14 For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And 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. 16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
Often when we think of this verse, we think of God taking our old sinful habits, and making us new.
But this passage emphasizes something else - a new purpose in life.
18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.
Please read this story in Ron Hutchcraft's book, "A Life That Matters."
Without one woman's rescue praying, my precious wife Karen would not ever be here today. Her grandfather, Bill Hadley, was an alcoholic from the age of twelve. He spent time in jail after jail, prison after prison, so enslaved that he would dig the gold fillings out of his teeth to get money to buy cocaine. Bill Hadley was, by any human reckoning, a spiritual "Mission Impossible."
One night this shell of a man decided that life was no longer worth living. He made his way down South State Street in Chicago toward Lake Michigan, where he planned to end it all. But that's when the miracle happened. As he walked to what he thought would be his death. Bill Hadley found life. He heard a familiar song coming from inside Pacific Garden Mission, a song his Christian mother had taught him. He felt compelled to go in. A personnel worker saw him and shared the love and forgiveness of Jesus with him.
That night, Bill opened his heart to the Savior and was, as he would often say in years to come, "not reformed, but transformed." My wife's grandfather never had a taste for alcohol or drugs from that night on; he was truly a "new creation" in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). In fact, Bill Hadley married a beautiful Christian woman, fathered a baby girl who would grow up to be my wife's mother, and launched a cross-country evangelistic ministry in his "Little Church on Wheels." He became a passionate messenger of the transforming power of a living Christ.
But the battle for Bill Hadley wasn't won at a rescue mission in downtown Chicago. That battle had been waged for years on his mother's knees. In some family archives, we found an old photograph of Granddad Hadley when he was a young man. He was all decked out in a derby and the fashionable clothes he could afford before he lost his job due to his drinking. On the back is an inscription, written by his mother on "January 1, 1908."
"Oh, Will, every night when I read my Bible, I look at your picture, this picture, and I ask God to keep you and somehow heal your heart with His love. You may see this after I'm gone from this world and you'll know that I never ceased to pray for you."
"I never ceased to pray for you," his mother wrote. That's where the battle for Bill Hadley's soul was won. It is where the battle for every soul is won. The dying people around you will make it home only one way. You can pray them home.
1 Timothy 2:1-4
1 I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone -- 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.""
Jesus made His disciples travel about 80 miles to hear this great commission. Perhaps this was to emphasize that they were to go and put some effort into reaching the world for Christ.
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