The Love of Christ
By Rev. S. V. Nathan
“For the love of Christ constraineth us” 2 Corinthians 5:14a.
“When Hudson Taylor was director of the China Inland Mission, he often interviewed candidates for the mission field. On one occasion, he met with a group of applicants to determine their motivations for service. “And why do you wish to go as a foreign missionary?” he asked one. “I want to go because Christ has commanded us to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature,” was the reply. Another said, “I want to go because millions are perishing without Christ.” Others gave different answers. Then Hudson Taylor said, “All of these motives, however good, will fail you in times of testings, trials, tribulations, and possible death. There is but one motive that will sustain you in trial and testing; namely, the love of Christ“. (http://www.sermonillustrations.com/a-z/m/missions_evangelism_witnessing.htm).
The Love of Christ is a central component of Christian belief, theology and practices. That very love is the reason behind everything that we ought to do in our lives. I invite you to take a few minutes to reflect with me on the “Love of Christ”.
- I. The Love of Christ constrains us to love Him above everything (Romans 8:35-39)
When Paul fathomed Christ’s unending love for him, it made him surrender totally to his Master. Hence he says, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? (35a), so, who or what shall be able to remove our affection from him? The answer is nothing can separate him from the Love of Christ. Hence Paul suffered and was persecuted in every possible manner, yet he chose to love and serve the Lord until his death, for Christ’s love compelled him. What about us? Can we boldly say that I love Christ above everything in my life? As C.T. Studd said, “If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him.”(www.sermonillustrations). Shall we not surrender and sacrifice our life to Him above everything?
- The Love of Christ Constrains us to Love one another (Romans 12:10, John 13:34)
Even as our Lord Jesus Christ taught us to love our neighbour as ourselves, he demonstrated this himself when he laid down his life for all. In fact our blessed Lord has outdone all moral systems by laying down His life for everyone, including His enemies. In this He calls upon the disciples to imitate Him and to be ready on all occasions to lay down their lives for each other.
As Christ has loved us freely, notwithstanding all our unworthiness and ungratefulness, we should also love one another, even though we all have our disagreeable ways. Christ loves all his children without any distinction, whether poor or rich, weak or strong, lesser or greater believers. Christ loves us all not only in word, but in deed and in truth. Let us follow His example and love one another fervently with a pure heart, and by love, serve one another. There should not be any distinction or division among the brethren of Christ. Shall we uphold this unity by loving and serving one another?
- The Love of Christ Constrains us to reach out to the unreached:
Like Paul, when we understand the depth of our sinfulness and the gracious love of Christ which saved us, we will not live idle. We will be moving and reaching the unreached in the world with the love of Christ. There are many pathetic stories of untold millions in the world who go to hell without knowing the love of Christ, even in our neighborhood. As we know, Asia is one of the most populous continents which hold 60% of the world population. China and India alone has 1/3 of the population in the world. The Chinese Christians comprises 7% while India with just 3.5% (Christian here means all denominations including RC). This means more than 93% in China and 97% in India are unreached with the Love of Christ. Hence we in Asia should do our part in reaching the unreached with the love of Christ.
If Christ had died and saved us from the eternal damnation, how will we not be constrained with the love of Christ to reach the unreached? Are you not compelled to do something for Him in your life time? C.T. Studd said, “Some wish to live within the sound of church or chapel bell; I want to run a rescue shop within a yard of hell.” (www.sermonillustrations). Should not this be our commitment too?
Let me conclude with a true story, “Alila stood on the beach holding her tiny infant son close to her heart. Tears welled in her eyes as she began slowly walking toward the river’s edge. She stepped into the water, silently making her way out until she was waist deep, and the water gently lapping at the sleeping baby’s feet. She stood there for a long time holding the child tightly as she stared out across the river. Then all of a sudden in one quick movement she threw the six month old baby to his watery death.
Native missionary M.V. Varghese often witnesses among the crowds who gather at the Ganges. It was he who came to Alila that day when she was kneeling in the sand crying uncontrollably and beating her breast. With compassion he knelt down next to her and asked her what was wrong. Through her sobs she told him, “The problems in my home are too many and my sins are heavy on my heart, so I offered the best I have to the goddess Ganges, my first born son.” Brother Varghese’s heart ached for the desperate woman. As she wept he gently began to tell her about the love of Jesus and that through Him her sins could be forgiven. She looked at him strangely. “I have never heard that before,” she replied through her tears. “Why couldn’t you have come thirty minutes earlier? If you did, my child would not have had to die.”
Each year millions of people come to the holy Indian city of Hardwar to bathe in the River Ganges. These multitudes come believing this Hindu ritual will wash their sins away. For many people like Alila, missionaries are arriving too late, simply because there aren’t enough of these faithful brothers and sisters on the mission field”. (Christianity Today, 1993). Remember what Christ said, “The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.” (Mathew 9:37-38).
If you are constrained by the love of Christ, will you not commit your life to serve Him who saved you from hell? Once “A one-legged school teacher from Scotland came to J. Hudson Taylor to offer himself for service in China. “With only one leg, why do you think of going as a missionary?” asked Taylor. “I do not see those with two legs going,” replied George Scott. He was accepted” (Pillar of Fire, January First, 1983). What is your response? Let this love of Christ move your heart. May our good God bless you with the love of Christ.