The Commission of Christ Part 1

Pastor Mike will be speaking on The Commission of Christ Part 1. He will be reading out of 2nd Corinthians 5:18-20.

Jesus is calling us to salvation and when we come to Christ and respond to the gospel my friends then our life is dead to the desires of this world. It is dead to our plans and it is made alive unto the passion and the purpose of God for ever and ever.

Hello this is Pastor Mike Sanders and this is Hope Worth Having. Welcome to our radio program today. We’re excited about broadcasting the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. We are committed to teaching the Bible verse by verse and helping you to grow in your faith and if you do not know Christ we are praying that God will awaken your heart and lift the blindness and for you to see how wonderful our Savior is and to come to terms with your own sinfulness and to receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.

Today we’re going to continue our study in 2 Corinthians chapter 5 verse 11 through 17. We’re learning about building integrity in your life. He is just trying to help them to see his heart for we commend ourselves again unto you but give you occasion to glory on our behalf that you may have somewhat to answer or defend them which glory in appearance.

These false teachers were all about the outside. They were all about the razzle dazzle. They were all about the entertainment. They were all about the outward man not the heart of a man not the heart of a person but what was on the outside and Paul says I want to give you something to help you to be able to defend our ministry to those false teachers who are trying to discredit us before you and so he says to them that these are the kind of people look again who glory in appearance and not in what church?

The heart. The big problem you have with Pastor Mike is we stay in the Bible. Keep your Bible open. Stay there with me. We’re in the Bible. The glory and appearance, not in the heart. And see, God looks just the opposite.

He looks in the heart. We spend so much time on the outside, but God wants us to focus on the heart. In 1 Corinthians 4 -4, the Apostle would go on to say, I know of nothing against myself. Yet I am not justified by this, but he who judges me is the Lord.

The Apostle lived so close to God and he recognized his daily accountability to God that he could stand before the Corinthians and say, I know nothing against myself. I know nothing that is I need to deal with.

As far as I know, my heart is clear before God. It is transparent before God and whatever needs to be dealt with has been dealt with and will continue to be dealt with. I stand before you and how you judge me based upon my appearance has nothing to do with my heart before God.

So the apostle had a passion that he would be motivated for the Lord. And he did this by being daily accountable to God, but also he did this by his daily responsibility to God’s people. So we come again to verse 12.

And we note that the apostle has already recognized his knowledge of the day of judgment. And it was this accountability to God that prevented him from slacking in his work towards God and making sure that his heart was pure before God.

But it also provided the motivation to persuade people to the truth of the integrity of the ministry that God had entrusted him. The apostle had a sense of responsibility that was expressed with such authority and exercised with such enthusiasm that the Corinthians began to believe that somehow the apostle was mad, that he was crazy, that he had lost his mind.

This was the accusation of the false teachers. Now look at verse 13. Stay with me. For whether we be beside ourselves, it is to who? God, thank you. Whether we be sober, it is for your cause. If they interpreted the passion and the zeal and the devotion and the commitment of the apostle as being fanatical, as being someone who was mad and crazy, the apostle says, my zeal for God, my passion is for Christ.

if you misinterpret this passion and this devotion it know that it is in my heart for God and though the passion may be sometimes overwhelming and the zeal may come across as maddening to you it is all because of Christ but here he goes on did you see that verse 13 he said also it is for your cause Paul was accountable to God but responsible to the church why was it that the apostle rose up early and stayed up late why is it that he would say to the Corinthians and first Corinthians that he labored more abundantly than they all why is it that he works so diligently why did he work so hard because he felt a great responsibility to God’s people he felt like it was his job to do everything within his might in the grace of God to accomplish the work of God and the spiritual formation of God’s people that they would be true disciples of Christ, that they would follow Jesus with total commitment for Christ.

And so he tirelessly, and he worked with great effort to bring about the maturation, the maturity of God’s people that they might have a closer relationship. This is the heart of the apostle. It is not that he’s doing it for himself.

He is not laboring hard. He is not rising early and staying up late because of himself. He is not out there promoting himself. He has no marketing plan. He has no self -promotion man. He has no one to build him up, but all he strives to do is to build the church up.

This is his heart. And what does he get in return? What does he get in return? He is maddening. He is criticized for his excessive emotion, his lunacy. He is criticized because his zeal is over the top.

