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OceanSide church of Christ

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Victor M. Eskew




A.   Many people are not self-motivated.  Therefore, they have to be motivated by something external from themselves.


B.   There are many things that can motivate:  fear, desperation, pain avoidance, and reward.


C.   As Christians, we, too, need to be motivated in our service to Jesus Christ.

1.     Again, there are several things that God uses to motivate us.

a.    The reward of heaven

b.    The fear of hell

c.    The love of God


D.   The title of our lesson is:  “Love Powers the Christian Life.”


E.   Our key verse is II Corinthians 5:14.


For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then all were dead.


F.    In this lesson, we will do three things:

1.     Examine II Corinthians 5:14.

2.    Show how Christ’s love compels us.

3.     Look at some examples of those constrained by the love of Christ.


I.          I CORINTHIANS 5:14


A.   An outline of the verse


i.             The Constraint:  The love of Christ constraineth us             (motivation)

ii.            The Cross:  one died for all                                    (method)

iii.          The Conclusion:  …then were all dead                             (meaning)


B.   Definition of the word “constraint”

1.     Lexicons

a.    Strong (4912):  to hold together, that is, to compress, figuratively to compel, perplex, afflict, preoccupy

b.    Thayer:  to hold together…to press on every side…of a strait that forces ship into a narrow channel…metaphorically, to urge, impel

c.    Vine:  to hold together, confine, secure, hold fast

2.    Other translations

a.    For the charity of Christ presseth us (Douay-Rheims)

b.    For the love of Christ controls us (NASV)

c.    For the love of Christ compels us (NIV)

d.    For the love of Christ overmasters us (Weymouth NT)

3.     Important thought about this word emphasized.

a.    The Greek word implies that one’s energies are forcibly compressed into one channel.

1)     We serve one God (Matt. 4:10)


Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence Satan:  for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord they God, and him only shalt thou serve.


2)    We assume one life, to live as Christ (Gal. 2:20)


I am crucified with Christ:  nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me:  and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.


3)     We are to accomplish one mission (Acts 20:24).


But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.


4)    We embrace one hope (Eph. 4:4).


There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling.


b.    The love of Christ does at least four things to us.

1)     Captures us

2)    Changes us

3)     Controls us

4)    Compels us




Christ’s Love                                                          Constrainteth us



            Came down (John 3:13)                                             Seek things above (Col. 3:1-2)


And no man hath ascended up to heaven                        If ye then be risen with Christ, seek

but he that came down from heaven, even                      those things which are above, where

the Son of man which is in heaven.                                    Christ sitteth on the right hand of God


            Forgives (Matt. 26:28)                                               Forgive others (Eph. 4:32)


For this is my blood of the new testament,                      And be ye kind one to another,

which is shed for many for the remission of                     tenderhearted, forgiving one another,

sins.                                                                                         even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

            Suffered (Heb. 13:12)                                                Share in His sufferings (I Pet. 4:13)


Wherefore Jesus also, that he might                                 But rejoice inasmuch, as ye are par-

sanctify the people with his own blood                            takers of Christ’s sufferings…

suffered without the gate.


Died for us (Rom. 5:8)                                              Life for Him (Phil. 1:21)       

Gave Himself (Tit. 2:14)                                            Sacrifice myself (II Cor. 5:16)

Humiliated (Acts 8:33)                                             Not be ashamed (Rom. 1:16)

Laid down His life (I John 3:16)                              Stand up for Him (Eph. 6:10-13)

For me (John 3:16-17)                                     In debt to others (Rom. 1:14-15)

Sacrifice for me (Eph. 5:2)                                       Sacrifice for Christ (II Cor. 12:15)

For sin (I John 2:2)                                                    A life free from sin (Rom. 6:6, 11-12)




A.   Paul:  All ten things in the above list could be found in the life of the apostle.

1.     He sought the things that are above (Phil. 3:13-14).


Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended:  but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.


2.    He was willing to forgive (II Tim. 4:16).


At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me:  I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.


3.     He shared in the sufferings of Christ (II Cor. 11:23).


Are they ministers of Christ?  (I speak as a fool,) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.


B.   Ephaphraditus (Phil. 2:25-30)

1.     He was a member of the Philippian church.  (NOTE:  His name is in honor of Aphrodite, Venus, the Greek goddess of love).  He forsook his Gentile paganism to become a Christian).

2.    Many things are said of him:

a.    Paul brother, companion in labor, and fellowsoldier (Phil. 2:25)

b.    A messenger of the Philippians who supplied their “lack of service toward” Paul (Phil. 2:25-30).

c.    Ministered to Paul (Phil. 2:25).

d.    Cared deeply for the Philippians (Phil. 2:26)

e.    Sick night unto death…because for the work of Christ he was nigh unto death (Phil. 2:27, 30).



C.   Sarah Andrews

1.     As a small child, her mother told her about J.M. McCaleb, a missionary to Japan.

2.    She was baptized at the age of 14.

3.     At the age of 25, she went to Japan supported only by her parents.

4.    She spent 46 years in Japan teaching women.

5.    When the war broke out, she was treated as an “enemy alien.”

a.    Confined to her home.

b.    No contact with her family for three (3) years.

c.    Wounded soldiers were nursed in her home.

d.    Almost starved to death (75 pounds).

6.    She assisted in the establishment of three (3) churches.

7.    When asked to return home to the States to retire, she replied:  “It is just as near heaven from Japan as it is from America.”





A.   Does the love of Christ constrain you?

1.     Has it captured you?

2.    Has it changed you?

3.     Does it control you?

4.    Does it compel you?


B.   Has your life been compressed forcibly into one channel by the love of Christ?


C.   For some the love of Christ is just a story.  For others, it is a way of life.  Which is it for you?