Dan Lightfoot

By All Possible Means, Save Some I Cor. 9:19-23 19For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more. 20To the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law, as under the Law though not being myself under the Law, so that I might win those who are under the Law; 21to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, so that I might win those who are without law. 22To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some. 23I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it.

A. Whatever happened to evangelism?

1. If you don t understand the question, the point is made. It s gone&

2. Don Humphrey says the average member of the COFC has:

a. heard 4,000 sermons&. sung 20,000 songs& prayed 8,000 public prayers& and converted zero sinners!

b. How average are you?

3. Statistics from Nashville, TN the churches cities lose 100 more members per year than it gains.

a. One large, prestigious church baptized 4 last year.

b. An 800 member church baptized 8.

c. A 400 member church none in past 18 months.

d. Large TX church baptized 15 last year. That s one per full-time staff member.

e. These stats are probably applicable to most churches&

B. What was Paul s answer?

1. I do all things for the sake of the gospel. (9:23)

2. Became a Jew to Jews, Gentile to Gentiles, weak to the weak&

3. A missionary would say that relates to cross-cultural communications.

a. I call it accommodation.

b. Paul accommodated himself to the thinking, the customs, the habits & the prejudices of other people.

C. No one is going to be able to do that unless he is living a crucified life.

1. Lk. 9:23, Jesus said: If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.

2. It is only when we are crucified to ourselves that we can accommodate ourselves to the thinking, the culture, the habits, the opinions & the prejudices of other people for their benefit.

3. Mt. 7:12 In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

a. If I were lost, what would I want you to do?

b. In I Cor. 9 Paul is just applying the golden rule&

I. To the Jews He Became a Jew.

A. In Acts 23, speaking to Jews, he referred to himself as a Pharisee & son of a Pharisee&

B. Even as a Christian Paul probably kept the Passover feast. Ax 20; I Cor.16

1. We know he kept Jewish vows: Ax 18:18 at Cenchrea he cut his hair because he had a vow. Observed a Jewish Nazarite vow&

2. Acts 21 returned from 3rd miss. journey to Jerus. he found 4 Jewish Christians involved in a purification service & he entered into their vow and purification with them.

3. Acts 16 2nd journey when he went to Lystra he asked Timothy to serve with him & he circumcised him because they were working among Jews. (Timothy had a Gentile dad & Jewish mom)

a. He accommodated himself to Jewish customs&

II. To Gentiles He Became As a Gentile (those w/o Law)

A. He never attempted to bind Jewish Law on any Gentile conscience.

B. Acts 19 as a result of his work at Ephesus there was quite a stir.

1. Now Paul taught against idolatry

2. But when the town clerk spoke in Paul s defense he said Paul was not a blasphemer of their goddess, Diana or Artemis.

a. Paul denounced idolatry, Demetrius claimed Paul said gods made with hands are no gods at all & but he must have selected his words carefully&

b. He did his best to adjust himself to the Gentile community

c. In Ukraine I teach baptism for remission of sins& but I congratulate parents that have sprinkled their babies& because they are concerned about their salvation...

C. Acts 17, Athens, his takeoff for the sermon was a heathen altar. That was his point of contact. I also found an altar with this inscription, TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you.

1. & in the sermon he quoted 2 Gentile poets: Aratus & Epimenides.

2. In Titus 1 he quoted Epimenides again&

3. One brother is very critical of any quotes outside the American restoration movement& If he had been with Paul at Athens he would have thrown a fit.

a. When I m in Ukraine I quote Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy&

D. What does all this mean?

1. Paul was a hypocrite? NO!

a. You ve heard the disparaging note that Well, he s all things to all men! meaning he is two-faced

b. We use it for hypocrisy.

c. Paul used it in a better way.

d. But Paul was accused of hypocrisy (Galatians when he s among the Jews, he tells them they have to be circumcised& )

e. Acts 21 Jews complained that when he was among the Gentiles he told them they didn t have to be circumcised...

f. 2 opposite reports of the same man but he was not a hypocrite.

2. Paul did not compromise the gospel.

a. In Gal 2 he said that when the Jews tried to bind circumcision as essential to salvation we did not yield in subjection to them for even an hour. (2:5)

b. in Gal. 5:4 he said those who attempted to bind the law (circumcision) & had fallen from grace.

3. Paul did not tolerate evil.

a. Read I Cor. He denounced those brethren for every kind of sin...

b. He preached to Felix & Drusilla of righteousness & temperance & judgment to come. Righteousness because they were unrighteousness, temperance because they had no self-control, & judgment because they were unprepared to meet God.

c. He did not tolerate evil in non-Christians or Christians&

4. He did not cave in to human pressure.

a. Gal. 2 Peter & Barnabas & Paul ate with Gentiles until Jews came from Jerusalem. Remember what Peter did? Back shuffled. Segregated himself with the Jews. Caved in to pressure.

b. Paul withstood him to the back! No, No. Withstood him to the face!

E. Why did Paul accommodate himself to the culture & thinking of other people? That he might by all means save some.

a. Doesn t that imply that he knew some people were lost?

b. It is amazing that so many are unaware that people around us are lost!

1. And the first thing Paul wanted to do was to preach Jesus& to save souls from sin& nothing else mattered.

2. 2nd, he wanted to save them from their evil practices. (Gal. 1:4)

a. Jesus not only saves souls, He also saves lives.

b. I came that they might have life, & might have it more abundantly.

(Jn 10:10)

c. Paul wanted to save people from the destiny of the damned.

d. Mt. 16:26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

[1] A statement from Christ that dominated Paul s life.

[2] Paul, why do you accommodate yourself to other people?

I want to be able to save them. & to be effective& so they will listen to me& to give heed to the gospel& :. I m willing to be flexible as far as I can so I won t have any hindrance at all to the gospel.

3. 3rd. So that he could go to heaven. (text) I Cor. 9:23 I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it.

a. He s saying that if he is not active in trying to redeem others, he ll miss heaven. Think about that for awhile!

b. We ve been saved to save won to win!

. Then he uses 2 illustrations (I Cor. 9:24-27)

a. Runner I don t run with uncertainty&

b. Boxer I don t beat the air&

c. A runner runs with purpose. A boxer boxes with purpose. & the Christian has purpose in what he does.

III. What Does This Have to Do With You and Me?

A. 1st As Paul recognized the importance of people, we must recognize the importance of people.

1. All created in the image of God. & part of us is immaterial, it is not dissolved in death. The Spirit lives on.

B. 2nd Jesus shed His blood & died for everyone around us. They must be precious.

C. 3rd Everyone around us is headed for the devil s hell unless they are redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus.

1. & we must see the need for being urgent & busy in their salvation!

a. & we ve got to see the importance of bringing people to the Savior just as Paul did 2,000 years ago.

2. We ve got to learn to accommodate ourselves, to yield to the thinking of other people & their culture as far as we can&.

a. There s a lot of talk about rights& concerned for our rights&

b. Not much talk about responsibility&

c. You & I don t have any rights. We gave them up when we came to the Lord Jesus.

d. Why don t we exercise our #1 right by foregoing all other rights so that souls can be saved? Learn accommodation&

e. Some Christians in the 1st century sold themselves into slavery that they might be more effective in reaching slaves with the gospel. (Could they do that if they were concerned with their rights?)

3. There is a time to let your hair grow or cut it or wear Chinese clothing& (don t be offensive)

a. I' ve eaten water rat to accommodate people& drank coffee& eaten bland rice

4. Whatever it takes to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature&

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