Crazy Christians

Bible Book: 2 Corinthians  5 : 13-20
Subject: God's Love; Love of God; Christian Commitment; Dedication; Love of Jesus

Crazy Christians

Dr. J. Mike Minnix, Editor,

2 Corinthians 5:13-20 ...

“13 For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; or if we are of sound mind, it is for you. 14 For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; 15 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. 16 Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 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. 20 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.” (NKJV)

It is apparent that some people in the Church at Corinth had begun to speak of Paul as being “touched” or “beside himself.” Why would some of the members in the church say that about Paul? Let me share a few reasons:

1. Some were jealous of his popularity

2. Some saw him as two-faced

He wrote terrifying letters condemning sin and calling out wrong doers, but when he was present with them he seemed to be docile. Paul sought to explain that he loved them and didn’t want to be angry with them, and that is why he was different in their presence.

3. Some claimed that he was sick

Paul apparently had some problems, one of which was an ugly eye disease that plagued him throughout his ministry. Because of his long travels, imprisonments, and beatings at the hands of the enemies of the gospel, he suffered numerous problems. Some might have criticized him for going on in the face of such treatment and might have claimed that only a “crazy man” would do such a thing.

Commentators on his writings point to other reasons Paul was considered a bit odd, but the truth is that those who sell out to Jesus almost always appear a bit “touched.”

 It is little wonder that the world thinks us as out of our minds as believers in Christ. We belief that we have a new birth through a Savior who lived, died, and rose from the grave 2,000 years ago. We believe we are a family through this new birth with all other Christian believers anywhere and everywhere in the world. We gather every week, sometimes numerous times a week, to pray, sing, give, worship and serve a God we cannot visibly see. We take our hard-earned income and give it at 10% as God’s tithe and then give even more to missions, building projects, the needy and other ministries. To the unbelieving world we appear to be “nut jobs” on the loose in the world.

Don’t feel sad for Paul or bad for yourself regarding the world’s attitude. When you read the New Testament you discover that people thought of Jesus as being a bit crazy –mad, if you will.

Look at Mark 3:20-21 ...

“20 Then the multitude came together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread. 21 But when His own people heard about this, they went out to lay hold of Him, for they said, “He is out of His mind.”

The people in the time of Jesus actually said of Him that He was mad, and they didn't mean that he was angry. They plainly said that he was mentally challenged. Who were these people who spoke of Jesus in this manner? Well, it was His own family, that’s who! Of course, a lot of us have family members that we think are a bit “touched” in the head, and they likely think we are that way also. But to speak of Jesus in that manner is a totally different thing altogether. Seriously, to a world who does not understand the spiritual nature of our being, we Christians are like our Lord – we appear to the unsaved world as a bit wacky, batty, unbalanced or beside ourselves.

Paul did not blink when he was considered a bit off center as a believer, for the world has said the same about Jesus. In fact, Paul wrote to the Church at Corinth to explain why he relished the idea of appearing strange to world. Let me tell you that as Christians we ought not be disturbed when the world thinks us crazy. The devoted, committed, and dedicated Christian must never be ashamed to appear a bit odd to the world.

Paul actually points out three wonderful reason why Christians appear different to the world, and why we must never be unashamed of it. First, note that we appear ...

I. Crazy Because we are Cherished

Note in 2 Corinthians 5:14 the following...

“For the love of Christ compels us …”

Christ loves us, and we can't get over it - we don't want to get over it.

There is something special about being loved and it can make a person act a bit different from everyone else. Or we can put it another way – there is something different about people who are in love. People in love, really in love, don't act like everyone else. In fact, people in love appear to be living in another world. When that love is the love of God in Christ – well, that is just beyond special and it does mean that those of us who live in God's love are experiencing life in a kind of parallel universe. A Christian is cherished by God and held in His grace and mercy. God's love makes us act differently.

Of course, any kind of real love makes a person look a bit odd. For example, have you seen the guys on television at a football game in the middle of December with snow falling and they aren’t even wearing a shirt? What’s going on in that person’s head? Those people might have just a bit too much love for a football team. Or what about fans at a NASCAR race, sitting in the sun for 6 hours with car engines roaring on the track at levels that could drive a bat crazy. Oh, how they love their favorite drivers. Actually, a deep, real, abiding love for something or someone causes a person to act in ways that are just a bit off center to the rest of the world.

Apparently the Corinthians were referring to Paul as a bit erratic, bonkers or delirious.  In regard to Paul this was not the first time he had been criticized as a bit of a religious fruitcake. Let me read to you a passage from Acts 26. In this passage Paul is before Festus and Agrippa giving his testimony. Paul stood before the august assembly of authorities and told of his amazing conversion, blindness, and how he became not only a follower of Jesus but an apostle going forth to share the message of salvation through Christ. We pick up the text as Festus responds to what Paul has said in Acts 26:24-29:

24 Now as he thus made his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, “Paul, you are beside yourself! Much learning is driving you mad!” 25 But he said, “I am not mad, most noble Festus, but speak the words of truth and reason. 26 For the king, before whom I also speak freely, knows these things; for I am convinced that none of these things escapes his attention, since this thing was not done in a corner. 27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you do believe.” 28 Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You almost persuade me to become a Christian.” 29 And Paul said, “I would to God that not only you, but also all who hear me today, might become both almost and altogether such as I am, except for these chains.”

