Why Christians Should NOT Do What They Have Every Right to Do
October 11, 2020 AM
Pastor Craig Ledbetter
Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland
I. Introduction and Review (1Corinthians 6:12)
A. Personal liberties and rights are some of the most precious things any human being possesses.
1. The right to free speech, freedom to worship, freedom of movement, freedom from slavery, freedom from Government oppression
2. Those are priceless liberties
B. People have fought long and hard to have such freedom
C. But there is another freedom, that excels all others – the freedom from sin
1. We are NOT free from sinning, but from SIN!
2. Free from sin’s grip and power over us, and damnation
3. Romans 6:18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.
D. Christians Have Been Made Free by One Person - by Christ Jesus
1. Romans 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
2. No born again believer is working to become free anymore
3. Jesus broke the cycle of sinning, that was leading us to death and hell!
4. A born again child of God is now FREE of the bondage and damnation of all that sin!
a. We ARE washed, sanctified, and justified – fully forgiven
b. We ARE free – Jesus said, “free indeed”
5. How? By the infinite efforts of the Son of God 2,000 years ago in Israel
a. Not by anything a church can do, or priest, or pastor
b. God Himself became a real Human Being, and lived as a Man, and fulfilled all the requirements of all of God’s laws, for all mankind – perfectly!
c. When Jesus died at the hands of wicked politicians and religionists, He took all of our failures to live up to God’s laws, onto Himself, and He personally paid for our failures – every last one of them
d. That’s why Jesus was able to say in John 8:36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. [TOTALLY FREE]
II. What Do We Do With All This Freedom Now? (1Corinthians 6:12)
A. 1Corinthians 6:12 All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.
B. All things that are lawful, are lawful unto me, but they are not always the best for me
1. Everything that is okay to do, I am free to do
2. But it may not be best for me to do – why?
a. Because “all things are not expedient” – they are not always the best for me
b. Because “all things edify not” – not everything that I am free to do helps me at all
c. Because as a Christian, under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, I have decided that “I will not be brought under the power of any [THING]”, except HIM
3. So, nothing should limit what I do for God
4. It should be THE OTHER WAY AROUND! Nothing that I am free to do should limit the will of God for my life!
C. The great Apostle Paul limits HIS freedoms, HIS rights so that not even GOOD things could take control of his life, even though it may not be wrong to do
1. Paul stayed single, even though it was not wrong at all to be married – so that he could go to prison constantly
2. Paul often hid his Roman citizenship when in trouble with the “law” so that he could preach to people he otherwise would never have meet in the markets
3. Paul suffered as a Christian, for others!
4. Why? Because Christian maturity requires US limiting our own freedoms, so that others might find freedom
D. Because, there are more important things than my personal rights – SOULS!
A. As a Christian, I Am Free (1Corinthians 9:19)
1. 1Corinthians 9:19 For though I be free from all men…
2. NO ONE controls me now
3. No human owns me, and no one tells me what to do
4. Christ made me free from all forms of human bondage – even as a slave, I am very free!
B. Yet as a Christian, I Make Myself a Servant (1Corinthians 9:19)
1. 1Corinthians 9:19 For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all…
2. I humble this life of mine lower than other people, and allow them to run my life…
3. I submit to unfair rules, and even abuses
4. Because I have chosen to be a servant, like Jesus was!
5. I now choose to be a servant of absolutely everybody I meet
a. I could walk away and do what I want, and be what “I” want to be
b. But I won’t do that!
c. I choose not to do that
d. I choose instead to become like those that I want to win to faith in Christ Jesus
e. It is THAT important
C. Paul’s Examples (1Corinthians 9:20-22)
1. To the Jew Paul became as a Jew (1Corinthians 9:20)
a. 1Corinthians 9:20 And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews…
b. So even though he was a Christian, a follower of Jesus, he became a Jew when around Jewish people
1) He talked like them – in their language, Hebrew
2) He ate their food - He stayed away from pig-meat
3) He respected their culture and traditions, and respected them as much as possible
1) To earn the right to give them the Gospel - To win them to Christ.
2) If he ignored their Jewish traditions and feast days, they would have never listened to one word he said. If he only mocked them and said the traditions were all worthless and stupid, he would have been ignored, or stoned!
d. Question. How far are you willing to go to win someone who is different than you?
