1 Cor. 9: 1-27 Christian Liberty Part. 2

 

 

Intro: last week we began this section dealing w/ the subject of Christian Liberty.

A) Stemmed from a question - is it right to eat food sacrificed to idols

 

B) Meat - sacrificed - divided into 3 portions - one portion the best portion was given to the priest - ( couldnít eat all - so many sacrifices )

 

C) SOLD IN SHAMBLES - best cut at discounted prices -

 

D) For some people NO PROBLEM - idol is nothing - only one REAL GOD

 

E) But others struggled - feeling like to partake of the meat was actually participating in the IDOLATRY.

 

PAUL DIVIDED BOTH GROUPS INTO 2 SIDES / WEAKER & IMMATURE / STRONGER & MATURE

A) How he classifies them is interesting - the stronger & mature brothers & sisters - are the ones who realize - no big deal.

 

B) Who realize an idol is nothing & that they have the liberty to eat the meat -they are the stronger / mature brother & Sister.

 

C) The weaker ones / the immature ones were those who had a problem w/ it they were the ones who - thought it was wrong.V.7 & 12

 

D) Now this is amazing because our tendency is†† to think that the

††††† person who is sensitive about eating meat offered to idol

1) THEY MUST BE A SPIRITUAL GIANT

 

E) But Paul says the opposite is actually true -

But this was the problem those who were mature - were seeking to persuade the others into thinking it was ok. ( result -stumbling )

A) Paul says if my liberty is causing others to stumble & be offended then you are sinning against Christ - why?†† BODY OF CHRIST

 

B) Therefore : 13Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.

 

C) I WILL FORFEIT MY LIBERTY FOR THE SAKE OF MY BRO.

 

2 Principles to always keep in mind for - in dealing w/ this subject of Christian liberty

1st- Love for the Lord -Ch. 6:12 12All 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.

 

A) The First thing I need to consider in any situation is how is this going to affect my relationship w/ the Lord ?Helpful or hurtful

 

B) Paul says All things are lawful- but all things are not helpful -†† in other words there are things that might not build me up/ but will pull me down

 

C)And because of my love for the Lord & my understanding of his love for

††† me - I donít want to take part in anything that might hinder my walk

1) Or hurt my relationship w/ Him !!!!!

 

 

2ND IS MY LOVE FOR MY BROTHERS -that is thefocus of ch. 8

A) Here Paul declares that Knowledge puffs up - but love builds up -

 

B) And Paul knowing that the issue wasnít a big deal declares out of Love

†† 13 if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest Imake my brother stumble.

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††† †††††††††††††††††† That is chapter 8 in a nutshell - GET TAPE

NOW SOME PEOPLE HAVE VIEWED THIS CHAPTER AS AN INTERUPTION -

A) It seems like Paul is only dealingwith hispolicy of financial support,

 

B) But actually, it is not an interruption; it is an illustration of the very principles that he presents in 1 Corinthians 8 and 10.

 

C) Here Paul used himself as an illustration of the mature use of liberty: of what it means to let go of Liberty

 

D) Paul had the right to be supported financially in ministry & proves that very persuasively in 6 ways seen here in this text -

1)thathe was free to receive financial support from the Corinthian

††††††††††† church, yet he set aside that right in order to achieve a higher goal.

 

E) Paul focus was the effectiveness of the gospel to go out unhindered

 

F) Because there were those even in Paulís day who were Charlatans &

††† made a great deal of money from their public speaking / Christian & Non

1) Paul knew the Corinthians were sensitive to that - so he didnít take any money from them even though he had the right to !

 

 

So Paul had the right to be supported financially in ministry & proves that very persuasively in 6 ways

1st HIS APOSOTLESHIP v.1 9:1 Am I not an apostle? Am I not free? Have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord? 2If I am not an apostle to others, yet doubtless I am to you. For you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord. 3My defense to those who examine me is this:

The word apostle means ďone sent under commission,Ē and refers primarily to the 12 Apostles and Paul.

