Summary: If we really value Jesus Christ, we will value what He values.
The last time I spoke we saw that what we believe about Jesus Christ is the most important thing about us. How we VIEW Jesus Christ determine how we VALUE Him. Our response to our Lord depends upon our relationship with Him.
Now, how do we show our value for Him? Let us read 2 Corinthians 5:14-15. “For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.” If we really value Jesus Christ, we will VALUE what He VALUES.
Look at verse 14: “For the love of Christ controls us”. Circle the word “For”. In the context of our passage, Paul was explaining the motivation for serving God. We read this in verse 13: “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.”Paul was so all-out for ministry that people thought he was so crazy for Jesus. He was regarded as a fanatic. “Who but one out of his mind would show such disregard for himself? Would a sane person willingly face a riotous mob intent on destroying him? Who would be crazy enough to walk back into a city in which he had just been stoned and dragged out? Only a person who was utterly devoted to God would show so little regard for himself. Such a man was Paul.”In verse 14, Paul gave his reason why: “For the love of Christ controls us”. The New Living Translation goes like this, “If it seems that we are crazy, it is to bring glory to God. And if we are in our right minds, it is for your benefit. Whatever we do, it is because Christ’s love controls us.”The Message version translated verse 14 this way: “Christ’s love has moved me to such extremes. His love has the first and last word in everything we do.”
Note that Paul was not saying that our love for Christ controls us. Instead, it was the love of Christ that controls us. It was not our love for Him. It was His love for us. Christ’s love should move us to reach out to people. Matthew 9:36-38 gave us a glimpse of Christ’s love for people.“When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”Underline the words “he had compassion for them”. His heart went out for them. That’s why He commanded them “pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” Why would He command them to pray for laborers? It is because, as my mentor would say, “This is a prayer that God cannot not answer.” This is a prayer that God would always answer because He has “compassion for [people who] were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” This is the heart of God. Our hearts should beat His heartbeat. This is what our Lord loves. And if we really love Him, we will love what He loves. This is what our Lord values. And if we really value Him, we will value what He values.
“For the love of Christ controls us”. The word“control” is a very rich word. When an invading force has surrounded or pressed a city on every side, it compels its citizens to surrender. They have no other choice but to give up. The word that they used at that time to describe that no-choice situation was the Greek verb for the word“control”. It is also used to describe what a cattle squeeze does to a sick farm animal. It pushes the cow in on each side so that it is forced into a position where it cannot move so that the veterinarian can treat it. The word that they used back then to describe that action is the same Greek word for “control.” In view of these backgrounds, what does it mean that “the love of Christ controls us”? 1 John 4:19 tells us, “We love because he first loved us.” Since we experienced His love, we cannot help but love others. In a sense, Christ’s love forces us… compels us… controls us to love also. We cannot help but to value what He values.
In fact, Christ’s love for us drove Him to die for our sins. Twice in our passage Paul wrote that He “died for all”. He loved us to the point of death. Verse 21 tells us: “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” Here we see also that there are two results when we appropriate Christ’s death on the cross. Two things happen to us when we put our faith on the Lord Jesus. One is negative and the other is positive. First, verse 14 tells us that, because of Christ’s death, “therefore all have died”. When we accept the Lord as Savior, we die to our old life. The New Living Translation goes like this,“we have all died to the old life we used to live.”Second, verse 15 talks about “those who live” or, as the New Living Translation goes, “those who receive his new life”. When we believe in Him, we become alive spiritually. Someone wrote, “He died that we might die. He died that we might live.” This is beautifully summarized in verse 17:“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” In Christ, we are a new creation, not just a renovation.