Christian Motives

2 Corinthians

Christian Motives

April 29th, 1956 @ 10:50 AM

2 Corinthians 5:12-15

For we commend not ourselves again unto you, but give you occasion to glory on our behalf, that ye may have somewhat to answer them which glory in appearance, and not in heart. For whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God: or whether we be sober, it is for your cause. For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.
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CHRISTIAN MOTIVES

Dr. W. A. Criswell

2 Corinthians 5:12-15

4-29-56    10:50 a.m.

 

 

You’re listening to the services of the First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, and this is the pastor bringing the morning message, the eleven o’clock message, from the middle part of the fifth chapter of the second Corinthian letter.  In our preaching through the Bible, we are in the fifth chapter of the second Corinthian letter, and the passage, the text, is this – Second Corinthians 5:12-15:

 

For we commend not ourselves again unto you, but give you occasion to glory on our behalf, that you may have somewhat to answer them who glory in appearance, and not in heart.

For whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God: or whether we be sober, it is for your cause.

For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:

And that He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him who died for them, and rose again.

[2 Corinthians 5:12-15]  

 

That’s the text and the topic.  The title of the message is Our Christian Motive.

Paul, here in this passage, speaks of what the Corinthians are to answer people who have things to say about the apostle.  He starts off: "that you may have somewhat to answer them" [2 Corinthians 5:12]. 

Well, what were they saying?  This is what they were saying about Paul.  Some of them said, "He’s crazy."  Some of them said, "No, he’s very sober and theological and argumentative."  See in the thirteenth verse: "For whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God: or whether we be sober, it is for your cause [2 Corinthians 5:13] "that you may have somewhat to answer them" [2 Corinthians 5:12] that are saying things about him. 

Now, I say, some of them said that Paul and his cohorts – those who were with him – they said, "He’s out of his mind.  They’re out of their minds.  They’re too excitable.  They talk too vigorously, and they speak too strongly, and they say it too vociferously. They are not in their right minds.  They are raving fanatics.  They are beside themselves."  And in our passage we read this morning, you had an instance of that.  While Paul was speaking in the court before Herod Agrippa, why Festus, who was the governor of the Roman province, spoke up, broke in and said," Paul, thou art beside thyself, much learning doth make thee mad" [Acts 26:24]. 

Well, Paul says, "If we are fanatics, if we are too zealous, if we speak too strongly, if we seem to be beside ourselves, it is to God; it’s to God" [2 Corinthians 5:13]. 

Previously, he had written to the church at Corinth saying that in the presence of the world and in the presence of angels and in the presence of men, they were made a spectacle; they were fools for Christ’s sake [1 Corinthians 4:9-10].  So he says, "If we are enthusiastic, if we are zealous, if we are fanatics, if we are beside ourselves, if we’re out of our right minds, it is to God; it’s to God" [2 Corinthians 5:13].

Then there were others who said, "Now, that man Paul, he is too coolly argumentative.  He is too theologically minded.  He’s too full of reason and rationale."  Then Paul says, "If we are argumentative, if we are theological, if we are full of sobriety, it is for your cause.  For your sakes we’re that way.  That is, what we say and write and preach here that’s theological and reasonable and argumentative is that you might have a cause for that faith that is in you – that the passions of your soul, the feelings of your heart might have a basis in your understanding."

If a man, by his judgment, has a basis for his affections and his devotions, then his heart is fixed.  If not, why, one day he may be full of joy and the next day his gladness has gone away like a cloud in the summer sun.  So he says, "If we are sober and theological and argumentative, it’s for your cause; it’s for your sakes" [2 Corinthians 5:13].  Paul’s judgment was like the brazen altar, cold and hard, but on it, he builds a tremendous devotion – an illimitable affection and love for God. 

