(2 Corinthians 5:11-21)
Lesson 12 -- first quarter 1999
February 21, 1999
© Copyright 1998, Christian Light Publications
It has been alleged that one of the hallmarks of the early Anabaptist movement was a vibrancy in missions. And it has been also alleged that by-and-large that vibrancy has given way to placidity. So let's consider some answers to this question: Why work at reconciling people to God?
Knowing the terror of the Lord. Since we know what is in store for those who know not God, we urge upon them repentance and salvation. "Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels" (Matthew 25:41). Do we care? And since we know what is in store for those who do know God but don't share the Good News, we do no allow ourselves the dangerous luxury of complacency about those headed for certain damnation. "When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand" (Ezekiel 3:18). Do we care?!
The love of Christ. No doubt some missionaries preach and teach because they have soft hearts for the eternal plight of others, in addition to wanting to protect their own skin. It would seem the previous paragraph could lead to that. However, the real missionary has so experienced the love of Jesus that his cup overflows to the satisfying of those around him. Blessed are those people to whom such missionaries go! They've not seen God at any time, but they have been allowed to see His ambassadors...and from them came the love of God Himself!
A message and a duty. We've a story to tell to the nations! To us has been given the ministry of reconciliation. In our earthen vessels has been placed a priceless, precious treasure. Talents and vineyards have been left to our stewardship. Shall the story go untold? Shall the ministry go unserved? Shall the vessels remain closed up? Shall the talents and vineyards turn no profit for the Master?
Made alive. God's Spirit dwelling in us has quickened us. That makes us debtors! Our debt to the flesh (that we might live after the flesh) has been cancelled. We are now debtors to the Spirit (that we might live after the Spirit). Those that live care about those that don't. Those that have life will strain to share it with those that don't.
Living to God. Can you complete this statement: The life that I now live, I live...? Or how about this one: I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless...? Or another: As ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness...? My friend, living to God means all you have and all you are. Living to God will redirect your life toward that which is most important to Him: the souls of men and women.
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