Who are you living for? (2023)


2 Corinthians 5:11-15
29. June 2014
Pfarrer Randy Smith

In 1858, Frances Ridley Havergal visited Düsseldorf, Germany, where she saw a copy of Sternburg's large painting, The Crucifixion, which shows Christ wearing his crown of thorns and standing before Pilate and the crowd. The painting had a caption associated with the image that asked, "All this I have done for you, what have you done for me?"

Inspired by this haunting question, Havergal wrote her poem I Gave My Life For You. As the story goes, Frances did not like the poem and threw it in the fireplace, but a strong draft blew the paper off the fire and into the fireplace. Sensing that this might be providential, he took the slightly burned paper, folded it and sent it to his father in England, who composed and published a fitting melody to the words. Years later, Phillip Bliss wrote the better-known tune of this now-great anthem, titled "I Gave My Life For You."

I gave my life for you
My precious blood that I shed
so that you can be saved
and made alive from the dead;
Say, say Mi vida porti,
what did you give me

This question has plagued all true Christians down the centuries. We know that salvation is a free gift. We know we are not being asked to pay Christ for our salvation. However, as we learned last week in verse 9, we know that "our ambition is to please Him."

We mourn over our sins that break the heart of our Lord. But at the root of our sins, and what is most painful to our own hearts, is the simple fact that too often our hearts are marked by a rare and half-hearted desire to please the Lord. We know his desire for us. And yet we just don't always have the same longing for Him, we all have a duty to serve ourselves, please ourselves and live for ourselves. As Walter Chantry said: “This monster [in us] cries out daily to be served (Studies in Self Denial).

(Video) Ad-Apt - What You Living For (OFFICIAL VIDEO)

This morning I want to share with you what I've learned from the Bible this week that will help all of us in this area. So how can we cultivate a heart that wants to be more pleasing to God? Let's go to God's Word and find out. Here we go!

First, point one, we must always remember that God watches over our hearts and ultimately cares for them. The classic verse is 1 Samuel 16:7: “Do not consider his appearance, nor his size, for I have rejected him; for God does not see what man sees, for man sees what is before his eyes. but the Lord looks at the heart.”

So we just realized Father's Day. I was so blessed by my children. They made it their business to spend time with me. They have gone to great lengths to prepare personal cards that express, in carefully chosen words, how grateful they are that I am their father. I was honored that they not only went through the usual steps, no matter how extravagant their gifts may have been, but gave me their hearts for their actions. All parents, every person can identify with these feelings. God works the same way.

We acknowledge that to our Heavenly Father, every day is Father's Day. We admit that we want to please Him too, but the tastings of our offerings are sometimes just religious activities totally detached from the heart. We pray, but are we really focused? We go to church, but do we really want to be here? We profess that he's number one, but we're more interested in following the world and consuming ourselves with its approval. Jesus nailed it when he said, "This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me" (Mark 7:6).

Let me provide the context. This passage in 2 Corinthians 5 is no different than what we have seen in this epistle. Do you remember the purpose? The apostle Paul was attacked by false teachers who tried to undermine his authority. They knew that if they could cast out Paul's church, they could infiltrate the flock and spread their destructive heresies. Paul had to be pulled out first. His strategies were successful. People were unsure who to follow, which path to take.

Paul was in a difficult situation. He had to defend himself because he was speaking in the name of God. Take away Paul, who was an apostle of Christ, and you take away Christ! So at the end of verse 11 he appealed to their conscience.

(Video) What Are You Living For?

However, Paul also knew that by defending himself he could be accused of false pride. Thus, in verse 12, He made it clear that He “did not commend [himself] to [them] again, but gave [them] an opportunity to be proud of [him]” in the right way, “so that [they] might answer ." In other words, he provided them with ammunition to defend him against these false teachers on his behalf. And what made these false teachers different from Paul? At the end of verse 12, they boasted "of looks and not of heart."

