Summary: The Christian message of love and redemption is easily misunderstood when it is taken out of context. As Christians, our lives are easily misunderstood when we forget to live out our faith within the context of our daily experience. Living faith, faith i
Christianity in Context, Part-2, I Corinthians 9:19-23
The Reverend Billy Graham tells of a time early in his ministry when he arrived in a small town to preach a sermon. Wanting to mail a letter, he asked a young boy where the post office was. When the boy had told him, Dr. Graham thanked him and said, “If you’ll come to the Church this evening, you can hear me telling everyone how to get to Heaven.”
“I don’t think I’ll be there,” the boy said. “You don’t even know your way to the post office.”
Last week we talked about the importance of understanding God within the context of His written word. We talked about how so many people in our day have taken God out of the context – turning His message of mercy into a message of judgment and condemnation.
We discussed how – when taken within the overall context of the Scriptures, the big picture – God’s primary work in our lives is not judgment but transformation.
God’s love in us transforms us from the inside out. To the extent that we allow ourselves to be filled with the mercy of God, we become reflections of God’s love.
In I Corinthians 9:19-22 the Apostle Paul writes, “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.” (ESV)
Last week we talked about God within the context of His word. This week I want to talk to you about living out your faith in the context of your daily experience.
I encourage you to lay aside your thoughts and your cares. For the next few minutes consider, along with me, what it means to be all things to all men so that we, like the Apostle Paul, might win more of them.
For the last week I have been spending a lot time thinking about what The Apostle Paul means when he says that he has become all things to all men.
Does this mean that he was like an unethical salesman who was willing to tell you anything you want to hear in order to get the sale?
Clearly, Paul is not telling us to change the message of the Cross to fit the situation. When taken within the overall context of Scripture, The Apostle Paul is telling us to contextualize our Christianity.
Just as God’s message of love and reconciliation is easily skewed and misunderstood when it is taken out of the overall context of His written word – the Scriptures – God’s message of love and redemption is easily distorted and misunderstood when our faith is not lived out within the context of our daily lives.
How can the world hear God’s message of love and hope if they don’t hear it and see it proclaimed in our lives?
An old legend tells of two men who entered the celestial portals. The white robes of the first one were stainless; and when asked by the warder where he had come from and how his garments were so clean, he told how he had just passed a poor, struggling traveler on earth, whose cart had become entangled in a swamp.
The traveler had begged him to help him extricate it, and he explained with what difficulty and pain he had escaped the urgent call, and kept his garments spotless to meet his Lord.
The second pilgrim followed. His robes were soiled with mire and grime. Flushing crimson and shame, he explained that he had tried his best to keep his garments clean, but that he could not refuse to put his shoulder to the wheel when a struggling wayfarer was trying to get his cart out of the quagmire. “So,” he added, “the marks are still on my once spotless robes.”
The angel smiled and said, “My brother, these stains will not hinder your welcome here, for even as we speak, they are transformed into jewels of glory as the badge and recompense of that love which is the highest glory of our sanctity and the brightest jewel in our crown.”
Let us not only climb the Mount of Transfiguration with the Master, but let us live the transfigured life of love here below.