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Summary: This sermon encourages the desire for the church to change in order to meet the needs of the lost.

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Ten Marks of a Prevailing Church

Mark #5: Uncommon Methods

1 Corinthians 9:22

July 22, 2001

Intro:

A. God uses many methods to communicate--not only through his Word, his Spirit, and the ministry of Christian friends, but also through more unconventional methods--like burning bushes, talking donkeys, hungry creatures of the sea, visiting angels, or a bright star in the darkened sky.

1. And if God uses unconventional methods, so should his church.

2. If the church is to be a church that will prevail over the gates of hell, then the church is going to have to be willing to use unconventional methods as well.

3. Prevailing churches know that methods are many, principles are few. Methods must change, but principles never do.

4. Prevailing churches know that those principles that must never change are the essential truths of the gospel.

5. Those principles never change, but the methods for communicating those principles must change as we communicate those principles to different people.

6. God changes His methods frequently and so do prevailing churches.

7. (Repeat this with me.) Methods are many, principles are few. Methods must change, but principles never do.

B. So today I want to study a couple of passages of Scripture in 1 Corinthians that will teach us a lot about the uncommon methods that God uses and the uncommon methods that we must use as well.

1. I want to begin in 1 Corinthians 9, where in verse 22 the apostle Paul says I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.

2. (Repeat that with me.)

3. So I have broken that down into three phrases that I want us to think seriously about this morning; first…

I. All things

1 Corinthians 9:19-23, Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. 23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.

A. Paul says that He has become all things to all people so that by all possible means he might save some.

1. The first part of that statement is that he has become all things.

2. He made himself a slave to everyone.

3. He became like a Jew.

4. He became like a Gentile.

5. He became like the weak.

6. To put those in a little more modern terms: He became like religious people, like nonreligious people, like meticulous moralist, like loose-living moralists, like the defeated, and the demoralized.

B. What does that mean?

1. It means that he sat in church every week and folded his arms and said, "I can’t believe the people in our society now days."

a. "I can’t believe that the don’t believe like I do."

b. "I can’t believe that they don’t just straighten up and get themselves in church like me."

c. "I can’t understand those people."

d. "They’re just don’t understand that if they don’t straighten themselves up, they’re going to wind up in hell."

2. No. That’s clearly NOT what Paul is saying.

3. Paul says that although he’s now in Christ and free from the expectations of men, he has made himself a slave to them so that he might save some.

4. Paul didn’t start living the way they did, but he entered the world of those kinds of people in order to save some.

5. Paul entered their world and learned to understand how they thought.

6. He didn’t agree with many of the things they thought, but he got to know them and tried to understand where they were coming from.

7. He reasoned through his faith and tried to make sense in his own mind of the way he believed as opposed to what they believed.

8. Then he found ways of explaining the gospel to them that they could understand and accept.

9. He developed relationships with them and learned how they lived and how they thought.

10. He was accepted by them because even though he was different, they could tell that he loved them.

11. Because they trusted him, they allowed him into their world.

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