2 Corinthians 5:14-21
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.
2 Timothy 4:6-8
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.”**
- Most Roman, Greek and Canaanite religions offered gifts and sacrifices to try to reconcile their angry, displeased gods to them. But Paul said that was backward. He said Jesus didn’t have to persuade a reluctant God to love us—“God was reconciling the world to himself through Christ.” Once reconciled, all of us, like Paul, help carry God’s call—“we are ambassadors who represent Christ.” Is your life on a course that will enable you to say, whenever it ends, “I have fought the good fight, finished the race, and kept the faith”? Are there any “mid-course corrections” you want to make so that Paul’s victorious words can also be your personal testimony?
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.
Mike Ash is the worship leader and Director of Community Life at Resurrection's Blue Springs location.