2005-03-13 — By All Means Save Some.

Lent 10:
Date: March 13, 2005

Theme: “By All Means Save Some.”

I. The message for all men.
II. The message through all things.
III. The message by all means.
– 1 Corinthians 9:22

– Ude, John

Cached Video:

The Order of Worship:

Liturgy: TLH, p. 5 ff.

Hymns:

TLH 145 : Jesus, Refuge of the Weary Hymnary.org link
TLH 151 : Christ, the Life of All the Living Hymnary.org link
TLH 151 : Christ, the Life of All the Living Hymnary.org link

Theme: “By All Means Save Some.”

I. The message for all men.
II. The message through all things.
III. The message by all means.

1 Corinthians 9:22

22 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. (ESV)

Sermon: 1 Corinthians 9:22 I have become all things to all men, that I might By All Means Save Some.

In the name of Jesus March 13, 2005
By All Means Save Some. Ripped out of context, that phrase is often misapplied. But since Paul by the Spirit (1 Cor. 2:2) “determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified,” clearly it is the message of Christ crucified that considered the only source and power to save some. Three all’s present Paul’s great desire to bring this Gospel to sinners for their salvation. The message for all men. The message through all things. The message by all means. By All Means Save Some.is misapplied suggesting there are some we need not be concerned about. But this is the message for all men. The world in which Paul carried on his ministry was full of heathen temples, altars, priests, and idol worship that was all state supported. We might think what’s the point in even trying? But Paul had the privilege of seeing the Gospel of Jesus Christ turn that world upside down. To many it was a “foolish” message that he proclaimed, since it told of a Christ born in a stable, reared in an unknown town, of One who associated with fishermen, tax collectors, and harlots, was arrested, condemned, and crucified. This message of Christ crucified for sinners poured contempt upon the salvation that was devised by the world and based on its good works. It left no room for lust and sensual living. It lumped all men together under the condemnation of God, and offered them but one hope–forgiveness of sins and eternal life through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. But it was the message for all men. And oh, what a powerful message the Gospel is! It robbed Athena of Athens and her Parthenon of their glory; it dimmed the splendor of “great” Diana and her temple in Ephesus; it caused magicians’ books to be burned; it toppled the gods and goddesses of Greece and Rome from their heavens. Paul raised the banner of the cross over a world that had been lost in sin, given wholly to idolatry. And it is no wonder, for Jesus Christ is the holy, harmless, undefiled Son of God and separate from sinners. When He spoke, the winds and the waves obeyed Him; the sick, the lame, and the palsied were healed; even the dead came back to life. When He died on the cross, it was not because someone had taken His life from Him, but because He laid it down of Himself. He came into the world to fulfill the Law for sinners, to suffer and die for their sin and guilt. When He did, the earth quaked, rocks split open, believers came forth from their graves, the veil in the temple split from top to bottom, jeering Jews smote their breasts, and Roman soldiers said: “Truly, this was the Son of God!” Despite Jesus’ shameful death, He was not buried in a potters’ field, but among the rich. Although His tomb was sealed and guarded against tampering, when the morning of the new week dawned it was opened by an angel to reveal that He was no longer dead but had risen again. Forty days later He returned to His place of glory in heaven. He is the living Savior of all men. On the basis of His perfect life, innocent suffering and death, and His glorious resurrection, God declared this whole world of sinners forgiven. Paul expressed the blessed results for sinners when he said: 1 Corinthians 15:57 “Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Paul was the personal proof this is the message for all men. Three times Paul told in detail of how this glorious, living Savior turned him from a Pharisaic “model” of self-righteousness and a persecutor of the Church into a preacher of the Gospel. Jesus called him to carry the Good News of salvation to the Gentile world, and through that Good News caused heathen temples to be deserted, governors to tremble, and a whole empire to be called Christian.
