1 Corinthians 9:19-23

Scripture

1 Corinthians 9:19-23

Observation

  • Paul is not technically obligated to live under any persons rules or expectations
  • However, he chooses serve people where they are at that God might use Paul more in bringing people into relationship with God through Christ
  • To those who live a culturally Jewish lifestyle, Paul chooses to live under the cultural rules of Judaism that he might have a better chance of sharing the truth of Jesus with them.
  • To those who live a strict Jewish religious lifestyle, Paul chooses to live as if he were following the laws of Judaism that he might have a better chance of sharing the truth of Jesus with them.
  • To those who live a strict Jewish religious lifestyle, Paul chooses to live as if he were following the laws of Judaism that he might have a better chance of sharing the truth of Jesus with them.
  • Paul understands he is not saved by the law and does not have to adhere to its strict standards, but chooses nonetheless to live by those rules to reach others for Jesus
  • To those who didn’t grow up knowing or following the Old Testament laws, Paul teaches them that they are not bound by the law of the Old Testament but rather the law of love instituted with Christ. So that he might have a better chance of sharing the truth of Jesus with them
  • If someone has a sensitive conscious, Paul will not choose to live freely before them in their area of weakness so that some might be strengthened in the Lord
  • Paul tries to serve all people where they are at so that he might have a better chance of sharing the gospel with them
  • Paul’s main objective in life is to see the gospel advance in both his own life as well as in the lives of others.
  • He does this because he wants his life now to have eternal consequences

Application

Whereas the previous verses focused on this principle as it relates to those inside the church, Paul applies the same principle to those outside the church. Paul ultimately answered only to God, but he willingly made himself the servant of all men that he might win them to Christ. This does not mean that Paul followed the worldly slogan, "When in Rome, do as the Romans do." That would NOT have honored Christ and would of gone against the principle of being in the world but not of it (John 17:14-16). Paul was not lowering his standards; rather, he was laying aside his personal privileges. It was not hypocrisy, but love that motivated him. He tried to understand those who needed Christ and enter into their experiences. He was a Jew, so he used this as a key to open the Jewish heart. He was a Roman citizen, so he used this as a key to open the door to the Gentiles. He sympathized with the weak and encouraged them. The idea of becoming "all things to all men and women" simply means adjusting my preferences and comforts to relate to others, to understand them, and in order to lead them into a better understanding of Christ.

Prayer

Father, thank you for Your grace and love. Thank you Jesus for doing for me on the cross what I could not do for myself. Thank you Holy Spirit for continuing to form me into the likeness of the Son. God I desire to more and more make sharing Your gospel as the center of my life. Help me keep my eyes on eternal matters. Help me see people the way You do, help me love them as You do, help me serve them as You did through Christ. Make me a better witness for You, and show me where I might give up my “rights” and “privileges” to better be a light in the darkness. In Jesus name I pray, AMEN.

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