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#17 Moved by Christ

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                                “MOVED BY CHRIST

                   (A Sermon Series from 2 Corinthians)

Westgate Chapel 07-08-07                     2 Corinthians 5:11-15

Proposition:      The Christian lives a life totally different from the world because there is a totally new Life within, with new motivation, new controls and new conviction.                                                                                              

i.    introduction

-     WHAT moves you?

-     GIVE me ten or fifteen minutes in conversation with you, and some careful placed questions, and I will be able to figure out what moves you.

-     AND you could probably figure out in those same fifteen minutes what moves me.

-     YOU already know…what moves me from all of my sermon illustrations over the past nineteen years.

*     The presence of the Lord….in the private moments of a quiet time or here with you in worship.

*     Certain songs. Like the prophet Elisha I am stirred at the deepest level by some of the songs of Zion.

*     Time spent with my family…watching them grow in their love for God and each other.

*     Seeing God work in your lives…whether I am a direct part of that or not.

*     Being in historical places where earth changing things happened.

*     The scream of a Formula One engine, down-shifting feverishly off the straight-a-way for turn 1.

*     The sound of a 300 hp Continental engine in a Cessna 210 in climb configuration.

*     Taking corners up in the mountains on my Ducati as fast as my skills permit.

-     WHAT moves you…at the deepest level?

-     IN 2 Corinthians 5:11-15, the apostle Paul tells us what moved him at the deepest level.

-     AS we examine the three things that moved the apostle Paul, I want you to remember that the Word of God is a mirror that the Holy Spirit holds up in front of us from time to time.

-     AND what we see in the mirror of God’s Word is a two-fold image of Jesus, and ourselves….so we can see how we are doing looking like Jesus.

-     IT is never God’s intention that we look in the mirror and try to copy Jesus.

-     IT is God’s intention that we look in the mirror and when we discover discrepancy between us and Jesus that we run to Him and ask to be changed.

ii.   moved by the fear of god

-     SO, three things that moved the apostle Paul, starting in 2 Corinthians 5:11-12.

-     TO set the context for what moved Paul we have to look at the last verse we studied two Sundays back. It was verse 10,

      “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” (2 Corinthians 5:10)

-     REMEMBER what I told you about this judgment; that it is not a judgment that affects your salvation?

-     THE Great White Throne judgment, in Revelation 20, right after the resurrection, is where God will separate those who are saved from those destined for eternal judgment.

-     THE judgment in 2 Corinthians 5:10, also referenced in Romans 14:10, is a believer’s judgment concerning what you and I have done with our lives….and those things God has given each one of us.

-     NOW, we are ready for verse 11,

      “Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men…” (2 Corinthians 5:11a)

-     PAUL’S mission in life was to persuade the men and women he encountered to consider the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

*     On a missionary journey to Macedonia he explained from the Old Testament how Jesus was the Christ, and persuaded a manufacturer of rare textiles from Thyatira named Lydia to be saved.

*     When he debated the philosophers on Mars Hill in Athens, he was trying to persuade them to consider Christ.

*     Whether he was in front of kings or peasants, Paul could not be silent.  In fact, the governor of Judea, Festus, heard Paul preach and accused him of being “out of his mind” in Acts 26:24.

*     When he was imprisoned in Rome he persuaded members of Caesar’s household to embrace faith in Jesus Christ.

*     And when he was is in Jerusalem he was able to persuade the leaders of the early church to accept Gentiles into the faith.

-     AND 2 Corinthians 5:11, Paul gives us a glimpse into some of what moved him to persuade men and women of the Gospel wherever he went….it was the fear of the Lord.

-     THIS is a phrase that can be found throughout the Bible…the fear of the Lord.

-     IT is an attitude, a frame of mind that we as humans are called in Scripture to demonstrate towards God.

-     IT is not an attitude of terror or fright.

-     RATHER, the fear of the Lord is an attitude of respect, reverence and awe….it is amazement and wonder at the thought of who He is.

*     Job 28:28 says that the fear of the Lord is wisdom.

*     Psalm 19:9 says that the fear of the Lord is clean.

*     Proverbs 1:7 says that it is the beginning of knowledge.

*     Proverbs 1:29 says that it is a choice for you and me to fear the Lord.

*     Proverbs 10:27 says that it can prolong life.

*     Psalm 34:11 says that it can be learned.

*     Isaiah 33:6 says that it is a treasure.

*     Acts 9:31 says that,

      “…the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria enjoyed peace, being built up; and going on in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it continued to increase.” (Acts 9:31)

-     SO, in our verse in 2 Corinthians 5:11, Paul says that the realization that some day he will stand before the judgment seat of Christ, moves him, out of reverence and respect for the Lord….to persuade the people that come across his path to embrace the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

-     IS the fear of the Lord affecting you in the same way?

-     IN the next verse and a half, Paul connects the fear of the Lord as a defense for his enthusiasm in the work of the Lord.