Remember the context is to please the Lord (verse 9). These false teachers had impressive deeds but no heart. Paul says that everything was external. Proud of your letters of recommendation. Proud of the payments received. Proud of their ethnic and spiritual pedigree. Proud of your oratory skills. Like the people of today. Proud of your confirmation or baptism. Proud of your family's spiritual heritage. Proud of church attendance and service. Paul's point, unlike him, with the false teachers there was no heart. Make a comparison that Paul tells the church. Seek what God seeks! And what is that? A heart that loves him and wants to please him!

So with that in mind, how do we do that? As we cooperate with His grace, how do we love God with a sincere heart that genuinely seeks to please Him? Two ways:

First, our second point in the sermon, we must fear it. I get that right from the beginning of verse 11. "Therefore I know the fear of the Lord."

First let me tell you what it isn't. The Christian need not fear God when it comes to His wrath and eternal punishment. Because of our relationship with Christ, we know that all our sins were taken away through His sacrifice on the cross. Justice was served and Christ received the punishment that we deserved in our place.

What this means, however, is that the Christian, though perfectly loved and accepted by the Father, still approaches God in a spirit of reverence, reverence, and reverence. According to the proverbs, "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom" (Proverbs 9:10). We pray: "Hallowed be your name" (Mt 6:9). It's not just that man up there. He is the living God, the Holy One, the King of the universe.


When Paul speaks of fearing God in verse 11, it comes right after his comments in verse 10 that all Christians “must all appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ, that each one may be rewarded for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done has done, whether good or bad.” The knowledge that there will be a coming day of accountability in the future causes all believers to fear displeasing him in the present.

I believe this is the heart of fear that our Heavenly Father desires. The fear of man dishonors him. But fearing his displeasure gives him great satisfaction. After all, this is love, not the fear of what the person I love might do to me (cf. 1 Jn 4:18), but the fear of what I might do to save the person I love damage. It's the fear of doing anything to damage the relationship. So, an unbeliever's fear drives him to hide from God. A believer's fear drives him to run to God, fearing to displease him.

So if, from a negative perspective, fear of displeasing God is one way to please the Father, from a positive perspective, being controlled by love (our third point) is another way to please the Father. Here we see that the Judge, who knows everything in our hearts, is also the Redeemer, who loves us deeply.

Look at verse 14 with me. "For the love of Christ rules us." The NIV says, "Because the love of Christ rules us." We can literally say that the love of Christ "encloses us." In other words, for Christ's sake, Christians are on a path where there is no deception. We are "cornered" with a single direction, with a single logical direction, commanded and satisfactory to us. And that direction is to live for His pleasure. The love of Christ becomes the compulsion that frees us from all things that enslave us so that we can be realigned to live our lives in a whole new direction of liberation.

The motivation for living for Christ here is clearly love for Christ. With every thought, decision or action we take, we are reminded of the One who loves us dearly. And that love He has for us is what motivates us to love Him in return. And why do we love it? 1 John 4:19, "We love because he first loved us." And how do we love him in return? John 14:15, "If you love me, you will keep my commandments." It becomes the law of love. We serve the Lord out of devotion, not duty.

It reminds me of a story I just read this week: A man and a woman didn't really love each other. The man was very demanding, so much so that he made a list of rules and regulations for his wife to follow. He insisted that I read them every day and obey them to the letter. Her "do's and don'ts" included things like what time to get up in the morning, what time breakfast should be served, and how to do chores around the house.

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A few years later the husband died and the wife fell in love with another man, one who loved her dearly. they were married This husband did everything he could to make his new wife happy and constantly showered her with tokens of appreciation.

One day, while cleaning the house, she found in a drawer the list of orders that her first husband had written to her. Looking at her, she realized that although her new husband hadn't given her any list, she did whatever her first husband's list asked for. She was so devoted to this man for his love for her that her deepest desire was to please him not out of obligation but out of love. Doing things for him became a great joy (R.W. DeHaan, Our Daily Bread).

It's the same with Christ. "The love of Christ rules us" (2 Corinthians 5:14). he loves us We love it. We show that love by trying to deny ourselves and please Him through obedience.

