As one scholar put it: 'It was not looseness of life that Paul advocates, it was rather liberty of action with a lofty object' - the object was that he would by all means save some. Now don't misunderstand me please, because there's a lot of dilution of the gospel going on today - and what we need, if anything, as we have said, 'Woe is unto me if I preach not the gospel' - we're not talking about making the gospel acceptable to those around us, or changing it, or diluting it to satisfy them, because Paul said already that he was an ambassador, not a politician! He had to give what God had give to him, but what he's talking about here is not the message but the method, and in his method he was able to condescend in any way it took to see people brought to Jesus Christ.
He never ever set the truth of the gospel aside, but he was willing to set aside his own personal liberty in the gospel that he would win some. I think John MacArthur puts it very well, he says this: 'If a person is offended by God's word, that is his problem.
Soul Saving Our One Business
If he is offended by Biblical doctrine, Biblical standards, or church discipline, that is his problem. That person is offended by God. But if he is offended by our unnecessary behaviour or practices, no matter how good and acceptable those may be in themselves, his problem becomes our problem - and it is not a problem of law, but the problem of love'.
That's it in a nutshell, because for Paul nothing meant anything apart from the gospel. What a statement! I'm willing to set aside everything but the gospel, for the gospel, in order that the gospel's influence cannot be hindered in my life'. How refreshing this is, how challenging it is. I've been referring lately in my preaching to Hudson Taylor because I've been reading, on and off, his biography.
You may not know this, but Hudson Taylor went to China at the same time as Britain had declared war upon China. It was like going to the enemy, and if that wasn't stigma enough Taylor also decided, when he was out of China for a while, that he would take upon himself the dress and the look of the Chinese - and this was something unique and monumental, it had only been done a few times before by gospel missionaries, but he did it.
If you like, he became a Chinaman to Chinamen, that he might win Chinamen. What did he do? Remember now that this is the s. He shaved off all his hair - now some of you don't need to do that! He grew it because that was Chinese custom, to have this ponytail from your head - I can't remember the technical name for it, but he did this.
Then he dyed that ponytail black, because the Chinese all have - as far as I know - black hair. He nearly blinded himself with ammonia, and he was a doctor, as he tried to dye his hair; and he got scars over his face as he tried to do it. Then he took upon himself Chinese traditional dress, the long silk gown and robe.
He bound himself, he loosed himself of liberty to dress whatever way he liked, and coming from the West they dress in a three-piece suit or whatever it was, he had forgone this - why?
Because in the Chinese mind they believed that a white man's dignity rested in strict adherence to British dress and British western habits. When Taylor decided to don this Chinese look, and look in all intents and purposes just like a Chinese man, it was deeply shocking, first of all to the Chinese, and then to the British, some of the missionaries.
Soul Saving Our One Business
We're not in the s, but what would you do if on a missionary Sunday we had a missionary from China, and he got up into the pulpit in a dress with a long ponytail down his back? Come on now, what would you do? Hundreds of years ago this man of God, and I hope you would agree with me that he was a man of God, he had gone native - and as far as the British were concerned, it's on record, that he had lost his credibility as a missionary for doing it. He even lost support, and they even labelled him a traitor because he was going to those whom they were at war with, and he was denying his Britishness in order to win the lost - but he set aside his liberty and he became enslaved to these Chinese customs, why?
To win them! Because his love for them was greater than his desire for liberty in Christ! Why was that? Because he had a passion for the lost. Now come on friends, what are we doing that we by all means - not sinful means now, don't misunderstand me - but by all means save some? Do you know that we need to? Do you even know that we need to?
What are we doing? Can we even bring somebody to the gospel meeting? It seems not! He had also been a leader in a reformed Buddhist sect. This Buddhist sect believed that you shouldn't worship idols, they were reformed in that sense - they opposed idolatry, and they were really trying to search for the truth. At the end of Hudson Taylor's sermon, Nee stood up and he addressed the audience and said this: 'I have long searched for the truth as my father did before me, and I have travelled far but I haven't found it. From now on I believe in Jesus'.
Nee took Hudson Taylor to a meeting of the sect he had formerly led, and was allowed for a moment to explain the reason for his change of faith. Taylor was so impressed with the clarity and power with which he spoke that he addressed him afterwards, and spoke to him personally. Another member of the group was converted that same evening, and both Nee and the new convert were baptised that moment. Embarrassed, he said: 'For several hundred years'.
My father sought after the truth for more than 20 years and died without finding it! Why didn't you come sooner! The author says: 'For Hudson Taylor, it was a difficult question to answer'. May we be, as Paul says in verse 23, partakers together in winning the lost by all means, and saving some. Friends in the assembly, elders, deacons, members, is there not more we can be doing to win the lost? I'm not talking about dressing up like a clown and swallowing a goldfish, I'm talking about in the realms of liberty that we have in Christ, can we not be doing more?
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- Preaching for a Response: The Preacher as a Soul-Winner | Preaching Source?
- 4 Biblical Elements Missing From The Modern Church Service.
May we do more, may the Lord give us a passion after the lost. Father, help us to save with fear, to have compassion making a difference, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garments spotted by the flesh. Give us a heart that the Saviour had as He stood over Jerusalem and wept for their souls. Give us the compulsion that He had to set His face as a flint to go to Jerusalem, to say: 'I have a baptism to be baptised with, and how I am straitened until it be accomplished'.
Let us be like Paul who said: 'Oh, that I would be accursed for my brethren, accursed from Christ that I might win them.
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- “The Wisdom Of A Master Soul-Winner”!
My heart's desire', he said, 'and prayer for Israel is that they might be saved'. Oh Lord, would You save our friends, our loved ones, this neighbourhood, those around that have no hope. Lord, let us by all means biblical and necessary, seek to win them for the time is short, and there's no time to be playing around with the eternal souls of men and women. So hear us Lord, Amen. Don't miss Part 23 of '1 Corinthians': "Discovering Discipline". April www. All material by David Legge is copyrighted. However, these materials may be freely copied and distributed unaltered for the purpose of study and teaching, so long as they are made available to others free of charge, and this copyright is included.
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1 Corinthians Part The Wisdom Of A Master Soul-Winner - David Legge - Preach The Word
This copyright is exercised to keep these materials freely available to all. Any exceptions to these conditions must be explicitly approved by Preach The Word. Listen or Download: Click the play button to listen. Right-click or hold down on the Cloud icon to download MP3 audio. Read: Read or print the word-for-word transcript below for further study. Outline: I Corinthians The Soul-Winner's Motivation verses a. A high motive verse 15 b. A passionate motive verse 16 c. A rewarded motive verses The Soul-Winner's Adaptation verses a. To the Jew under the law verses b. To the Gentile outside the law verse 21 c.
To the weak without understanding verses One thing that we do receive is a picture, a portrait, even a self-portrait of the apostle Paul as a soul-winner - and I would go as far as to say, as a master soul-winner If you are to win souls, it will be called upon you at times to forgo your rights and your liberty for the gospel's sake He made sure that there was never once an occasion of finger-pointing of blame toward him that he was in it for the money Paul's purpose and motive in ministry was men, not money.