Summary: This is the first in a series of 4 messages challenging the hearers to do "whatever it takes" to be the person God has called them to, and help their church be all that God would have it to be.
“WHATEVER IT TAKES” 1 Cor. 9:22-23
INTRO – Are we living our lives as individual Christians w/ a “whatever it takes” mentality? Are we willing to do whatever it takes to live our lives for Jesus? Do you truly desire to be used by Him as you live out your days on this earth? Or are you satisfied with just getting up in the morning, going to work, putting in your time, coming home, eating supper, watching the news, then getting up the next morning and doing it all over again?
I had an eye-opening conversation w/ another pastor-friend of mine. He said, “Jon, you and I have about another 15-20 good years of ministry. I don’t want to keep doing it the way we’re doing it right now for the next 15-20 years.”
Are we a church that will do whatever it takes to see lost people come to Jesus? Do we have that kind of mentality as a church? Will we do whatever it takes? Will we change the way we’ve always done things if that is what it takes? Will we give up our own personal preferences if that is what it takes? Will we break with tradition if that is what it takes? Will we be dissatisfied with the status quo if that is what it takes? Will we think strategically and creatively of how we can do whatever it takes to reach more lost people in our community and world with the message of God’s love for them?
Check out what some other churches are doing w/ their “whatever it takes” attitude: (articles from Outreach magazine)
What will it take for us as individuals and for us as a church to develop a “whatever it takes” mindset?
I. WE BECOME “ALL THINGS.” – v. 22b
A. What did Paul mean when he said he became “all things to all men”? I can tell you first what it did not mean.
a. He did not compromise the message of the gospel in any way.
b. Did not change the truth in the least way in order to satisfy anyone.
c. He was not a chameleon who changed his message and methods w/ each new situation.
d. He was not a compromiser who adjusted his message to please his audience.
B. To understand what he meant, let’s define a word that we use quite often – ALL.
a. “Being or representing the entire or total number, amount, or quantity; totality.” (www.dictionary.com)
C. Paul was saying that he would do whatever it took to help bring someone to Christ. He would stoop to any level necessary w/out compromising the gospel.
a. He would give up any rank or privilege he might have had so that he could share the life-changing good news of Jesus w/ someone who was lost.
b. So using the def. of “all”, we can see that the totality of Paul’s life was lived in such a way that he would so whatever it took to share the gospel w/ those who were lost.
c. He “became” all things to all people – indicated that this is a process that took time, did not happen immediately, but it did happen!
D. You and I must become all things. What does this mean for us?
a. Means that if we want to see more people come to know Christ, we must get out of our comfort zones.
b. Means that we can no longer be satisfied w/ the status quo.
c. Means that we take a hard look at our lives to see what opportunities God has given us to use for Him.
d. Means that we ask God to show us new ways that we as individuals and as a church can reach out to those who are lost in our community and world.
II. “TO ALL PEOPLE” – v. 22b
A. Why to all people?
a. B/c it is our commission – Mt. 28:19-20 – “make disciples of all nations”
b. B/c God loves all people – Jn. 3:16
c. B/c Jesus died for all people – Rom. 5:8
d. B/c all people are sinners & are lost – Rom. 3:23
e. B/c all people are in need of salvation – Rom. 6:23
B. That means that every person we see today, tomorrow, every day next week, and for the rest of our lives is a person whom God loves and for whom Jesus died.
C. That means that as a church, we need to be open to being more creative and cutting edge as we pray about and envision new ways to reach all people w/ the Gospel.
a. New ways of doing evangelism.
b. New bridge events for our community.
c. New places to do missions and ministry.
d. New mission trips and projects.