How about that! Festus said that Paul was “mad” – which means he was claiming that Paul was out of his mind. Paul did not defend himself against the attack but simply used the occasion to share a convicting message with King Agrippa.

If you are offended by being considered an oddball because of your faith in Jesus, shame on you. That is the way we have been treated as far back as the gospel goes. Get over it. In fact, be thankful for it.

One of the things that makes it acceptable to be treated as a “crazy” Christian is the love of Christ for us. Paul points out in our text that we are cherished – we are loved – we are accepted in the presence of God because of Christ. If Jesus was considered to be out of his mind by his family, how can we think we will be treated any differently?

Ray Steadman, a preacher from another generation, wrote about Fanny Crosby. Some of you may not know who she was, so let me tell you about her. She was blind all her life. She became a Christian as a child and a prolific hymn writer. She wrote, “Pass Me Not Oh Gentle Savior.” She wrote, “Blessed Assurance, Jesus Is Mine,” and almost a hundred other hymns that have been sung for 100 years. When she was 8 years old, she wrote a poem about her Savior and her blindness – now, remember, she was only 8 years old when she wrote this:

“Oh, what a happy child I am
Although I cannot see,
I am determined that in this world
Contented I will be.
How many blessings I enjoy
That other people don't.
To weep and sigh because I'm blind
I cannot and I won't.”

Yes, she was just eight yeas old when she wrote that. Amazing! Was she out of her mind? No! She knew God had a plan for her. One day when she was older, she was walking through a prison to encourage these poor souls locked in their cells. As she passed a cell, she failed to speak to a prisoner – only because she was blind and could not see him. The man called out to her, “Don’t pass me by, Miss Crosby. Don’t pass me by.” Later that day she wrote the hymn that reads like this:

“Pass me not, O gentle Savior
Hear my humble cry
While on others Thou art calling
Do not pass me by

"Savior, Savior
Hear my humble cry
While on others Thou art calling
Do not pass me by”

Was she crazy to have such joy, though blind? Was she beside herself to love a God that allowed her to be blind all her life? Crazy to the world, but she knew she was loved from heaven and that made all the difference. Aren't you glad that Christ did not pass you by? When the world thinks I am just a crazy Christian, I want to respond by saying, “I am cherished, loved and adored by the King of Glory, Jesus. If that makes me crazy, gladly will I accept that I am beside myself.”

You are loved, dear Christian. Never be ashamed of God’s love for you. And, if there is someone here today who has never trusted him, possibly because you are a bit embarrassed or ashamed to come to Him, let me say that you are making the greatest mistake in your life. Come to Christ today and you’ll be happy forever to be one of the crazy Christians in this world.

Now, let me go on to the next point …

II. Crazy because we are Compelled

Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:14 …

“For the love of Christ compels us …”

The Greek word for the word “constrains” or “compels” in our text, comes from the Greek word “sunecho” – which is pronounced, “su – NECK – o”. That word means to hold something together, to press or compress something so it doesn’t fall apart. It can mean to be held close to something. For example, let’s say you love baseball, and in particular you are a fan of the Atlanta Braves. Your relation to them in your heart and mind will grip you and keep you watching and following their games. In fact, the Greek word “sunecho” can also mean to be arrested – to be a prisoner. The word implies being gripped and held.

Now, let me tell you what Paul was saying. Paul was letting the Corinthian Church know that if he was indeed crazy it was because he was arrested and held in the grip of the love that Jesus had for him. The constraining handcuffs on his life were made up of love from the nail-scarred hands of Jesus. Paul was held fast in the service for Christ, even when it meant sufferings, beatings, arrests, imprisonments, hatred and false claims about him - he was so gripped by the love of Jesus that nothing could reduce or remove Him from the constraining nature of God's love.

It troubles me to see Christians quit serving God over some flimsy issues. I’ve been a Christian since childhood, and I’ve been a preacher of the gospel for fifty-four years. In those years, I’ve seen people back off from serving God in a church because of some of the silliest things you've ever heard in your life. For many Christians, every little offense is worthy of anger, spite, and repeated memories of it. They can never get over what someone said or did to them. Some quit serving God because their name was left off a list of people who served in a particular way. Another may have bailed out on God because a committee decided to do something that the individual disapproved of. Poor souls!

Look! There is Jesus with scars on His brow, in His hands, side and feet, but He did not quit.

