Summary: Last of a six part series. This message focuses on evangelism.
A “Whatever it Takes” Commitment:
1. Does not hold to convention
2. Is not hemmed in by circumstances
3. Does not heed convenience
4. Is not hampered by criticism
5. Does bring honor to Christ
We’ve spent the last four weeks applying these five principles to:
• Knowing God – Discipleship
• Loving God – Worship
• Loving Others – Fellowship
• Serving Others - Ministry
This week we’re going to see how we can do whatever it takes to reach others – evangelism.
I know that many of you have heard this story before, but I’m going to share it with you again because I think it illustrates an important principle very effectively.
The evangelist, Leighton Ford was speaking at an open-air crusade in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Billy Graham was to speak the next night and had arrived a day early. He came incognito and sat on the grass at the rear of the crowd. Because he was wearing a hat and dark glasses, no one recognized him. Directly in front of him sat an elderly gentleman who seemed to be listening intently to the preacher. When he invited people to come forward as an open sign of commitment, Billy decided to do a little personal evangelism. He tapped the man on the shoulder and asked, “Would you like to receive Christ? I’ll be glad to walk down with you if you want me to.” The old man looked him up and down, thought it over for a moment, and then said, “Naw, I think I’ll just wait till the big gun comes tomorrow night.”
A lot of us have somehow gotten the idea that evangelism is the job of the big guns – people like Billy Graham or maybe even the pastor. But the Bible is really clear that every one of us who has received Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord is compelled to tell the Good News to others. So this morning, I’d like to help you in that task by sharing three principles that will assist us if we really want to do whatever it takes to reach other people for Jesus Christ.
I DO WHATEVER IT TAKES TO REACH OTHERS WHEN I…
1. Waive my ways in order to win the worldly
Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. (v. 19)
For those of you that have been in our Sunday morning Bible study for the past several months, you will remember that this passage comes right in the middle of a larger section of Paul’s letter in which he is addressing the whole issue of giving up my rights for the good of the kingdom of God. In particular here in Chapter 9, Paul is addressing the issue of his rights as an apostle and how he has voluntarily given up those rights for the sake of the gospel:
If others have this right of support from you, shouldn’t we have it all the more? But we did not use this right. On the contrary, we put up with anything rather than hinder the gospel of Christ.
1 Corinthians 9:12 (NIV)
Paul begins and ends the passage we’re studying this morning by clearly laying out his motivations. It is clear that every principle that Paul is about to develop for us in this passage is motivated by his desire to win as many people as he can to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Motives are always important. In fact one of the oldest questions around deals with motives – “Why did the chicken cross the road?”
Here are the answers several famous people gave when trying to discern the motives of the chicken:
I invented the chicken. I invented the road. Therefore, the chicken crossing the road represented the application of these two different functions of government in a new, reinvented way designed to bring greater services to the American people.
To steal a job from a decent, hardworking American.
Did the chicken cross the road?
Did he cross it with a toad?
Yes! The chicken crossed the road,
but why it crossed, I’ve not been told!
In my day, we didn’t ask why the chicken crossed the road. Someone told us that the chicken crossed the road, and that was good enough
Isn’t that interesting? In a few moments we will be listening to the chicken tell, for the first time, the heartwarming story of how it overcame a serious case of molting and went on to accomplish its lifelong dream of crossing the road.
It is the nature of chickens to cross the road.
It was a historical inevitability.