From time to time we find it fun to preach from the Bible and use a contemporary movie to illustrate what we’re preaching. We call it “At the Movies” and we actually make popcorn after the services! This message is the first of two “At the Movies” and we’re using the Hunger Games film, “Mockingjay Part 1” to illustrate 2 Corinthians 5:12-20. The question really is: “Are you living for a purpose greater than yourself?”
Katniss Everdeen is in a futuristic world called “Panem,” with a wicked central government. She has been the survivor of a vicious game of humans hunting humans, called “The Hunger Games.” Having won one of the Games, Katniss is supposed to be exempt from future Games. But she has been forced back into the newest version.
The “rebel alliance” has managed to rescue her, and they want to use her fame to work against the central government. She agrees, though at first she is torn.
The central government responds with destruction of various places around the nation, including hospitals. Seeing their inhumanity, Katniss wholeheartedly commits to the resistance.
Now I’ve caught you up to the beginning of this most recent movie. We join the story with Katniss in the hidden rebel bunker, figuring out what just happened and what’s next.
The questions we face: Can Katniss hold it together? What about Peeta (her close friend and fellow survivor of the Games), who has been rescued from the government, but is out of his mind from the torture he endured? What will the rebellion’s next move be and how will Katniss figure into the plans? Can she ever make it through all this?
The ordinary girl ends up living for a cause greater than herself.
Read 2 Corinthians 5:12-14
“For we do not commend ourselves again to you, but give you opportunity to boast on our behalf, that you may have an answer for those who boast in appearance and not in heart. For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; or if we are of sound mind, it is for you. For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died”
Paul and his apostolic team spent their lives doing what they were doing. They didn’t have it easy. In certain parts of the New Testament, Paul outlines their suffering and how they were endangered. One has to ask, why did they go through all that difficulty?
They were living for a cause that was greater than themselves. They lived to serve God and to establish and serve His people. It made sense. They were called to preach the Good News, and then to establish believers, for the glory of God. Their motivation? They knew that they were involved in an eternal work, but it was the “love of Christ” that compelled them. Because God loves man, and Paul and his band loved God, they gave themselves gladly to this great work.
Katniss is a made up character. She was drawn into her larger than life cause reluctantly. Paul was real and he willingly lived for the cause of Christ, a cause greater than himself.
2 Corinthians 5:14-15
“For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.”
They were following the far greater example of Jesus. He gave up His own rights to live for a cause greater than Himself. He lived and died and rose again for the glory of God the Father and for the sake of those who would come…us.
So what about you? Are you called to a cause greater than yourself, meaning, called to lay down your life and live for God’s glory and the blessing of others?
2 Corinthians 5:17-20
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.”
Yes, this is your opportunity and your calling! To live for a cause greater than yourself! You have a lot in common with Katniss. She was dragged into a war that she didn’t start, influenced a lot of people, became the face of the cause and didn’t live a normal life because she embraced the cause.
What will you do with your life? The investment God has made in you? Will you be the face of the rebellion? Will you be the ambassador that God has called you to become?
It means certain things.
So will you commit yourself to this cause that’s greater than yourself? Not a Hollywood fantasy cause, but a real one, with real rescues and real transformation and real victory in the end. It may cost you everything, but it’s worth it.