On New Year’s Day, Pastor John Maxwell shared a sermon with Christ Fellowship church about Paul’s passion for personal evangelism.
As I got to the end, I nearly cried with him.
1 Corinthians 9:19-23 (MSG)
Even though I am free of the demands and expectations of everyone, I have voluntarily become a servant to any and all to reach a wide range of people: religious, nonreligious, meticulous moralists, loose-living immoralists, the defeated, the demoralized –whoever.
I didn’t take on their way of life. I kept my bearings in Christ but I entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view.
I’ve become just about every sort of servant there is in my attempts to lead those I meet into a God-saved life. I did all this because of the Message.
I didn’t just want to talk out it; I wanted to be in on it!
1. Paul’s passion changed him.
I am a free person, I am free in Christ and I am free to go left, I am free to go right. I am free to go forward. I am free to go backward. I can go upward. I can go downward but I can’t live a free life because what I need to do is I need to reach people so what I need to do is become a servant to any and all.
If I am going to be effective in bringing people to the kingdom, I have to put people first, that I have to constantly think of them and adding value to them. If you want to be Christ-like, just put others first and add value to them every day.
2. It has caused him to include everyone.
Paul’s passion had no territory, had no turf, had no fences around it.
He says “I have voluntarily become a servant to any and all. In order to reach a wide range of people, I want to reach religious and non-religious people. I want to reach meticulous moralists. I want to reach loose living immoralists. I want to reach the defeated. I want to reach the demoralized.”
He is just trying to express all of which he wants to reach because he wants to reach them all and then finally sums up one word – whoever.
3. His passion established his identity.
He said I did not take on their way of life. I kept my bearings in Christ.
In other words, he says, I want to reach him but to reach him, I don’t have to become like him. Christians often have a hard time liking people who live in the world.
You truly find out who you are when you have to leave your culture, your surroundings, your friends, your church service, all the things that make us so comfortable as Christ followers.
You never know just truly who you are until you have to leave your world and get into their world.
4. Paul’s passion challenged him to enter their world and out of his comfort zone.
Paul entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view. As Christians, we want people to see our point of view.
Do you best to enter the world of the non-believer, to understand how they see God.
I hope you have a whole bunch of sinner friends. People should not be able to go to church until they have 25 sinner friends. You loose your sinner friends and you loose your passion to reach them for Christ.
They will not be comfortable with you until you are comfortable where you are.
Maxwell tackles how he answers “I can’t believe a loving God would send people to hell” (about 19 minutes in).
5. Paul’s passion helped him to become creative.
Paul thinks about how to reach people. You’ve got to find them before you can lead them. There is some creativity in how to reach.
“You got to catch the fish, before you clean them.”
The key to creativity – believe “there is always an answer.” Creativity is stimulated on the fact that there is a answer. You’ve got an awesome gospel, and you have creative ways to share it.
He then gives an example on the Four Pictures of God script.
When was the last time your thoughts were not yours, but about the thoughts of lost people and what it would take communicate to them?
How do you get wise? Share your faith with lost people.
6. Paul’s passion allowed him to love and live out the Message.
“We are educated in the church way beyond our level of obedience.”
“Transformation doesn’t happen until you act upon what you know.”
Then Maxwell tells a story that provokes tears of “yeah, me too.” I found myself saying yes, I’d like to do the same.
“What is my gift when I stand before Jesus?”
It is a rousing call to action about the 34 minute mark.