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All Things to All Men (Part 1)

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All Things to All Men (1Co 9:19-23)
I. Overview.
1. Being free from all men, but a servant to all.
2. Becoming as a Jew to the Jews.
3. Becoming as a Gentile to the Gentiles.
4. Becoming as weak to the weak.
5. Being all things to all men to save some and be a partaker of the gospel with them.
II. Being free from all men, but a servant to all. (1Co 9:19)
1. Paul begins this chapter by asking the rhetorical question: am I not free? (1Co 9:1)
2. This answer is obviously "yes" as Paul states in verse 19.
3. How was Paul free from all men?
A. Paul was free from sin by Jesus Christ. (Rom 6:18 c/w Rom 6:22-23)
B. Paul was free from the law of sin and death. (Rom 8:2)
C. All Christians, whether bond or free, are free in one way or another. (1Co 7:22)
D. Paul was free from the bondage of the law of Moses. (Gal 4:21 - Gal 5:1)
E. Paul was free from the bondage of lies and ignorance. (Joh 8:31-32)
F. Paul was bought with a price by Christ and was not to be the servant of men (1Co 7:23), but rather the servant of God. (Tit 1:1; 1Pe 2:16)
4. Though Paul was free from all men, he became a servant unto all.
A. He did this so that that they might be made partakers of the gospel with him. (1Co 9:23)
B. Paul was the servant of men for Jesus' sake. (2Co 4:5)
III. Paul's strategy of gaining men for Christ: meeting them where they are.
1. Jesus was a example of this Who was a friend of publicans and sinners. (Mat 11:19)
2. Paul was a soul-winner, and he that does so is wise. (Pro 11:30)
A. Wise - 1. a. Having or exercising sound judgment or discernment; capable of judging truly concerning what is right or fitting, and disposed to act accordingly; having the ability to perceive and adopt the best means for accomplishing an end; characterized by good sense and prudence.
B. Paul was a wise masterbuilder of the church. (1Co 3:10)
3. Sometimes winning souls requires the use of craftiness and guile. (2Co 12:16)
A. Crafty adj. - Skilful, dexterous, clever, ingenious. a. Of persons or their faculties, etc.
B. Guile n. - 1. Insidious cunning, deceit, treachery.
C. Insidious adj. - 1. Full of wiles or plots; lying in wait or seeking to entrap or ensnare; proceeding or operating secretly or subtly so as not to excite suspicion; sly, treacherous, deceitful, underhand, artful, cunning, crafty, wily.
D. Cunning n. - 1. 1. Knowledge; learning, erudition. 2. The capacity or faculty of knowing; wit, wisdom, intelligence. 3. Knowledge how to do a thing; ability, skill, expertness, dexterity, cleverness.
4. Being wise (having the ability to perceive and adopt the best means for accomplishing an end), Paul made himself "all things to all men" (1Co 9:22) so that he could reach them where they were and save some of them temporally.
5. Notice that Paul became as unconverted Jews, unconverted Gentiles, and weak people; he didn't become them.
A. As - adv. - II. 3. Of quantity: In that degree; to that extent…(in or to which)… Expressing the Comparative of Equality: as good as gold; as wise as fair; as strong as ever; as soon as you can; and in innumerable proverbial similes, as black as jet, as brave as a lion, etc.
B. To the degree and extent that he could, Paul became like them.
6. We would be wise to follow Paul's example. (1Co 11:1)
IV. Becoming as a Jew under the law to the Jews under the law. (1Co 9:20)
1. Paul was a Jew. (Act 22:3)
2. But Paul was no longer in the Jews' religion. (Gal 1:13-16)
3. Being a Jew by nationality and lineage, Paul could still be as a Jew to the degree and extent that he was not compromising his Christianity.
A. Even after his conversion, Paul still had a burden for the Jews who were his kinsmen. (Rom 9:1-4)
B. Even after all they did to him, he still identified himself as an Israelite. (Rom 11:1)
C. Paul went into the synagogues of the Jews on many occasions which he used as platform to preach the gospel. (Act 13:14-16; Act 14:1; Act 17:1-2; Act 17:10-11; Act 18:4,7-8)
D. Paul would even have Timothy become as a Jew to gain the Jews. (Act 16:1-3)
E. Paul even went so far as to go into the temple with some believing Jews which had taken a vow and was purified with them in the temple and a sacrifice was offered for them. (Act 21:18-26)
i. These were believing Jews who were still zealous of the law (Act 21:20).
ii. This was during the transitional time when the New Testament was in effect, and the Old Testament was technically abolished (2Co 3:13), but while the temple stood it was practically decaying and waxing old and was ready to vanish away (Heb 8:13).
iii. During that time, the Jews could still make non-sin offerings, but they couldn't make sin offerings since there remained no sacrifice for sins after Jesus' final sufficient sacrifice for sins. (Heb 10:8-14)
iv. There had been rumors floating around which said that Paul was teaching the Jews which were living among the Gentiles that they should forsake the law of Moses, not circumcise their children, and not walk after the customs of the Jews. (Act 21:21)
v. There were four Jews there that had apparently taken the vow of a Nazarite (Act 21:23-24) which required a man to shave his head and offer sacrifices at the end of the vow. (Num 6:2,5,18-20)
vi. James asked Paul to go with those Jews into the temple and purify himself with them and be at charges with them while they shaved their heads, so that everyone would know that Paul walked orderly as a Jew and kept the law. (Act 21:24)
vii. Paul did purify himself with them and entered into the temple where an offering was made for everyone of them. (Act 21:26)
viii. It must be assumed that the sin offering that was part of the Nazarite vow (Num 6:13-14) was not offered since Paul and these other men were Christians, but only the burnt offerings, peace offerings, meat offerings, drink offerings, or wave offerings (Num 6:14-17,20) were offered for them.
Since Paul was a Jew and he could still keep parts of the ceremonial law, he became as a Jew to the Jews to gain the Jews. (1Co 9:20)

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