Who Or What Constrains You?

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto: https://www.pexels.com/photo/a-girl-holding-a-pillow-standing-on-bed-4814778/

2 Corinthians 5:14-15 For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: 15 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.

A rich man gets in a horrible accident. Waking up in the hospital, he realizes what has happened. Crying out, he says “My Mercedes – oh, my poor Mercedes!”. A nurse at his bedside said, Honey, you’re confused. You could have died in that accident. Praise the Lord, but the only lasting damage you have is you lost your left arm”. He starts crying again, but this time says,

My Rolex, Oh, my poor Rolex!”

You may say this is silly, but so many are so silly in the same way. The greatest thing that God has given you is your SOUL.

Many people, much like this man, have their priorities in the wrong place. They are living their lives for all the wrong reasons. Jesus said, Whoever believes on Me, out of their life shall flow RIVERS OF LIVING WATER” (John 7:38). If the center focus of your life is anything but Jesus, in time your life will seem empty, dried up. I pray that through this message today you will come to give your lives to Jesus, and understand what the Apostle meant by the love of Christ constrains us.

The “Love Of Christ”

Throughout the Old Testament, God showed His love for His creation. God put Adam and Eve in a perfect “Paradise”, and even when Adam sinned, God covered his sin. Though Adam died spiritually, God did not take Adam’s life but took the life of an innocent creature. Adam was saved by the sacrifice of an innocent.

Man continued to fail God. The world drifted so far from God, that the Lord would have destroyed it all. Yet God loved us anyway. He had Noah build an Ark, and though God stayed the judgment of mankind for 120 years, God used Noah to save a remnant that would repopulate the earth.

Word Study: God loves us so much! Each time God loved us, we pushed Him away. And yet, He did not destroy us. His wrath tarried, for God promised that a Messiah would come to save us. The word “Messiah” is only rendered four times in the King James Bible, in Daniel 9:25-26; John 1:41 and in John 4:25. In the OLD Testament “Messiah” is theHebrew mâshîyach, {pronounced maw-shee’-akh}, which means “One Anointed or Chosen by God to govern or care for others”. The Kings and Prophets of the Old Testament were mâshîyach or anointed for service. Yet in Daniel God foretold of a special Person Who would be mâshîyach or “The Anointed One”. When we come to the New Testament and move into the Common Greek (Koine Greek), the word mâshîyach is not used to describe the Messiah, but “Christos” or “Christ” – some 559 times. In the New Testament Jesus is called “The Christ”, or “Jesus, the One Anointed of God”.

Kings were anointed to protect, rescue, and lead nations.
Priests were anointed to temporarily cover our sins before God.
Prophets were anointed to speak to us God’s Word.
Jesus was anointed to be both King and Priest to “whosoever will”.

Jesus is THE Christ. There is no other. Jesus is the King of Israel, prophesied by Micah:

Micah 5:2 (NASB) But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will come forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His times of coming forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity.

Jesus is THE Christ. He is the King of Kings and lord of Lords, the One that God said would sit on and rule this world from the Throne of David.

2 Samuel 7:12-13 (ESV) I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.

Jesus is THE Christ. His birth is unique, for Jesus is God with us, God become Man. The Prophet told Israel:

Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel {meaning “God with us”.

The Angel Gabriel told Joseph, the future husband of Mary that she was the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy (see Matthew 1:21-23). Jesus is Eternal God lowering Himself to be like us, flesh and blood. The Prophet declared that Jesus, this Unique Person, would be King of All. The Scripture says:

Isaiah 9:6-7 (ESV) … the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom…

Jesus is no mere man, fallen as we are.

Jesus Himself declared He was the ONE AND ONLY Christ!

Jesus told the Samaritan woman (John 4:25-26) “I am THE Christ”. There is NO OTHER CHRIST but Jesus. The Apostle wrote:

John 20:31 … (ESV) … these {things} are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, THE Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

Jesus the Christ came to give us life, to bring us to God. Jesus came to save His people from their sins.

The Jews wanted Jesus to save them temporally, to help them defeat Rome. But Jesus did not come to just give us temporal salvation, but ETERNAL salvation. Jesus’ Kingdom is a Kingdom of love. Jesus came to this earth because of God’s love:

John 3:16-18 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Jesus’ Kingdom operates by LOVE, by DOING LOVE, by BEING LOVE. God loved us so much that He sent His Beloved Son to this earth, lowering Himself, giving Himself for our sins. If you love Jesus you will do as Jesus says.

John 14:23-24 … If a man love Me, he will keep My words: and my Father will love him, and We will come unto him, and make Our abode with Him. 24 He that loveth Me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not Mine, but the Father’s which sent me.