A) (Eph. 2:20) These men had a special commission, along with the New Testament prophets, to lay the foundation of the church.

 

B) One of the qualifications for being an apostle was a personal experience of seeing the resurrected Christ

1) And Paul saw the Lord when he was traveling to Damascus to arrest Christians

 

C) The Apostles were to be witnesses of Christís resurrection.

1) So Paul was in that same Category w/ the 12 given special Revelation & Commission from the Lord.

 

D) But even though some would doubt Paulís Apostolic authority - Paul said of the Corinthians that they knew he was because he started their church.

1) THEY WERE THE SEAL OR SIGN OF HIS APOSTLESHIP

 

E) Those who question can just look at you guys YOU ARE MY DEFENSE

 

4Do we have no right to eat and drink? ( Speaks of supportbeing taken care of in their needs )

5Do we have no right to take along a believing wife, as do also the other apostles, the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas?

6Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working?

 

Now follow the thinking here -In these 6 verses Paul is saying Donít we have the right to be financially supported / to eat & drink to be taken care of in our needs -††

A) The other apostles were / What about us /Preacher & His horse

B) V.5 the Phrase to take along a wife - meant that like the apostles they had the right to take along a believing wife - have her minister w/ me wherever

 

C) The Apostles & the step brothers of our Lord do it

 

D) GOOD THING TO TAKE YOUR WIFE ALONG -

 

So first reason is his apostleship - 2nd reason Paul gives is HUMAN EXPERIENCE- v. 7 Who ever goes to war at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat of its fruit? Or who tends a flock and does not drink of the milk of the flock?

 

A) Paul says who goes to war & pays his own expense ?Pilot school - air force academy - Now go buy your own F-16

 

B) Canít a farmer - eat of the fruit of his crop / OF COURSE / Shepherd can drink the milkfrom his flock

 

C) So too since we have been laboring among you - can enjoy the fruits from among you .†††† LOGICAL - makes sense - HUMAN EXPERIENCE

 

3rd - O.T. Law - 8Do I say these things as a mere man? Or does not the law say the same also? 9For it is written in the law of Moses, "You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain." Is it oxen God is concerned about?

 

A) Paul uses this same verse in 1 Tim. 5:17 17Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine.

18For the Scripture says, "You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain," and, "The laborer is worthy of his wages."

B) Paul asked the question was this written in the law for the oxen ? Is the oxen going to read this - No !

 

IS he saying this for the sake of the Ox

10Or does He say it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written, that he who plows should plow in hope, and he who threshes in hope should be partaker of his hope.

 

HOPE = ABSOLUTE EXPECTION OF COMING GOOD !!!!!

A) So those who plow & those who thresh do it in Hope of receiving from the fruit .

 

B) Paul applies it in a spiritual sense in v. 11 If we have sown spiritual things for you, is it a great thing if we reap your material things?

 

So Apostleship / HUMAN EXPERIENCE / O.T. LAW

 

4TH - YOUR CUSTOM 12If others are partakers of this right over you, are we not even more? Nevertheless we have not used this right, but endure all things lest we hinder the gospel of Christ.

 

A) You have supported others surely you should support us !

 

 

5TH - O.T. PRACTICE - V. 13 ††Do you not know that those who minister the holy things eat of the things of the temple, and those who serve at the altar partake of the offerings of the altar?

A) The priests and Levites lived off of the sacrifices and offerings that were brought to the temple.

 

B) Numbers 18: Leviticus 6:; and 27 lay out the regulations governing their part of the offerings, and the special tithes they were toreceive.

 

C) The application is clear: If the Old Testament ministers under Law were supported by the people to whom they ministered,

1) should not Godís servants who minister under grace also be supported?

 

6TH ARGUMENT PAUL GIVES IS THE TEACHING OF JESUS v.14 14Even so the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel.

A) SENT DISCIPLES OUT†† Matt. 10:10A worker is worthy of his food.