Then he says: "For the love of Christ constraineth us" [2 Corinthians 5:14].  And that’s the motive that he says – that’s the reason that lies back of what he’s doing.  Some of the people said, "He’s beside himself; he’s lost his mind; he’s mad."  Other people said, "He’s so argumentative, and he’s all full of theology."  And Paul answers, "Whatever we are and however we act, it is because the love of Christ constraineth us" [2 Corinthians 5:14].  What we do, we do because we are constrained by the love of our Savior.

Now, that’s one of the most interesting little passages you could find in the Bible:  "For the love of Christ constraineth us" [2 Corinthians 5:14].  The Greek word translated there "constrain" is sunecho, and sunecho means "to press together, to compress, to hold together."  And I have picked out some of the passages in the Bible where that word is used, and you’ll get a good idea of what Paul means when he says he is constrained by the love of Christ.

In Acts 7:57, while Stephen was preaching, why, the court of the Sanhedrin and all of the Jewish leaders that were listening to him, Acts 7:57: "Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord."  Now that word translated "stopped" is that word sunecho.  Now, I told you that means "to press together."  And can’t you see it in the Greek?  "Then they cried out with a loud voice and sunecho their ears."  That is, they pressed their ears.  They stopped their ears.  They put their hands on their ears.  They sunecho.

All right, in Luke 8:45, Peter said, "Master, the multitude throng Thee" – sunecho again – "and press Thee, and yet You say, ‘Who touched Me?’"  Now, there’s that word. "Master, the multitudes throng Thee" – sunecho – "they press Thee; they constrain Thee; they’re on every side of You." 

All right now, Luke 12:50 again.  Jesus says, "But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened" – sunecho – "till it be accomplished!"  "How am I straitened, constrained, pressed until it be accomplished!" 

Now, Luke 19:43 again.  Jesus talking to the city of Jerusalem: "For the day shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in" – sunecho – "on every side" – and "pressed thee in, constrain thee, on every side." 

Acts 18:5: "And when Silas and Timothy were come from Macedonia, down to Corinth, Paul was pressed – sunecho – Paul was pressed in spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ." 

Now, once again, Philippians 1:23. Paul says: "For I am in a strait – sunecho – for I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart and to be with Christ; but to remain here with you is far better" [Philippians 1:23-24].

In looking that word up in the Greek New Testament, I have found it used altogether by Luke or by Paul except one time when Matthew uses it.  Evidently, it was a favorite word of the apostle Paul when he preached.  Consequently, Luke, who was his personal physician and traveled with him on his missionary journeys, Luke picked it up from Paul and used it so many times in the Gospel of Luke and in the Book of Acts.

Now, you can see, easily, what that word means.  "For the love of Christ sunecho us" – for the love of Christ constrains us; the love of Christ presses us; the love of Christ hems us in; the love of Christ straightens us.  We are hedged in, hemmed in, constrained, trenched about with the love of Christ, and what we do, we do because we are constrained, hemmed in by the love of Christ.

Now, that’s the same thing as if you were on a high mountain somewhere or in a valley somewhere – however you were – and you saw a ship going by, and it zigzags, and it zigzags, and it zigzags.  When you go down to the sea to see why it zigzags, why you see that the ship is going through a narrow strait, and it zigzags because it is pressed on every side.  It can’t go that way, can’t go that way except as the channel turns.  It is pressed; it is constricted; it is constrained; and it has to follow the channel.  The ship is sunecho – it is pressed.

Now, the same thing.  Oh, you meet it everywhere.  When Frederick the Great’s [1712-1786] armies were attacking, why, one of the file leaders went across an open meadow, and he zigzagged under a withering fire.  And you’d ask, "Well, why doesn’t he straightway charge and gain his point?  Why delay there zigzagging?" 

Well, there was a quagmire there.  It was a marsh, and the only isthmus that the file leader could lead his men across was here, there, there and there; and he had to follow it.  He was sunecho – he was straitened; he was constrained – and what he did, he did because he had no other choice.  He was pressed from every side.

"Now, Preacher, I don’t quite see how a love, how a devotion, how an affection could press a man’s actions so that he does this and he does that and he does that."  Well, it’s because you haven’t thought about it.  Simply because the most constraining and the most pressing and the most hemming in of all of the motives in life is that very thing of a tremendous devotion, of a vast affection.

