2021-03-21 – 2 Corinthians 5:11-6:2 – Going Out Of My Head
2021-03-21 – 2 Corinthians 5:11-6:2 – Going Out Of My Head
Good morning everyone. It is so nice to be able to spend some time with you all in fellowship with the Lord. Thank you and God bless you for being with us today.
Tell me if you have ever heard this song before? It is a song called Goin’ Out of My Head by Little Anthony and The Imperials. I was two years old when this song was first released in 1964. But it stayed on the top charts for several years afterwards. The lyrics for this song say:
“Well, I think I’m goin’ out of my head
Yes, I think I’m goin’ out of my head
Over you, over you”.
Do you ever get to feeling that way? Where the care or concern you have for another person has you going out of your head? Effectively that is what Paul is going to confess in our scripture verses today. You see Paul took the God’s Great Commission seriously and he had much concern for those that God put under his care. And like Paul, I would suggest, we too should take our roll in God’s Great Commission work more seriously. And in that, we surely have much to do.
Please turn now to 2 Corinthians 5:11, page 1025 in your pew Bibles, which is the Inspired, Infallible and Living Word of God. Prayer..
Last week, you might recall, we read the first part of this chapter five where the Apostle Paul claimed that our bodies were like fragile tents, but that we were also gifted the Holy Spirit as a down payment for what yet waits us ahead. In that, we also talked about some of the End Time dynamics, and in particular the Rapture, where Christians will be “taken away” or “taken out”, which is what the word Rapture literally means. I found that message to be very insightful and I hope you did as well. You can always go back and read or watch past sermon messages from our church website FbcOrion.org or Facebook if you wish.
[SLIDE] In our Bibles, starting at verse 11, Paul writes:
11 Therefore, since we know the fear of the Lord, we try to persuade people. That word “Therefore” infers something about what was written previous. And in that, Paul wrote that this world and this body, as we know it is passing away.
Someday soon we will all find ourselves in front of God, either being judged for the bad we did as lost sinners, or the good we did as saved saints. We will either be judged as “sinful” on our own account, or we will be judged “sinless” because of what Jesus did for us on the cross at Calvary. That is the “Therefore” the Apostle Paul first wrote about here.
11 Therefore, since we know the fear of the Lord, we try to persuade people.
I have to admit though, that if someone that was new to our faith in Christ read this verse, they might be confused and perhaps surmise this to mean something other than what is intended. That phrase “The fear the Lord” means to be in awe of God’s holiness, to give Him complete reverence, and to honor Him as the God of great glory, majesty, purity and power. That’s what “The fear the Lord” means. For example, in the book of Exodus when God revealed Himself to the Israelites at Mount Sinai, He did it with “thunder and lightning, with a thick cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast,” they all “trembled” it says in fear because of His great power. They even begged Moses to deliver God’s message to them so they would not have to encounter God Himself (Ex 19:16; 20:18-19; Dt 5:22-27). Also, in Psalm 33, when the psalmist reflects on God as Creator, he said: “Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the people of the world revere him. For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm”.
True “fear of the Lord” should cause believers to place their faith and trust in God. Another great example in scripture is when the Israelites crossed through the Red Sea on dry ground and saw how God destroyed the Egyptian army who chased after them. God’s word says they “feared the Lord and put their trust in him”. It wasn’t a bad fear, it was a good fear to have. They saw and respected God’s power and abilities. I remember once when I was a young lad, my father James Grady Higdon came home from work in his car and accidently ran atop a large cardboard box that we had been playing with in the driveway. He told me and my buddy Carlos to get it out from under the car, for which we tugged and we pulled but couldn’t even begin to unlodge it. Then my dad came over and with one hand pulled that large box out from under the car with no effort at all. We were in awe, and I respected my father just a little more thereafter. That same powerful respect dynamic should be part of our “fear of the Lord” faith.
In Psalm 115:11 it says, “trust in the Lord–for he is [our] help and shield”. In other words, fearing God should build our confidence, our hope and our trust in Him as our Lord and Savior.
To fear God also involves recognizing that He is in Omniscient. That is a big two-dollar Christian word that means God knows everything and is the ultimate Judge that we will all have to answer to one day. You might know that King Solomon, who was the wisest man on earth apart from Jesus, wrote in Proverbs 9:10 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom”. We all should fear the Lord in these good ways, and in that be wise and ultimately blessed in doing so.
Again, in our verses today, Paul said “since we know the fear of the Lord, we try to persuade people.” That action word “persuade” has two intents. First, Paul is attempting to gain the trust of the Corinthian believers he is writing to. Paul is being real with them about his intentions, suggesting that they can trust him.
And the second way we could look at this “persuading people” comment is that it is a compliment to the Great Commission that Jesus gave us before He ascended back into heaven. Jesus said for us to “Go and make disciples of all nations”. So, if we truly “fear the Lord”, then we should be about trying to “persuade people” so that they might be spared eternal death, and join with us in heaven. [SLIDE]
Paul continues that thought in the next verses. He wrote:
What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your consciences.
12 We are not commending ourselves to you again, but giving you an opportunity to be proud of us, so that you may have a reply for those who take pride in outward appearance rather than in the heart. 13 For if we are out of our mind, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. [SLIDE] 14 For the love of Christ compels us, since we have reached this conclusion, that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all so that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for the one who died for them and was raised.
