Why Give Up Some of Your Christian Freedom?
Part 9, Interactions With The Gracious and Loving God Series, First Corinthians 9:1-23
1. Paul defended his apostleship.
“Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not the result of my work in the Lord? 2 Even though I may not be an apostle to others, surely I am to you! For you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 9:1-2, NIV.
Paul needed to defend his apostleship for two reasons:
To protect his God-given authority to preach and teach the Word of God.
To protect the absoluteness of God’s message to the church.
2. Paul stated his right as an apostle.
“4 Don’t we have the right to food and drink? 5 Don’t we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord’s brothers and Cephas? 6 Or is it only I and Barnabas who lack the right to not work for a living?” 1 Corinthians 9:4-6, NIV.
The right to enjoy what other apostles have.
The right to be married and serve together in the ministry.
The right to receive financial support from the church.
Paul gave several logical reasons to receive benefits as an apostle. See vv.7-9.
Soldiers who served their country were renumerated.
The workers in the field received their benefits from the fruit of their labour.
The shepherds were even benefited by their own sheep through their milk.
Paul said, even the Scriptures require supporting their ministers. See v.9.
The Old Testament law teaches meeting the needs of their ministers.
The Old Testament priests received their support from God’s people.
3. Paul gave up some of his rights.
“11 If we have sown spiritual seed among you, is it too much if we reap a material harvest from you? 12 If others have this right of support from you, shouldn’t we have it all the more? But we did not use this right. On the contrary, we put up with anything rather than hinder the gospel of Christ. 14 In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel. 15 But I have not used any of these rights. And I am not writing this in the hope that you will do such things for me, for I would rather die than allow anyone to deprive me of this boast.” 1 Corinthians 9:11-15, NIV.
Reasons for Giving Up Some of Your rights.
1. Because our higher calling limits our rights.
“16 For when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, since I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! 17 If I preach voluntarily, I have a reward; if not voluntarily, I am simply discharging the trust committed to me. 18 What then is my reward? Just this: that in preaching the gospel I may offer it free of charge, and so not make full use of my rights as a preacher of the gospel.” 1 Corinthians 9:16-18, NIV.
We are called to live a higher standard.
We are pleased to do what is right, not as we please to do whatever we want.
2. Because winning souls is more important than rights.
19 Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. 23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.” 1 Corinthians 9:19-23, NIV.
Jesus himself became a Jew but did not do anything that violated the Scriptures.
Paul practiced his culture but limited his actions by the Word of God and by the Spirit’s conviction.
3. Because a reward awaits us.
“24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, NIV.
The crown represents an elevated position.
Before the holy angles, Jesus will give high recognitions to those who denied themselves for the sake of Christ and His work of winning souls.