When I was a boy listening to those old-time preachers in the little town where I grew up, I would hear those preachers ring the changes on a subject like that: the constraining, compelling, constricting, hedging in, hemming in motive of a great love.  And they’d tell stories.  And I tell you truly, they were melodramatic, I admit, but there is something far beyond just the romantic or the sentimental in what they were illustrating.  I can remember those stories. I can remember a host of them.

Here’s a typical one of them.  There is a soldier boy who comes back to the trench after they have made a charge, and his friend, his buddy, is not with him.  He’s been shot down in no man’s land.  So he goes to his commanding officer and asks permission to go out and find his buddy who’s been shot down, evidently, in no man’s land. 

And the C.O. [commanding officer] says, "Oh, you mustn’t.  It’s sure death." 

But the soldier boy persists.  So he goes out.  And when, finally, he does come back, he comes back himself mortally wounded. 

And the commanding officer goes up to him and says, "Isn’t that what I told you?  I told you if you went out there, you would lose your life." 

And the soldier boy replies, "But, sir, I found my buddy.  I found him, and he was wounded and dying.  And when I found him, he smiled at me and said, ‘Oh, I knew that you would come.’"  And the boy replies, "Sir, I had rather die than to have failed him."

Now, that’s not just sentiment nor is that cheap romance.  That is an illustration of the great, constricting motives of life.  You do what you do simply because you can’t help but do it.  You’re straitened.  You are sunecho

All right, let me take another one of those stories that I can remember those old-time preachers telling.  When I was a boy, reared way, way out in a way in a rural community, I have seen a runaway team [of horses].  There’s hardly anything more fierce- looking and loud and terrible than to see a strong, fast team running away with a wagon. 

Well, there is a team running away with a wagon, and suddenly, in the road, there steps out in the way of the team, there steps out a man, and he does all that he can by waving to stop the team.  But he doesn’t get out of the way.  And when the rushing, maddened horses come upon him, he seizes them by the bridles, and he tries to pull them down and pull them down and pull them down.  But in that effort in which he succeeds, he himself is dragged to death.

So a bystander comes and says to him, "Sir, what a terrible mistake.  What a fanatical thing to do to stand in the way of that running team." 

But the man replies as he draws his last breath, "But, sir, go look in the wagon.  Go look in the wagon!" 

And they go look in the wagon, and there, covered over in the wagon, is a little baby, a little child – his baby.  Oh, that is a constraining love.  It is a motive.  You can’t help it.  It is something that you’re made that way. 

All of us feel that.  There are people that you can name that you had rather die than to hurt.  It just would kill you.  There are things that you do, that you do out of a great, constraining motive, out of a tremendous devotion, out of a vast and immeasurable affection. 

Now, that is exactly what Paul is saying here: "For the love of Christ sunecho – it presses us.  What we do, whether they say we are mad or whether they say we are argumentative – whatever they say – we do what we do because we are compelled by a great motive.  The love of Christ constrains us, hedges us in, presses us.  We’re in a strait" [2 Corinthians 5:13-14].

Now, here is an example of that cool, argumentative turn in Paul’s life as he talks about a thing that is deeply emotional and full of feeling.  Now, look at it, the very next phrase, because now he’s giving a reason: "because we thus judge" [2 Corinthians 5:14].

Isn’t that a strange thing?  One time Paul will be just so full of fire and feeling and emotion and zeal, then, in the next breath – in the same sentence here in the next clause – then he’ll start that cool, theological basis for his feeling.

All right, now look at it: "because we thus judge" [2 Corinthians 5:14].  Now, he’s going to say why it is that the love of Christ constrains him, pulls him, hedges him in: "Because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead . . . and that He died for all, that they who live should not henceforth live unto themselves" – don’t belong to ourselves – "but should live unto Him who died for them, and rose again" [2 Corinthians 5:14-15].