Jesus came speaking the “words of eternal life”. He came to this earth – eternal God the Son – telling us what eternal God the Father wanted us to know.

Jesus is (Matthew 16:15-18)the Christ, the Son of the living God.

What was it that Jesus the Christ came to do for us? Once He revealed He was the Christ,

Matthew 16:21 (ESV) … From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.

Jesus came to this earth to die for us. He came to save broken us. The Apostle said:

2 Corinthians 5:14-15 … the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if One died FOR ALL, then were ALL DEAD 15 And that HE DIED FOR ALL …

Illustrate: Ligonier Ministries along with Lifeway Research did a two year study they called “The State of Theology”. In Statement Number 15 they asked people to answer this as TRUE or FALSE. The statement was:

Everyone is born innocent in the eyes of God”

71% of adults agreed with this statement – and two thirds of professing Christians believe that humans are born in a state of innocence. Yet this is not what the Bible says. The Bible states that – because of Adam’s fall – we are born into this world:

by nature children of wrath” (Ephesians 2:3)

God made everything VERY GOOD according to the Bible (see Genesis 1:10, 21, 25, 31). Yet Adam’s fall brought us all into a state of separation and sinfulness. The Psalmist wrote:

Psalm 51:5 (ESV) Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.

The Jews were well aware that they were sinners by nature, for yearly they sacrificed animals to cover their sins during Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.

and in the New Testament:

Romans 5:12 … by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned

and again, Romans 3:23 … for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

The Love of Christ did not come into this world to make another political party or to be another king ruling the earth. The Love of Christ came into this world to make payment for our sins. The Love of Christ came into this world to free us from sin.

2 Corinthians 5:15 {Jesus} died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.

It is the sin nature in us that makes us want to live FOR OURSELVES. Before we met Christ, every Christian followed after the flesh. How did the Apostle put it in

Ephesians 2:1-2 And you [hath he quickened], who were dead in trespasses and sins; (2) Wherein in time past ye walked according to the {ways} of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

People who are not saved are driven by the prince of the power of the air, one of the titles given to Satan or Lucifer, the devil. Before meeting Christ and His love a person is driven by self and selfishness, by pride, by the “Prince of the Power of the Air” or by USELESSNESS. No one is innocent. If any were innocent, then Christ would have had no need to go to the Cross. For Whom did Jesus die for? Just the Jew? NO! The Scripture says:

Romans 5:6 (ESV) For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.

That’s you without Jesus. You are “the ungodly” if you do not love Jesus, if you do not obey Jesus, if you do not believe Jesus.
You are a child of Adam without Jesus.

1 Corinthians 15:21-22 For since by man [came] death, by man [came] also the resurrection of the dead. (22) For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive …

Jesus Christ came to this world to save us from ourselves. He came to make payment for our sins, and to turn us from our sins. Jesus came to save our souls by His death – and to lead us daily toward God through His life.

The Love Of Christ “CONSTRAINETH US”

Word Study: The reason that Christ left eternity and came to this earth, becoming perfect flesh, was to make payment for our sins on the cross of Calvary. But this is not where the story stops. He “CONSTRAINETH Us”. The word translated “CONSTRAINETH” is a verb, the Greek Present Active Indicative of συνεχω, sunecho, {pronounced soon-ekh’-o}, which means “to hold or bind together, to compress, to take captive or arrest, to compel, or wrap up in”.

If you have been loved by Jesus, and have lovingly received Him as THE Christ, then you are to be “constrained” or “bound together” with God and with one another in love. You are a changed creature is you belong to Jesus. You are to be distinct and separate from this present darkness. We read:

Hebrews 10:10 … we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

The Bible says that Jesus “offered ONE sacrifice FOR SINS FOREVER” (Hebrews 10:12), and by one offering He hath PERFECTED FOREVER THEM THAT ARE SANCTIFIED” (Hebrews 10:14). The death of God’s Son brings those who receive Christ as lord and Savior COMPLETE SALVATION. Not only are our sins covered, but God indwells us, and makes us a New Creature:

2 Corinthians 5:17-19 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

God is in YOU, Christian. If God seems far away, perhaps you have allowed yourself to be “constrained” by the wrong things.

