COMPELLING

Several years ago I was in a rundown Russian resort built by the Communists during their control in the U.S.S.R.

No heat, no hot water, and a building that hardly slowed the wind down
It was February and cold but a powerful 4 days with 350 youth from 5 nations
I was sitting waiting to listen to the night speaker – my night off – when someone came to me and told me the car and driver were waiting
They had forgotten to inform me that I was heading into the city of Yaroslavl to minister in a church that served only addicts
Several hours later after driving through a blizzard we arrived to a group of 200+ addicts
Drug addicts and alcoholics who were in recovery

On the way in I asked the Lord what He wanted me to speak on as I had not prepared for the event
I did not know there was an event that I was speaking at until we were on our way
Thank God for the blizzard – time to think, pray, and jot notes
I spoke on God’s love…
God so loved us that He sent His Son – John 3:16
God is love – 1 John 4:16
Love covers a multitude of sins – 1 Peter 4:8
We are to love one another (believers) – John 13:34
We are to love our neighbours – James 2:8
We are to love God with our whole heart – Matthew 22:37
We are to love ourselves – Matthew 22:39
We are to love all others (non-believers) – Matthew 22:39
Nothing can separate us from the love of God – Romans 8:35
Love builds and does not destroy – 1 Corinthians 8:1
Love is patient – 1 Corinthians 13:4
Love never fails – 1 Corinthians 13:8
Faith works by love – Galatians 5:6
The fruit of the Spirit is love – Galatians 5:22
We speak the truth in love – Ephesians 4:15
Love overflows and splashes out on other (abounds) – Philippians 1:9
Love will show others we are disciples – 1 John 5:2
We love because He first loved us – 1 John 4:19
We are to walk in love – Ephesians 5:2
We are to pursue love – 1 Corinthians 14:1
I simply shared God’s love with men and women who had never experienced love of any kind in their lives …
I told them about God’s transforming love
A love that sets people free and forgives all sin
A love that removes guilt and condemnation
It was a very powerful night that I will never forget as people responded to the simple message  of the Gospel and the powerful, life-changing love of the Jesus
And the long lines of people wanting to be loved and to receive love
Well, I had a revelation recently about God’s love …
And, as I taught recently, we are to live by revelation (Ephesians 1:16-18a)
Interesting that Ephesians 4:23 states, “Now it’s time to be made new by every revelation that’s been given to you…” (TPT)
So, I am looking for – asking for – and appreciating these new revelations…
2 Corinthians 5:14 “Christ’s love compels us …”
Some versions state: “controls” (ESV) – proper word is “compels”
And, I felt new – renewed – by this revelation of God’s love
It has given me much to think about
It has brought about much change in my life – more to go
Change in my outlook, perspective, activities … I am being “compelled” by His love
The context of the verse is the sharing of the Gospel with others
So, I have been thinking about – examining – my life and my attempts at sharing Jesus and the Gospel of the Kingdom with others
Was God’s love for me / in me compelling me to share that love with others?
Then I was in Southern California recently … Glendale / Burbank … suburbs of Los Angeles
People from Iran and Armenia.. amazing people
They are constantly talking about Jesus
Who He is – What He has done – What He is doing – What He is planning to do
He is the center of all of their conversations
They are planning regular trips back to their nations to share Jesus with their Muslim family members
They want all of their family members and relatives to know Jesus
Those already in the United States
Those who still live in the homeland
40 of them are heading to a failing church in Sacramento next weekend
They were in Vancouver at an Armenian church at the start of the year
They invest their limited finances in the spreading of the Gospel locally and around the world and especially to those of Iranian and Armenian descent
It is like they are pushed to do so by their faith and How love for them
They have this inner drive
They have a hunger to share Jesus
They are “compelled” by Christ’s love
2 Corinthians 5:14 “Christ’s love compels us …”
TPT “For it is Christ’s love that fuels our passion and motivates us…”
Man on plane from Columbus to Detroit – after a full Sunday and an all night flight from Los Angeles – now 6:30a Monday
Paul, the apostle, is writing about our responsibility as believers and followers of Jesus to share our faith
To tell others of God’s goodness and grace
To persuade others
2 Corinthians 5:11-15 (TPT) “Since we are those who stand in holy awe of the Lord, we make it our passion to persuade others to turn to him. We know that our lives are transparent before the God who knows us fully, and I hope that we are also well known to your consciences. Again, we are not taking an opportunity to brag, but giving you information that will enable you to be proud of us, and to answer those who esteem outward appearances while overlooking what is in the heart. If we are out of our minds in a blissful, divine ecstasy, it is for God, but if we are in our right minds, it is for your benefit. For it is Christ’s love that fuels our passion and motivates us, because we are absolutely convinced that he has given his life for all of us. This means all died with him, so that those who live should no longer live self-absorbed lives but lives that are poured out for him—the one who died for us and now lives again.”