Now, let’s look at this thing that Paul says – why he loves Christ and why that love impels his soul and is the guiding motive of all his days.  ". . . Because we thus judge, if one died for all, then were all dead: and He died for all, that we who live should not live for ourselves, but unto Him" – for Him who loved us and gave Himself for us – who died for us, and rose again" [2 Corinthians 5:14-15]. 

"If one died for all, then were all dead" [2 Corinthians 5:14].  Now, you’re getting into a piece of theology, and what he’s saying is this: if a man represents all of us, then what that man does, all of us do.

I could not think of a better illustration of that than an ambassador.  If we send an ambassador, say, to a conference they’re going to have in Paris with Russia and Britain and France and whatever, and we make that ambassador a plenipotentiary, he represents our government and he represents our people and our nation.  Then when that ambassador acts over there around the conference table of Versailles [Versailles, France] or at Yalta or any such place – when that ambassador acts, he acts for all the citizens and the government and the people of the United States of America.  He becomes the representative man, and what he does, we all do.

Now, Paul uses that thing, that fact in life, to represent what happens to us before God.  All of us sinned in the representative man [Romans 5:12].  We all died in Adam [1 Corinthians 15:22].  All of us did.  All of our people died in Adam.  All of us sinned in Adam.  All of us are under the curse from the days of Adam.  All of us were born in sin and conceived in iniquity [Psalm 51:5].  We have inherited that in the race.  It has come down and down and down [Romans 5:12-14].  Adam is the federal head of the race, and in Adam’s sin, all of us have sinned.  And that story of sin has gone on and on through every generation and through every life, and it is a tragic and miserable humanity that have sprung up in the name and as the children of this old man Adam.

When you look upon the human family, it is imbruted and it needs education.  When you look on the human family, it is barbarous and it needs civilization.  When you look on the human family, it is animalistic and it needs the cultivation of its aesthetic sensibilities.  When you look upon the human family, it is in bondage to everything and it needs liberation and emancipation.  But these things of education, and cultivation, and emancipation – these things are all superficial.

The bed’s too short for a man to lie in, and the covering is too narrow for a man to wrap himself in.  Dead corpses cannot animate other dead corpses.  There is something so violently wrong.  There is such a deep penalty of death upon humanity [Romans 6:23] that this strange and superficial alchemy of education and betterment and social amelioration will never do!  I could think of a man from another world looking upon our humanity and saying, "Oh, that the Lord God Himself could bare His arm and save these people.

Now, that’s exactly what Paul says Christ did.  Christ is the representative man from God.  He’s our Siegfried ["The Ring of the Nibelung Opera," Richard Wagner].  He’s our David against Goliath [1 Samuel 17:4, 40-51].  He is our champion.  He is our ambassador.  He is our representative.  "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up" [John 3:14].  That is not just another dead snake.  Jesus was not just another sinner, not just another man.  But that brazen serpent was representative of all of the death and poison of all of the serpents [Numbers 21:4-9].  So Jesus, the representative Man: He was lifted up, and when He died, we all died with Him [Romans 6:4-10].

The penalty for our sins was paid for in Jesus [Colossians 2:13-14].  All of the tragic wrath of God poured out upon iniquity was poured upon Him and He died in our stead, our substitute [Isaiah 53:5; 1 Peter 2:24].  Christ did not die for Himself.  He died in expiation.  He died in propitiation [1 John 2:2, 4:10].  He died in atonement [Romans 3:23;-26].  He died a substitute [2 Corinthians 5:21].  He died the representative man. 

So Paul says, "If one died for all, then everybody died" [2 Corinthians 5:14].  If one paid the penalty for everybody, then the penalty is paid.  If one man suffered for everybody, then sin has been suffered for.  "And that He died for all," which is a fact, then we who live are not to live unto ourselves but unto Him who died for them and rose again" [2 Corinthians 5:15].  Any part of me that Jesus will not and has not saved, then I may claim it for my own.

