The Love of Christ

4 April 2021 PM – 2 Corinthians 5:14-17 – Resurrection – Scott Childs
Introduction: In John 15:13 Jesus said, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the greatest love ever displayed. (Romans 5:6-8) “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Transition: Our text this evening identifies four actions motivated by the love of Christ, which we need to understand and live out.
The love of Christ …
  1. Constrains us (v.14)
a.         The love that Christ has for us constrains us.
1)         The “love of Christ” signifies, not the love we have for Him, but the love He has toward us.
2)         Expositor’s Greek New Testament notes, “The “Love of Christ” here, then, is the love which Christ has for us, not the love which we bear to Him; the constraining power of Christian ministration and service is more effective and stable than it would be if it sprang from the fickle and variable affections of men.”
3)         Christ died for all.
a)         He died for all, i.e., in behalf of all. He did not die instead of us. He died for the sake of us. The teaching that Christ died instead of us leads to Universalism (i.e., everyone is saved). Scripture states that Christ died for the sake of all, yet individuals must receive His payment to receive the benefit. Expositor’s clarifies this. “The Dying of Christ on the Cross was in some sort the dying of all mankind. But the purposes of the Atonement are not completely fulfilled without the response of man’s faith and obedience.”
b)         He died for all. The literal meaning is the correct meaning – He died for the sake of every human. (1 Timothy 2:6) “Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” (Hebrews 2:9) “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.” (1 John 2:1-2) “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
b.         Such love ought to constrain us.
1)         In other words, it ought to grip us tightly.
2)         This word describes a siege of a city. A siege presses in on every side. It gives no way of escape.
3)         So it is that Christ’s love ought to grip us tightly. “After all He’s done for me, how can I do less than give Him my best and live for Him completely.”
The love of Christ …
2.        Obligates us (v.15)
a.         We should no longer live to ourselves.
1)         The Apostle repeats it again, He died for all.
2)         Then he states, He died for all, that (i.e., in order that). He had multiple purposes in dying for the sake of all.
3)         The first purpose is that those who live might no longer live to themselves.
a)         Those who live are those who have received life in Christ by faith. They are now in Christ.
b)         Thus, true Christians lose the right to live to themselves (i.e., living to please self, doing what they want, living to fulfil personal dreams).
4)         The love of Christ in dying on your behalf constrains us to stop living for self. It compels us.
b.         BUT we should live unto Christ
1)         Note the word BUT. It is the contrasting conjunction alla.
2)         The love of Christ in dying on your behalf constrains us to live to Christ. He died in order that we might live to His glory not to our own.
a)         Planning your future is wise. However, God’s will must be at the centre of your plans, not tacked on at the end.
b)         Christ deserves to be first in EVERY area of your life – occupation, marriage, family, recreation, dress, hobbies, desires, etc.
3)         Christ deserves this because on behalf of you He died.
4)         Christ deserves this because on behalf of you He rose again.
The love of Christ …
3.        Enlightens us (v.16)
a.         Since salvation, we see men differently.
1)         We no longer judge men by their social status, wealth, education, race, talents, etc.
2)         Since Christ died on their behalf, they are now either believers or unbelievers. They have either received Christ’s payment or rejected it. The only two classes of people are saved and lost.
b.         Since salvation, we see Christ differently.
1)         Unbelievers know Christ as a good man, a kind helper, a miracle worker and a great example.
2)         We know Him as the loving Lord who died on our behalf to rescue us from damnation.
The love of Christ …
4.        Transforms us (v.17)
a.         Those in Christ are new creatures.
1)         Therefore (i.e., based on a person’s response to the love of Christ), if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature.
2)         Being in Christ speaks of our position in Christ. Those in Christ are in union with Him. They have received the payment He made on their behalf and are secure in a permanent relationship with Christ.
3)         “When a man is ‘in Christ’ through his response to the word of the cross everything is changed for him.” Pett
b.         Old is past; new has come.
1)         This is not necessarily talking about old sinful desires and new righteous desire. Christians still struggle with sinful desires at times.
2)         The immediate context suggests two changes.
a)         Those in Christ used to live to please themselves; they now live to please Christ.
b)         Those in Christ used to evaluate others in the flesh; they now see others as believers in Christ or unbelievers in need of Christ.
3)         Those in Christ have a new perspective of life. They are looking for a new home (v.1). They have the Holy Spirit newly living in them (v.5). They walk by faith that heaven is their eternal home, not by sight (v.7). They know that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (v.8). They have a new understanding of God’s rewards as motivation to do right (v.10). They have a new passion for the lost (v.11). They have a new focus on men’s hearts rather than men’s appearance (v.12).
Conclusion: Let us review as we conclude. The love of Christ in dying on our behalf and rising to life again constrains us (i.e., it besieges us, it grips us). It obligates us (to live for Christ, not for self). It enlightens us (enabling us to see things from a spiritual view rather than a fleshly view). It transforms us, placing us in a new relationship with Christ, and giving us a new perspective of life and the lost.
            I challenge you to meditate on the love of Christ who died and rose again on your behalf. Let that grip your soul. Let it change your focus in life. Let it change the way you see others. Let it transform your perspective of life. Let it inspire you to praise and thank the Lord.
Song: After all He’s done for me.