-     APPARENTLY some in Corinth were saying that Paul was way too excited and over the top concerning the things of God…and the work of God.

-     SO, he answers his critics,

      “…but we are made manifest to God…” (2 Corinthians 5:11b)

-     WE are an open book before God because he knows God judges the heart….and Paul is confident in the condition of his heart before God.

-     VERSE 11c,

      “…and I hope that we are made manifest also in your consciences.” (2 Corinthians 5:11c)

-     PAUL can only hope that the Corinthians believers had enough discernment to recognize that his enthusiasm in the work of the Kingdom was the real deal….it was not fake nor from false motive because he lived in the fear of the Lord.

-     BUT…it is not unlike the apostle to also slip in a little sarcasm to drive his point home,

      “We are not again commending ourselves to you but are giving you an occasion to be proud of us, so that you will have an answer for those who take pride in appearance and not in heart.” (2 Corinthians 5:12)

-     IT is unfortunate, but there will always be those in the church who judge mainly by appearances…by what a person wears, or their formal education, or financial wealth, or popularity….and Paul takes a shot at those kinds of people in verse 12.

iii.  moved by the love of christ

-     SO, the first thing that moved the apostle Paul was the fear of the Lord…..reverence, respect and awe for God.

-     HERE is the second thing that moved him, in verses 13-14,

      “For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God…” (2 Corinthians 5:13a)

-     IF there were some, who like Festus, thought that Paul came across as over the top for God….too energetic, too excited, too dogmatic, too passionate….Paul says that that was something between him and God.

-     PAUL was not about to temper his ministry to accommodate his critics.

-     REMEMBER, this is the apostle who…

*     said that if anyone came up with any changes in the Gospel, that that person was to be cursed.

*     said to the proconsul’s magician who was opposing Paul’s preaching, “You…are full of all deceit and fraud, you son of the devil…the hand of the Lord is upon you and you will be blind and not see the sun for some time.” (Acts 13:10-11)

*     challenged the apostle Peter in front of the church in Galatia for having a double standard regarding fellowship with Gentile believers.

*     sang hymns at the top of his voice with Silas while imprisoned for his faith in Philippi.

 -    THERE is nothing casual or retiring about Paul when it comes to the things of God….and Paul clearly lives out his passion in the presence and under the scrutiny of God. He is not a loose canon.

-     LET’S move on to the rest of verse 13,

      “…if we are of sound mind, it is for you.” (2 Corinthians 5:13b)

-     THERE are times when Paul needed to resort to logical reasoning in the presentation of the Gospel, but when he did, it was not for show, but for the edification of the Corinthians.

-     THEN, in verse 14, we learn the second thing that moved the apostle Paul,

      “For the love of Christ controls us…” (2 Corinthians 5:14a)

-     PAUL was not only motivated by the fear of the Lord, he was controlled by the love of Christ.

-     PAUL lived in such an awareness of God’s love that he could do no less in response to that love than to serve the Lord with everything that was in him.

-     THE word translated control comes from a Greek word that literally means a road that is narrow and walled in.

-     WHETHER ecstatic or rational, Paul could be nothing other than what he was because his life was defined and confined by the love of God.

iv. moved gratitiude for christ’s death and resurrection

-     ONE last thing that moved the apostle Paul, reading from verse 14b,

      “…having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; 15 and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.” (2 Corinthians 5:14b-15)

-     PAUL was deeply moved by the conviction that Jesus died on the cross, taking the punishment due for the sins of the whole world…..so that we who are in Christ could also be dead to sin, to the sting of the grave and the judgment to come.

-     HE was also deeply moved by the conviction that Jesus rose from the grave on the third day, so that we who are in Christ might have eternal life.

-     AND this conviction was so moved Paul with gratitude that he no longer lived for his own goals, ambitions, and self-serving motives.

-     OUT of a heart of gratitude Paul died to himself and lived for Christ.

-     EVERY decision was weighed in the light of what Jesus wanted for Paul.

-     TO marry or not to marry was weighed for Paul in light of what would be best for the work of the Kingdom at that time in history.

-     PAUL’S life would be invested in extending the work of Christ called the Church.

-     HIS safety was secondary.

-     HIS comforts were secondary.

-     HIS schedule was secondary.

-     WHY?

-     BECAUSE he was no longer living for himself, but out of gratitude for the One who rose and died for him.

v.  CONCLUSION

-     THERE they are!

-     THREE things moved the apostle Paul!

1.   The fear of the Lord.

2.   The love of Christ.

3.   Gratitude for Jesus’ death and resurrection.

-     IF these are not the things that move you this morning, I want to call you to repentance and to return to the Lord.

-     PERHAPS you have gotten cold in your love for the Lord.

-     PERHAPS the things of the world have captured your affections, and right now that is what moved you.

-     COME back to Him today.

 

                              COME UNTO JESUS

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