Luke 10:7 7"And remain in the same house, eating and drinking such†††††††††††††††††††††††††† things as they give, for the laborer is worthy of his wages.

 

B) So Paul lays out 6 powerful & persuasive reasons why he had the liberty the right / the freedom to be supported in ministry

 

 

BUT THEN HE SHARES WHY - HE REFUSED TO BE SUPPORTED IN CORINTH

A) Illustrating the point that Sometimes for the sake of Love - We need to forfeit Liberty - no matter what inconvenience it causes us !

 

B) So Paul would say as you can see from these 6 arguments I have every right to be supported by you - for the ministry

15But I have used none of these things, nor have I written these things that it should be done so to me; for it would be better for me to die than that anyone should make my boasting void.

GO BACK V.12 Nevertheless we have not used this right, but endure all things lest we hinder the gospel of Christ.

C) Paul is saying that because I realized that if I took money from you - you might have been stumbled & the message of the gospel hindered

1) For that reason I elected not to do so

 

D) In fact in 2 Cor. 11:8 Paul told them I robbed other churches, taking wages from them to minister to you.

 

E) Meaning other churches - supported me - so that I could minister to you & the gospel would be unhindered

 

BRIAN & THE TEAM IN LONDON -

 

CRUSADES & OUTREACHES - NEVER TAKE AN OFFERING

SALEM - people amazed it was free - / SAD !!!

AA) Churches that do concerts & charge - 18 - 20 dollars for a ticket

I question that - if it is supposed to be evangelistic outreach.

 

BB) For me & my wife to go & take an unsaved couple would cost us -

$ 80.00 - I canít afford that ! No way !!!!!

 

A) The world has been given a bad taste by the Church - because of some ministries - especially some on T.V.

††††††††† 1) If we donít get your support we are going under -

 

B) GIVEN THE PERCEPTION - Church is only interested in our money !

 

C) That is theReason Donít make a big deal about - our offering / time to take it !

 

D) Paul says I would rather die than have People think that I am doing what I am doing for the money !†† ( I CAN RELATE TO THAT)

 

E) Church financial Crisis - couldnít pay me anymore - would I be here next Wed. BETTER BELIEVE ITI WOULD BE HERE !!!!!!

1) Sometimes I feel like I should pay you - so blessed

 

F) We work hard though - Howard 14 yrs in City - thought you guys just sat around read & prayed -

1) Never worked so hard in my life - ( Common - complaint - just not enough hrs. in the day . )

 

16For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel!

17For if I do this willingly, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have been entrusted with a stewardship.

 

Now some would have been tempted to exalt Paul for his stand - Wow Paul you are really special - being so giving -

A) Paul says I have nothing of which to boast - I preach out of necessity -

 

B) Romans 1:15 Paul called himself a debtor - to preach - duty

 

C) Jeremiah Tried to not preach because of such a poor response - but he said that it was like a fire in his bones - couldnít keep silent !

1) THAT IS HOW PAUL FELT

 

D) Paul says even if I wasnít willing - ( I am sure that there were times that he didnít feel like ministering - he knew it was his calling.)

††††††††† 1) Times when call comes at midnight - but hey - you know calling

SO Paul says donít boast in me - I am not boasting or saying this to get you to support me - no in fact†† IT IS MY REWARD

18What is my reward then? That when I preach the gospel, I may present the gospel of Christ without charge, that I may not abuse my authority in the gospel.

 

A) So why was this so important to Paul & why was He willing to forfeit his liberty to be supported ?

1) He makes in very clear in following verses

 

19For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; 20and 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;

21to 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;

22to 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.

23Now this I do for the gospel's sake, that I may be partaker of it w/ you.

 

 

PAUL SAYS THAT LOVE - FORFIETS LIBERTY TO AVOID STUMBLE OTHERS -& LOVE ALSO SEES BIG PICTURE

A) What is the big picture ?††† THE KINGDOM - BEING ABOUT THE BUSINESS OF THE KINGDOM.

