††††††††† Grassroots Christianity

For the Sake of the Gospel

1 Corinthians 9

Jerry A. Collins

SCC

8/21/05

 

ō      Should we financially support people in ministry?

ō      Why should we do all things for the sake of the gospel?

ō      What will we win if we run the race to win?

 

All of us are aware at one level or another of our responsibility to financially support people who impact us spiritually. I have been the recipient of this kind of financial support for nearly thirty years myself. Our family also supports individuals and ministries that have both impacted us and that we believe in. Have you taken this responsibility very seriously? Is it hit and miss or do you have a deliberate way that you fulfill what God expects you to do with your financial support? I am not talking about throwing your money at TV evangelist or TV ministries where so much of there message is about how you can financially support them. It is not about preaching for money or income. One gentleman I know has this idea. He wants to make a living from becoming a Christian speaker. In 1 Cor 9 Paul give reasons why he has a right to be supported financially but in this case gives up that right so that no-one will think he preached and taught for money.

1. THOSE MINISTERING TO US HAVE RIGHT TO BE FINANCIALLY SUPPORTED BY US

Here is a list of 6 reasons why he has this right in Corinth:

(1) An apostle 1-6Each of the 4 following rhetorical ?ís expect a Ďyesí answer in vs 1. Am I not free? As believer he is. An apostle? Commissioned by Christ Acts 9:15. Not seen Jesus? 3 times he did (Acts 9; Acts 18:9-10; 22:17-18). Are you not my work? A seal represents one who sent message. These believers were that for Paul. In vs 3 he gives defense for those who wish to investigate whether or not he is an apostle. Again using rhetorical ?ís to make his case. Have rite to eat & drink? That this would be provided while away from home.Right to take wives? Not only for companionship but to participate in ministry to the people. Right to refrain from working? From working a secular job to support selves in ministry away from home. Of course they have these rights.

(2) Is customary 7 None of these can do these jobs and additional job to support selves. How would our soldiers--some preparing and some now fighting war in Iraq work another job to provide their food and drink. It is customary and expected thing. It should be true for those working in ministry also.

(3) In Godís law 8-11So the principle here is not merely human judgment. Godís law teaches the same thing. It was written as a quote from Deut 25:4. Oxen allowed to eat as they worked. That was their payment. First, if God concerned about oxen being fed He is very concerned about people being fed (Mt 6:26). Second, what motivation would these have if they did it for free and had to do additional job in order to get food to eat and families vs 10? No, their hope is to get paid for doing that work. (I stopped at Midland Grocery and sat in parking lot thanking God for it) Third, Only difference is that thresher getting material paymentfor material work. The one in ministry getting material payment for spiritual work. That is if genuine spiritual ministry has taken place as vs 11 assumes. Obviously we should give our money to ministries that are biblically sound and responsible.

(4) Done for others 12Evidently had given and supported others who served there. As their spiritual father who brot them the gospel in first place he had more of a claim on their support than he others. But he voluntarily did not ask for their support. ďEndureĒ means he was paying his own way instead not causing any hindrance to gospel. Not wanting new or potential believers to have reason to think preaching gospel for selfish motives. Ministering to gentiles was new territory even tho Jews been giving to priests and Levites for generations. The pattern seems to be establishing support missionaries venturing out into new territory so they can freely minister without money being a hindrance to Gospel. (This is whydo not ask for money from thoseravel t and teach).

(5) Universal pattern 13For 1500 yrs Aaronic priesthood received food from the people. Their service at the altar was a way of life. These did not have another job.

(6) Jesus ordained it 14Jesus taught this in Luke 10:7. He also received support from individuals during his traveling and teaching.

2. THOSE MINISTERING DO SO NOT FOR PAYMENT BUT FROM A COMPULSION TO SERVE

Paul gives up his right to be financially supported 15. He is not asking for money in a disguised way. No money was received from Thessalonians while with them (1 Thess 2:9; 2 Thess 3:8). Did not accept money for Corinthians either. He did†† receive†† support†† fromthe Thessalonians after he left them. Macedonians supported Paul while he ministered at Corinth (2 Cor 11:8-9). It would be better for me to dieÖHe does not what anyone to think he preached and taught for money. ďBoastĒ refers to something one glories or basis for this. It is the spiritual privilege and personal commitment in which he rejoiced and would rather die than contradict that principle. So he gives 2 reasons why he voluntarily gives up rite to financial support from them while he was still there.

(1) TO KEEP FROM LOSING HIS REWARD 16-18 Like Jeremiah and John the Baptist, paul set apart from mothers womb to preach gospel. He could not stop himself from preaching. Vs 17 if it was his idea to preach to gentiles he would have a reward. But it was not his idea. He was specifically called by Jesus. So a stewardship given to him valued by Christ to be cared for by Paul. In vs 18 under compulsion to preach gospel he was not so to receive payment for it even tho he had rite to it. So his reward based on voluntarily offering gospel free of charge. So not a burden to these new xians thinking he was in ministry for money. Elders and deacons qualification is to be free from the love of money.

(2) TO WIN THE OST TO CHRIST 19-23As far as his rites Paul free from all men but would gladly limit these for their sakes. First, thru self-denial. He would modify habits, references, lifestyle if these caused hindrance to believe in Christ. 3 illustrations of this: (1) Jews 20 He did not believe or teach following law was spiritual benefit but keeping rituals was way of opening doors to work among Jews (Acts 16:3; 18:18; 21:20-26). (2) Without law 20 These are gentiles. He ate what they ate, went & dressed as they did. In these non-moral areas he caused no offense so to gain hearing. (3) Weak 21 Modified presentation to be more understandable to person lacking such to win them to Christ. So summarizing vs 22-23 (1) donít compromise gospel by changing truth to satisfy anyone. (2) donít offend by unnecessary behavior or practices but offense by Godís Word is their problem. (3) this makes us participants with those who receive Christ. (Call from Axes to attend neighbors carcisóhindu ritual for worshipping a godóbathe, clean and covered. Wanted to know if they should go since trying to reach them. No, this is idolatry and we are forbidden.) Second, thru self-control. (1) As a runner 24-25.We do not compete against each other but against obstacles that are practical, spiritual, physical, that would hinder us from winning people to Christ. Holding to our rites and liberties can hinder this. (2) As a boxer 26-27. The goal stated 4 times in 19-22 was to win as many people to Jesus as possible. If you aim at nothing you will hit it every time. If wish to be person of prayer then you have to pray. Of Word then have to study and know it. For paul it was his body under control. An athlete controls his body not vice versa. Pay the price. Bu why? So not disqualified. If you donít train canít win. Donít spend life preaching requirements to others and then not meet them yourself. Flesh, world, everyday affairs, personal interests, laziness hinder our spiritual growth and prep for service. So donít let that happen to you.