Should we be like the world for the sake of the Gospel?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Joseph_Botwinick, Jul 24, 2005.

  1. Joseph_Botwinick

    Joseph_Botwinick
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    An excerpt that caught my attention from my daily Bible Reading since it seems to deal with some issues that are debated and discussed concerning the PDL, and other Church Growth Models:

    1 Corinthians 9:19-23

    Thoughts? Comments? What say you?

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  2. TaterTot

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    I think that means that we need to get on their level. SOme people just arent going to come waltzing up the church steps. So we go down the steps and into their world.

    Now, i am not saying we should go to a bar to reach the drunks, but we shouldnt treat one like he/she has the plague either.
     
  3. Joseph_Botwinick

    Joseph_Botwinick
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    Would that not be a possible means of reaching lost folks who would never come to Church otherwise?

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  4. TaterTot

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    I actually would not have a problem with it. Just didnt want to get the worms started coming outta their nice neat can. [​IMG]
     
  5. NaasPreacher (C4K)

    NaasPreacher (C4K)
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    I do not frequent bars, although I have had a meal at a pub now and then, but most of my ministry is spent meeting people where they are - in the world.

    We recently had a missions team here to help with a VBS. I was able to arrange two meetings between them and the youth to whom I teach literacy at a centre for, shall say, troubled teens.

    It was an eye opening experience. Many of these kids had never spent time with "those kind of kids." It was a great opportunity to love these kids, who knew that we were Christians.

    I go where I need to go, but do not sacrifice my testimony to do so. We have lost people over for dinner and we go to their homes for the same. I spend about 99% of my time with the lost. My family often hears language which is not edifying. We have entertained a couple "lving in sin" at dinner in our home and visited them. We have been invited to a cookout where we will be the only Christians later in the summer.

    I am certainly not setting myself up as a standard. The Lord has humbled me far too much for that. May this, however, be part of what Paul is writing about?

    We must go to where they are to bring them to where God wants them to me. It is possible to do that without "being like them." It is not possible, however, unless we are with them.
     
  6. OldRegular

    OldRegular
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    This passage of Scripture more than any other, except perhaps "Judge not that ye be not judged.", has been used to bring the trash of the world into the Churches, including trash music like rock, hip hop, and whatever.

    There are basically two types of unsaved people in the world. Those who are self righteous and need not the Grace of God and those who believe their sin forbids them the Grace of God. These two types are best exemplified by the following parable of Jesus Christ:

    Luke 18:10, 14
    10. Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
    11. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
    12. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
    13. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
    14. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.


    The Apostle Paul once referred to himself as the "Chief of Sinners" [1 Timothy 1:15] and as the least of the Apostles because he had persecuted the Church [1 Corinthians 15:9]. As Saul, the persecutor of the Church, he was:

    Philippians 3:5,6
    5. Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;
    6. Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.


    From his background as a self righteous Pharisee to recognizing himself as the chief of sinners Paul was able to identify with the needs of the unsaved. I believe that is the message of the passage in the OP [1 Corinthians 9:19-23]. Paul did not become a drunk so that he could identify with drunks, sexually immoral so that he could identify with the sexually immoral, a liar so that he could identify with liars and so on. Yet because he understood both the attitude of the self righteous and the sinner he was able to present the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    There is an event in the life of Jesus Christ that vividly and beautifully demonstrates the difference between one who understands that he stands before God as a sinner and subject to the wrath of God and one who stands before God in his self righteousness. The Apostle Paul could identify with each of these people, both in need of the saving Grace of God.

    Luke 7:36-50
    36. And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to meat.
    37. And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment,
    38. And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.
    39. Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner.
    40 And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on.
    41. There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty.
    42. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?
    43. Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged.
    44. And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head.
    45. Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet.
    46. My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment.
    47. Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.
    48.And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven.
    49. And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also?
    50. And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.
     
  7. donnA

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    I posted once about meeting people where they are, without conforming to the world and got all jumped on, not one was in agreement with me.
     
  8. All about Grace

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    What I believe Paul is saying is that he met people right where they were. He did not try and make Gentiles conform to Jewish standards. He did not flaunt his freedom in front of Jews whom he was trying to reach. He recognized their culture and met them there.

    Obviously Paul did not sin in order to identify with them. But neither did he remain in his holy bubble and rale against them. He followed the model of Jesus, who ate and drank with sinners (and like today was disparaged for doing so).
     
  9. Joseph_Botwinick

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    How did Paul become like one under the law? It seems to me that this goes a bit beyond just going where they are to meet them where they are. When Paul says he became like them, that tells me that he took on some of who they are so that he could relate to them. How does one become like someone who is under the law?

    For a more modern day example, how does one become like a Wiccan to win them for Christ?

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  10. Joseph_Botwinick

    Joseph_Botwinick
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    Roger,

    No offense. But, it seems like Paul is saying the exact opposite of what you just said. He says that he became like the sinners in order to win them. I, as some may know, am not a Greek scholar as I spent most of my time with the Hebrew and OT, so please enlighten me if there is a linguistic issue here that is not clearly stated in the English Translation.

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  11. Joseph_Botwinick

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    So, IOW, God used Paul's life experiences to help him relate with the lost who were as he was before he was saved? Am I summarizing your understanding of the passage correctly? Let me then, ask you this:

    Did not Paul grow up with the law? At what point did he not have the law?

    How does he become all things to all men when he has not had the same experiences of all men? Also, what is the purpose of him becoming like the lost according to Paul?

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  12. NaasPreacher (C4K)

    NaasPreacher (C4K)
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    Roger,

    No offense. But, it seems like Paul is saying the exact opposite of what you just said. He says that he became like the sinners in order to win them. I, as some may know, am not a Greek scholar as I spent most of my time with the Hebrew and OT, so please enlighten me if there is a linguistic issue here that is not clearly stated in the English Translation.

    Joseph Botwinick
    </font>[/QUOTE]No offence taken by any means Joseph.

    I am not sure about the word "as" here. I do not think it implies accpeting all of their activities and doing the things they do necessarily.

    To become "as" them, from what I have understood, is to not hold oneself above them or aloof from them.

    Jesus did not pray that we would be taken out of the world, but that we would not be "of" the world and that we would be free from the evil of the worls. Therefore being "as" them cannot mean being "of" them.
     
  13. Joseph_Botwinick

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    So, based on scriptural context, that is how you come to your conclusion: (i.e.: Interpreting scripture with other scripture). Correct?

    Joseph Botwinick
     
  14. NaasPreacher (C4K)

    NaasPreacher (C4K)
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    So far, yes, but to be honest I have not carefully thought this all the way through.
     
  15. OldRegular

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    How did Paul become like one under the law? It seems to me that this goes a bit beyond just going where they are to meet them where they are. When Paul says he became like them, that tells me that he took on some of who they are so that he could relate to them. How does one become like someone who is under the law?

    For a more modern day example, how does one become like a Wiccan to win them for Christ?

    Joseph Botwinick
    </font>[/QUOTE]I do not believe that Paul actually subjected himself to the law [ordinances] as this would be inconsistent with his confrontation with Peter. However there are two passages of Scripture that indicate Paul did do certain things consistent with the law [Acts 18:18; 21:23]. As I stated earlier Paul, having been subject himself to the law prior to his conversion, could relate to those who still were subject to the law.

    As far as your question: How does one become like a Wiccan to win them for Christ? We can't. To do so would be a grevious sin against God. But as one who once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air [Ephesians 2:2] we certainly understand their lost condition. If we were once lost in sin does it make any difference what sin we were involved in?
     

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