All Things to All Men (Part 2)

V. Becoming as them that are without law (Gentiles) to them that are without law. 1. Them that are without law are the Gentiles. (Rom 2:12-14) 2. Them that are without also refers to unbelievers who are outside the church. (1Co 5:12-13) 3. Paul became as a Gentile to the Gentiles so that he could identify with them. A. Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles. (Rom 11:13) B. When Paul preached Christ to the Gentiles, he didn't use the same manner as he did with the Jews by going to the law to show that Jesus was Christ, he rather reasoned with them from creation. i. In Lycaonia, when the heathen there thought that he and Barnabas were gods, they reasoned with them that they should turn from their vanities (idols) and serve the living God who made all things and who does good to all and provides for their needs. (Act 14:15-17) ii. In Athens, Paul became as the Gentiles he was debating with by reasoning that God is the creator of everything (Act 17:24), and needs nothing since he gives to all men life, and breath, and all things (Act 17:25). a. He then went on to quote one of their own poets to prove from their own culture that we are the offspring of God (Act 17:28) and therefore God can't be an idol made by men (Act 17:29). b. Having reasoned from creation and their own writings, Paul then springboarded from that into preaching the gospel of repentance. (Act 17:30-31) 4. Paul was unto the Gentiles as one without law, but he had not become without law to God; he was still under Christ's law (1Co 10:21), the perfect law of liberty (Gal 6:2 c/w Jam 1:25). 5. Though Paul became as a Gentile to win the Gentiles, he did not use the tactics of the Catholic church and become a heathen to convert Gentiles. A. ""To convert and civilize her new subjects she descended to their level and employed the means in keeping with their notions and customs" (History of the Church of God, 407)." - (Catholicism Against Itself, Abridged Edition, 110) B. ""Among other directions, he (Pope Gregory "the great" - CEW) advises them not to destroy the temples, but only the idols of the false gods, and to consecrate to the worship of the true God the buildings still fit for use, 'in order,' as he wisely said, 'that the people seeing you respect the monuments to which they are accustomed, and may more readily come to them'" (General History of the Catholic Church, by Darras, II, 188 - See Life of St. Patrick, 73)" - (Catholicism Against Itself, Abridged Edition, 78-79) C. ""The Church assimilates and sanctifies Roman Civilization - From its foundation the Church had gradually absorbed the best of the life, the organization, the institutions, the laws, the learning, and whatever else of good and worthy there was in the Roman Empire" (History of the Church of God, 378-379)." - (Catholicism Against Itself, Abridged Edition, 79) D. ""It has been and always will be the intent and tradition of the Apostolic See, to make a large allowance in all that is right and good, for the primitive traditions and the special customs of every nation" (Great Ency. Letters of Leo XIII, 308)." - (Catholicism Against Itself, Abridged Edition, 80) E. ""It is interesting to note how often our Church has availed herself of the practices which were in common use among pagans" (Externals of the Catholic Church, 156)." - (Catholicism Against Itself, Abridged Edition, 80) VI. Becoming as weak to the weak. 1. The weak are those who are weak in faith, conscience, and mind. 2. Weak adj. - Wanting in moral strength for endurance or resistance; lacking fortitude or courage, strength of purpose or will; unsteadfast, wavering. 3. Paul devoted the whole chapter of Romans 14 to dealing with those who are weak in faith and how we should receive them and bear with them. (Rom 14:1) A. Some characteristics of weak brethren are: i. Their consciences will not allow them to eat meat (flesh), but only herbs. (Rom 14:2 c/w Rom 14:14) ii. They esteem one day above another. (Rom 14:5-6) iii. They are not at ease drinking wine. (Rom 14:21) B. If they go against their conscience and eat or drink something they are convinced is wrong to consume, they are sinning, not doing it by faith. (Rom 14:20,22-23) C. Paul's commandment for strong and mature Christians who are dealing with weak Christians is to: i. Not despise them. (Rom 14:3) ii. Not judge them. (Rom 14:10,13) iii. Not put a stumblingblock in front of them and offend them by eating or drinking something in their presence that their conscience is not at ease with. (Rom 14:13,15,21) 4. Paul taught the same principle in 1Co 8:4-13 and 1Co 10:23-33 with regard to eating things sacrificed to idols. A. To those who are strong, there's only one God and an idol is nothing. (1Co 8:4-6) B. Therefore, there would be nothing wrong with him eating meat in a idol's temple because and idol is nothing and the meat is just meat. (1Co 8:8,10; 1Co 10:27) C. But to the person with a weak conscience, they would eat it as a thing sacrificed to an idol and would sin against their conscience. (1Co 8:7) D. If they saw a strong Christian eating meat sacrificed to an idol, they would be emboldened to do it and go against their conscience and wound it. (1Co 8:10-11) E. Paul's instruction is therefore to not let your liberty become a stumblingblock to those who are weak. (1Co 8:9 c/w 1Co 10:28-29,32) 5. We should comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, and be patient towards all men. (1Th 5:14) 6. To the weak, Paul would become as weak, so as to not offend them and to gain and save them. (1Co 8:13; 1Co 10:33) VII. Paul was made all things to all men that he might by all means save some. (1Co 9:22) 1. These are clearly qualified "alls". A. When it came to converting souls, Paul was running in a race and striving for the mastery to obtain a crown. (1Co 9:24-25) B. But in order to obtain the crown, one must strive lawfully. (2Ti 2:5) C. Paul was not without law to God, but under the law to Christ. (1Co 9:21) D. Therefore when Paul was made all things to all men that he might by all means save some, he was not made: i. A fornicator to the fornicators. ii. A sodomite to the sodomites. iii. An adulterer to the adulterers. iv. A murderer to the murderers. v. A thief to the thieves. vi. A blasphemer to the blasphemers. vii. A liar to the liars. E. The end never justifies the means if it requires sinning to do it. F. Jesus was a friend of publicans and sinners, but He wasn't a publican or a sinner. (Mat 11:19) VIII. The end goal: saving some and being a partaker of the gospel with them. (1Co 9:23) 1. The purpose of the gospel is to bring life and immortality to light. (2Ti 1:10) 2. The purpose is to bring people into the church so that they can have fellowship with us and with Jesus Christ. (Act 2:41-42; 1Jo 1:3; Eph 3:9) A. Partaker - 1. One who takes a part or share, a partner, participator, sharer. B. Fellowship - 1. a. Partnership; membership of a society. b. Participation, sharing (in an action, condition, etc.); ‘something in common’, community of interest, sentiment, nature, etc. IX. Practical applications for us today. 1. We should meet people where they are -- either spiritually, personally, culturally, or demographically. 2. Find common ground with people and start there and don't focus on our differences. Consider the following things that we agree with the following groups about. A. Baptism with Baptists. B. Election and predestination with some Presbyterians, Protestant Reformed, and old-school Lutherans. C. Monotheism and deity of Christ with Catholics. D. Amillenialism with Catholics and some protestants like the Church of God. E. King James Bible with some Baptists, Protestants, and cults like the Mormons. F. Eternal security with some Arminians. G. Monotheism and Jesus being a great prophet with Muslims. H. Christmas and Easter being pagan with the Jehovah's Witnesses. 3. Be a country boy to the country boys and a city slicker to the city slickers. 4. Identify with the liberals on civil liberties and non-intervention foreign policy; and with conservatives on taxes, spending, and limited government (which is what they all supposedly stand for). 5. If you want to be interesting, you must be interested. 6. "You must have a good time meeting people if you expect them to have a good time meeting you." - (Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People)
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