1) If you want to win someone from Scotland
a) You ought to learn to like Haggis
b) And you ought to learn Golf… And Curling… and hillwalking
2) Do we live in Ireland?
a) The Irish love it when someone not Irish honours the Irish Language, and the Irish Flag, and the Irish government
b) It is RIGHT for us to learn Irish history, and love this country, and pray for its leaders, and love its people!
c) That is IF you would like to win them to Christ
3) If you lived in England… You had better learn to yell “God save the Queen” whenever she passes by
4) If you lived in America…
a) You should celebrate July 4th – even if you are British
b) Americans love it when someone recognizes July 4th and Independence Day
c) You should learn to like corn on the cob, and try some homemade fried okra, and grits, and 4 alarm chili
5) I met a man from Egypt a few days ago. Guess what we talked about… EGYPT. I asked him about the most beautiful places there, and whether I and my wife should go sometime to see it, and what is his favourite food he misses being here. In the end, he took a Gospel of John in Arabic, and started reading it there and then! That would not have happened if I just started into a conversation about GOD without earning this man’s trust!
2. To the Religious Paul became very religious (1Corinthians 9:20)
a. 1Corinthians 9:20 … to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law;
b. To win those who were trying to keep and obey God’s law…
c. Paul humbled himself from all the freedoms he had in Christ, and chose to not work on the Sabbath when he was around lost Pharisees and religious zealots
1) To earn the right to give them the Gospel!
2) To show them that he loved THEM, and respected THEM
3) Which is a lost art today!
e. So, if you work with a Muslim, or have a classmate that is Hindu
1) Get to know their culture, their religion, the people, the burdens of the people you want to win to Christ
2) Pray for them like you wish someone would pray for YOU if you were the lost person on YOUR way to hell!
3. To the Lawless, He hid his Knowledge of the Law (1Corinthians 9:21) didn’t boast
a. 1Corinthians 9:21 To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law.
b. The lawless were those that reject God’s authority over their lives and morality
1) These are the immoral and ungodly
2) The drunkards, the drug addicts
3) The rapists and murderers sitting in prison
c. Paul humbled himself and got in trouble with the law so that he could reach the lowest
d. He never lived like a thief, but he put aside all the arguments about how important the law is, and just focused on how important the Lord is to changing a life!
4. To the Weak, Sickly, Infirm (1Corinthians 9:22)
a. 1Corinthians 9:22 To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.
b. He would just go and sit and hurt WITH them
c. Paul allowed sickness to bring him closer to understanding how to talk to and love and win sick people into the kingdom of God
d. Maybe that is why God puts US into the hospital sometimes… for OTHERS!
5. HOW FAR WILL YOU GO FOR ONE SOUL?
a. Paul allowed God and all of life’s circumstances to forge him into every one of those mindsets
b. Humbled himself to the level of the people he met – never arrogant, never superior
c. He adapted – didn’t change the truth he preached, but changed his life to fit into the culture he was trying to win to faith in Christ
d. He respected and valued those who were lost as worth him losing his own life
e. Jesus said in Matthew 10:39 He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.
D. Modern Examples
1. Hudson Taylor
a. Hudson Taylor and the China Inland Mission (CIM), which he founded in 1865, are well known for their adoption to Chinese dress, in contrast to most other foreign missionaries at the time.
b. Hudson Taylor made sure all the missionaries who worked with him
1) Ate Chinese food with Chinese implements;
2) lived among the Chinese in Chinese housing;
3) Thoroughly learned the languages of those whom they intended to reach;
4) Obeyed local customs and etiquette;
5) And rejected the protection from British military power at their disposal. They lived like Chinese!
c. Taylor himself adopted Chinese dress, including shaving his head and wearing a queue robe, his countrymen in Shanghai considered him a madman.
d. Hudson Taylor was preaching and soul-winning like Jesus did, when HE became flesh and dwelt among US. Did you ever notice (John 1:14) And the Word [GOD] was made flesh, and dwelt among us...
2. To them that are having marriage problems, I can never look down on them, but have to sit where they sit, and try and see what they see, from both sides before I can help
a. By the way, that is a good way for both of them to work out their problems
b. By humbly seeing things from the other person’s view
3. To them that have a wayward son or daughter – Remember what it was like with YOUR own wayward sons, and talk with them as a failed parent, who trusts God more than our efforts
4. To a wife, when she is hurting, I am supposed to learn what she is feeling, and hurt with her – not ignore her because she is just an emotional woman!
