Summary: Living a life that is centered on Christ.
“Being Sold Out For Christ”
• X games, kids diving (having no regard for yourself in order to accomplish your objective.)
I. Put Others First (19, 22b)
A. Christian liberty how we use it, or in this case set it aside for the benefit of others.
B. That starts by recognizing that different people have different needs, speak in different terms, have different concerns; people both out of and within the church body.
C. Then it takes an intentional effort to meet them where they are, not expecting them to come to where we are.
D. The question is are we willing to alter our approach, change our style, put down our guard in order to reach a larger audience?
E. To the Apostle Paul it was not a matter of should I, but more like how could I not.
F. Our freedom in Christ cannot be an excuse for self indulgence or to put ourselves first.
G. Complacency is one of the greatest ills of our Christian walk; personally we stop challenging ourselves to grow, stop stretching our faith.
H. Corporately we also get comfortable with how we do things, who sits next to us, the times we meet and length of our services.
I. Are we willing to do whatever it takes, as Paul was, or to take the lead of our Savior?
5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.
J. Example of Norm and Gail’s church.
K. Do we take the time to stop and think how others might think, Paul said although I am free of all men I willfully choose to enslave myself to all men, why? So that they might be saved.
II. Put Aside Self (20-22a)
A. What this does not mean:
a. Watered down version of the gospel.
b. Playing down the offensiveness of sin to God.
c. A compromise of any of our articles of faith.
B. In those there is no compromise; Paul even makes that disclaimer in verse 21 that he was not without the law but under the law of Christ.
Galatians 1:8-10, But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! 9 As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed! 10 For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.
C. However what this does mean is that in those areas of preference and style Paul was willing to submit himself to others.
D. Before we can make ourselves “a servant unto all” we must first submit our will to God’s, that is what Paul was saying in Galatians that he strives to please God, out of that come a heart to serve man.
E. Again in this we take our lead from Christ who was willing to submit His will to God the Father.
John 5:30, “I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.
F. Then we must understand the different needs and backgrounds of others. That may even mean having a different approach based on those observations.
G. That is at the heart of what Paul is saying, he used one approach for the Jews he witnessed to, another for the Gentiles, and another for those who were weak, again all with the hearts desire that he might win them to Christ.
Romans 14:1, Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions.
Romans 15:1, Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves.
III. Put Forth the Gospel (23)
A. Paul recognized it wasn’t about himself or programs or tradition; the only thing that mattered was the gospel of Christ.
B. Anything we do that is not centered upon the gospel of Christ is void and meaningless.
C. We could have programs and methods that brought in hundreds of people every week but in the eyes of the Lord it would mean nothing if it was not for the sake of furthering the gospel.