In the New Testament times when Jesus was ministering in person to the multitudes
The word “compel” referred to the privilege Roman official and soldiers had to force people (as well as their horses, equipment, and family members) into public service
(Strong’s Concordance #29)
Jesus refers to this … “if you are forced to go a mile … go two” Matthew 5:41
Today’s definition carries the idea of driving or overpowering something or someone
It means to have a powerful and irresistible effect or influence…” (dictionary.com)
Paul identifies that it was not Roman officials, nor force, nor obligation, that compels us to share the gospel with others
We are “compelled” by Christ’s love
And he infers that “compel is to propel into action”
In Southern California they were definitely compelled
Love pushed them
Love influenced them
Love controlled them
Churches not “compelled” soon find themselves in a death-cycle
The Connection in Butler, Ohio
Abundant Life Centre in Pangman, Saskatchewan (Helen – nurse)
In Paul’s life …
After meeting Jesus on that dusty road to Damascus, Paul’s life was changed forever and set on a different course
No longer fervently persecuting the Christian Church as he had done before
He literally had seen the Light
And he spent the remainder of his life travelling the known world to tell about the Light of the World
John 8:12 “Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
The Gospel had changed Paul’s entire life
God’s love had changed Paul from the inside out …
And the need to share that love was the reason Paul went on four different apostolic trips despite the dangers and hardships he faced and suffered
It was like Paul could not help himself
He was compelled to tell others about the love of Christ
In the same way, we were once on a path away from God
But God intervened in our lives – He interrupted our journey – and we each have an amazing story of conversion
You have met the Lord and have been changed by Him
Just as He did for Paul, God wants to put your life on a different course for the cause of the Kingdom
And, I have discovered – I am discovering – that when we truly examine the depth of God’s love and the truth of His Gospel
We too will become compelled to share it with others just as Paul and so many other fearless believers have done throughout the history of the world
We will feel compelled
And that will propel us into action
One of the reasons Francis Chan is so popular other than he is a good Bible teacher is that he feels compelled to share the Gospel everywhere he goes
He is serious and passionate about the Gospel… Left recently with family for Hong Kong
Here is what I believe…
I believe that we serve a mighty God who invites us into a powerful partnership with Him and that He will equip us to do His will here on earth – where we live
When I look around, I see a lot of good things committed Christians are doing in the world as the hands and feet of Jesus
But I would say that the majority of Christians are not engaging the culture (their community) as we ought to be doing
We are concerned with our own affairs, our work, our social life, our calendars and schedules, our finances
We live as if Jesus is not involved or engaged in these every day aspects of life with us
We tend to be distracted by our phones, social media, television, the internet, our pets
And even cute videos of other people’s pets …
Instead of setting our hearts and minds on things above
We often pursue earthly things…
Paul writes…
Colossians 3:1-2 “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”
And, it is so easy to pursue earthly things in this technologically advanced age of comforts and conveniences
And, when we do engage the culture about the things of God, it is often in a way that is obnoxious
Or in ways that confuse others about the truth of the Gospel
Or we are ill-equipped to speak into the situations we encounter
Just look at the comments section of any article or social media post on the topic of faith
You will see that at the first sign of opposition, timid believers begin to question what they know and become silent
Overzealous believers take an argumentative approach that lacks the gentleness and respect we are called to have when defending the faith
