14 The love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: one died for the sake of all; therefore, all died. 15 He died for the sake of all so that those who are alive should live not for themselves but for the one who died for them and was raised.
16 So then, from this point on we won’t recognize people by human standards. Even though we used to know Christ by human standards, that isn’t how we know him now. 17 So then, if anyone is in Christ, that person is part of the new creation. The old things have gone away, and look, new things have arrived!
18 All of these new things are from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and who gave us the ministry of reconciliation. 19 In other words, God was reconciling the world to himself through Christ, by not counting people’s sins against them. He has trusted us with this message of reconciliation.
20 So we are ambassadors who represent Christ. God is negotiating with you through us. We beg you as Christ’s representatives, “Be reconciled to God!” 21 God caused the one who didn’t know sin to be sin for our sake so that through him we could become the righteousness of God.
6 I’m already being poured out like a sacrifice to God, and the time of my death is near. 7 I have fought the good fight, finished the race, and kept the faith. 8 At last the champion’s wreath that is awarded for righteousness is waiting for me. The Lord, who is the righteous judge, is going to give it to me on that day. He’s giving it not only to me but also to all those who have set their heart on waiting for his appearance.
Chicago Bears founder and long-time coach George Halas said, “Many people flounder about in life because they do not have a purpose, an objective toward which to work.”* Paul made it crystal-clear that he lived for a big, valuable purpose. And, as he awaited the coming of the Roman executioner who would end his earthly life, he expressed confidence that he had lived out that purpose. Scholar N. T. Wright said, “The picture we get…is of a man facing serious trouble and likely death, beset with problems and anxieties, but who nevertheless remains determined to bring every single aspect of his life into the orbit of the gospel itself, the royal proclamation of Jesus as Lord. He lives in the present world, Caesar’s world, as already a cheerful citizen of the world to come, Jesus’ world.”**
Lord Jesus, lead on, O King victorious! Lead me through and beyond this life, until I can claim the champion’s wreath in your eternal kingdom. Amen.
John Wesley’s often-quoted rule said, “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as you ever can.” As a family, talk about each of these phrases. What does the word “all” mean and are there any exceptions? Compare Wesley’s rule to Jesus’ greatest commandments found in Matthew 22:37-40. What makes Jesus' great commandments the ultimate recipe for a winning life? Discuss ways you as a family can support and encourage each other, so that all of you achieve ultimate victory in Jesus. Pray and commit yourself to that kind of living.
* Quote found at: https://www.brainyquote.com/authors/george_halas.
** Wright, N. T. Paul for Everyone: The Pastoral Letters: 1 and 2 Timothy, and Titus (The New Testament for Everyone), location 2253-2255. Westminster John Knox Press. Kindle Edition.
To be a representative is to be a person chosen to act or speak on the behalf of someone. Webster’s dictionary defines it as- a person serving to represent. 2: standing or acting for another especially through delegated authority.
So we are ambassadors who represent Christ. God is negotiating with you through us. We beg you as Christ’s representatives, “Be reconciled to God!” (2 Corinthians 2: 20)
It’s been said that “you may be the only Jesus some people ever see.” This statement always makes me tremble a bit inside.
As a follower of Jesus trying my best to know love and serve God I don’t always hit the mark. I could tell any number of stories about how I’ve blown it but I’ll spare you the details. To think that God wants us to represent him and speak on his behalf is humbling and frankly a little frightening.
I know a pastor who was running late for church one Sunday morning. He was in a hurry and another car cut in front of him and in frustration the pastor flipped the guy off. As he stood up to welcome everyone to church that morning, he looked out and lo and behold the man was sitting in the congregation. Red-faced, the pastor acknowledged what he had done earlier and told him he was sorry. Everyone had a good laugh but learned a big lesson.
In other words, God was reconciling the world to himself through Christ, by not counting people’s sins against them. He has trusted us with this message of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 2: 19)
The good news is that God works through us when we live our lives humbly. When we serve others and when we give dignity to those who have a different point of view than we do. When we lift people up and love those who are in need, God is honored. Simply put, our devotion to God should be making us more like Jesus.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22)
At the end of our lives people may not remember what we have said, but they will for sure remember how we made them feel. May we represent God in such a way that people will encounter his love and goodness and be reconciled to God.
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