I Corinthians 9 Self-Sacrifice for the Gospel Self - limitation How did “self limitation” work in chapter 8? Here: Paul defends his rights as an apostle and his willingness to sacrifice those rights for the sake of the gospel. “Become all things to all men …” Self-control in all things to be faithful and effective servants 9:1-14 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. 3 This is my defense to those who sit in judgment on me. 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 must work for a living? 7 Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat of its grapes? Who tends a flock and does not drink of the milk? 8 Do I say this merely from a human point of view? Doesn’t the Law say the same thing? 9 For it is written in the Law of Moses: “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.” Is it about oxen that God is concerned? 10 Surely he says this for us, doesn’t he? Yes, this was written for us, because when the plowman plows and the thresher threshes, they ought to do so in the hope of sharing in the harvest. 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. 13 Don’t you know that those who work in the temple get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar? 14 In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel. The Rights Paul Can Claim as an Apostle 1. What proofs of his apostleship does Paul offer (vs 1,2)? 2. What three rights can Paul claim as an apostle (vs 4-6)? 3. How do the three examples in verse 7 exemplify the right of ministers to receive support form those to whom they preach the gospel? The Rights Paul Can Claim as an Apostle 4. What is Paul’s second argument in defense of his right to receive a salary (vs 8-11)? 5. How did Paul support himself in Corinth (cf Acts 18:3)? 6. What is the third argument Paul uses in defense of his right to receive a salary? (vs 13) 7. What is Paul’s principle in regard to salaries for ministers of the gospel? Studying the Scriptures How does the following passage support the rule that ministers of the gospel should have their living provided by their congregations? Numbers 18:8-20 = 8 Then the Lord said to Aaron, “I myself have put you in charge of the offerings presented to me; all the holy offerings the Israelites give me I give to you and your sons as your portion and regular share. 9 You are to have the part of the most holy offerings that is kept from the fire. From all the gifts they bring me as most holy offerings, whether grain or sin or guilt offerings, that part belongs to you and your sons. 10 Eat it as something most holy; every male shall eat it. You must regard it as holy. 11 “This also is yours: whatever is set aside from the gifts of all the wave offerings of the Israelites. I give this to you and your sons and daughters as your regular share. Everyone in your household who is ceremonially clean may eat it. 12 “I give you all the finest olive oil and all the finest new wine and grain they give the Lord as the firstfruits of their harvest. 13 All the land’s firstfruits that they bring to the Lord will be yours. Everyone in your household who is ceremonially clean may eat it. 14 “Everything in Israel that is devoted to the Lord is yours. 15 The first offspring of every womb, both man and animal, that is offered to the Lord is yours. But you must redeem every firstborn son and every firstborn male of unclean animals. 16 When they are a month old, you must redeem them at the redemption price set at five shekels of silver, according to the sanctuary shekel, which weighs twenty gerahs. 17 “But you must not redeem the firstborn of an ox, a sheep or a goat; they are holy. Sprinkle their blood on the altar and burn their fat as an offering made by fire, an aroma pleasing to the Lord. 18 Their meat is to be yours, just as the breast of the wave offering and the right thigh are yours. 19 Whatever is set aside from the holy offerings the Israelites present to the Lord I give to you and your sons and daughters as your regular share. It is an everlasting covenant of salt before the Lord for both you and your offspring.” 20 The Lord said to Aaron, “You will have no inheritance in their land, nor will you have any share among them; I am your share and your inheritance among the Israelites. Studying the Scriptures How does the following passage support the rule that ministers of the gospel should have their living provided by their congregations? Luke 10:7 7Stay in that house, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house. Studying the Scriptures How does the following passage support the rule that ministers of the gospel should have their living provided by their congregations? 2 Corinthians 11:7-12 7 Was it a sin for me to lower myself in order to elevate you by preaching the gospel of God to you free of charge? 8 I robbed other churches by receiving support from them so as to serve you. 9 And when I was with you and needed something, I was not a burden to anyone, for the brothers who came from Macedonia supplied what I needed. I have kept myself from being a burden to you in any way, and will continue to do so. 10 As surely as the truth of Christ is in me, nobody in the regions of Achaia will stop this boasting of mine. 11 Why? Because I do not love you? God knows I do! 12 And I will keep on doing what I am doing in order to cut the ground from under those who want an opportunity to be considered equal with us in the things they boast about. Studying the Scriptures How does the following passage support the rule that ministers of the gospel should have their living provided by their congregations? Philippians 4:15-17 15 Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; 16 for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid again and again when I was in need. 17 Not that I am looking for a gift, but I am looking for what may be credited to your account. Expanding our Understanding Why didn’t Paul accept a salary from the Corinthian congregation? Why is it important to recognize that the epistles of Paul are epistles of an apostle? (Are there issues today that challenge Paul’s authority?) Does outward success in a pastor’s ministry prove that he is a true minister of the gospel? Why is the wife an important asset to a pastor’s ministry? What level of support should ministers of the gospel receive from their congregation? Paul Sacrifices his Rights for the sake of the gospel I Corinthians 9:15-23) 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. I would rather die than have anyone deprive me of this boast. 16 Yet when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, for 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 use of my rights in preaching it. 19 Though I am free and belong to no man, I make 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 men 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. Paul Sacrifices his Rights for the sake of the gospel Why didn’t Paul exercise his rights as an apostle to receive pay for his services to the Corinthian congregation? (vs 12b) What personal reasons does Paul advance for giving up his right to receive support? (vs 16-18) What “reward” does he prefer? What was Paul’s continuing purpose in his associations with people? Paul Sacrifices his Rights for the sake of the gospel To what three classes of people did Paul accommodate himself? What evident limitation must Paul have place on becoming “like a Jew” when he was among Jews? (Acts 14:1,2) In what sense can’t Gentiles be completely without law? What was Paul’s motivation in his relations with people? Studying the Scriptures Why do Christians do great things for Christ? Jeremiah 20:9 But if I say, “I will not mention him or speak any more in his name,” his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot. Acts 4:20 For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” Acts 18:5 When Silas and Timothy came from Macedonia, Paul devoted himself exclusively to preaching, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ. 2 Timothy 2:10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory. Deepening our Understanding 1. In what sense does the compulsion that weighs on Paul rest on all Christians? 2. How do verses 15-18 apply to a Christian’s service to his congregation? How do our foreign missionaries observe Paul’s principle of being “all things to all men?” When does being “all things to all men” become a denial of Christ? How can we apply Paul’s soul-winning principle in our daily contacts with people? The Gospel Ministry Calls for Selfdenial and Strenuous Effort I Corinthians 9:24-27 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 a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. 27 No, I beat 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. Does verse 24 imply that only a few will be saved? 2. What is “the crown that will last forever?” 3. What is the self-discipline Paul urges upon the Corinthians? Digging Deeper What do the following passages add to Paul’s message in the section before us? Philippians 3:12-14 = Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. 2 Timothy 4:7 = I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Hebrews 12:1-3 = Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. How do we respond to Paul’s exhortation? … What if we come short of his goal? (Ro 7:24,25) Understanding Better Why is Paul’s illustration of a Christian life an appropriate one for our age? What benefit do we have if we do not use our Christian liberties? How do these verses apply not only to pastors but to every Christian?