Back to Reach | Devotion #3: Sake of the Gospel
John Rigg | Assistant to the Reach Pastor
James Fell Aker was born in 1871 and was an active evangelist until his death in 1986. I will do the math for you; he was 115. At the age of 105, Aker was still preaching crusades as far away as Japan! Aker was able to share the Gospel for over 97 years and was known as a “Fire and Brimstone” style Gospel preacher. I know the term “Fire and Brimstone” has fallen out of favor these days, but I have come to realize that in most cases, guys that fall into this category are typically just extremely passionate about the sharing of the Gospel!
In 1933, Aker recalled a time when he was sick and was taken to the hospital for surgery, “The doctors said I had passed away. I was rolled into the dead room.” A nurse, who happened to go into the morgue, noticed Aker’s eyes moving; and he was revived.
So, what drives a man like James Aker to continually share the Gospel all the days of his life? What is it that motivated him, even with death knocking at the door? I believe Aker did what he did, for the same reasons that the Apostle Paul did what he did. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 (NKJV), “For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. Now, this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I may be partaker of it with you.”
Notice how many times in these verses that Paul uses the phrase “that I might win.” Six times Paul states that the reason he became “all things to all men” was for the “gospel’s sake.” But what does it mean, “doing something for the Gospel’s sake?” Paul says that his reason for sharing the Gospel was “that I may be partaker of it with you.”
Men like Aker and the Apostle Paul realized that sharing the Gospel with more people meant more people would share in the benefits of it. They deeply cared about those that needed to hear it!
Hearing and receiving the Good News of Jesus’ substitutionary death frees a person from the guilt and the penalty brought about by his sinful nature. This is news that was never meant to stop with the recipient.
Paul stated, “I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more.” In what way could we serve someone today for the sake of the Gospel? How might we engage in relationships other than those who already know about the Good News?
The meaning of the word “serve” means to furnish or supply someone with something they need. Are we ready to become “all things to all men, that (we) might by all means save some?”
I pray this is us, “for the gospel’s sake.”