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Thursday, May 22, 2008

All Things to All Men or One Thing to Some?

"I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some." 1 Corinthians 9:22b

Beginning in verse 19, Paul begins to describe in general terms how he approaches people with the gospel. The main point is that he becomes what they are so that he can build a bridge on which to cross with the gospel. This goes by many terms today: Some call it establishing a relationship. Others might call it gaining their permission. No matter what we call it, there are a couple of points that are clear:

Paul does not hit them over the head with doctrine.

Paul uses what they have in common as a bridge.

Paul approaches them on the basis of what they know (or don't).

Paul's motive is pure: it is always the Good News of salvation.

As members of the body and LCMS specifically, it is fair to ask: How do we approach people? Or maybe more correctly: How do others perceive our approach to them?

We are a people of doctrine. This is both our greatest strength and our stumbling block. If we foremost have the importance of doctrine in our heart, then we cannot first have in our heart the concern Christ has for the lost. If Paul is to be our example, we need to have be able to say "that I by all means might save some."

Our walk is challenged at every turn. But our task is to be true to the gospel. We do that by showing the love Christ has for us in our walk and in our words. Peter says: "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect."

We always give our witness in love, with gentleness and respect. As we build that bridge, whether it is measured in minutes or months, we approach them with their terminology, letting them know the love and personal relationship Christ has with and for us, is available to them. This isn't rocket science, it isn't theologically complex. It is simply introducing someone to Jesus.

Provided by Jack Rawlins,

Equipping to Share Presenter

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