Summary: What it takes to be a soul-winning church
“A Win-Some Church”
In 1993, Ronald Maxwell wrote and directed the movie Gettysburg. It was based on The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara. The movie brings to life three of the bloodiest days of American history. The first scenes take place a couple of days before the epic battle of Gettysburg. Colonial Joshua Chamberlain, who is played by Jeff Daniels, of the 20th Regiment learns that his regiment is going to receive 120 Union Soldiers who mutinied. Chamberlain is given orders to shoot any of these mutineers who don’t cooperate. Watch has Colonel Chamberlain tells the men the situation.
The church is also an army, a different kind of army that has been called to set other people free. We set other people free my fulfilling our mandate to make disciples of all nations as we go, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey the Lord. That is our mission as a church. We are called to tell the world that there is no other way in which a person can be saved, except through the wonderful and powerful name of Jesus.
In our last couple of studies of the “whatever it takes” type of church in the book of Acts, we have noticed a determination on their part to keep the mission of God. Instead of cowering to the threats of the religious leaders, the church was determined to preach the name of Jesus. When God gave them the boldness they asked for through the filling of the Holy Spirit they went out with great power proclaiming the wonderful resurrection of Jesus Christ. And what you see with the early church as that they were winning some to Christ.
In the first four chapters of the book of Acts they were doing more than wining some to Christ, they were winning a lot of people to Christ. From chapter two to chapter four of the book of Acts we see some eight thousand souls being saved though the determination of the “whatever it takes” church.
This morning, I want to challenge Christians, and of course, our church collectively, to become a win-some church. When I say a win-some church, I am not talking about a church that is charming and endearing, although that wouldn’t hurt. I am talking about a church that will do whatever it takes to win some, that is some people to Christ.
The apostle Paul was one who had a "whatever it takes" attitude to winning some to Christ. Take your Bibles and turn with me to the ninth chapter of the book of 1 Corinthians. In this ninth chapter, Paul shows us how we can be a soul winning church, how we can become a win-some church.
To fully understand the impact of what Paul teaches in verses nineteen through twenty-three of chapter nine, we need to understand these few verses in the larger context of chapter nine.
In chapter eight, Paul talks about Christian liberty and love for our brothers. He discusses it is the context of eating food sacrificed to idols. Paul’s whole argument is that we need to use or not use our Christian liberties in love. Notice how he ends chapter eight in verse thirteen of that chapter, “Therefore, if food causes my brother to stumble, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause my brother to stumble.” Paul’s point is that love must be our guiding principle. We have freedom in Christ, but that freedom must be practiced in love. That means that sometimes we give up our freedom for the sake of love. With that said, Paul then begins to talk about his own freedom in chapter nine.
In verse one he says, “Am I not free? Am I not an apostle?” Paul is asserting the writes that he has as a Christian and as an apostle. He then goes on to show that though he has these rights, he is willing to restrict them for the sake of the gospel. And he gives three reasons for restricting his rights. The first reason is given in verses twelve, which is Paul doesn’t what to hinder the gospel with his freedom. The second reason he waiver his rights as an apostle and a minister is that he may offer the gospel without charge. The third reason, which is the text that we are going to look at this morning, for waving his rights is that it enables him to win people to Christ.
Listen to what Paul says in verses nineteen through twenty-three, “For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more. To 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; to 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 the law. To 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. I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become fellow partaker of it.”