Compelled by Love

Dr. Jon Morrissette - 6/6/2021

This past Tuesday was the annual “Trash Pickup Day” for our subdivision. For one day only, you could pile up virtually any kind of trash you wanted, at the end of your drive, in a 10’ by 10’ square. I guess that is how people are to spend Memorial Day weekend now—purging trash?

A funny thing happened though. As people would pile stuff up—it would just disappear, sometimes in a matter of minutes! All weekend long, old rusted pickup trucks rumbled through our neighborhood. “Junkers” (as they're affectionately called) would pick through the piles, taking anything of value. My dad had an explanation for this growing up—he’d say, “Boys, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”

When I was growing up I was a shameless Junker. If there was some event at the park (baseball games were awesome), if our family was the sportsmen club swimming—there you could find Jon Morrissette going through the trash barrels collecting aluminum cans! I’d collect so many, Dad would drive over them with our family van to smash them down. Momma was so proud.

This past weekend I was so disappointed. I set out cracked siding, pieces of busted up concrete, some old fluorescent light fixtures, and a box of fluorescent lights. A couple took the fixtures for scrap metal, but nobody wanted the rest. To say this differently, nobody “valued” the rest.

Can you think of anything with “value” and “treasure” that maybe others regard as junk? This next week is limb pickup in our neighborhood. Lara and I were going to dinner and I noticed a neighbor cutting a bush down. I quickly hit the breaks, and turned around. As Lara slouched down in her seat, I raced up to the neighbor’s house and shouted, “Can I have that?” They were so confused. “What? You want this old stump? Really?”

They saw refuse. I saw a spectacular piece of wood, in which 20-30 branches converged into a single stump. The wood grain, swirls and curls around. When I’m done, it will become a centerpiece, fit for elegant dining room table. Yesterday Lara said, “Okay Jon, could you stick that dirty stump in the backyard in the meantime?”

In 2 Corinthians 5:16 Paul makes a profound statement. He says, “From now on, then, we do not know [regard, value] anyone from a worldly perspective. Even if we have known [regarded, valued] Christ from a worldly perspective, yet now we no longer know him in this way.”

Think about how many people you “drive by” in a given day. From a worldly perspective, we could “drive by” or “walk by” people all day long and not give it another thought. Why is that? Because maybe people don’t have much value to us personally. Now if it’s a friend, or family-member, or noteworthy person we might stop. But generally, we don’t give it another thought.

From a worldly perspective, we may drive by a cross. We have lighted crosses on our building, thousands drive by every day, maybe they care, maybe they don’t? When Jesus died on that cross, pedestrians walked by. Not many cared. Most hurled insults. Some probably whispered, “poor thug, wonder what he did to tick off the Romans. . .”

What Paul is saying here is this: When you truly know who Jesus is, you no longer regard CHRIST, or the CROSS from a worldly perspective! And secondly, and very importantly, you no longer regard PEOPLE from a worldly perspective. And thirdly, you no longer regard YOURSELF from a worldly perspective. Let me scramble these up and talk about each.

First, We No Longer Regard People from a Worldly Perspective! What does it mean not to regard people as such? 2 Corinthians 5:16-17, “From now on, then, we do not know anyone from a worldly perspective. . . Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, and see, the new has come!”

In God’s eyes, there are no “Drive-By” people. Every person (every person no matter their race, religion, tribe, politics, worldview, appearance, net worth, their past life, their present sin, the mess they’ve made of their life, the mess they’ve made in other people’s lives). . . Every person has immeasurable, infinite value! Why? Because God doesn’t make any junk. And there isn’t any junk, any person, that if they get into Christ, God by His Holy Spirit, will not make into a New Creation! Paul says, “Look. Watch. See for yourself. If **anyone** is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old passes away, the new comes.”

In the original Greek, the English word “anyone,” means “anyone.” We are surrounded not by human beings, but human potentials. Maybe you remember how Jesus taught his disciple’s to pray. Once, after a whole city of Samaritans came to repentance, because of the testimony of the Samaritan Woman, Jesus explained the moment this way. John 4:34-36, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work,” Jesus told them. “Don’t you say, ‘There are still four more months, and then comes the harvest’? Listen to what I’m telling you: Open your eyes and look at the fields, because they are ready for harvest.”

If were regarding (valuing) people rightly, we are surrounded by a treasure trove, a vast harvest, of potential Kingdom citizens. We ought to be slamming on the breaks, and not driving by anyone. In God’s eyes there are no human castaways, no human junk.  Anyone and everyone is a potential new creation. I’m a preacher, and when I read these verses, I confess I’ve got some calibrating to do! Am I properly valuing, regarding people?

