Summary: Living for Jesus involves being a living epistle, a living sacrifice and a living stone in the "spiritual house" that is His Church.
LIVING FOR JESUS
“And He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.” 2 Corinthians 5:15
LET US TAKE NOTE OF THE TRUTHS TAUGHT IN THIS VERSE
1. Christ died for all.
“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:14-15.
2. “That those who live”.
This phrase refers only to those who have been born again because all unbelievers are still dead in their trespasses and sins. “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins.” Ephesians 2:1
3. Christians should not live for themselves but rather for Christ.
4. Christ paid sin’s penalty for us. He died in our place.
“For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” I Corinthians 6:20.
5. “and rose again” declares the truth of His resurrection.
THE CHRISTIAN IS TO BE A “LIVING EPISTLE” ABOUT CHRIST.
"Clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart.” 2 Corinthians 3:3
What message does your life say to the world about Christ? Consider:
THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO YOU
The most beautiful story given to man
Was written long ago
By Matthew, Mark, Luke and John
Of Christ and His mission below.
And you write a gospel, a chapter a day,
By your deeds, whether faithless or true;
When others read it, what will they think
In the gospel according to you?
It’s a wonderful story, the Gospel of love,
As it shines with Christ’s life divine.
Oh, that its truth might be told again
In the story of your life and mine.
You are writing each day a letter to all;
Take care that the writing is true.
It’s the only gospel some people may read,
The gospel according to you.
THE CHRISTIAN IS TO BE A “LIVING SACRIFICE” FOR CHRIST.
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reason-able service.” Romans 12:1
It is not if we are willing to die for Christ that matters so much in our nation today but whether or not we are willing to live sacrificially for Him. I have many treasured memories of my missionary service over the years, but none that touches my heart more than one particular experience I had on November 4, 1963.
I had just completed my mission tour in East Africa and would be leaving the next day to return to my home and family in Texas. It was late in the evening when Missionary Bill Lewis, our Southern Baptist missionary to the Rungwe district of Tanganyika (now Tanzania), and I returned from a pioneer missionary safari to the remote interior.
The mission trip had lasted for several weeks and with food and medical supplies exhausted we returned to the little village near Mbeya where we were staying in the thatched-roof hut of the local pastor. The pastor’s family numbered eighteen which included several nephews and nieces who were orphaned. As we drove up to the hut in our Landover, the entire family ran out to meet us and to welcome us back.
The savory aroma of a home cooked meal heightened our appetite as we entered the hut. Missionary Bill Lewis told me how the family had killed their only pig and had used all the rice that remained in their storage bin to prepare our meal. Learning that it was more than three months before the rice harvest would come in, I told Bill that I simply could not eat the last remaining food the family had. He looked squarely at me and said: “Kenneth, the Christians in East Africa measure their Christianity by the sacrifices they make. If you refuse to eat, you will be denying these precious people a blessing.” Following that admonition, I enjoyed one of the best meals I have ever eaten.
But the words that came out of the mouth of one of the greatest and most dedicated missionaries I have ever known has never left me. Again and again I recall the statement that the Christians in East Africa measure their Christianity by the sacrifices they make! Reading Romans 12:l, I think the Apostle Paul would have been proud of their sacrificial spirit.
THE CHRISTIAN IS TO BE A “LIVING STONE” IN CHRIST.
“You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house (the Church), a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” I Peter 2:5.