Perhaps you are spiritually lazy, and have refused to submit yourself to the Word of Christ, the Scripture. Many are spiritually lazy today, anemic because they have not heeded God’s Word. Or perhaps you have heard the Word of God, but refuse to DO that which the Christ says. The Scripture says:

Romans 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

WHO shall separate us from the love of Christ? None of those things have a chance of separating you from His love. Whether it be:


ILLUSTRATE: These things do not separate us from the love of Christ. What separates us from the love of Christ, the Living Water of God, is OURSELVES. We can be lazy. We can sit in our recliners, watching television, skipping Church, and manufacturing reasons as to why we can’t serve Jesus. In time, we become like a dried up ketchup package. We LOOK good on the outside, but are tossed to and fro, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lay in wait to deceive” (Ephesians 4:14). It is the Love of Christ that should hold us together. It is the love of Christ that should press in on us. It is the love of Christ that should ARREST Us. We do not belong to ourselves anymore. We are Children of God by faith in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:26). What does this mean from a practical viewpoint? The Scripture says:

1 John 3:7-10 (ESV) Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. 8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. 9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. 10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.

The Christian is “CAPTURED by the LOVE OF CHRIST”. The Holy Spirit indwells us. We do not chase after sin. Though we may sin – and every Apostle sinned as recorded in the Scripture – but when we do so the Spirit of God draws us home to Jesus. He convicts, He tweaks our conscience. We are given the ministry of reconciliation so that we can tell others of Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:11 Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men …

We do not compromise with the world. We fear God, and love our neighbors. We persuade men to come and give their lives to Christ. We are no longer bound to death, but belong to Jesus.

I Asked God For An Illustration. He Gave Me Lazarus.

Word Study: Jesus had a friend named Lazarus. The name “Lazarus” has a meaning behind it, which is, “Whom God helps”. Lazarus was a good friend of Jesus. The Bible tells us in John chapter 11 that Mary and Martha contacted Jesus, saying:

Lord, Lazarus whom You love is very sick”. (vs 3)

Jesus loved Lazarus. We know He does, for the passage tells us numerous times that Jesus loved Lazarus. “The love of Christ constrains us”. He loves us all so very much. And yet, hearing that Lazarus was sick, the Bible tells us that “Jesus stayed where He was – without moving – for two more days after He heard about Lazarus” (vs 6). When asked about Lazarus, Jesus said:

John 11:4 “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.”

Lazarus is not going to die. There is something the disciples, and we who are here today – need to see. After two days Jesus told the disciples it was time to go see Lazarus. Jesus said,

John 11:11 … Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep.

Lazarus was not just Jesus’ friend, but he was Our friend. Jesus went to awake him out of sleep. To make sure the disciples understood, Jesus told them:

Luke 11:14-15 … Lazarus is dead. 15 And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him.

The disciples have been following Jesus, but they are still fuzzy on what it means that Jesus is the Christ. Some still hold onto the idea that He will conquer Rome, and establish Israel as the capital city of His Millennial reign. Jesus is not here to conquer Rome. He is here to save us from spiritual death. He is here to give us the life God wants us to have.

When Jesus gets to Lazarus’ home, He’s met first by Martha, the elder sister. She blames Jesus. “Jesus, if You had been here, Lazarus would not be dead! But we believe that whatever You ask God, He will give it to You” (vs 21-22). Jesus told Martha:

John 11:25-26 …. I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: 26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

These are some of my favorite Scriptures. I so love it. Where Jesus touches, death is dispelled, and the light is lit. Where Jesus ministers, the darkness retreats. When Jesus meets Mary, the younger sister, she says again “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died”.

Jesus wept. (vs 35)

Why did Jesus weep? I don’t believe it was because Lazarus was dead. Jesus knew that He was going to raise Lazarus from the dead. I believe it was because of unbelief. Mary and Martha had seen Jesus do the miraculous. Mary had sat at Jesus’ feet hearing the Word of Life. The disciples had seen Jesus raise people from the grave before. And yet, unbelief still abounded. Some accused Jesus, saying:

Could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died?” (John 11:37)

Where is His power? Why didn’t He come? Why did He wait till Lazarus died to help him? Jesus commanded that they roll the stone away. Then Jesus prayed a short prayer:

John 11:41-42 Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. 42 And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.

Jesus is the Christ, the Anointed Messiah from God. But even now all do not believe. Jesus allowed His friend Lazarus to die so that He could prove that He was and will always be the Messiah. Jesus stood at the mouth of the grave, at the maul of death, at the opening of that black and forbidding place. And then Jesus said,

Lazarus, come forth!”

Lazarus came out of that tomb. He came toward Jesus, hearing His voice. Once out of the tomb, others who were alive pulled the old wrappings of death from his body. Lazarus left that tomb. The living do not belong in a tomb.

If you are a Child of God by faith in Christ, you do not belong in a tomb. You are to come out of the darkness, and walk with Christ in the light, doing the things He bids you do. The love of Christ constrains US. Are you part of the US? Or are you a child of darkness. Your life and lifestyle prove who you are. Let us live for Jesus, loving Him and imitating Him Who gave everything for us. For Christ’s glory I preach this. Amen and Amen.

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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