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All things for All People

All things for All People

Words of Faith 6-21-17

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2017

Jeff.Hoy@faithfellowshipweb.com

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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1 Corinthians 9

   [19] Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. [20] To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. [21] To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God's law but am under Christ's law), so as to win those not having the law. [22] To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. [23] I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.

 

       Just how far was Paul willing to go to bring the Gospel of salvation by grace to people who were lost?   Though he was free, he voluntarily became a slave of sorts for the purpose of winning people to salvation in Christ. Though he would "belong" to no man, he willingly submitted to various cultural concessions, if it would somehow lead to the salvation of any person. This was Paul's strategy for reaching both the Jewish and Gentile world at the same time.

           Paul gave a number of examples describing how far he had been willing to go to reach the lost for Christ. Paul had many tools available to him. He was thoroughly Jewish and knew Judaism inside and out. He was also a Roman citizen who grew up in Tarsus. He was free from any worries over pagan practices such as the eating of meat sacrificed to idols, but he would willingly set aside his right to eat meat if would help him minister to those who had a weaker conscience.

         Paul could mix with Gentiles and Jews. He could mix with Romans and pagans if necessary. In doing so, Paul was absolutely determined to reach as many as possible for the Kingdom. "I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel that I may share in its blessings."

       We must be careful how we hear this. It was not that Paul was a "chameleon Christian" who looked "like the world" when he was with the world but then looked "like the church" when he was with the church. Paul was always the same at his core. He never compromised his values or his essential commitment to the Gospel. But Paul did use every cultural connection possible to help people to hear the Good News of Jesus.  

         It is important to realize that although Paul was primarily an apostle to the Gentiles, he never lost his concern for the salvation of his own people. Paul made it his custom to seek out the synagogue in each town he entered in order to win the Jews. He was willing to subject himself to the scruples of the Jews in order to gain a hearing for the gospel and to win them to Christ.

         Yet he never compromised the essence of the gospel at the heart of which was salvation by faith alone, not works, and freedom from legalism. Paul voluntarily condescended to the scruples and customs of all men in order to gain the widest possible hearing for the gospel and so to share in its blessings as God's fellow worker reaping the joyful harvest of many won to Christ.

         For us, it important to realize that we have many tools available to us as well. As people who have come to Christ, we have a variety of connections that can help us build the cultural bridges that will help us communicate the Gospel. God made each one of us in a particular way with a toolbox of talents, interests, culture and background. We have a particular racial or ethnic background. We may have a religious history in common with some people or come from the same part of the country.

       We may have a common school with people that we meet or have children the same ages as a neighbor. Interests in music, sports and hobbies are all commonalities that can build bridges with people who need to hear about Jesus. If we will think about the things we have in common with those we meet, rather than about the things we do not, we may find ways to share Jesus.

       How is your commitment to sharing the Gospel? Are you looking for the connections? Are you seeking the openings? Are you seeing the bridges that can be built?

 

       Heavenly Father, I realize that I am no Apostle Paul. But I am available. Show me the people that You are drawing to Yourself. Help me to see the ways that I can connect. Show me the bridges that You want to build. In Jesus' Name.