At the beginning of 1 Corinthians 9, the Apostle Paul asserts that as a preacher of the gospel of Jesus Christ, he has the right to demand the church pay him and help meet his needs. He chooses, however, not to exercise that right because he doesn’t want anything to hinder the work he’s doing for the Lord.
In verses 20-23, he continues with the theme of doing whatever’s necessary to bring others to Christ: “19 Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 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. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. 23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.”
Christians are called to have this same attitude. We are to do whatever is necessary to reach others with the gospel of Jesus Christ. God didn’t create the church to be a country club. He created it to do ministry in his name. This means the church needs to constantly evaluate its ministries to see if they are being effective. If they aren’t, the church needs to make changes. (more…)
The book of Matthew ends with Jesus issuing a dramatic challenge to his followers. Matthew 28:16-20 says “16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Jesus took his disciples up on a mountain to talk with them. In Biblical times, and especially in Matthew’s Gospel, experiences with God happened on mountains. People viewed mountaintops as being closer to the heavens so they were closer to God. There they worshipped Jesus and he gave them what we call the Great Commission. They were already disciples of Jesus and he commanded them to go out into the world and make even more disciples. The book of Acts tells us this is exactly what they did. (more…)
As you think about your relationship with Jesus, prayerfully answer the following question: Why do I follow him? Once this question is answered, please wrestle with this one: Is he doing everything in my life that I’m expecting him to do?
The reason we need to think about these questions is because we human beings are creatures of comfort and convenience. We want things to always work in our favor with as little effort and as few problems as possible. Buying prepackaged meals and take-out replaces cooking. We stop by the car wash so we don’t have to hand-wash our vehicles. Most of the clothes we buy are “wrinkle free” so we can avoid ironing them. Using Facebook means I no longer have to call 428 people and tell them where I’m having lunch, who I’m with and what I’m eating. Shouldn’t our faith be just as comfortable and convenient? After all, Jesus said in John 14:14 – “You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” (more…)