There is Paul with scars on his back, bent with age from traveling the ancient world to preach, and being ridiculed as a crazy man by a church he helped start. But, Paul did not quit.

Listen to me – love is the only thing that will keep you going. Not your love for Jesus but the thought of His love for YOU! Paul kept going because he was constrained – compelled – by the love Jesus had for Him.

The Christian minister George Matherson penned words to a hymn while in mental distress in 1882. Like Fanny Crosby, he was blind. Yet, he graduated from one of the most elevated universities in the world. He was brilliant and greatly gifted, but he was blind. As a servant of God, he sometimes became depressed. We all do that, don't we? You don't have to be blind to want to give up sometimes. Well, one day Matherson was ready to quit, but something held him to his task. He just couldn't walk away from his ministry for the Lord. He was ready to give up when God spoke to Him and he wrote these words that comprise the beginning of a hymn:

“Oh love that will not let me go
I rest my weary soul in thee
I give thee back the life I owe
That in thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be”

That’s it! A love that will not let me go - a constraining, compelling love from God. It holds me in a grip of tender mercy and keeps me in His service. If you forget God’s love, you will never be the Christian you are meant to be.

“When years of time shall pass away,

And earthly thrones and kingdoms fall,

When men, who here refuse to pray,

On rocks and hills and mountains call,

God’s love so sure, shall still endure,

All measureless and strong;

Redeeming grace to Adam’s race—

The saints’ and angels’ song.

“O love of God, how rich and pure!

How measureless and strong!

It shall forevermore endure

The saints’ and angels’ song.”

Yes, His love endures forever – that love compels us to continue even when some think us out of our minds to give our lives in His service.

Now, let me share one more thought with you.

III. Crazy because we are Commissioned

Think again on 2 Corinthians 5:18-20 ...

“18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 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. 20 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.”

The last thing Paul says is interesting, indeed. He points out that God has put us in His service. We are ambassadors for Christ. He makes His appeal to the world through us. Amazing, isn't it! Astounding, really. I’m his appointed servant and so is everyone of you saved by His amazing grace.

Some years ago I resigned my pastorate in the Atlanta Metro area to become Vice President for Evangelization for the Georgia Baptist Convention. I really hated to leave my pastorate – I loved those people so dearly and we had seen hundreds saved more than hundreds join in the 12 years serving there. As I left my as pastor in that church they honored me in so many ways, and it was so touching. As long as I live I’ll never forget those precious people. One thing the staff did for me was give me the promise of a round of golf at the Agusta National Golf Club. Now, you may not know this, but it is virtually impossible to get on that course to actually play. Many famous people have pulled every string that can find but they have never been able to play a round of golf there. One week before the Master’s Golf Tournament in 2004, I played golf at Augusta National. Eight days later I was watching the tournament on television, and I could spot everywhere I had hit a ball there. Now how did I get on that course – especially since I’m a “nobody.” A member of the church I pastored did business with a person who was a member at Augusta National, so he called in a favor on my behalf. That man did that for me, though he had never sought to get his business associate to get him on the golf course. What a wonderful man and an incredible gift. Do you think I love and appreciate that former member? You bet I do! I’ve watched that man serve God, give incredible gifts to God’s work, live a life to back up his testimony and remain true to service in the Lord’s church. He would not want me to mention his name, but I appreciate him, his wife and family for the love they have shown to me and the life that have lived for Christ.

Let me tell you something better than that. The King of Heaven came to this earth for ME. Imagine that. For ME. I can’t get over it. That He died for ME. I don't want to get over it. He didn’t just go to jail for me or get beaten for me – He died for me. Then, He rose and gave me a commission in His service. I am His ambassador. My soul can hardly believe it. I'm so undeserving of even a glance from Him, but He gave me His all. I’ve never gotten over it. Now listen to me. Every one of you in this service who is saved ought to be amazed by His love -star-struck by His reaching out to YOU. Then after He forgave your sins, He made you His ambassador. Not just preachers and evangelists alone get that title – every Christian is an ambassador for Christ - appointed in the King's service. How can you ever get over that?


Every believer under the sound of my voice – listen to me – look at me right now – it’s time to rediscover who we are in Christ and to recommit our lives to Him. Don’t you agree? I know you do! So, when we sing in a moment I want every crazy Christian to step out and come forward to thank Jesus for His love and to recommit your life to His service. We need revival in our hearts – so now is the time for us to bow before Him and thank Him for amazing love.

Those of you who've never trusted Jesus – this is your moment with God. Turn from your sin, trust Jesus as Lord and Savior, and come to Him this very moment. We will be here to receive you at the front. As soon as we sing, you come to Christ. Don’t fear that someone will think you are crazy, because you will really be crazy if you walk out of here today without Christ in your hearts and lives.

Okay, we are read to sing. Let’s get ready to respond as soon as I finish a short prayer and the music begins.