Wednesday, February 4, 2015

1 Cor 9:16-23 Motivation for Evangelism

1 Cor 9:19-23 For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. 23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.

KEY VERSE: 1 Cor 9:21 To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law.

Paul was prepared to be “all things to all people”, subjecting himself to the cultural and even religious contexts of the people he was trying to evangelize. But in all his “contextualization” of the gospel, he never compromised on one thing: “the law of Christ” (v.21). Except for the law of Christ, he was prepared to adapt his behavior to the contexts of the lost.

In my attempt to become “all things to all people”, I must not compromise on the law of Christ. This is also described by Paul as the “law of the Spirit of life” (Rom. 8:2) and “bearing one another’s burdens, so fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2). The law of Christ is not some kind of religious rules but rather Christ-like character shaped by the Word and the Spirit of Christ.

In evangelism, I must remain free to adapt my behaviour so as to be seeker-friendly and seeker-sensitive. I must try not to offend the people I’m trying to reach by becoming culturally sensitive and flexible in matters that do not require me to compromise my character. But I am not free to adapt the content of the gospel nor compromise my spiritual and moral values informed by the Word and formed by the Spirit.

Lord, I thank You for the privilege of being able to evangelize the lost. May You grant me the wisdom of the Spirit to contextualize the gospel without compromising the law of Christ. Amen.

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