Question and Answer – Part 78 – Questions from the Floor – Pastor John Barnett
What Did Paul Mean in 1 Cor. 9:19-23 When He Said,
“We Should Become All Things to All People”?
Romans 14 & 1 Corinthians 9
Rom. 14:22 Have it to yourself before God. This is better translated, “have as your own conviction before God.” Paul urges the strong believer to understand his liberty, enjoy it, and keep it between God and himself. what he approves. The strong believer maintains a healthy conscience because he does not give a weak believer a cause to stumble.
Romans 14 & Questionable Things
In Romans 14 Paul explains how to co-exist with believers who have all different degrees of convictions that extend beyond what the Scriptures plainly say. Here is his explanation:
Romans 14:1-13 In Christ we are under the Law of Liberty
Don’t Judge the Convictions of Others, instead receive them with Understanding.
v. 1: We as brothers & sisters will differ.
v. 4: We each will stand before God to answer for ourselves, not others. Therefore, don’t judge those whose convictions differ from yours.
v. 5: We must each be fully convinced in our own minds of what God has directed us to do.
v. 6: We each serve God in what we do.
v. 10: We must trust in Christ’s judgment, not our own.
Romans 14:14-23 In Christ we are under the Law of Love
We are to intentionally build up one another and not intentionally grieve each other.
Romans 15:1-7 In Christ we are to Bear Each other’s burdens, following Christ’s Example.
Questionable things: In deciding about whether or not to participate in any behavior that is doubtful, the following principles make a good checklist to follow.
1 Cor. 9:22 weak. He stooped to make the gospel clear at the lower level of comprehension, which Paul no doubt had done often while dealing with the Corinthians themselves (cf. 2:1–5).
all things … all means. Within the bounds of God’s Word, he would not offend the Jew, Gentile, or those weak in understanding. Not changing Scripture or compromising the truth, he would condescend in ways that could lead to salvation.
1 Cor. 9:24–27 Liberty cannot be limited without self-control, since the flesh resists limits as its freedom. Here, Paul speaks of his personal self-control.
1. EXPEDIENCY TEST: Is this activity one that profits me for eternity or just for a moment?
All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any (1 Cor. 6:12, NKJV).
Is what I want to do helpful and useful, or only desirable?
Will this contribute to anything that will last 1,000 years from today?
2. EDIFICATION TEST: Will this activity strengthen or weaken my spiritual life?
All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify (1 Cor. 10:23, NKJV).
Will I be built up and matured in Christ; will I become spiritually stronger?
Will this expose me, or someone around me, to a spiritual virus or infection that could make them sick?
3. EXALTATION TEST: Is this activity clearly described as a pathway to magnifying God?
Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31, NKJV).
Will the Lord be lifted up and glorified in what I do?
Is God’s glory and exaltation the supreme purpose behind doing this?
Can I say before godly believers that what I am doing I am doing in the Name of Jesus & for His Glory, and they believe me and agree?
4. EVANGELISM TEST: Will this activity increase my evangelistic ability or decrease it?
Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time (Col. 4:5, NKJV).
Is my testimony going to be helped or hindered?
Will unbelievers be drawn to Christ or turned away from Him by what I am doing?
Will this choice help me even more to conduct myself in godly wisdom?
5. EXAMPLE TEST: Will others who seek to follow my example be helped or hindered by this activity?
Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity (1 Tim. 4:12, NKJV).
Are we setting the right example for others, especially for weaker brothers and sisters?
Can others by following me be also following Christ (1 Cor. 11:1)?
6. EXCESS TEST: Is this activity a weight that can trip me up that needs to be laid aside?
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us (Heb. 12:1, NKJV).
Is the activity or habit necessary, or is it merely an extra that is not really important?
Is it perhaps only an encumbrance that we should willingly give up?
7. EMULATION TEST: Is this activity something that Jesus would do or not do?
He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked (1 John 2:6, NKJV).
Am I doing what Christ would do?
Is my action not only permissible, but is it also good and right in God’s sight?
Am I emulating Christ, and will others be emulating Him by following my example?