But what am I going to do with my sins if I live from here on out perfectly?  What of my sins in the past?  And who is going to impart life to me – either life now or life to come?  And who’s going to raise me from the dead? 

Oh, somebody says, "Preacher, I can wash the stain of sin out of my soul."  And somebody says, "And I can impart life to myself."  And somebody else says, "And I can raise myself from the dead."

Listen, fellow, that’s foolishness.  That’s foolishness.  You’ll be dust some of these days, and your dust cannot animate dust!  You don’t know how weak you are and how much you need God until you face, honestly, these realities that shall overwhelm us in our lives.

Well, who shall wash our sins away?  Who shall speak resurrection to our dust?  Who shall implant life to me?  I say, any part of it I can do for myself I can claim as my own.  I am free of God and free of Christ.  But every part of me by which I depend upon Jesus to forgive and to sanctify and to save and to resurrection, that part belongs to Him!  That’s what Paul is saying.  That’s what Paul is saying.  What part of me He has saved, what part of me He resurrects, what part of me to which He implants life is not mine, but it belongs to Him who gave me those great, marvelous, heavenly gifts.

Then he says, if that’s true, then what of me is saved doesn’t belong to me, but it belongs to Him who died for me and rose again [2 Corinthians 5:15].  If it’s my body, then my body belongs to Him.  If it’s my mind, if it’s my heart, if it’s my life, and if it’s my soul, then that belongs to Him.  It’s not mine; it’s Him.  "You’re not your own.  You’re bought with a price" [1 Corinthians 6:19-20].  He paid for us. 

Then Paul says that motive is that "the life that I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of Him, who loved me, and gave Himself for me" [Galatians 2:20].  "Because we thus judge . . . that we who live should not live for ourselves, but unto Him who died for us, and rose again" [2 Corinthians 5:14-15].  So Paul says that is the great, constraining, constricting, pressing motive back of the Christian’s life.

Now, may I conclude?  That’s the reason why there is passion in our religion.  That’s the reason why there is emotion in it.  That’s why there is feeling in it.  That’s why there is affection in it.  That’s why there is moving and quickening in it.  Our religion is not in anywise legal, nor is it in anywise just a rationale, nor is it anywise just a philosophy, nor is it in anywise just an ethic or a moral code or a way of behavior.  Our religion is built around an all-consuming commitment, around a great love to God who gave Himself for us.

There are many in these days past who have bowed down to the great, graven image erected on the plains of Dura [Daniel 3:1].  At the sound of the music, they all bowed down and worshiped the image [Daniel 3:4-5].  There are many who are eager to lend their arms for people to lean on as they go down to the house of Rimmon [2 Kings 5:18].  There are many who worship out of a dread fear of something awful to come [Acts 17:23].  There are many who, like the Pharisees, keep very meticulously all of the ordinances and all of the commandments of which they are able [Matthew 23:13-36], but in no case is that kind of religion and that kind of faith – in no case is it other than a sterile, barren sense of duty [Matthew 19:16-22].  "This I do, for I must.  This I do because I have no other choice.  This I do because it is the only way to be saved.  I do this and this and this and this and this.  I give; I go; I come.  What I do, I do in order to gain a certain point, to gain a certain salvation." 

Now, that thing in the Christian religion is diametrically the opposite.  A man is constrained by the love of Christ [2 Corinthians 5:14], but, sir, that is the greatest freedom in this earth because I then do what I do because I want to.  I love to do it.  It’s a privilege to do it.  It’s a happiness and a joy and an honor to do it.  What we do, we do because of a great affection, a great love.  The love of Christ impels us [2 Corinthians 5:14].

I come down here to church.  Oh, what a chore and what a job to dress and drive down there to church.  Not at all.  I love to do it.  I’d rather come here than any place in the world.  That’s it.  I’m not under any legal compulsion to be here.  If the church were forty miles away, I still would love to come – doing it because I want to.

Love has no mathematical exactitude.  Now, how much can I give and get by with?  Just how much am I to do?  That much is my part.  Oh, no!  How much can I do?  With what joy and gladness do I take a part in this great ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ?  It’s a privilege.  It’s a privilege. 

