ARE YOU A WINNER?
What am I to be ‘like’ in order to win people to Christ?
1 Corinthians 9:20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law.
So is this true of the intoxicated? The prostitute? The drug addict? Should I become like them to win them?
There are countless conversations I’ve had with teenagers and new believers who need to understand the dangers of chumming with old friends. I always admire the passion within a new believer, and don’t get me wrong, they should have concern for those old friends. In fact, they put the ‘I’ve-been-a-Christian-for-years’ believer to shame.
I learn a great deal from every new convert. One of the reasons we should be seeing people saved in our churches and in our personal lives is that it invigorates us. Two things are true. 1) There are countless people that need saving, 2) There are countless believers that need invigorating. If people are not being saved in your church then the gospel is not being preached.
Sadly, where the gospel is being preached the devil lurks at every move, looking to snatch away every viable seed.
So, how do we really become winners?
Paul says, v19 Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible… and v22 I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.
This depicts a life of sacrifice, NOT giving in.
There’s a difference. I give in because I want to be accepted. I sacrifice what I have because I am accepted, knowing who I am and who I belong to.
Some may say to get drunk to win the drunkards or go the party’s full of drugs, alcohol and sexual behavior because you can be a light in the darkness. That would be a lie. The very fact that your life has changed is enough. They will see it, if you stay the course.
Paul essentially gives his own commentary on this passage in the next chapter of 1 Corinthians.
1 Corinthians 10:31-11:1
31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 32 Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— 33 even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved. 1 Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.
John Piper says in his sermon on this topic, ‘adapt as much as you can in non-sinful ways.’
Galatians 5:13 You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.
I conclude with John Piper…
Here are two tests of how you are doing in this delicate balancing act.
- Are you becoming more worldly minded than they are becoming spiritually minded? If so, you have probably crossed the line. Christ does not call you to lose your holiness, but to gain theirs.
- Is your passion for winning your friends and family growing, or is it shrinking as you become all things to them? If it is shrinking, then you are not in the law of Christ at that point.
The bottom line: Becoming all things to all men doesn’t mean you give in on the truth. You live according to the truth no matter what. That in itself makes you a winner.
Becoming All Things To All Men To Save Some, By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org