Summary: Christians should be obsessed with evangelism. It should be a constant thought throughout our day. The interest in winning others should consume you.
Yesterday marked the anniversary of the infamous Roe vs. Wade decision that opened the floodgates for abortion in America. It was on January 22, 1973 that the US Supreme Court handed down its decision that women had the constitutional right to an abortion. Nearly four decades later, the argument rages on — and so does the deaths of little ones. The national abortion rate is now over twenty percent. Just last week it was reported that the abortion rate in New York City is over forty percent. The abortion industry now claims over a million unborn lives each year.
Almost a week ago, we observed Martin Luther King’s birthday. I find it sad that now many people who mark King’s birthday also mourn the legal decision of Roe vs. Wade. Our country tends to be either/or on these holidays rather than both/and. For example, among African-Americans in New York City, nearly sixty percent have had abortions. It’s a tragedy that not many of those who support civil rights for minorities also support the civil rights of the pre-unborn.
1. Dred Scott Decision 1857: 7-2 Decision
2. Blacks Are Non-Persons
3. Blacks Are Property of Owner
4. Owner Has a Right to Buy, Sell, Kill
5. Abolitionists Should Not Impose Their Morality on Slave Owners
6. Slavery Is Legal
1. Roe v. Wade 1973: 7-2 Decision
2. Unborn Are Non-Persons
3. Unborn Are Property of Owner (Mother)
4. Mother Has a Right to Keep or Kill
5. Pro-Life Advocates Should Not Impose Their Morality on Mothers
6. Abortion is Legal
We believe that every human being is entitled to equal civil rights. Every individual is created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). Let’s be a church that celebrates life. Let’s be a church that offers care & compassion to those women who have had undergone abortions. Let’s be a people who offer our homes and our lives to needy children for foster care & adoption. Let’s celebrate American Orphan Sunday is next week.
“For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. 20 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. 21 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. 22 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. 23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.
24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. 27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:19-27).
Setting the Stage
We are focusing on the letter to Corinthians throughout this year. I’m excited about finishing 1 Corinthians with you. God willing, we’ll discuss divorce, singleness, the resurrection of Christ, idolatry, spiritual gifts, tongues, love, and money in the weeks to come.
In the first four chapters of this letter to the believers at Corinth, Paul responds directly to reports that come from Chloe’s household. In chapters five and six, he is responding to some further reports. Then in chapter seven, he says, “Now concerning the matters about which you wrote…” (1 Corinthians 7:1a). So we can surmise that a letter has come through to Paul. As he handles the things in that letter, you can see he is dealing with a splintered church. Paul adopts a “Yes, but” kind of argument throughout the letter of 1 Corinthians. He turns to one group in the church and says the equivalent, “Yes, you are right but…” And to other group he says, “Yes, you are correct as well but….” He is trying to bring the warring sides together. He is a shrewd pastor. Paul is trying to get both sides to understand that what they insist on is only a partial truth… they circle the wagons around their perspective only. And their partial perspective fails to encompass the whole truth. And so two groups are in conflict in this church: they include the weak and the strong. The strong Christians were debating whether they should give up a questionable practice of eating meat sacrificed to idols. The strong Christians in Corinth were in the habit of deciding issues with one thing in mind: themselves! Their rights, their freedom, their comfort, their enjoyment. Their whole orientation was wrong. Instead of thinking only about themselves, they should have been considering the impact of their actions on their fellow believers. They should have been thinking of their “weak” brothers and sisters in Christ. The weak can be defined as someone who has sensitivities to right and wrong even though the issue itself it is not a matter of right or wrong. The weak think something is wrong even though it is not wrong. The weak are the over-scrupulous.