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1 Corinthians 9 - Part B

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The Truth Network Radio
August 19, 2022 6:00 am

1 Corinthians 9 - Part B

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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August 19, 2022 6:00 am

Did you know that you have influence to help fellow believers grow in their faith? In this message, Skip shares how you can do just that by balancing love and truth in your life and witness.

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Remember what we read in Chapter 8? I can do everything, but for the sake of love, I won't do certain things.

If it means eating meat, eating meat causes you to stumble, I won't do it. So I will say no to a certain privilege that I have, even though I know that there is no such thing as an idol. It's not a real God. It's a false God.

There's nothing really behind it. So I have that knowledge, but I balance out my knowledge with love. As believers, we can impact others in their spiritual growth. Today on Connect with Skip Heitzinger, Skip shares how you can balance love and knowledge to encourage others in their faith.

Before we begin, we want to let you know about a resource that helps you see how God works powerfully through all the circumstances of your life. Life is hard, and then we die. That is a harsh but accurate philosophy. Listen to this gentle encouragement. But God.

That's right. In the most difficult circumstances, God can intervene, as He did for Joseph, Job, and through the resurrection of Jesus. Here's Skip Heitzinger. In fact, there may not be two more hopeful words than these two words, but God, because they point us to the great interrupter, the one who can powerfully and graciously interrupt our life with His plans and change our lives forever. We want to help you understand some of the Bible's most profound but God moments so you can have more hope for change in your own life. Pastor Skip's 10-message teaching series, But God, is our thanks when you give $35 or more today to help connect more people to the only one who can radically change a life.

Get your But God CD collection today when you give online securely at connectwithskip.com slash offer or call 800-922-1888. Okay, we're in 1 Corinthians chapter 9 as we join Skip Heitzinger for today's study. Paul the apostle isn't the same as the original 12 apostles. In the New Testament, they taught the apostles' doctrine. Paul said the foundation of the church was built upon the apostles and the prophets. So I think there are 12 original apostles and in a firm sense, there are no more.

That does not continue today, but in a functional sense, it does. Because did you know that the term apostle shows up about 75 times in the New Testament and it doesn't just refer to the 12? Sometimes Paul is called an apostle. Sometimes Barnabas is called an apostle. Sometimes Timothy is called an apostle. On one occasion, Andronicus and Junia are called apostles. So there are names of other people besides the 12 and besides even Paul that are also called apostles.

So you say, well, what does that mean exactly in a functional sense? I believe a modern apostle is a missionary. Somebody who is sent out from a church usually goes into an area, plants and sows and works in an area, spiritually speaking. And that's how the New Testament, I believe, treated that functional gift of apostleship. So for example, there was a document after the New Testament called the Didache.

And some of you have heard me refer to that over the years, the Didache or the Didache, it's said in Greek. The Didache is a document that is considered the teaching of the apostles. And it was an instruction manual for local churches on how to spot a true prophet from a false prophet, a true missionary it is called. And the idea of somebody sent out who is a missionary and how to spot a true or a false one. So in a functional sense, I think a missionary fulfills an apostolic role. So no, there are no more apostles. Yes, there are many more apostles.

That make sense? Okay. Am I not an apostle?

Yep, you are. Verse two, if I am not an apostle to others, yet doubtless I am to you. I came to your area of Corinth, spent 18 months in that area, led people to Christ, planted a church, taught you, and then moved on.

My defense to those who examine me is this. Do we have no right to eat and drink? Do we have no right to take along a believing wife, as do also the other apostles, the brothers of the Lord and Cephas? Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working? Now this is sarcasm.

He's making a sarcastic remark. Look, all the other people that are even sent out by you have certain rights and privileges. Is it only myself, Paul, and Barnabas who have no rights whatsoever except we have to work and provide for ourselves? Now, Paul did work when he came to Corinth. We're told the story in Acts chapter 18. He comes to Corinth. He meets a couple who got kicked out of Rome. They were tentmakers by trade.

