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Sunday, April 11, 2010

4/11/10 Compelled to Share Love in an Anti-Christian Environment, 2 Cor. 5:11-14

11 Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade people. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience. 12 We are not trying to commend ourselves to you again, but are giving you an opportunity to take pride in us, so that you can answer those who take pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart. 13 If we are "out of our mind," as some say, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. 14 For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 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.

 (Corinthian Body Models- in Museum in Corinth)- People would bring models of the sick part of their bodies to the pagan temple.  It was in such an environment of rampant sexual immorality and superstition that Paul shared his faith- and we are called to share ours).

Paul says that we are dead to our "old self"- the way the world encourages us to be- proud-of-what-we-have/have-done, selfish, with a look-out-for-number-one attitude.   This is not a bad thing, but a good thing.  "One died for all- therefore all died"- means that Christ died on the cross, and we who believe in Him- die to the world too.  He gave up living for worldly things- and we should too.
But at the same time- the one who died was raised again, and we were spiritually- but really- raised again too.  Once we believe- truly believe (none of this nominal or intellectual stuff), then the love of Christ changes us.  One sign of our change is that the love of Christ makes us want to share that love.  Paul says he "tries to persuade people" or that "the love of Christ compels us." To share the love of Christ in an anti-Christian environment (as I'm convinced we have now in the media), means to sacrifice pride, to believe God ahead of the news media who always blow up the bad news about Christians and share little or nothing of the good news (for example- think of Haiti- tens of millions of dollars were sent there by Christians after the earthquake-- millions of people were helped-- but what will we remember from Christians in Haiti- missionaries trying to "kidnap" children- which in itself was much to do about nothing as the parents gave the kids and the authorities had no means for paper work).  To share Christ in an anti-Christian environment- was exactly what Paul did, and it is exactly what we should do as well.  The only way to change the world's attitude about Christianity is to share Christ and let the Holy Spirit change people- one life at a time.  The risen Christ empowers us- even compels us by his love to not keep the love of Christ entombed in our own hearts.

Prayer: Lord, you know it is hard to speak to those who do not believe.  Yet, use me today, to reach out for you to another. 

P.S.- Pray for Perry Tuttle today as he leads Lake Murray Presbyterian in a spiritual enrichment

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