5. Do you have a drunkard husband? Sit with him while he drinks himself stupid, and care for his soul, pray for him, and listen to him, and hold him when he cries
a. That’s hard I know!
b. But it is the right thing to do that actually helps
6. Do you have an unbelieving husband?
a. 1Peter 3:1 Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;
1) Do you want to win the argument God’s way ladies?
2) Do it by your LIFE’s conversion (by what your humble LIFE says), instead of your LIPS scream
b. THAT is how you win a stubborn, hard-headed, grumpy husband!
7. Do you have someone in a cult? Respect them, engage them with the Bible, but respectfully. It won’t always work, but it what WE are supposed to do
8. Jesus summed this up in Matthew 7:12 Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.
E. The Point I want to make is this…
1. The SOULS of the Jewish people, of Religious people, of Immoral people, of Weak and Sickly people, of the English, Nigerians, Congolese, South Africans, Texans, Canadians, French, Swiss, Swedes, Finnish, Italians, and so on…
2. Are all More Important Than OUR Personal Rights – at least they ought to be!
a. 1Corinthians 9:19 For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more.
b. 1Corinthians 9:22 To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.
3. Paul was a true winner of souls!
A. What Does it Take to Win Lost People Today? (1Corinthians 9:26,27)
1. 1Corinthians 9:26,27 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
a. It takes great effort to run and run and stay running – the Christian’s life is a long race
b. It is no picnic, or stroll in the park!
c. It is heart-pounding, stressful, it hurts, it is never easy to keep doing
d. And it must have certainty – assurance you are truly doing the right thing, NOT your own thing, or doing things YOUR way
e. I so run!!!
3. “So fight I…” Winning a soul means, Fighting and making contact with the enemy
a. The lost, the ungodly, the ultra religious, the political, are not our enemy!
b. Satan and his demons are our enemy – working behind the blinded minds of people
c. Don’t play nice with the devil our REAL enemy
d. Do something that hurts HIM!
e. Humble yourself – THAT hurts him because God steps in then!
f. Kick the sin in our homes OUT!
g. Don’t just “go through the motions”!
h. Fight on your knees in prayer against whatever the devil has planned for you
i. Overcome evil not with revenge, but with good works
j. Humble yourself, even though you are right, knowing that God is slapping Satan square on the face every time you yield and just do right!
4. Keeping under your body, bringing IT into subjection
a. To keep under means to humble yourself, humble your feelings, bring yourself low
b. Even though I am free to do as I please
c. I have to stop myself from doing what I please!
d. I have to make myself do what is the better thing
e. I have to make my body do what it does not want to do
1) Throw away the bottles of drink, the cans, the pints
2) Get rid of the channels that you have allowed yourself to slip into watching
3) Put real limits on your freedom
f. Carry that rebellious life of yours into the will of God, kicking and screaming
g. THAT is Christian maturity – only a baby does what it wants – don’t be a baby!
B. What Failure Looks Like (1Corinthians 9:27)
1. 1Corinthians 9:27 … lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
2. Castaway = Becoming worthless, rejected as a servant – unusable!
a. Not from rejected from entering heaven – Christ made me righteous
b. But rejected from approval by God as a wasted life
c. Mark 8:38 Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.
d. Can you imagine tell people about the Son of God who died for them
e. And the new life they can have if they would just repent and believe it
f. And then being exposed as someone whose life was a shame!
1) Someone hires you to work at Tesco
2) Work 8 hours, yet doing all your own things
3) Never building anything
4) Never making a sale
5) Never doing what your employer asked you to do, and was paying you to do
6) Just doing whatever YOU wanted to do, for the entire time
7) And yet bragging on working for Tesco, and inviting people to get a job there too
8) Tell me… would YOU pay that man/woman? For just being a braggard?
9) Would you not be very upset and fire them, telling them they wasted your time, and your investment in them?
3. That ought to terrify us!
C. But there is something far more terrifying!
1. Being told by Jesus at the judgment, depart from me, I don’t know you!
2. Simply because you refused to humble yourself and admit you are a sinful man or woman and cry out to Jesus Christ to forgive you and save you from your sins
3. And make you truly free
4. So that you can start to live for HIM instead of only for yourself
5. Will anyone do that right now? You have GOT to do it today!