That's asking a lot, pastor! How do I know that he really loves me? Verse 14 continues, "Having come to the conclusion that one died for all, therefore all died." How do you know that he really loves you? Answer: He died for you, Christian! While you were still a sinner in rebellion against Him, before you could reciprocate an ounce of love, He went to a cruel wooden cross, took your sin upon Himself, and was put to death in your place. Unbearable physical pain. The intense emotional pain. And worse, the terrible spiritual pain of separation from the afterlife. He paid for everything so that we have the only hope of forgiveness.

In other words, as a human proxy, he was in our place. He died for us. And when we come to Him, we identify with Him and acknowledge Him as our Lord. We die to ourselves. And only as we decrease in that area will our love for him increase.” That's verse 15, “He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for him who for she died and rose again . “. We now live life with the primary ambition not to please ourselves but to please Him.

Now, concluding with the fourth point, we come to the point where we started. How do we live for Christ? How do you find us? According to this passage in 2 Corinthians, it is both the negative and the positive side of the same coin. We are constantly motivated by an awe-inspiring fear of displeasing and grieving Him because of our sin, and we have an overflowing love for Him, knowing His great love for us. We can call it the fear factor and the love factor. Fear and love motivate us to realize that living for Christ means living like Christ.

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I find it interesting how much this compares to how we lived our lives before Christ. Accepting Christ is simply based on faith. But when it enters our lives, it causes a total transformation. Being imprisoned by Him brings true freedom. Death brings life. Fear brings love. And love brings obedience. Pleasing ourselves is over and pleasing Him from the heart now becomes our main passion.


What are you living for scriptures? ›

You can live for pleasure. But here is what Jesus said: “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need” (Matthew 6:33). With those words, Jesus gave us the secret to living a worry-free life: Instead of worry, put God and His will first in your life.

What does Philippians 1 19 30 mean? ›

Philippians 1:19–30 shows Paul reflecting on two competing desires. On one hand, a believer wants to serve God and bring others to Christ through their life. On the other hand, a Christian yearns to leave suffering behind—to be with God in eternity.

What does Philippians 1 20 26 mean? ›

Joy in Perseverance (1:20-26) No matter what, Paul's view of life is that Christ must be honored in his body. No matter what happens to him, Christ will be honored. If that means continuing to live, then Christ will continue to be honored. If that means dying, then he will die so that Christ is honored.

What does Philippians 1 19 26 mean? ›

The beauty of Philippians 1:19-26 is that Paul provides a transparent glimpse into the struggle between his own flesh and spirit as he wrestled with the majesty of heaven compared to this fallen world. Knowing he was born-again, Paul longed to spend eternity with Jesus.

What is your biblical purpose in life? ›

The overarching message the Bible tells us is that our purpose is to bring glory to our Heavenly Father. We do that by worshiping Him, living our lives as an offering to Him, and sharing the Gospel with those around us. His purpose becomes our purpose.

What God says about living for him? ›

Romans 14:8

For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's.” The Good News: Devoting yourself to God in life is the way to live an honest and happy life. All the choices you make in your life should be made for His honor.

What does Philippians 2 1 11 mean? ›

In this context Paul makes a proposition to the Philippians by asking them to make his joy complete. He's speaking from experience to say that even in suffering there is encouragement in Christ – He can be built up in remembering what Christ has done for him and even what Christ is going to do.

What is Philippians 4 19? ›

Like Philippians 4:13, Philippians 4:19 is a popular verse that's often misused. After thanking the Philippians for generously supporting him, the Apostle Paul writes, “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”

What does Philippians 1 28 mean? ›

It emphasizes the confidence Christians have in the truth, which should be seen as a warning to those who reject their message. God's salvation can give great courage to believers. At the same time, the courage of believers often reminds unbelievers of the uncertainty of their own afterlife.

What is Galatians 2 20? ›

"I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me." Galatians 2:20 is a typical Pauline verse in which the author expresses the absolute new identity of a Christian.