And a testimony that we have for Him, why, that’s not something that is difficult to say.  That’s not something that, with reluctance, I mention.  Why, it’s the greatest gladness in this earth to say something about how good God is to us and how the love of God in Christ Jesus has been spread abroad in our hearts [Romans 5:5] – to say it, to witness, to be a Christian.  Yes, I am.  Yes, sir.  I belong to the church.  Yes, I go to church.  Yes, I love the Lord.  Yes, it is a joy that comes out of the great fountain of your soul.  It’s the love of Christ in your heart.

Why, I go out to Baylor Hospital often, often, often.  I turn over in my mind thinking again the day of its founding and how come it there.  It was a strange and unusual thing.  Way over there in Vienna, Austria, there was a world-famous physician by the name of Dr. Lorenz [Dr. Adolf Lorenz, 1854-1946].  And he came to America, and he went to the American Medical Association meeting in New Orleans [New Orleans, Louisiana].  And there, some of the great, fine doctors and civic leaders of Dallas [Dallas, Texas] invited him here. 

And when Dr. Lorenz came, the city was filled with cripples and with doctors.  They were here, and the conclusion of his visit was a marvelous, marvelous banquet.  And at that banquet, the civic leaders of Dallas spoke and George W. Truett [1867-1944] spoke.  And they say that never did a man speak with such passion as Dr. Truett spoke that night bringing the closing address at the banquet honoring Dr. Lorenz.

And it was the next morning that Colonel C. C. Slaughter [1837-1919] called Dr. Truett and said, "Dr. Truett, I was there at the banquet.  I heard your impassioned appeal and here is fifty thousand dollars as a beginning" for the start of what is now Baylor Hospital.  And on and finally Slaughter gave a whole fortune, and Truett went over the state, and a multitude of things I can’t follow.  That’s why the hospital is there.  It was upon the occasion of Dr. Lorenz.

Now this man, Dr. Lorenz, how come him here in America was this:  Phillip Armour [1832-1901], who founded Armour Packing Plant in Chicago, Philip Armour and his wife had a little baby girl – a little daughter born into their home.  And the little girl was crippled in her feet, and she couldn’t walk.  That rich, rich man – a world-famous businessman, built an enormous financial empire – but his little girl born and her feet were crippled. 

He heard about this Dr. Lorenz, and he sent word to Vienna and said, "Dr. Lorenz, I will give you thirty thousand dollars" – which was an unheard of fee in that day – "I will give you thirty thousand dollars if you’ll come to America and minister to my little girl who cannot walk and see if you can give her back and make it possible for her to walk."  So that’s why Dr. Lorenz of Vienna, Austria came to the United States of America.  It was a thing that went all over this world.  That was the greatest medical fee the world had ever heard of at that time.  So he came to Chicago, and he treated that little girl and she walked.  It was just like a miracle, and it seized upon the imagination of the people. 

All right, back to the stockyards was a little widowed mother with a little boy named Michael who was crippled in his feet – born crippled and had never walked.  And the little boy, sitting in a chair, read a Chicago newspaper and read of Dr. Lorenz and read of Phillip Armour’s little girl and read where the great doctor had made it possible for her to walk.  And the little boy, reading the paper and looking at the pictures, the little boy cried, reading and crying.

And the mother saw him and said, "Sonny, what you crying for?"  And the little boy said, "Oh, Mother," and he showed her the picture and showed her the article in the paper.  "Oh Mother, oh Mother, that the doctor might make me walk." 

And the mother said, "Son, do you see there? Mr. Armour gave him thirty thousand dollars, thirty thousand dollars, and, son, I have nothing at all – nothing at all."

"Oh," said the boy, "I know. I know, but I was just thinking, Mother, I was just thinking, ‘Oh, if I could walk.  If the doctor could make me walk.’ I was just thinking.’" 