This is no different than Jesus. For you remember in the gospel of Mark chapter three that Jesus was speaking to the crowd. And as he was eloquently sharing the word of God to the people as they were listening to him, the Bible tells us in Mark chapter three, verse 21, that his own people heard about this.

Now stop right there, because when it talks about his own people, it’s talking about his family, his brothers, his mother, his own people, they went out to lay hold of him. for they said he is out of his mind.

Imagine that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who came into this world sinless, who lived a flawless, perfect life before man, who only ministered with a heart to fulfill the mission of God, who only lived that he might bring salvation to others, intervened in funerals, raised the dead, and brought healing to many hearts and many lives.

His own family said he’s crazy. He’s out of his mind. And so it is to each of us that when we serve for Christ, remember that our zeal for God that many times will be misinterpreted. It will be misrepresented.

and in our passion to stand up for God, and our passion to help the people of God will sometimes, even by the people, will be criticized. You remember, if you remember David, and David was a young shepherd boy, and he had already taken on lions and bears, the Bible teaches us, and he had heard about this man named Goliath, and Goliath went out there, and he was discrediting God and the people of Israel, and he was shaming the name of God, and he was making fun of the people of God, and David’s brothers were there in the army of God, but yet they shrank back out of fear, they wouldn’t do anything, they sat there and let Goliath run his mouth.

David got tired of it, he shows up on the front line, his brothers think that he’s crazy, and they think that he’s here for his own selfish reasons, but David makes it clear to them, I am here to protect the name of God.

And David took five smooth stones out of faith, and he took those smooth stones, and he stepped out, and he stepped up when no one else would, and out of courage, he looked Goliath in the face, and he threw those stones and knocked him right down in the name of God Almighty.

And you see, we need those kind of people, amen? We need people who are courageous for God, that even when they are criticized, and people find fault with their life, and people want to spec find in their life, that they have a daily accountability to God, and a daily responsibility to God’s people that they are willing to do what they can so that the cause of Jesus Christ would move forward.

Paul was motivated for the Lord. What are you motivated for? Think about that. Why do you do what you do? Why are you here? Why are you here? Now, I would think that anybody would get up this early and come to church certainly might come for the right reasons, amen?

I hope so, and I appreciate you being here, by the way. But let’s keep in mind that all that we do, whether it’s helping a single mom, or it’s serving a widow, or it’s reaching out to a hurting couple, or whether it’s giving words of encouragement, or it’s expressing the gospel to someone, that our motivation would be for the Lord, that it would all be about Jesus, that because we have a high view of God, that there would be nothing in our life we would want by the end of the day that would disappoint God.

that we would so have a reverence for God, and that we would have such a view of the Lord, that we would say, Lord, I want to honor you in what I say and what I do. Now listen to me. This honoring God is more than just our actions, it’s our attitude.

Because we can come and do the right thing, but our heart be far from God, right? And so our attitude has to be right. We have to remember that as we strive to honor God, that it’s more than just our behavior, it’s our beliefs.

We must think rightly of God. We must think the right things for God, that our thoughts lead to action. And therefore, what we put into the mind eventually comes out, and we must strive that our thoughts would be honoring to God.

And if we have thoughts that are selfish, if we have thoughts that are prideful, if we have thoughts that are only about what we desire, let us get on our knees, repent of our sin, and strive that God would give us the mind of Christ that only desired to please the Father.

It’s more than our conduct. Honoring God is more than our conduct, it’s our character. Character, it’s who we are within, and character is who you are when no one is looking around. Yes, we will do those things that reflect good character when everybody’s watching.

But what would you do if no one was watching? Would you still do the right thing? Knowing that God is watching, and that he desires that we would honor him. Building integrity in our life is to be motivated for the Lord, but it’s also to be motivated by love.

It is to be motivated by love, and we must hurry. We come down to verse 10. Verse 14, for the love of Christ constraineth us, because we thus judge that if one died for all, then we’re all dead, meaning dead to the sin, dead to the world, Christ died for us.

Now, the apostle says to us that it is the love of Christ that constrains us. He is not talking about his love for God, but he is talking about God’s love for him. Our motivation is not only for the Lord, but we are to be motivated by the incredible, amazing love that God has demonstrated to us.

