Hey everyone my name is Christian Gonzalez and I am the Next Gen Ministries Director at our West Pasco campus. We go to great lengths in the name of love don’t we? Let me share a story with you. When I met my wife Angela, I went to great lengths to get her number. Now how far did I go to get that? You must be thinking I have a grandiose story but I hate to disappoint you, but it was actually quite simple. All I did was just search ‘Angela Vargas’ on Facebook and sent her a message and a few days later, we began talking and I continued to pursue her because I was compelled to by love. It eventually led to the now, happily married with two awesome boys. So, back to my first point. We do go to great lengths in the name of love. Whether that's us pursuing our significant other or saying “yes” to minister in a foregin country, love is what compels us to do just that. And this compelling love is what we will be unpacking today.
2 Corinthians 5:14-15 says, “14 For the love of Christ compels us, since we have reached this conclusion, that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all so that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for the one who died for them and was raised.” Before we move any further, we need to figure out what Paul meant by saying that love “compels” or “controls”, as other translations translate it. The word ‘compels’ means to hold something together so that it does not fall apart. Let’s think about this for a moment. What Paul is telling us here is that Christ’s love holds us because of what he accomplished on the cross on our behalf. 1 John explains Christ’s love in this way: “9 God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his one and only Son into the world so that we might live through him. 10 Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice, for our sins.”
Now in verse 15, Paul goes on to explain that because Christ’s love compels us, believers “should no longer live for themselves, but for the one who died for them and was raised.” When we experience the love of Christ, it not only compels us but it also changes the way we ought to live. There is a new way of living in the life of a believer. There is a new way of thinking in the mind of a believer. We represent someone so much greater than ourselves...we represent the King of Kings!
Now that we understand what it means that Christ love compels us, we need to ask ourselves: What is Christ compelling me to do? We must ask this question because we are compelled to do something because of the ultimate example of love shown in the death of Jesus Christ. For this answer, we must look at verses 18-21. I would invite you to go back to this section on your own time, but where I want to direct our attention to is verse 18 which says, “who [referring to God] has reconciled us to himself through Christ and has given us the ministry of reconciliation.” What Paul is telling us here is that because God has reconciled or made our relationship right with him through the sacrifice of Jesus, we are entrusted with the ministry of reconciliation. Notice that this ministry is entrusted to us, not any angels or other creatures. God chose to use you and I as his agents to reconcile people to God! This is the gospel (aka good news) that we need to share!
So let’s get real and practical here. The ministry of reconciliation is tough work! When we let go of our insecurities and actually share the gospel with others, at times it is rejected and we become discouraged. But fear not...the Holy Spirit is the one that does the saving and we are only responsible for sharing the good news. So to finish our time, I want to ask you a question: What motivates us to share the gospel with others? Are we driven by a genuine love for Christ or merely by a sense of duty? What compels us will make all the difference. Let’s pray.