Their name was Priscilla and Aquila. Paul met them. He was a tentmaker. Skenapoyas is the Greek word, somebody who works with hides and carves them up and makes tents usually out of either cloth or most typically hides. That's what he worked with. Paul was, professionally, worked in the secular field as a tentmaker. So he came into that area, worked with in that tent guild with that couple and provided for himself.

Here he gives a defense. Don't we have the right to eat or drink? That is, don't we have the right as apostles, those sent out church planters, missionaries, don't we have the right to be supported by the flock or by the church so that we can eat and drink in that provision? Do we have the right or no right to take along a believing wife as do the other apostles, the brothers of the Lord and Cephas? Now, Cephas or Peter is mentioned. There's no record that Peter ever went to Corinth, but because there was a following in Corinth, people followed Peter.

We learned that in chapter 1 and 2, some said, I'm of Paul, I'm of Cephas, I'm of Apollo. So there was the knowledge of Peter and some people gravitated toward him as a natural leader. The New Testament indicates that Peter was married. Isn't that interesting? The first pope was married.

I say that tongue in cheek. We know in the New Testament that Peter's wife's mother fell sick and Jesus healed her. So apparently after the resurrection, when Peter would travel and do his ministry, he took along his wife and his wife is supported along with Peter. And that was the practice of the other ones who were sent out, the other apostles, even the brothers of the Lord.

They took their believing wives and the churches took care of them, gave them financial remuneration. And Paul said, that is my right as well. Now, he's going to give in the next few verses four arguments and then he's going to bring it back. He's going to give four arguments why those in the ministry, including himself as an apostle, have the right to be supported by the people that they work with or are sent out from. He gives four arguments. The first argument is in verse one and that is the argument of comparison. Hey, I'm going to compare myself to Peter, to the other apostles. They have the right. If they have the right, then I have the right. That's the first argument, the argument of comparison, comparing himself to other servants of the Lord.

The second argument is in verse seven, that's the argument from human experience. Here it is, whoever 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. If you were to go to war for any army of any nation on this earth, the army would not say to you, welcome to our army, but you have to buy your own gun and your own bullets. Or if you wanted to join the United States Air Force and fly an F-18, they wouldn't say, well, you know, usually the F-18s run about 66.9 million dollars, but we'll sell it to you for 50 million dollars, but you have to buy it. Then you can fly in our Air Force. No, they will provide that very expensive piece of equipment for you to fly, because whoever goes to war at his own expense, the government will take care of that.

The country, the nation, the army will pay for that. That's just human experience. Whoever plants a vineyard and does not eat of its fruit, go out there and grab some of the grapes and go, I won't pick them yet.

They're still a little bit sour, but a couple weeks, no problem. Or take them home, put them on your table. Or who tends a flock and does not drink of the milk of the flock. Do I say these things as a mere man or does not the law say the same thing also? Now, he gives the third argument, the argument from Scripture, the law. And the law he is referring to is Deuteronomy chapter 25, verse 4. He quotes that, verse 9, for it is written in the law of Moses, you shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain.

You understand that picture, right? They had a threshing floor. It was flat, usually made out of stone. And they would take the sheaves of the harvested wheat and lay them all out on the threshing floor. Then they would have their oxen usually just get on top of it and just walk. And it would crush the chaff from the edible part underneath it. And then the guy would come in in the afternoon when the breezes come by, toss it up in the air with the winnowing fork.

The wind would come by and blow the chaff away and the heavier kernels of grain would fall down to the threshing floor. But since you have the ox walking around all day long on the threshing floor doing the work for you, you don't put a muzzle on its mouth. You let it eat whatever it finds on the threshing floor. It would be cruel to put a device on an ox while he is doing the work for you.