When the apostle Paul uses this word, constraining, he uses this word that is mentioned 12 times in the New Testament. And he is so touched by the love of God, and we define and understand the love of God by going to the cross that Christ died for all.

That Christ went to the cross. for all that Christ would give his life for you, that Christ would give his life for me. This is the defining act of supreme agape love. And it is this incredible unsurpassing, invincible love that God has for us that should be a motivating factor for what we do and why we do.

And it should be at the heart of all that we do for God, that we are touched by his love for us and out of great gratitude and great love for him because he reached out to us and we love him first because he loved us first.

Meaning that we love him because he first loved us. No wonder the apostle would say in Romans chapter eight, verse 38 through 39, I am persuaded that neither death nor life nor angels nor principalities nor powers nor things present nor things to come nor height nor depth nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus.

Now there’s a twofold manner in which the love of Christ should motivate our lives. I want you to see this. First, the love of Christ should compel us. The apostle uses the word constrain. It is the concept of being compelled.

The Bible teaches us in the gospel of Luke that when the apostle had arrived in Corinth, in Acts chapter 18, verse five, he was constrained by the spirit to testify to the Jews that Jesus is the Christ.

Paul was so motivated that he was compelled to testify to the Jews that Jesus was Christ. He was the Messiah that the prophets had spoke about. He saw men and women for whom Christ died. beaten down and bound by Satan and he desired that they would hear the gospel and be released from the bondage of sin and that’s why Paul would say to the Corinthians in 1st Corinthians 9 16 that necessity was laid upon him to preach the gospel and so it is in like manner that each and every one of us should be compelled we should be compelled by the love that Christ has for us as we read our Bible it should release the compelling love of Christ in us as we come to the cross as we pray to God Almighty and we are seeing what Christ has done for us our hearts should be compelled to tell others about Jesus our hearts should be motivated by the love that Christ has for us to let others know about Jesus Christ that this love should be a driving love in our hearts.

It should be a compelling love, a motivating love. It is the love of God that Paul said in Romans 5 .5, is poured out into our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. This love that I need every day in my life, this love that I can’t just rely on the love of yesterday, but every day I come asking the Spirit of God to pour the love of Christ into me.

Again, it’s not my love for him, but it’s his love for me that so compels me and moves me to be what God wants me to be. This love is not only a compelling love, it is a confining love. This love that compels us also confines us.

He says in verse 14, the love of Christ constrains us. It means to be confined. The idea of the word is focused. We see it used in Luke 12 .50 in which Jesus said, I have a baptism to be baptized with and how I am straightened till it be accomplished.

It’s straightened, it’s the same Greek word. It’s the same idea of being constrained. What Jesus is saying to us, that he was confined within the limits of a course and a path of action, that he was to never deviate from his one purpose and that was to bring salvation to souls, that it was his job to carry out the sacrifice of himself for the souls of mankind and he was not to waver from that task.

The love that Christ has for you, the love that Christ has for me. should so constrain me that it focuses me, that it confines me. Oh, I don’t want to be distracted by the nonsense of this world. I don’t want to be distracted by the foolishness of others.

I don’t want to be distracted by the trivial things of life. I am so focused and purposed and driven that I refuse to get off this path. I refuse to deviate from what God has called me to do. This is how the love of God should motivate and activate each of our life for Jesus Christ.

This is what we understand, that our Savior, His path was a path of sacrifice and that we understand that our path is the path of the cross as well. That’s what the Bible means when it says in verse 14 that if one died for all then we’re all dead Jesus died for all kinds of people.

There’s no limitation He is reaching out to all he is calling us To true salvation It doesn’t matter what nationality it doesn’t matter what people group it doesn’t matter what your ethnicity is It doesn’t matter what your education is.

It doesn’t matter what your family heritage is It doesn’t matter who you know or don’t know Jesus Christ is calling us to true Salvation and people from all walks of life and all types of situation Jesus is calling us to salvation and when we come to Christ and respond to the gospel my friends Then our life is dead to the world.

It is dead to the desires of this world. It is dead to our agenda It is dead to our plans and it is made alive Unto the passion and the purpose of God forever and ever This is what Paul is saying. He is confined by the love of Christ he is touched and so the love of Christ that he has for us should so compel us that we want to do nothing but the work of God and So confine us that we want to do nothing but the will of God Now my last point and we’re gonna have to fast -track.

