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Sabbath Mornings at Ballymacashon – 4th August 2013

05/08/2013

Ballymacashon Congregational Church

Lord’s Day 4th August 2013

Service Theme: Why We Persuade Men

Worship

Text: 2 Corinthians 5:11-19

Paul has explained to the Corinthians that the reason that the Gospel is hid from men, why they just can’t ‘see it; is because the god of this world has caused spiritual blindness in the hearts of men.   The remedy to that spiritual problem is a spiritual one, – for only the God of Creation, who created light out of nothing can shine His light into the spiritual darkness of a sinful soul.  Salvation is a sovereign work of God.  Still, that does not mean that the Corinthians do not need to do Gospel Work. Paul tells them that ‘we persuade men’ – and in doing so he properly balances the Sovereignty of God and the Responsibility of Man.  So, what is the motivation for a believer to do Gospel work, – to do the work of an evangelist?   Here’s why:-

1. Because of the Judgement of God!

  1. The Motive for Evangelistic Work! Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, I have made this point before, but its worth repeating.  What hinders us from evangelism – going out, and going to great lengths to bring sinners to Jesus?  What makes our prayer-life so lukewarm and pathetic?  One of the greatest hindrances is the fact that we do not want to consider that there is a place called Hell which God has prepared as a place of eternal torment for unrepentant sinners.   But yet we must!  Paul says that he knows the terror of the Lord, and that is why he persuades men!
  2. The Method of Evangelistic Work!  we persuade men It is persuasion.  It is not threatening, and it is not pleading!  Paul doesn’t ‘badger’ people with his message, neither is he apologetic about it.  Cf Romans 1:16
  3. The Manifestation of Evangelistic Work!  but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.  Now, all work for the Lord is done before the Lord, and also before men.  Your own conscience should be so well sharpened by the Word of God, that you should be able to discern between those who are true ministers of the Word, preaching sound doctrine and those who have no experience of conversion, or who distort the Word, or who disregard truth altogether in favour of some cheap unity.
  4. The (possible) Misuse of Evangelistic Work!  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. Now, some of the false preachers that had been at Corinth took pride in their interesting new ideas, their great gifts and abilities, their great zeal and commitment, their church loyalty, their possessions.  But their hearts were not fixed on Christ but on themselves.  They took all the glory and all the praise for themselves!
  5. The Mark of Evangelistic Work!  Paul knows that people have been watching his ‘style’ and criticising it!  He say,  For whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God: or whether we be sober, it is for your cause.  Paul gives good reasons for their great zeal and diligence. Some of Paul’s adversaries had, it is likely, reproached him for his zeal and fervour, as if he had been a madman, or a fanatic – they had called him an extremist! (Acts 26:24)  Paul’s answer:
    1. It was for the glory of God, and the good of the church.  it is to God – –  it is for your cause.
    2. The love of Christ constrained them. For the love of Christ constraineth us;

So, you see the effect of understanding the doctrines of judgement and of eternal punishment has upon a Christian.  It changes his priorities, and it makes evangelism, and the conversion of sinners an imperative!

2. Because Christ died for Sinners!

There is an important theological point here.  You would almost think from this verse that Paul was teaching that Christ died for everybody on the Cross, so therefore everybody must be saved, and everybody will go to heaven. If Paul had believed that, he would have no motivation for evangelism whatsoever, (why tell people they must repent and be saved, if they are already going to heaven anyway?) and he wouldn’t be reminding us about the terror of the Lord, and the danger of judgement day if everybody is going to heaven and nobody is going to Hell!  So, what is Paul saying here:-

  1. We have a Saviour who died for sinners, and we are sinners who have died in Christ! that if one died for all, then were all dead And that he died for all.  The Amp. Bible will help us.  One died for all, then all died; And He died for all.  Now, do you see the subtle difference?  Not all dead, but ALL DIED!  What Paul is saying here is that when Christ died on the Cross, not only did he die for me, but I died in him!  Now that is something entirely different than what the liberals would tell us!  For a start, it defines the word ALL!  ALL here means ALL who have been redeemed in Christ! Let me state this as simply as I possibly can.  When God saves a sinner, and that sinner repents and turns to Christ, God credits him as having already died, as having already been punished for his sin, IN CHRIST, when Jesus died on the Cross!  Now, this is vital.  The death of Jesus on the Cross, was the representative death for all of those throughout history who would come to Him and be saved!  We call this the doctrine of PARTICULAR REDEMPTION!  There is a second part to this…
  2. Christians will have died to self and will live for Christ! that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.  The natural man lives for himself.  Life is all about ME, but when a believer comes to Christ, his life is changed, and he begins to live for God, NOT for self. There is a third reason for Paul to be a passionate Soul-winner:-

3. Because Jesus Changes Lives!

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.  Christians are new Creations!  They once was dead, now they’re alive!  He is a NEW CREATION!  See how Paul explains this:-

  • A New Creation has a different view of men! Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh.  A Christian has a different view of his fellow man.  We’re not impressed by status, or breeding, or position or rank.  You’re a sinner and you need Christ!
  • A New Creation has a different view of Jesus!  yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.  We don’t think of Jesus as just another man any more. We don’t take His lovely name in vain any more.  We don’t swear by him!  He’s our friend and our Lord and our Saviour and our King.  We love Him, because He first loved us.
  • A New Creation has a different view of the Christian Faith! And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; A real Christian will not attribute anything at all to self, for all things are of God, but will attribute everything to God’s work in Christ for us.   A Christian will have an understanding of what Christ has done for us!  
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