“For the love of Christ controls us…” 2 Corinthians 5:14
What controls you? What drives you to do the things you do?
Money? Lust (wanting it now, whatever “it” is)? The need to be in control whether it be of people, places, or the circumstances at hand? The need to be recognized? The need to be accepted? The need to be loved?
Paul said the driving force in His life was the love of Jesus Christ! And the effect Jesus’ love had on Paul? The original word Paul uses translated controls (compels; constraineth) means to hold together; to secure. Paul says the reason he lived the way he lived since personally encountering the crucified and risen Jesus, was the love of Jesus! The same sacrificial love that sent Jesus to the cross was the same powerful love from the heart of God with which He raised His Son from the dead, now resided in Paul and ruled his life as it is meant to do for any Christian believer. A deep-rooted love knowing no boundaries Paul desired every Christian to know! (See Ephesians 3:14-21).
During this season of Lent, my prayer for you is that you will be captured by the love of Christ. A love that forgives, encourages, discerns, restores, heals, and puts the other person first!
“We know love by this, that He (Christ) laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” I John 3:16
In the love of Christ our Savior,
The Path He Chose, the Donkey He Rode
“And the multitudes going before Him, and those who followed after were crying out, saying, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David; Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the Highest!” Matthew 21:9
I have always loved a parade and I have always loved Palm Sunday! Even as a kid I was attentive to the hymns we sang in my hometown church, in addition to waving the palm branches and hearing the preacher preach of Jesus’ “Triumphal Ride” into Jerusalem seated on a donkey.
You know, it’s easy to get caught up with the crowd in cheering at a parade or a sporting event! But we are a most fickle people, we who are members of the human race. The Bible says we are created of God, but we have turned against Him because of the sin that dwells in our hearts. I have known of a professional football team for example who, after losing a title match, were shunned, even if for a temporary time, and ridiculed by many of their supporters because of their defeat.
The truth is, the same crowd who shouted ‘…Hosanna to the Son of David; Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the Highest!’ on Palm Sunday, were the same group of folks who shouted angrily and waved their fists before Pilate, saying, “Crucify Him (Jesus)!” on Good Friday. And yet, Good Friday, is “good” because Jesus stayed true to the cross and three days later He did TRIUMPH over Hell, death, and the grave. Jesus loves you. Have you put your trust in Him: His life, death, and resurrection? (See John 1:12-13). What path in life are you taking? Is Jesus the King of your heart!
Thank you, King Jesus for the path you chose, and the donkey you rode!
The Love of the Cross; the Power of the Resurrection!
“For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep (died) in Christ have perished. If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied. But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.” Paul, First Corinthians 15:16-20 , (See also First Thessalonians 4:16-18)
One has said, “The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is the capstone in the archway of Christianity.” Last Friday evening, Nancy and I attended “The Story of Moses” currently being held at the “Agri-Convention Center” in Wauchula. At one point in the play, following the death of Pharaoh’s son under the judgment of the Tenth Plague, Pharaoh’s Queen, said to Pharaoh as he prayed over his son he had laid at the foot of an Egyptian idol, “Pharaoh, Your God is dead!”
The truth is, all religions of the world in one way or another deny the living resurrected God of the Bible. For even if God is said to be followed and worshipped, if Christ as both the Divine Son of God born in the flesh, come into the world as the true Savior; risen from the dead, is rejected, then that religion is a lifeless and unscriptural religion.
In addressing the historical and spiritual reality of the resurrection of Christ Jesus to the Corinthian church, Paul proclaims both the love of the cross and the power of the resurrection. “…and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins…[and you will perish].”
Brothers and sisters in Christ! Paul adds, “…But now Christ has been raised from the dead…” Hallelujah! Christ is risen! By way of the cross, your sins have been forgiven and you have been given eternal life! “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, shall not perish, but have everlasting life!” (John 3:16).
He is Risen Indeed!
“…knowing that He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and will present us with you.” 2 Corinthians 4:14
The Reverend Billy Graham writes, “As the human organism is dependent on a supply of oxygen, so humanity is dependent on its supply of hope. Yet today hopelessness and despair are everywhere…[But]…there is hope that mistakes and sins can be forgiven. There is hope that we can have joy, peace, assurance, and security in the midst of the despair of this age. There is hope that Christ is coming soon—this is what is called in Scripture ‘the blessed hope.’ There is hope that will come some day a new heaven and a new earth, and that the kingdom of God will reign and triumph. Our hope is not in our own ability, or in our goodness, or in our physical strength. Our hope is instilled in us by the resurrection of Christ.”
Without oxygen, we cannot live. Without God, and without the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, Paul tells us we would have no hope. But because Christ has been raised from the dead by the power of God, the Bible says God’s resurrection power lives in the life of the believer today, and one day, that same believer will receive a new body to live with God forever and ever on the new heavens and the new earth! (See I Corinthians 15:12-20 and Romans 15:13).
Praise be to God for His resurrection hope!