Summary: This sermon stresses the importance of Christians changing to become more like the lost in order to save the lost.
April 6, 2003
A. [Courageous Fishers of Men, Citation: Eugene A Maddox, Interlachen, Florida; source: The Perfect Storm]
The movie, The Perfect Storm, well described the dangers of the fishing industry through the eyes of the crew of the fishing boat, the Andrea Gail.
Out of their need to bring home an excellent catch of fish, the captain and crew decide to risk everything and travel as far as the remote but fertile fishing ground called the Flemish Cap. It is an especially dangerous trek during the unpredictably stormy month of October.
On their way back to Gloucester, Massachusetts, the Andrea Gail encounters the "perfect storm" of 1991 and is never heard from again.
While improvements in shipbuilding, navigational technology, weather-reporting and rescue support have made boating safer, fishing has become, if anything, a more lethal occupation, killing more of its workers per capita than any other job in the United States.
"There are many kinds of work that are dangerous, but one of the interesting things about fishing is that it really hasn’t changed much over time," says The Perfect Storm author Sebastian Junger. "It’s been mechanized, of course, but the basic reality of going to sea for months at a stretch is the same as it was 100 years ago. You’re way beyond help from anyone else; you’re on your own. I think that forms a certain kind of character. Not only does everyone know someone who has died at sea but everyone who works in the fishing industry has almost died. Every single fisherman you talk to has almost gotten nailed at one time or another."
It takes courage to be a fisherman. And it takes courage to fish for the souls of people.
B. [Read 1 Corinthians 9:19-27]
C. Focusing on the last half of verse 22, lets begin with the first phrase…
I. I HAVE BECOME ALL THINGS
A. In verse 19, Paul said, “I make myself a slave.”
1. In Paul’s culture there were slaves.
2. Slavery was a culturally acceptable business.
3. Now, when Paul says, “I make myself a slave,” does he mean that he sells himself into slavery?
a. No. Back in chapter 7 and verse 23 Paul said, “You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men.”
b. Because of the price that was paid for you on Calvary and the great love that God has for you, you should not allow yourself to become a slave of men.
c. So when Paul says in 9:19, “I make myself a slave to everyone,” he is not talking about selling himself into slavery.
d. Throughout the NT, Paul wrote that becoming a follower of Jesus Christ makes us a slave of Christ.
e. And if we are slaves of Christ we serve those around us.
f. Jesus said, “even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve.” (Mark 10:45)
g. Christ was a servant, and His followers are servants as well.
h. We serve others without actually selling ourselves into slavery.
i. We are voluntarily serving others without having actually sold ourselves into slavery.
j. Paul says that he made himself a slave to everyone, and so must we; both individually and as a church.
4. And quite frankly, that means no more pew sitting.
a. That means no more just showing up for church on Sunday morning and thinking that’s all there is to Christianity.
b. You cannot be slave to anyone just setting in a pew.
c. If Somerset is going to survive in the 21st century, then we have got to have every believer actively involved in serving others.
d. Somerset will not survive in the 21st century with people simply coming to church on Sunday mornings and then going home until next week.
e. Every believer must be involved in serving others.
f. 6. But I pray that every member will follow Christ and Paul’s examples my making themselves servants and not just pew sitters!
B. Then in verse 20, Paul says, “I became like a Jew.”
1. Now this is a very interesting statement.
2. The reason it is very interesting is because here in the NIV it says “like a Jew.”
3. In the KJV it says “I became as a Jew.”
4. It does not say “I became a Jew.”
5. It says “I became like a Jew;” I became as a Jew.”
6. What is interesting is that Paul was a Jew.
7. He was a Jew and then became a Christian; he became a believer in Christ.
8. Now as a Christian Paul says he became “like a Jew.”
9. He hung around Jews.
10. He talked in ways that were understandable by Jews.
11. He hung around with Jews and told them about Christianity in terms that were understandable to them.