The Gospel of Jesus Brings a 180 Degree Turn that Transforms a Life from Self to Service
Topic: Light Shines in the Darkness Passage: 1 Corinthians 9:16–9:27
What would cause a person to choose service over self? In today’s text, the Apostle Paul describes his strategy for reaching lost people, a strategy that involved giving up his own rights. Paul is asking, in effect, “Myself or ministry?”
The Gospel of Jesus brings a 180° turn that transforms a life from self to service.
The Apostle was so convicted of the need to share this Good News with others that he declares, “woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel” (v.16). Paul’s conversion story in Acts 9 tells graphically how Jesus met him in the midst of his darkness and let him into grace. This changed Paul’s entire life forever.
Paul’s mission strategy then was to be “all things to all people that by all means” (v. 22) he might save some. He is giving up his precious rights. He tells us why in the next verse. He does it, first, for the sake of the Gospel, and then secondly that he may share in its blessings with those who come to faith.
The Gospel, at a simple level, is that “Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures” (1 Cor. 15:3). This message was paramount to Paul’s preaching. “For” our sins implies “because of” and “in order to pay for.” Christ died because of our sins in order to pay for them. Through faith in Christ, Paul was reconciled to God and counted as a “brother” among the believers (See Acts 9). He never let himself or his readers forget that he persecuted the Church.
Taking It Home: Look again at the darkness in which you once lived. Praise God for manifesting the Gospel in your life (Epiphany literally means shining light upon). Ask yourself how you can build bridges with outsiders to earn the right to be heard.
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