1 Peter 3:15b “…always being prepared to make a defence to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect…”
Or believers choose not to engage the culture at all
Or, to share God’s Word in a combative or arrogant tone or argumentative way which are unnecessary extremes that do not represent Jesus or the Gospel
We are to be unashamed of the Gospel (Romans 1:16)
God’s Spirit gives us boldness and power ( 2 Timothy 1:7)
But our partnership with God, which brings people to salvation, must be presented with sensitivity and love
We have the hope of the world living inside us
The world will tell you that the most pressing crisis is the economy, the Coronavirus, the pipeline across indigenous lands and on the list goes…
But really the most pressing crisis at hand is that there are people who are lost without Jesus
Prisoners to their sins
Searching for answers
Lonely, hurting, confused
Some are even suicidal – thinking there is no way out of the situation they are currently      in
Many need healing spiritually, physically, and relationally
Book: “Something Needs to Change” David Platt
The message of the Cross is lifesaving
And I am convinced beyond any doubt that the best life anyone could possible live is one that serves God and obeys His Word
This includes sharing His Word and the Gospel of the Kingdom with others
And, doors open for the Gospel when we put His love into practical action in the lives of other people
My passion is to see this current generation of believers become so compelled by the love of Christ that we cannot help but try to persuade people that Jesus died for them
I want to see the modern-day church more closely resemble the early church
Which was fearless and seriously focused on spreading the Gospel
I mean they were so committed and dedicated to changing the world one person at a time that the early disciples were accused of turning the upside down by those who opposed them (Acts 17:6)
With all my heart I believe that same boldness can be mustered in the church today to transform the world for Jesus!
Everywhere you go, people need Jesus!
They need answers
They need to know the truth
They need hope
The need a solution to life’s greatest burdens
An email from a young man from Iran…
What are Steps / guidelines for making a good relationship with Jesus?
Should we repent and cover ourselves under blood of Jesus when we want to pray?
How to focus and get rid of distraction while want to be in his presence and hear him?
What is a good way of reading bible?
Everywhere you go, people need Jesus!
They need answers
Yet many people have never heard a clear and simple explanation of how forgiveness and salvation (redemption) takes place through faith in Christ alone
They see Christianity as a religion … one of many
They do not understand that it is a relationship based on God’s love seen in and through Jesus
It’s our obligation to tell them
Paul left no room for debate when he wrote:
Romans 10:14-15 (TPT) “But how can people call on him for help if they’ve not yet believed? And how can they believe in one they’ve not yet heard of? And how can they hear the message of life if there is no one there to proclaim it? And how can the message be proclaimed if messengers have yet to be sent? That’s why the Scriptures say: ‘How welcome is the arrival of those proclaiming the joyful news of peace
and of good things to come!’”
The Bible tells us that becoming a messenger who brings good news is a compelling call
In fact, I believe that as we read our Bible with all of this in mind we will discover that this calling is…
So wonderful
So fulfilling
So irresistible
So amazing
So exciting
That it will be almost like we have no choice but to share Jesus and His love with others
1 Corinthians 9:16 (TPT) “For you see, even though I proclaim the good news, I can’t take the credit for my labours, for I am compelled to fulfill my duty by completing this work. It would be agony to me if I did not constantly preach the gospel!”
C.S. Lewis wrote … “The Church exists for nothing else but to draw men into Christ … God became man for no other purpose.”
Extra:
1 Corinthians 9:17 “If it were my own idea to preach as a way to make a living, I would expect to be paid. Since it’s not my idea but God’s, who commissioned me, I am entrusted with the stewardship of the gospel whether or not I’m paid.”