Put Others First: Sharing The Gospel Like Paul
By Steph Nickel
Are we sharing the Gospel as often as we should be? Do we care about the salvation of our family and friends? The Apostle Paul sure did! He made sharing the Gospel with others his number one priority, and there is much to be learned from his example.
Become All things To All People
First Corinthians 9:19-22 says, “For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some“
“I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some.”
What a statement!
This clearly shows us the apostle’s priorities. There is much to learn from this passage.
Bringing the gospel of Jesus Christ to as many people as possible was clearly Paul’s priority. And though we may not be called to travel as extensively as he was, we encounter many people in person and online over the course of a week. I know I could do more to share the message of salvation with them. How about you?
Put Others First
Another thing that is clear from this passage is that the eternal wellbeing of others was clearly more important to Paul than his own wellbeing.
As I mentioned last week, 2 Corinthians 11 gives us a glimpse of Paul’s suffering. Verses 24-27 say, “Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.”
These hardships occurred because the course of Paul’s life changed after his encounter with the risen Saviour on the road to Damascus. Paul, at that time called Saul, was persecuting Christians, believing he was honouring God and upholding truth. That all changed when Jesus appeared to him and asked why he’d been persecuting Him.
Our conversion story may not be as dramatic as Paul’s, but as the visiting pastor said at our church recently, “It is a wonder that the Saviour actually rose from the dead, but we, the 21st century church, have lost our sense of wonder at this truth.” As he mentioned, the secular medical and scientific communities deny this is possible, and yet we, as believers, almost take it for granted.
Marvel At The Truth
There is so much to cause us wonder:
- The fact that Jesus Christ did, indeed, rise from the dead—after dying in our place
- The fact that He calls us into personal relationship with Himself
- The fact that we have the Scriptures in written form as well as countless other resources that help us understand God’s plans and purposes and how we can live them out
- The fact that God reveals His nature every day through His creation
If we take the time to marvel at the Truth, the wonder and excitement will begin to overflow.
Love Him And Love Others
If we ask the Lord to increase our love for Him and our love for others, we will soon want to share the Truth even in the face of opposition.
If we stop trying to force others to do things our way and are willing to make compromises that don’t require us to disobey God’s directives, we will be in a better position to make Him known.
I have several friends who are or have been missionaries to foreign cultures. These missionaries seek to learn the language, understand the social structure, dress in culturally acceptable ways, eat the food offered to them, build relationships slowly and respectfully, etc. In a sense, they seek to become all things to all people.
In days gone by, there were those who thought being a missionary meant westernizing “less advanced” people groups. They forced outward conformity but didn’t address the more important issue of biblical rebirth and inward transformation. I’m sure Paul would have shuttered at sharing the name missionary with these people.
Questions About Sharing The Gospel
And though many of us won’t become foreign missionaries and many of us will primarily interact with others with whom we have much in common, today’s passage still gives us much to think about.
We should ask ourselves the following questions regularly:
Do I take the time to marvel at who God is and all He has revealed about Himself?
Do I truly care about the spiritual condition of my family members, friends, coworkers, neighbours, even my casual acquaintances?
Am I willing to set aside my personal preferences and ways of doing things in order to make the gospel known?
Believe me, I must ask myself the same questions.
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