 

B) The primary purpose of Paulís not taking full advantage of his Christian liberty was that [he] might win the more.

1) He deeply believed that(Prov. 11:30)ďhe who is wise wins soulsĒ

 

C) As a Result Paul willing to do anything and to sacrifice anything to win people to Jesus Christ.

D) As far as his rights were concerned he was free from all men, but because of his love for all men he would gladly limit those rights for their sakes. He had, figuratively, become a slave to all.

 

E) He would modify his habits, his preferences, his entire lifeĖstyle if any of those things caused someone to stumble,

1) to be offended, or to be hindered from faith in the Lord.

 

 

LISTEN : Every one of us is either going to be a STUMBLING BLOCK or a STEPPING STONE in the lives of others .

A) Those who abuse their liberty in the Lord / will stumble other believers & will also cause the gospel to be hindered .

 

B) You can be a STUMBLING BLOCK or you can be a STEPPING STONE - to lead others to Christ

1) To be a STEPPING STONE that might mean you sacrifice your rights - might mean you get stepped on a little

 

C) But if people get saved it is so WORTH IT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

D) Paul says I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.

 

So in light of the BIG PICTUREPaul forfeited his liberty that he might be more effective in ministry in sharing the gospel.

A) To do so is not easy - takes DSCIPLINE & SELF CONTROL v. 24

24Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. 25And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.

26Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air.27But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.

A) The Greeks had two great athletic festivals, the Olympic games which were held in Athensand the Isthmian games.

1) Today we have Olympic games & World games the Isthmian games

†††† were kind of like the world games

 

B) The Isthmian games were held at Corinth and so the people were very well acquainted w/ them.

1) The contestants would arrive in Corinth 10 months before & would begin to train & people would watch.

 

C) Two of the most popular events were the races & the boxing - Paul uses them as an analogy for the Christian life .

 

 

As Christians we are like runners in a race / the race that we are in is not a sprint but a marathon.

A) Paul says that we need to run w/ AIM OR PURPSOSE -

24Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.

 

B) Run in such a way that you may win !†† What is the prize ?

 

C) It is to hear our Lord say to us - Well done ÖÖÖ..enter in .

 

I read a fable about a dog who loved to chase other animals.He bragged about his great running skill and said he could catch anything.Well, it wasn't long until his boastful claims were put to the test by a certain rabbit.With ease the little creature outran his barking pursuer.The other animals, watching with glee, began to laugh.The dog excused himself, however, by saying, "You forget, I was only running for fun. He was running for his life!"

 

D) ††That does make a difference! What are you running for

1) All been given - gifts talents from the Lord - they are to be used in

††† winning others to the Lord!

We do not compete against each other but against the obstaclesópractical, physical, and spiritualóthat would seek to hinder us.

 

Columnist Herb Caen wrote in the San Francisco Chronicle: "Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up.It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed.Every morning a lion wakes up.It knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death.It doesn't matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle; when the sun comes up, you'd better be running."

Spurgeon wrote likewise:"If you are not seeking the Lord, the Devil is seeking you.If you are not seeking the Lord, judgment is at your heels."

†† In the Christian life, it's not enough simply to wake up. We are called to run, to become more like Christ, to press ahead in godliness.

 

A) In a sense, every Christian runs his own race, enabling each one of us to be a winner in winning souls to Christ.

 

B) Paul therefore counsels all believers to run in such a way that you may win, by setting aside anything that might hinder the reception of the gospel.

 

C) Holding tightly to liberties and rights is a sure way to lose IN the race of soulĖwinning.

 

 

We are to run not only w/ an Aim & Purpose but also exercising self control -

25And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things.

MEANS THEY EXERCISE SELF CONTROL IN ALL THINGS

 

Now they do it to obtain a perishable crownWREATH /but we for an imperishable crown.

26Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air.

27But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.

BEAT MY BODY AND MAKE IT MY SLAVE - I FORFIET MY LIBERTY - GLADLY IF IT MEANS SOMEONE SAVED OR GROW !