunity to observe Christians closely; to explore their faith; and become familiar with the Savior.
It is for that reason that I shudder at the words he spoke later in life. He once said, “I would become a Christian if it wasn’t for Christians.”
He went on to say, “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”
Gandhi saw what many others have seen … a major disconnect between Christian tenets for life and Godliness and the actual practices of Christians … sometimes we are not very Christlike.
Today, I am speaking to our High School graduates specifically but not exclusively. As your pastor I want to congratulate you one this significant milestone. Many of you will go on to college, others will begin a vocation, but in each case there are some truths of the Bible that it is time you come face to face with and make some decision regarding. You are adults now. There is no more room for excuses or scapegoats. You must take full responsibility for your actions.
I am specifically speaking of your walk with Christ. I do not want the Gandhis of this world to look at you and be able to say what Mahatma did. “I would become a Christian if it wasn’t for Christians.”
We are going to read a rather lengthy passage of Scripture today … a passage that I discovered at about your age … a passage that introduced me our significant truths about how to live for Jesus. Truths that apply regardless of where you are or what age you are.
2 Corinthians 5:11-7:1 (NIV)
I told you it was long! But it is so full of practical living. The key verse is 2 Corinthians 5:15. Listen to it again. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
Paul is giving the church some pointers on how to live for the one who died for them. We would do well to heed his advice so let’s lay it out plainly.
If you are going to live for Jesus your life will be characterized by:
PROCLAMATION (2 Corinthians 5:11-21)
Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience. We are not trying to commend ourselves to you again, but are giving you an opportunity to take pride in us, so that you can answer those who take pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart. If we are out of our mind, it is for the sake of God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
As graduates, this is the time of life when you begin to think long-term. You ask yourself the hard questions.
• What will I do for the rest of my life?
• Will I get married?
• What are the really important things that are worth living for?
It was as a young adult that wrote my first “personal mission statement.” I took time to write down what I thought God wanted me to become and what I wished to see accomplish in life. Most of that list was about character traits that I wanted to develop. I am still developing them. One of the things that was on my list, and should be on your list too, was that I wanted God to be able to trust me to share His Gospel.