Second, We No Longer Regard Jesus from a Worldly Perspective! 2 Corinthians 5:16b, “. . .Even if we have known Christ from a worldly perspective, yet now we no longer know him in this way.” 2 Corinthians 5:18-19a, “Everything is from God, who has reconciled us to himself through Christ and has given us the ministry of reconciliation. 19 That is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them. . .”

What difference in the world, what difference in your life, has Christ Jesus made? Our worship reflects our regard, our valuation, of Jesus. If we have proper regard for Jesus, we ascribe worth (worth-ship, worship) to Jesus 24/7. Our lives become living sacrifices. Every moment of every day we offer ourselves on the altar, eagerly seeking to do God’s good, pleasing, and perfect will.

Paul says, “Everything is from God.” In this letter Paul has given us a million reasons for gratitude. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, the God of all comfort! His comfort, his mercies, his deliverance overflows to us! God helps us by our prayers! Every one of his promises is YES YES in Christ Jesus! God has anointed us, sealed us, given us his Holy Spirit as a down payment on the eternal hope (and salvation) yet to be revealed. By His Spirit the Lord is transforming us into New Creations, into the exact same image of Jesus. God is putting his glory on us. Outwardly we may be wasting away, but inwardly were being renewed day by day. Jesus’ life is being put on display in our mortal bodies. The ONE who raised the Lord Jesus WILL ALSO raise us with Jesus. Our light and momentary affliction is achieving for us an absolutely incomparable weight of glory. Even if (or as) our earthly tent is destroyed we have a building from God, and eternal dwelling, in the heavens.

But here is the meat and potatoes: 2 Corinthians 5:18-19. We’ve been reconciled to God in Christ. In Christ, God is no longer counting our sins against us. 2 Corinthians 5:21, “He made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him, we might become the righteousness of God.” Yes, that’s what God was doing on that cross! I’m a preacher, and when I read these verses, I confess I’ve got some calibrating to do! Am I properly valuing, regarding Christ?

Third, We No Longer Regard Ourselves from a Worldly Perspective! Paul cannot subdue his glee. He spontaneously interrupts his own train of thought. 2 Corinthians 5:18-21, “Everything is from God, who has reconciled us to himself through Christ and has given us the ministry of reconciliation. 19 That is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them. . . and. . . [CAN THERE EVEN BE AN AND?]. . . and he has committed the message of reconciliation to us. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us. We plead on Christ’s behalf, “Be reconciled to God.” 21 He made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

First, as amazing as it is to imagine, God has reconciled us to Himself. But then second, God makes all of us His ambassadors! Paul says, “God makes his appeal to other people THROUGH US! We are messengers with a message. What is our message? What is our appeal? What is our pitch? It’s simple. We are to plead with people to BE RECONCILED to GOD! God has made his son Jesus who did not know sin, to be a sin sacrifice for anyone who might believe. Everyone must appear before the judgement seat of Christ to get what they're due, for the good or evil done in the body. But God has offered to cover us in righteousness on that day by the blood of Jesus Christ. IF you are covered you live, if you aren’t covered by the blood, you die for lack of righteousness. Simple.

I’ve got to say this. I didn’t realize that the most explosively powerful book on preaching in the New Testament is 2 Corinthians. Chapter one: We are comforted in Christ that we might be a comfort to others. Chapter two: We are the victory aroma of life and death. Life to those being saved, death to those perishing. Chapter three: We are living/breathing letters (epistles) written by God’s very own hand. Our life is God’s message to the world. Chapter four: We are Jars of Clay containing God’s eternal Spirit. The life of Jesus is on display in our bodies.

Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:14-15, “For the love of Christ compels us, since we have reached this conclusion, that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all so that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for the one who died for them and was raised.” I’m a preacher, and when I read these verses, I confess I’ve got some calibrating to do! Am I properly valuing, regarding MYSELF and OTHERS as ambassadors in God’s Kingdom?

BONUS ROUND! LAST, We No Longer Regard TIME from a Worldly Perspective! 2 Corinthians 6:1-2, “Working together with him, we also appeal to you, “Don’t receive the grace of God in vain.” 2 For he says: At an acceptable time I listened to you, and in the day of salvation I helped you. See, **now** is the acceptable time; now is the day of salvation!”

Scripture Verses

2 Corinthians 5:11-6:2; John 4:34-36

Worship Playlist

Open Up the Heavens by Meredith Andrews

Broken Vessels (Amazing Grace) by The Worship Initiative

Resurrecting by Elevation

Study Questions

  1. What does it mean in our lives for God to call us to be reconcilers and ambassadors?
  2. Out of love, Christ died for us. How is that love compelling you in practical ways to live sacrificially on mission?

Apply It!

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