Paul is trying to convince them or to persuade them that his intentions are good and trustworthy. He is saying that although he may not appear to be a spotless clean and religious authority on the outside compared to the clerics and pharisees of the day. But on the inside, he was tried and true, and he was “Going out of My Head Over You” with good and Godly intentions.
The Apostle Paul was truly an amazing man, a hero in my eyes and I hope yours as well. If you have never studied his background, I would suggest that it is most worthy of your time and attention. In a nutshell, before Paul was a Christ follower, he was both a Jewish Pharisee and a Roman citizen. In that he was actually a radical persecutor of Christians when Jesus finally got ahold of him and made him realize the error of his ways. Paul then became a champion of our Christian faith, and for the rest of his life became the greatest of missionary apostles and started many churches. Almost one-third of the New Testament is attributed to Paul’s writings. He truly had bragging rights, but instead was a most humble but capable soldier of our faith. Paul wrote this letter we are reading now, and as he stated here “the love of Christ compels” him. He lives for Jesus Christ, and the Great Commission, and he desires for us to do likewise. Verse sixteen continues:
16 From now on, then, we do not know anyone from a worldly perspective. Even if we have known Christ from a worldly perspective, yet now we no longer know him in this way. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, and see, the new has come! [SLIDE]
18 Everything is from God, who has reconciled us to himself through Christ and has given us the ministry of reconciliation. 19 That is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and he has committed the message of reconciliation to us.
I don’t know if you noticed or not, but Paul uses the word “reconcile” four times in this little paragraph. The word “reconcile” or reconciliation is actually an accounting term which is the process of ensuring that two sets of records are in agreement. Reconciliation is used to ensure that the money leaving an account matches the actual money spent. It is in concert with the word balance. In these verses Paul is inferring that God reconciles us, brings us back to himself by blotting out our sins and making us righteous through Jesus. So, God makes up for the difference in our character and therefore we can be reconciled with Him.
Imagine if you will, two friends who have a fight or argument. The good relationship they once enjoyed is strained to the point of breaking. They cease speaking to each other and the friends gradually become strangers. Such estrangement can only be reversed by reconciliation. To be reconciled is to be restored to friendship or harmony. When old friends resolve their differences and restore their relationship, then reconciliation has occurred. (gotquestions.org).
In regards to our relationship with God, Romans 5:10 says, “For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son”. When Christ died on the cross, He satisfied God’s judgment and made it possible for us to find peace with Him. Our “reconciliation” to God, then, involves the exercise of His saving grace and the forgiveness of all our sin. Christian reconciliation is a glorious truth! We were God’s enemies, but are now His friends. We were in a state of condemnation because of our sins, but we are now forgiven. We were at war with God, but now have the peace that transcends all understanding. According to this, God now sees us as “a new creation; the old has passed away”. Isn’t that truly amazing grace? We have so much to be thankful for, and that attitude of gratitude should cause us, should cause me to be “Going Out of My Head, Over You”. Amen? [SLIDE]
20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us. We plead on Christ’s behalf, “Be reconciled to God.” 21 He made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
I love what Paul infers here in this text. Since we are now “born again” believers in Christ, since we are now “a new creation” in Christ, and our home and our citizenship is now in heaven. Then we are essentially foreigners in this land of the lost, and we are serving as Christ’s “ambassadors” here on this world. Therefore, we are all now called to represent Jesus Christ to those He puts in our path. And in that, just like Jesus pleaded to Father God for us while He was on the cross, we too should be pleading for others to be reconciled to Father God as well.
Question: How well are you fulfilling your commission as Christ’s ambassador?
If you were to get a performance evaluation or report card for your role as Christ’s ambassador, how would you fare? Don’t get me wrong, I would hope to maybe get only a slightly passing grade myself. Nobody said it would be easy, as a matter of fact Jesus Himself said it would be hard. But that He wants us to do it anyway. Maybe we could choose today to take on that role more seriously.
Our final verses here at the start of chapter 6 convey that challenge. Paul wrote:
6: 1 Working together with him, we also appeal to you, “Don’t receive the grace of God in vain.” 2 For he says: At an acceptable time, I listened to you, and in the day of salvation I helped you. See, now is the acceptable time; now is the day of salvation!
God offers salvation to all people. Many people put off a decision to follow Christ, thinking that there will be a better time later.. But in that, they could easily miss their opportunity altogether. There is no time like the present to receive God’s forgiveness. Don’t let anything hold you back from coming to Christ. Please choose to be reconciled to Him today. Like Jesus and like Paul, we all in this church body are “Going Out of My Head over you”. Don’t become part of that grim statistic that chose hell over heaven. It isn’t too late to make that decision.
The Little Anthony performer I spoke about at the start of today’s message made that decision himself later in life. His real name was Jerome Anthony Gourdine. He had an interview a few years ago about his faith, and this is what he said:
“Although, I have been a believer most of my life, I gave my life totally to the Lord in 1998. Today I give Christ all the credit for the many successes in my career and life. In addition to singing with Little Anthony and the Imperials, I enjoy singing with the praise band and choir of my church”.
So Little Anthony in his latter years gave his life to Jesus. If he can do it, then maybe there is also hope for you today. Would you please consider that now as we prepare to close?
Let us now stand together
Father God loves you so. I hope you know that