You let him eat part of it. So that's the Scripture in Deuteronomy. Paul quotes Deuteronomy 25 and then he applies it. He says, is it oxen that God is concerned about or does he say it altogether for our sakes?

Then he answers the question, for our sakes, no doubt. He didn't write that down for oxen. Oxens don't have Bibles.

They don't look that stuff up, claim that verse as their own. That was a principle that also covers what we do as apostles. It was written for our sakes, no doubt. This is written that he who plows should plow in hope. That he who threshes in hope should be a partaker of his hope.

If we have sown spiritual things for you, is it a big deal or a great thing if we reap your material things? We came to Corinth. You didn't know about Christ. We spread the gospel. We shared the gospel.

Many of you responded. Now you have relationships that are vibrant with Christ and you're part of a vibrant Christian community. You're growing in your faith. There is spiritual fruit. We have worked spiritually in Corinth. Is it really a big deal if we are to partake of your material blessings if you support those who did that? Now that is the same principle, by the way, in Romans chapter 15.

I just remind you of it. In verse 25, he says, Now I am going to Jerusalem to minister to the saints, for it pleased those from Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor among the saints who are in Jerusalem. It pleased them indeed, and they are their debtors. For if the Gentiles have been partakers of their spiritual things, their duty, that is the Gentile duty, is also to minister to them in material things.

Same principle. The Jewish people gave Gentile believers a foundation, a heritage. Now in Jerusalem, they're losing their jobs because they're temple-related. The Pharisees are making all the people who believe in Christ and preach the resurrection.

They're making them forfeit their income and their financial benefit. So Paul went out and took a collection of the Gentile churches for the poor believers in Jerusalem with the same principle. They've given us a spiritual heritage.

Is it a big deal if we give them a material investment or heritage? So he had no qualms in receiving an offering for that reason. That's the idea in 1 Corinthians chapter 9. If we have sown spiritual things for you, is it a great thing if we reap your material things? He continues, If others are partakers of this right over you, if they 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. Okay, that's the real overriding thought of these two chapters.

Remember what we read in chapter 8? I can do everything, but for the sake of certain things, if it means eating meat, if eating meat causes you to stumble, I won't do it. So I will say no to a certain privilege that I have, even though I know that there is no such thing as an idol. It's not a real God. It's a false God.

There's nothing really behind it. So I have that knowledge, but I balance out my knowledge with love. Now Paul is applying it differently. I, as an apostle, have the right to receive offerings from you, be supported by you. Peter does it. The other apostles do it. The brothers of the Lord do it.

But even though I have that right, he said, Nevertheless, we have not used this right. This is Paul restraining himself, saying no to a right that he had, a privilege that he had, but we endure all things lest we hinder the gospel of Christ. Do you not know that those who minister the holy things of the things in the temple and those who serve at the altar partake of the offerings of the altar? So in Jerusalem, whether it's a burnt offering or a peace offering or a meal offering or a burnt offering, the priest always got a portion that was for himself and his family. Part of it was offered to the Lord. Sometimes the entire animal in a burnt offering was offered to the Lord, but the priest was able to take home the hides of the animals so they could be used for his own tent or for coverings for his family. In other cases, he got a portion of the meat like the thigh or the right shoulder.

In other portions, he was given a token of the meal offering. He always got a portion of the sacrifice that was given. So that is the argument from Scripture. Even so, verse 14, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel.

That's his fourth argument. The fourth argument of why it's okay for apostles or servants of the Lord to take financial remuneration from those that they work around is because Jesus himself said so. The Lord said so. That's the idea when it says the Lord commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel. Well, where did Jesus command that?

When he sent the 12 out around Galilee in the Gospel of Matthew, he sent them out and he said, now when you enter into a village, don't take gold, silver, or copper in your money belt. Don't take a bag. Don't take two tunics. Don't take sandals. Don't take a staff, for the workman is worthy of his wage. Eat the things they put before you. The Lord is going to take care of you.