Well, that mother and you know what she did?  She went to the Blackstone Hotel in Chicago.  She cast herself at the feet of the great physician and begged him, begged him for God’s sake for to come and to see if he could make her little boy walk.  So, filled with importunity, he responded and he took that little boy and he put him in a charity hospital in Chicago and he worked with that little boy.  And upon a day, his mother came to see him, and the little boy said to his mother, "Mother, go to the third window and look out."

So the mother walked to the third window, looked outside.  And he said, "Mother, don’t you turn around."   She said, "I won’t, son."  And in less time than it takes me to tell it, she felt a tug at her sleeve and turned and her boy was there.  He had walked.  He had walked.  He’d walked across the room and had pulled at her sleeve.  "Oh, son," she said, "You can walk!  You can walk!  Oh, son!"

When the doctor came for the last time to bid the little fellow goodbye to go back to Vienna, the little boy seized the hand of the physician, and he kissed it and wept over it.  And the doctor, a humble man, was greatly embarrassed and said, "Son, you mustn’t do that; you mustn’t do that." 

But the little boy looked up into his face and said, "But Doctor, but Doctor, I have nothing to give – nothing to give; but, Doctor, as long as I live, as long as I live, I shall never cease to tell people what you have done for me."

That is religion.  The formal keeping of ordinances and laws may be good morality.  It may be good philosophy.  It may be good social order, but I say by the Word of the Lord, it is not the Christian faith!  The Christian faith is in another world.  It’s in another category.  The Christian faith is this: because He died for me and was raised for my justification, my life belongs to Him, and what I do, I do, not in order to be saved, not to buy anything from God, not to exchange it for something else, but what we do, we do out of love and gratitude and appreciation to Him who loved us and gave Himself for us.

What I do, I do because I want to do it.  What I do, I do because I feel it in my soul!  What I do, I do it because the love of Christ constraineth me.  Now, that is the Christian faith.  Well, too long, but that’s the gospel whether it’s long or short.  That’s it.

While we sing our song, somebody you, anywhere, give your heart in faith to the Lord.  You come and stand by me.  In this balcony around, upstairs – anywhere – somebody you, into the aisle and down here by my side, "Pastor, I’ve given my heart to God; I give my hand to you," or into the fellowship of His church.  While we sing, while we make appeal, coming: "Here’s a family of us, pastor.  We all coming today."  As God shall say the word – this is of Him and not of us – as God shall say the word and make appeal, you come, you come, while we stand and while we sing.

CHRISTIAN MOTIVES

Dr. W. A. Criswell

2 Corinthians 5:12-15

4-29-56

 

I.          Paul writes how to answer his critics(1 Corinthians 5:12-13)

A.  Some said he is beside himself, too excitable (Acts 26:24-25)

1.  Paul says if it is so, it is to God(1 Corinthian 4:9-10)

B.  Some said his theology is too heavy, too coolly argumentative

1.  Paul says it is that we might have a reason for the faith that is in us

 

II.         Why Paul acted as he did(2 Corinthians 5:14)

A.  Sunecho, translated "constraineth" – "to press together, to compress, to hold together"(Acts 7:57, 18:5, Luke 8:45, 12:50, 19:43, Philippians 1:23)

B.  The love of Christ constrained them

1.  Love the most constraining, most pressing of all motives in life

a. Old-time preachers’ melodramatic stories

C.  Paul’s sober, studied, theological reason for the motive of love

1.  If one acts for all, then his act the act of all(2 Corinthians 5:14-15)

a. An ambassador making a treaty

b. All of us sinned in the representative man, Adam

c. Christ the representative man from God died for us(John 3:14)

D.  We belong to Christ, not to ourselves (1 Corinthians 6:19-20, Galatians 2:20)

 

III.        Explains the passion in our faith and devotion

A.  Built on an all-consuming commitment, a great love for God

1.  Some worship out of duty

2.  Some worship through a sense of fear

3.  Christian faith the opposite – man is constrained by the love of Christ

B.  A constraint that involves no bondage

1.  Dr. Lorenz