What is Philippians 4 13? ›

13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

What does Philippians 1 20 21 means? ›

Paul's focus is on courage, “so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (vs. 20-21). His 'godly indifference,' then, means simply this, that he has a God-inspired peace about whatever lies ahead.

What does Philippians 1 18 26 mean? ›

We should desire Christ so much that we can say to live is Christ. The purpose of our every breath is Christ. Our blood flows towards knowing Christ and making Him known. And even our death is seen as a positive because our death gets us to Christ!

What does Philippians 2 24 mean? ›

Paul describes Jesus Christ as one willing to be humble, in obedience to God the Father. For this, God will exalt Jesus' name above all others. Someday, one way or another, all people will admit that Jesus Christ is Lord, and submit to Him.

What is Philippians 1 v 18? ›

Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice, Philippians 1:18, KJV: What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.

What are the three things God wants us to do? ›

We cannot hope to appease God by working our way into righteousness, nor sacrificing others for our own sin. Instead, Micah listed out the three principles of what God asks of His people: to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with Him.

What are God's five purposes for my life? ›

In The Purpose Driven Life, Pastor Rick Warren reveals the meaning of life from a Christian perspective—five purposes that you were created by God to fulfill: worship, unselfish fellowship, spiritual maturity, your ministry, and your mission.

What is the real purpose of life? ›

Our purpose is to "evolve" during our lifetime because that is consistent with our evolutionary purpose. Thus, an answer to The Ultimate Question of "What is the purpose of life?" is that we are here so that we can continue to live, adapt, learn, and grow. A purpose of life, and our purpose, is to continue to evolve.

How do I live my life for God? ›

During times of tribulation, our faith is able to grow and multiply.
Following God's Plan for Your Life:
  1. Be in prayer. A way to know that you are following God's plan for your life is by being in prayer. ...
  2. Be actively reading in the Word. ...
  3. Follow the commands He puts on your heart. ...
  4. Seek a godly community. ...
  5. Obey the Truth.
Mar 29, 2019

What is considered living in the Bible? ›

The Scriptural Definition of Life

Nowhere are plants, bacteria or fungi ever referred to as having nephesh. Life is also described as being “in the blood” or the “flesh”, or having “breath”. Plants, bacteria, fungi and even insects do not fit into any of these criteria and so are not alive in a biblical sense.

How do I live my life for Jesus? ›

If you feel stuck in darkness, and need to find the light of Jesus, here are some things that you can do.
  1. Stop Living in Routine. Stop doing the same thing every single day. ...
  2. Spend More Time with Others. ...
  3. Spend More Time with God. ...
  4. He Wants You to Be Happy. ...
  5. Live Life Like God Intended.
Nov 27, 2019

What is important about Philippians 2 5 11? ›

God's essential character is shown to be one of self-emptying love rather than self-aggrandizement or grasping for power and glory. God's high exaltation of Jesus confirms the divine nature of his mission and ensures that one day he will be acknowledged by all for who he truly is.

What does Philippians 2 6 11 mean? ›

Philippians 2:6–11 is a poetic description of Jesus' willingness to humble Himself for our sake. Rather than coming first as God and King, Jesus freely took on the form of a human being. He was humiliated and oppressed, following the will of the Father, in order to be the sacrifice for our sins.

What is the message in Philippians 2 5 11? ›

Jesus willingly emptied Himself by stepping away from all the great and favorable circumstances He enjoyed. Rather than cling to His station in heaven, acting as the God of the universe, He took on the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men, Jesus became human.

What does Deuteronomy 28 12 mean? ›

"You shall not borrow," within the context of this chapter, means that there will be no need to rely on others if we are properly aligned to our spiritual purpose.

What does Proverbs 6 10 11 mean? ›

Proverbs 6:6–11 turns Solomon's attention to the subject of laziness. The term translated here as "sluggard" or "slacker" implies something more than being unmotivated; it also includes irresponsibility and laziness. Such persons put themselves at risk of ruin.