Use the hospitality of the people you go to. So Paul remembers that Jesus said that. That is quoted from the Gospels, and he brings that up here.

It's the argument from Jesus Christ. The Lord has commanded those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel. But I, verse 15, I have used none of these things, nor have I written these things, that it should be done so for me, for it would be better for me to die than that anyone should make my boasting void. For 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. And I will say, woe is you if you do not preach the gospel. For if I do this willingly, I have a reward. If against my will, I have been entrusted with this stewardship.

What 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. Paul wanted to be able to boast, not in himself, but in the fact that God had been so good to him that he didn't need, when he came to Corinth, to take any kind of financial benefit from the Corinthians. He was a tent maker. He had the wherewithal to provide for himself. That doesn't mean he never took financial support.

He did. When he writes 2 Corinthians, he makes a reference to this. He said, I robbed other churches that I might minister to you. Didn't mean he literally went and stole from them, but the idea is that he let others give to his ministry so that he could minister freely to the Corinthians. He was still getting support, not from Corinth, but from other places so that he could minister to Corinth. Also, when he wrote to the Philippians, he said, you did send aid once and again for my necessities. So he received from different places to be able to minister. And in the case of Corinth, he wanted to be able to say to them, though I have certain rights as a leader, as a pastor, as an apostle, as a teacher, I have forsaken that right so that I can have the absolute freedom in the Lord as a labor of love.

But I love this. I love verse 16 and 17. For 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. There was a compulsion in Paul. He was driven by the calling that God gave him.

On that Damascus road, the Lord told him, you will be a vessel to bear my name before the Gentiles, before kings, and before the children of Israel. And when you read his life from that point on, it's like this guy is like the ever-ready bunny, right? Is that even a thing anymore?

That's probably such an old commercial. So you wind it up, and it keeps going. So you know, Paul just, nothing dissuaded him. He just kept moving on from place to place, get beat up, thrown in jail, moves on, gets up, you know, wipes the blood off his face, goes back into town, and Listerine Derby preaches again.

Unstoppable. When he wrote to the Galatians, he said, I was separated from my mother's womb to be an apostle. We at this church have a process of ordination where we take young men in the ministry, watch their lives, and identify their gifts, lay hands on them.

We take them through a course so they can learn the theological implications and be suited theologically to do it. But it's not like, well, you know, I think I'd like to be in the ministry. If you think you'd like to be in the ministry, you shouldn't be in the ministry. Charles Spurgeon had a school of ministry, a class, and he told his students, if you can do anything else in the world besides preach the gospel, if you can do that, do it. His implication was, it's only if you have to preach the gospel. I have to be in the ministry.

Not like, yeah, I think that'd be a good gig. Maybe I'll try this. Don't do it. If you can be satisfied doing anything else, do that thing.

I know for me, there's only one thing I can do. It's what I do. There's a certain compulsion. You want to make sure you have to do it. Acts chapter 20, before Paul left Ephesus, he said to the elders, take heed to yourselves and to the flock, whom the Holy Spirit made you overseers. And it's until you know that the Lord has made you for that thing, to do that thing.

Otherwise you shouldn't touch it. That's Skip Heitzing with a message from the series Expound 1 Corinthians. Now, here's Skip to share how you can keep these ministry-wide messages coming your way to connect you and many others around the world with God's truth. Let me ask you a question.

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Here's how you can do that right now. Did you know there's a great biblical resource available right at your fingertips through your mobile device? You can access several of Skip's Bible reading plans in the YouVersion Bible app and dive deeper into several books of the Bible to gain new insights. Just search Skip Heitzing in the YouVersion Bible app. Be sure to come back next week as Skip Heitzing shares uplifting words from Paul to encourage you to keep persevering in your faith. Connect with Skip Heitzing is a presentation of Connection Communications. Connecting you to God's never-changing truth in ever-changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-08 18:59:38 / 2023-03-08 19:08:44 / 9

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