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, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 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 people’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 God’s co-workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. For he says,
“In the time of my favor I heard you,
and in the day of salvation I helped you.”
I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation. – 2 Corinthians 5:14-6:2
We can be a little nervous and a little excited when we have the opportunity to share who Jesus is with someone. When we are able to help someone encounter the God who came and was born a man in order to die for the wrongs of His creation and to rise again to give them new hope through new life eternal.
Jesus died and rose again so that we would live for Him who died to pay for our sins and rose again to give us the hope of eternal life. This verse tells us that living for God looks like helping others not simply know Him, but to be restored to God through knowing His sacrifice and the hope He gives.
This section of Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians is set up by the preceding sections. Paul wants the readers to not be focused on today. Rather, we are to look forward to eternity. Essentially, Paul is driving home in the prior section that we trust God with today’s calamities because we trust Him with eternity.
We know through scripture that the God of eternity is more than today’s circumstances. Whether these circumstances are filled with treasures or traumas. We know that eternity is greater than all of today. More than that, we know that all of creation whether the eternity of the new creation to come or today’s unbelievably sized and intricately complex universe is still nothing in comparison to the creator God who is greater than all of it. He is simply more than… and this God who is simply more than is our hope, our joy, and our drive for life.
So, when we read this text we can know our purpose is to be His example to the world, that we are to live out His message of restoration to the Creator King.
This is a truth that I think we all know.
We praise God, we sing about His greatness, and we even speak boldly about the different issues in culture that go against His character. But, what we need to remember is that God has went out of His way to restore us to Himself, and He wants us to go out of our way to restore others.
We live for God by bringing the message
of the Gospel to others.
God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. - 2 Corinthians 5:19
For Martin Luther King Jr. day my son Thomas Blaise, who is in Kindergarten and is 6 years old, was chosen by his teacher to answer a question on how he can change the world.
He said he did not know how he could change the whole world. Kate and I explained that doing something good with those you know can lead to something that transforms the world. Immediately Thomas knew his answer, “I want to help other people who are fighting be friends.” That was the greatest answer I could dream of as a father.
As someone who came to believe in Christ even though I did not grow up in a Christian home I am glad that someone saw that I was far from God and gave me a chance to be friends with God. I was in contention with God. I hated God. I did not want to believe that there even was a God. Yet, God had someone help restore me to Him.
Think for a second about the man who wrote this letter, Paul. Paul who was the murderous pursuer of followers of the way. Paul, who held the coats for the men who first killed a believer in Jesus, since Jesus death on the cross. Paul’s history caused believers to distrust and be afraid of him. The very people he wanted to join and minister alongside questioned his belief and intentions. Can you imagine beginning to believe in Jesus only to have the very Body of Jesus not believe you.
Though believers eventually began to believe Paul, Paul knew firsthand the cost that others paid to forgive him. He knew the cost that Jesus paid for him to be restored with God. And, Paul knew the testimony of the believers who chose to show grace to him.
Who do you believe is too far from God?
There are not that many people who deserved forgiveness less or were further from Jesus than Paul when God came into his life. You may know the story, Jesus literally came and blinded him with the truth as Paul was trying to go capture in order to kill followers of Jesus. But, Paul who was so far removed from Jesus and grace was embraced and given new life.
When you read this text about reconciliation, you can know that those who live for Jesus help others to be restored to Jesus. You should study the chapter before as well and Paul’s conversion a little closer in Acts 9. Paul came to know Jesus and had his life repeatedly threatened. In the beginning the Christians didn’t totally believe him, and his former murderous friends, well, they saw him as a traitor and wanted to kill him.
That is why it is so remarkable and exciting when you realize Paul’s zeal is because he believed that “… For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” (2 Corinthians 4:17) Paul understood that the ministry of restoring people to God was going to cost something, and that his greatest joy was not going to come today and that others joy in eternity was worth more than his fleeting happiness today. Paul understood that to make Jesus known to people there were going to be uncomfortable, confrontational, and well hurtful conversations. More often than not the hurt was going to be done to him.
Paul wrote to the Colossians that, “Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness.” (Colossians 1:24-25). He understood an important detail about sharing the truth of Christ with people he referenced later to the Colossians, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Colossians 3:12-13)
Paul knew that the reaching people would cost him. Paul understood that it was his charge as someone representing Christ to not put any obstacle in someone’s way to share grace with. This is how we live for Jesus, this is how we live for the one who died and rose again. This is how we bring glory to God, by sharing His grace with more people. “All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.”(2 Corinthians 4:15)
Who Have You Stopped
Not Tried to Bring the Gospel to? Why?
We have all had to count the cost when talking about Jesus with others. It can be awkward. It can agitate other. More discouraging than these is when our hesitation to share the Gospel has nothing to do with someone hurting or attacking you.
Instead, we are often hesitant to share Jesus with others because we are afraid of the opposite. How many of us have not talked about Jesus with someone because of these things?
- You are concerned you will hurt them, because they will feel attacked.
- You are concerned that it will jeopardize your friendship, relationship, or the potential to share Jesus with them at some unknown point.
The truth is, although some people still don’t want to hear about Jesus they also know that He is important to you and that church is as well. Or, they are completely shocked that Jesus is that important to you because it has not been something you talk about with them.
But, what is can even be worse is when you find out they noticed you stopped talking about what you say is the most important thing in your life and their eternity. When they notice you stop inviting them to the seemingly exclusive club known as church. Yes, church seems exclusive to those who are not used to it. Even worse it can seem exclusive to those who are at the church.
Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. We put no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry.” (2 Corinthians 6:2b-3 ESV)
But, there’s always this one little reason that stops us. “How do I tell others about Jesus? I do not know enough.” It’s easy. Honestly, it is easy. Or, at least, it is easy to know if you know enough to share the gospel. If you know enough to be saved, you know enough to bring someone else new life in Christ.
Now is the time for love to control us, because of our love for God we will love others by bringing the message of restoration with God.
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. – 2 Corinthians 5:14-15
When we believe in Jesus we no longer live for ourselves, instead we live for God, who came to earth to live die and rise so that the people around you could know God for eternity. You are his messenger. You are the one who brings His light into darkness. You are His tool to heal the broken and help the hurting. You are the one who can and must bring God’s genuine love to the hurting.
Think of the great commandment. “Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Matthew 22:37-39) We are called to love others because we love God. Think also of the first letter of John in which he repeatedly states if we love God we will obey his commandments and the commandment He refers to repeatedly is to love others. And John still reminds those who walk in the light that: “[Jesus] is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2:2)
Whose life will you impact for Christ this week?
Who are you going to talk about Jesus with this week? Who are you going to tell that Jesus loves them today? I know some of you are farmers, work from home, are stay at home moms, and are work in isolated ways so you might not have ample unforced opportunities to do these things. So, here’s a few examples.
When you go to get gas for your car, get groceries, or even fast food, you can tell the cashier Jesus loves them. Simple, small, but when sincere can make an impact!
You can call that random friend you hurt ages ago and apologize. You do this because you know that Jesus has called you to forgive your frustration with them because Jesus loves them and well He’s seeking reconciliation with him or her too.
Find a place, find a person, and speak about who Jesus is and how He loves them, because that is how you live for Him who died and rose from the dead for you! You now are the Living Gospel to those whom you have in your life.
Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.
Be the avenue in which someone else may know God, and that those who do can see His grace more fully through you!