Losing Your Mind
Sermon on 2 Corinthians 5.11-21
When to be out of your mind.
Theme: We are reconciled to reconcile
Goal: To encourage Christians to be active in the work of reconciling the world
Need: We often miss out on some of the great opportunities to further Christ’s present kingdom in the world.
- Teaching others to fear the Lord as well.
- In and Out of our minds for Christ.
- Reconciliation is our ministry
Sermon in Oral Style:
Congregation of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Rip away the distractions in life. Take away the distractions. Boil your life down to the most important aspects and what are you left with? Probably your family, your friends, and your relationship with Jesus Christ. These definitely own the top of our priority lists.
Now that school began again this past week, I can start using that in my illustrations again right.
In chemistry class, I remember an experiment the teacher did. We studied chemical reactions, I think it was. We looked at what happened when you put salt in water. It completely dissolves and there is virtually no way to separate it again unless you do something to the water. To separate salt from the water, we had to boil it. And boil it. The water bubbled, went crazy boiling for a while, and when all the water was boiled away, all that was left was the salt yet.
Our lives are often like the mixture of salt and water. Living life involves doing all kinds of stuff. Kind of like the large amount of water that we had. But take a little bit of salt toss it into the water and it changes the water completely into salt water. A relationship with Jesus Christ works like the salt. We live lives like everyone else. We all have our stuff that we have to do. But when it comes right down to it, the only thing that will mix in with every part of our life and season it all is if we have a relationship with Christ. A relationship with family and friends are good, but that ultimately is just part of the water. The salt that effects it all is our faith. Our connection with Jesus Christ intensifies the flavor of our lives. It changes us deep with in. And its only when everything else is boiled away will people find out that the difference in the way we live is Jesus Christ mixed through every part of us.
How well mixed are we? How well has the salt of faith in Jesus Christ seasoned every aspect of what we do?
The apostle Paul who is writing this letter to the Church in the city of Corinth is going through one of the toughest things a person can experience: A direct attack on something he has committed his life to.
I know we have experienced this. Someone criticizes your family. What is your reaction, hurt… anger… “That person isn’t right to go and attack like that.”
One of the worst demeaning things to do is tell someone that what they do with their lives is completely pointless. You smash what they spend the majority of each day doing, and the majority of their lives doing.
Worst of all, when someone takes your deepest rooted commitments and values, when someone takes your faith in Christ or your trust in what the Bible says and calls it completely worthless. Damaging.
Paul has given his life to traveling around telling people about what the foundation of truly living is. He has offered the truth of Jesus Christ, his death for our sins, his resurrection for our victory over death. The freedom from the Old written codes of the Old Testament. The freedom to love God and love our neighbor as ourselves as Christ preached. People say his message is false.
The people who stood close to Paul in these churches at one time are now starting to be convinced by others that his motives were skewed. Imprisonment, beatings, stonings to the point where the people stopped because they thought he was dead. Paul has gone through this, yet people still accuse him of being hypocritical.
In verse 11 he 11Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience.
He knows that the purist motives drive him to preach the message of Jesus Christ to anyone and everyone. He says, God knows what’s deep in my heart. I hope you can see the same thing in my heart as well.
In the way that he lived out his faith, likely encouraging the all the gifts of the spirit and sacrificing any other sort of life for life in Christ, people thought he lost his mind. His Pharisee friends certainly thoughts so as he told them about his vision of Jesus. But people also saw a side of Paul that was very reasonable collected. Paul says in verse 13 13If we are out of our mind, it is for the sake of God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you.
When people looking from the outside thought he was insane. The word used here actually means insane. The same word that was used often for the religious fanatics of the day, Paul says, “when you look at me that way, when people criticize me for my complete sacrifice and deep expression of the Holy Spirit’s power in me, that’s when I am insane because the actions of the Holy Spirit won’t always make logical sense to everyone.
Some in our congregation here struggle with what is the appropriate way to show your joy and praise in a worship service. Would accusations of ‘why do they need to do that’ be compared with those who considered Paul to be insane. Paul says those are the times he is all about God. Not trying to impress anyone else.
When you are expressing your praise to God, it is okay to be a little bit out of your mind. In order to have faith you have to be a little bit out of your mind. Our minds can go only so far. Then outside your mind faith has to kick in. When you are sitting in your new classrooms this year, teachers will be challenging you to use your minds about God’s world. They teach truths like 1+1=2. Cells are the building blocks of living organisms. The derivative of x squared is 2x. All truths, but you come to a point where verifiable, provable fact ends and theories, or figuring after the facts come to an end. It all comes down to faith. It comes down to the fact that worship of God must be in spirit and truth.
We must admit that we must step beyond the reaches of what our mind can grasp to worship God. And we must go beyond what the rest of the world would consider to be alright to truly speak to our God. Beyond what the rest of the world finds acceptable because we worship through the power of a spirit. The Holy Spirit.
But Paul isn’t in this insane state all the time. He says others consider him totally sane when he lays before them the reasons to believe in a God like Jesus Christ, God the Father and the Holy Spirit. What we do through the Spirit is completely unverifiable scientifically. But the way allow our faith in Christ to drive our worship, the way we allow the Holy Spirit to determine the pattern of our parenting, the way we all the word of God to instruct the way we work and do business in this will world is completely sane. We can use reasonable arguments for the existence of God. We can show that it makes good sense to believe what we do about Christ. Christians don’t check their faith at the door of the classroom. We don’t leave our faith in the back seat of the truck as we hop out at the job site. We don’t hang our faith up with our jacket in the closet as we enter into our homes. Our faith seasons us and comes with us.
Verse 14 says, 14For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
Jesus is for Sunday’s and funerals. Otherwise, don’t both me with this stuff. Do we believe that way? Maybe not. Do we live that way? Maybe so. Instead of allowing our faith in Christ to be like a salt that mixes completely throughout the water of our lives, we treat it more like a couple of rocks. You drop it in. But you can easily take it out. And you can easily let someone have a drink. Boy that’s some rocky tasting water? No. They wouldn’t notice a difference at all.
In the latest Banner, there is a short article called where in the world (of work) have all the reformers gone. It nails the point of all this exactly right. The Reformed branch of Christianity has always seen the importance of bringing the kingdom of Christ even more fully into your work place. And not in the way you might think immediately.
The author says the most common ideas for how to integrate faith and work would be to 1. take more time off for a mission trip. Or 2. to get to constantly try to make your coworkers Christians.
Do the mission trips. Witness to your coworkers. Sure. But be insane in the eyes of your work the way you don’t cut the corners. The way you make the extra effort to preserve God’s world. The way you cut out those little dishonesties that… well, everyone does it.
And bring the perspective of Christ to the work that you do. Office people, building people, insurance, mortgage people, how are you accomplishing Christ’s work in your line of work? How about the homemaker. Its not about merely keeping the kids in line to your house rules and filling stomachs and passing the time. I love the way the article says it, Create safe havens to support the health and happiness of the families.
The world will see foolishness, at first as our work becomes something that is between us and God. But as they see it at work, as they see how Jesus Christ leads us to wisdom and truth in our areas of work and study they will hear from us something completely different. Because of Jesus Christ and his death. We are new creations. We are one with God. And we are working to make all parts of this world one with God again.
Faith. Life. Spirit/Truth. Bonded in us inseperably. Isn’t that what it means to follow Christ?