By All Means Save Some.is misapplied to suggest we need to hang out in the bars and brothels, associating with sinners to save some. But it refers to the message through all things. Yes, Paul became all things to all men. But V. 21 “Under the law to Christ” makes it clear that he is speaking of all things Christian, nothing sinful. Paul would not join anyone in a little inebriation, idolatry, adultery or debauchery. Had he done that, he would have been a miserable slave of sin and men. To the Galatians he wrote: Galatians 1:10 “Do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.” Rather he used opportunities that arose in his walk with Jesus, never approving or being involved in sin, to tell them of salvation in Jesus Christ. By trade he was a tentmaker. When he came into communities new to him, it seems that he first sought out the areas where tentmakers worked and took up his trade among them. He didn’t walk into their midst and tell them to shut up and listen to him. He joined them in work, served the LORD with gladness in that work and as opportunity presented itself, he discussed salvation in Christ. Whether it was with religious people or ungodly, whether slaves or royalty he met them on their level to speak to them of salvation in Christ. Luther based his Treatise on the Liberty of a Christian Man on these words of Paul stating: “1) A Christian man is a perfectly free lord of all, subject to none. 2) A Christian man is a perfectly dutiful servant of all, subject to all.” 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.” V. 20a: “Unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews.” He met the Jews in their synagogue observing the Mosaic ordinances on foods and days to proclaim the fulfillment of the promise to Israel a Saviour, Jesus who sets us free from all the demands of the law. V. 21: “to them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ) that I might gain them that are without law.” When Paul was among the Gentiles, he exercised his freedom from the ceremonial requirements of the Mosaic law to identify with Gentiles and gain some for Christ. Paul had no illusions about the success of his work. Jesus spoke with numerous publicans and sinners, yet we read of only two publicans who were converted–Levi and Zacchaeus. Through all things he proclaimed the message of salvation that there might be one from the village and two from the city that were saved.
By All Means Save Some.is misapplied to justify compromising God’s word to make it comfortable and acceptable to man. But without compromise Paul proclaims the message by all means. Paul had some experience compromising Christ’s Word. He had tasted blood at the stoning of Stephen, and he wanted more of it even though he had to press against the goad of the law pricking his conscience with the warning that this was defiance of God’s commandments. He pursued every Christian he could find to imprison, punish, or kill him even though he had to press against the goad of the Word prodding him with reminders that God did foretell this Savior, the Christ. But then Jesus on the road to Damascus knocked him to the ground, struck him blind and condemned him: “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” (Acts 9:4) Saul saw the fire of hell engulfing him burning and searing. But he also saw Jesus, the Savior, reaching out in love to pluck him like a brand from the fire and gave himself to those hands of love. Yes, he had a heart for sinners dangling over that fire as he had so that he sought by all means to save them but always by faithfully proclaiming the message of Christ crucified. When Judaizers would compromise grace alone by requiring circumcision he refused to allow it. He said of those changing Christ’s word, Galatians 1:9 “If anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.” But ever tasting the grace shown him, he shared that grace with all who would list
en. In our country it is still fashionable to be religious; it is even un-American not to be religious. But the world’s religion ever preaches “another” Gospel; it urges to faith in a god who is not the Father who has reconciled the world to Himself by the death of His Son. We are to understand where people are coming from and establish points of contact to call them away from idolatry to the living God. Patiently we instruct individuals in all their variety of needs allowing the Holy Spirit to produce the harvest in that often invisible process of sprouting, growing ever so slowly while unseen roots develop until stalks appear, then blossoms and fruit. God has called us to be like Jesus, so He wants to draw us into a life of humility, obedience and crucifixion. We then can never measure our self by what other Christians do but only by what Jesus did. Others may boast and scheme for personal honor, dilly dally and compromise, pursue worldly pleasure and success more than Christ but as long as we are listening to the Holy Spirit’s call, He will prod us with pangs of conscience on every step down that road. But give yourself to His love – a slave to His love and He will wrap you in His love, possess your heart and fill you with the delights of sharing Jesus love which is the vestibule of heaven. You cannot really be anything to anyone until your heart is reflecting Jesus love so we are willing to live saying, “It is no longer I that live, but Christ that lives in me.” That is being all things to all men. Amen.