Compelling Love

November 1, 2015   II Corinthians 5:14 – 21Compelling Love 

   It is considered one of the greatest American victories in the history of the Olympics.   The United States hockey team was not supposed to have a chance in 1980.  The Soviet Union seemed invincible and unbeatable.  Their team included elite professionals who had played together for years.   The Americans on the other hand had teammates who had never played together.   None of the were professionals they had come from colleges and universities across America.  The American victory over the Soviets in the medal round seemed improbable if not impossible.   According to the movie based on these unlikely heroes the turning point for the Americans came in the practice led by coach Herb Brooks.  

   The coach was demanding perhaps driven to a fault.  Brooks was not happy with the play of the team so he had the players skating sprints to the point of exhaustion.  Some of the assistant coaches were worried that the players would either pass out or quit.  Brooks pressed forward.    During the 4 practices Brooks would ask a player who he played for.   The player would respond proudly with the name of his college.  Brooks was asking the same question during the practice when he was having them sprint.  The coach was pushing them.  One of the hockey players recalling Brooks’ persistent question looked up from his prostrate position after his last sprint.  Gasping for breath he declared I play for the United States of America.  It was the defining moment – they got it.  They were no longer representing their colleges they were playing for the United States of America.  As I remember that game or movie the Russians shot and shot and shot and our goalie blocked and blocked and blocked.  These men were unbeatable.  They took the gold.  Nobody could stop them.  It is an amazing story of an impossible victory.  Sometimes God just humbles the proud.  Pride comes before a fall.    

    I think we can forget whose team we are on.  We represent Jesus.  I think we can forget that we come to church for Jesus.  We tithe for Jesus.  Some of us may not buy that cup of coffee so we can give something to Jesus.   We serve because of Jesus.  We represent Jesus.  We represent the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.  We do it for Him.  We teach for Jesus.  We preach for Jesus.  We come to church to worship Jesus.  It is about Jesus and not about us.  Jesus died for souls for people. 

    Let’s look at this passage from a couple of different translations.  This is the amplified bible.   For the love of Christ controls and urges and impels us, because we are of the opinion and conviction that One died for all, then all died; And He died for all, so that all those who live might live no longer to and for themselves, but to and for Him Who died and was raised again for their sake.   Paul said Christ’s love controls me.   Christ love urges me.  What does urge mean?  It means to push to inspire to motivate.   It is a force in his life.   It drives and moves Paul.  It should move every Christian.  Paul writes I do not live for me but I live for Jesus.  Jesus is the force and Jesus is my reason for living.  Jesus moves me.  He is the force that pushes on me.  We might ask ourselves today what moves me?   What is my driving force?  Our families are some of it.  Money is a force in our life.  But what is at the center of us?  Does Jesus control me?   It should not be all about me but about Him. 

   I love the Wuest translation on this passage.  For the Love which Christ has for me presses on me from all sides holding me to one end and prohibiting me from considering any other wrapping itself around me in tenderness giving me an impelling motive, having brought me to this conclusion namely that One died on behalf of all in order that those who are living no longer live for themselves but for the one who died on their behalf and instead of them was raised.  Paul is saying Jesus love presses on me from all sides and I cannot consider doing anything else with my life.  Jesus is the center of my life Paul writes.  He motivates me and he is driving force in my life.

    Brothers and Sisters Jesus love moving us and motivating us has to be the center of the church.  If we do not have Jesus love urging and moving in us then we do not have anything.   In my mind the church is dead if it is not moved by Jesus love even if the doors are open and people are here.    I hope we get it. That needs to be deep in our soul.  I am doing this for Jesus.    I give because Jesus love moves me.  The athlete pushes him or herself for the prize.  There is a sacrifice.  We

sacrifice because Jesus love moves us.  The Holy Spirit works within us, urging, moving, and motivating us. 

   Dr. Scott Kurtzman, chief of surgery at Waterbury Hospital, was on his way to deliver an 8:00 a.m. lecture when he witnessed one of the worst crashes in Connecticut history. A dump truck, whose driver had lost control, flipped on its side and skidded into oncoming traffic. The resulting accident involved twenty vehicles; four people died.  Kurtzman immediately shifted into trauma mode. He worked his way through the mangled mess of people and metal, calling out, “Who needs help?”  After about ninety minutes, when all sixteen victims had been triaged and taken to area hospitals, Kurtzman climbed back into his car, drove to the medical school, and gave his lecture — two hours late.  Over the years, Kurtzman has stopped at a half dozen crashes and assisted at three. “A person with my skills simply can’t drive by someone who’s injured,” says Kurtzman. “I refuse to live my life that way.”  1001 Illustrations that Connect. 

    I like that story because we have a choice.   God gives us a choice on how we will live our lives.  Dr. Scott made a choice on how he was going to live his life.  If he can help someone medically he would step in and do it.  The Apostle Paul made a choice about how he would live his life.    The easy choices that we make that satisfy the flesh are not the good choices.  Sin always has a kick back.   We reap what we sow.  Paul said Chris love moves me.  His love pushes me.  Jesus love directs me and my life.  Sharing this gospel is important.