Would you hang in there with me if you listen quickly? I’ll talk quickly. Okay verse 16 and 17. We should be motivated for the lost Paul reveals that not only is he motivated for the Lord and Not only is he motivated by the love that Christ has for him But he is motivated For lost people to come to Christ.

I want you to look at verse 16 Wherefore henceforth No, we know man after the flesh. Let me just stop there. He is saying that because of God’s love for me, because Christ gave his life for me, because I have died to the flesh, that I no longer look at people the same way.

His view of people radically changed. He no longer looked at people through the lens of humanity, but he looked at people through the heart of God. He saw people as either sinners or believers. He cared about their eternal destination.

He compares this to how we used to look at Christ. Look at verse 16, yes, though we have known Christ after the flesh, he knew Christ before his salvation. He knew him as a religious teacher. He knew Christ as a man who was leading a movement that in his mind, the apostle fought when he was Saul, was going against God.

But now, he knows Christ differently. He says, yet now, henceforth, we know him. And he’s referring, when he says no more, what he means, I no more know him like I used to. I know him as a believer in Jesus Christ, as a follower of Christ.

So this morning, he says to us that he is motivated, to the Corinthians, I am motivated for the lost. I look at people differently. And you see, when we look at lost people, we need to stop viewing people according to worldly standards.

We need to learn how to view people from the standpoint of God’s great act of salvation on the cross through Jesus Christ. I wanna say something to you, church. We don’t look at people based on their skin color.

We don’t look at people based upon their political activism. We don’t look at people whether they’re conservative or liberal. We don’t look at people whether they live in a red state or a blue state.

What we see are people who are lost and need Jesus Christ. The politicians of this world are not our enemies, but they are our mission field. When we look at people out there, we no longer see them like the world sees them or as we did before we came to Christ, but we see them as people who are in desperate need of salvation.

And he looks at these people desiring that they would become a new creation. Look at verse 17, therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature, old things are passed away, and behold, all things are become new.

I wish I could spend more time with you on this verse, but I can’t. But simply note this, that Paul desires for people to come to Christ and be reborn in Christ, and that they would positionally be believers, and that they would progressively grow in their faith, and that they would spiritually become like Jesus Christ.

This is his passion, this is his focus, and my friends, this needs to be our motivation. As a parent, it should be our motivation. I’m stunned at the number of parents who are more concerned about their kids’ college education than their eternal soul.

I am shocked that grandmas and grandpas are more concerned that their grandchildren would have the latest and greatest and the best of everything than their eternal soul. We no longer look at people like the world looks.

We look at them differently because we ourselves have been touched by the gospel. And we have been created new and old things are passing away. All things are becoming new. And so our motivation that builds our integrity is that we do it for the Lord and we are touched by the love of Christ and we are compelled to reach the loss.

And it only remains for us this morning to ask ourselves whether this is our real heart. Is this truly who we are? May God give each of us the grace to build our integrity in our hearts to be motivated by hope and reverence and love and passion for the lost.

It says a lot about us on why we do what we do. Motivation is an important part of our integrity and our character. The Apostle Paul was motivated by the fear of the Lord. That is a healthy and holy fear.

A fear that wanted to reverence and honor and glorify God. And I hope that as you are learning about integrity that you are also examining your motives for ministry. Why do you do what you do? And that if there is any selfishness, if there is any ulterior motive beyond glorifying Christ that you would confess that and make those things right with the Lord today.

I hope this message has been a blessing. that’s helped you to examine areas of your life. And whenever I come to the scriptures, I’m always asking the Lord, is there a sin for me to confess to you? And as we come, I pray that the Spirit of God would bring to your attention anything that you need to confess so your heart can be clean before the Lord.

I wanna encourage you to check out our website, hopeworthhaving .com, hopeworthhaving .com. Go to our website there, and there’s a lot of neat things happening, a lot of wonderful stuff that you can check out.

And I know you’ll be encouraged and that you’ll have resources to help you to grow in your faith. And drop us a note. Don’t be afraid to contact us. Just hit the contact button. Let us know how God is working in your life.

And I appreciate those who have contacted us. And I appreciate your support in standing with this ministry. This is Pastor Mike Sanders reminding you. that in Christ there is hope worth having.

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