What is Psalm 52 8? ›

Psalm 52:8, KJV: But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God: I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever. Psalm 52:8, NASB: But as for me, I am like a green olive tree in the house of God; I trust in the faithfulness of God forever and ever.

What is Deuteronomy 31 6? ›

6 Be strong and of a good acourage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the bLord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not cfail thee, nor dforsake thee.

What does Philippians 1 27 30 mean? ›

In summary: walking in a manner worthy of the Gospel means being unified with other believers under the Lordship of Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lord's work, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

What does Hebrews Chapter 2 verse 4 mean? ›

Hebrews 2:4, NLT: And God confirmed the message by giving signs and wonders and various miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit whenever he chose. Hebrews 2:4, CSB: At the same time, God also testified by signs and wonders, various miracles, and distributions of gifts from the Holy Spirit according to his will.

What is Ephesians 3 17? ›

Ephesians 3:17, NASB: so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, Ephesians 3:17, NLT: Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God's love and keep you strong.

What is Romans 12 1? ›

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God — this is your true and proper worship” (12:1).

What is Ephesians 3 20? ›

20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, 21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, aworld without end.

What is Romans 12 2? ›

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

What is Romans 8 18? ›

Romans 8:18, ESV: For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. Romans 8:18, KJV: For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

What is Proverbs 16 3? ›

Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed. In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.

What does Philippians 1 3 11 mean? ›

Don't give up. Because the same God, that by His grace brought you to life, is the same God that's not giving up on you. If the Christian life is too hard and you feel like you're not living up to expectations, remember, it was never your work that saved you.

What does Matthew 1 21 say? ›

The World English Bible translates the passage as: She shall bring forth a son. You shall call his name Jesus, for it is he who shall save his people from their sins."

What is Philippians 1 verse 21? ›

Philippians 1:21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. New International Version (NIV) | Download The Bible App Now.

What is Matthew 22 37? ›

Matthew 22:37, KJV: Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

What is Ephesians 4 23? ›

Ephesians 4:23, KJV: And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; Ephesians 4:23, NASB: and that you are to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, Ephesians 4:23, NLT: Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.

What is Proverbs 23 7? ›

Proverbs 23:7, ESV: for he is like one who is inwardly calculating. “Eat and drink!” he says to you, but his heart is not with you. Proverbs 23:7, KJV: For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.

What is Proverbs 20 2? ›

Proverbs 20:2, KJV: The fear of a king is as the roaring of a lion: whoso provoketh him to anger sinneth against his own soul.

What is the meaning of John 3 16? ›

For many Christians, John 3:16 serves as a thesis statement of their faith: God sacrificed his son, Jesus, for the sins of humanity, and if you believe in him, your soul will be saved.

What does the Bible say about living for the world? ›

“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. “And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” (1 Jn. 2:15–17.)

What is the true meaning of life? ›

No one can tell the actual definition of the meaning of life. For some, it is all about happiness, building a family, and leading life as it is. For some, it is about accumulating wealth, whereas, for some, it is all about love.

Why did God create us? ›

He created people out of love for the purpose of sharing love. People were created to love God and each other. Additionally, when God created people, he gave them good work to do so that they might experience God's goodness and reflect his image in the way they care for the world and for each other.

What is Matthew 19 26? ›

19:26 But Jesus beheld their thoughts, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but if they will forsake all things for my sake, with God whatsoever things I speak are possible.


1. Phil Wickham - Living Hope (Official Music Video)
(Phil Wickham)
2. The evidence we are living in a Simulation is everywhere. All you have to do is look.
(The Why Files)
3. What Are You Living For?
(The Living In Clarity Podcast, with Fish & Coach)
4. Bella Poarch - Living Hell (Official Music Video)
(Bella Poarch)
5. Are we living in a simulation? - Zohreh Davoudi
6. George Strait - Living For The Night (Live @ Reliant Stadium/2009 - Closed Captioned)
(George Strait)


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