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Serving To Wim

New Year: New You in Christ  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  47:57
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1 Corinthians 9:15-27

1 Corinthians 9:15–27 ESV
But I have made no use of any of these rights, nor am I writing these things to secure any such provision. For I would rather die than have anyone deprive me of my ground for boasting. For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward, but if not of my own will, I am still entrusted with a stewardship. What then is my reward? That in my preaching I may present the gospel free of charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel. For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings. Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.
(15): No Charge
Paul has stated though he is deserved the rights of an Apostle (1 Corinthians 9:12) he had not taken them nor was he going to take them. Why would Paul not take what is right for him to take? Did he not get the same privileges as the other Apostles? Yes! But, for Paul it was more than remuneration for preaching it was the right to boast in the Gospel. Paul gave two reasons why he refused to accept such support. First, he did not want his reward be loss without charge. Second, and more importantly, he wanted absolutely nothing to hinder his ability to reach the lost with the Gospel.
He saw it as more than a means for financial gain it was eternal. The Power to save the lost and reconcile us a pervert people back to a Holy and Righteous God.
1 Corinthians 9:12 ESV
If others share this rightful claim on you, do not we even more? Nevertheless, we have not made use of this right, but we endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ.
Romans 1:16, Paul knew and understood the power of the Gospel. His (Boasting) which refers to one who glorifies self. Paul’s boasting had the meaning of JOY! His Joy was in knowing the Gospel is the only thing that can bring salvation to the lost. John MacArthur says, “He glorified in the Gospel but not for it.”
Romans 1:16 ESV
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
(16): Preach
(evangelizo) which means to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ. He preached because is was a necessity that Christ had laid upon him. The Lord stopped him on the way to Damascus choosing him to be the Apostle to the Gentiles. He had nor real choice, he was under compulsion. I have tried not to preach the Gospel and it was the worst TEN MINUTES of my life. I am under obligation because of the Power of the Gospel is the Lord’s way to keep me under compulsion. The same should be with each of us. Acts 9:15, Paul was a chosen instrument of Christ’s, so are we.
Acts 9:15 ESV
But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel.
Listen to Jeremiah explain about not preaching, Jeremiah 20:9.
Jeremiah 20:9 ESV
If I say, “I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name,” there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot.
(17-18): No Reward, Freely Given
Paul did not do this on his own accord, just like Jeremiah, it was a burning in the bones. His reward was not in something that is tangible but in something that shall never perish. [Reward: wages, pay, recompense based upon what a person has earned and this deserves, that nature of the recompense being either positive or negative.] Listen to Jesus’ words in John 4:36.
John 4:36 ESV
Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together.
Paul tells us in verse 18 what his reward is, “to present the Gospel free of charge....” No strings attached, come on down and take eternal life with nothing down, no interest, and no payments forever!!!! I am buying that “Johnny on the Spot”. It is the model that never goes out of style! AMEN! Warranty, guarantee for life! Hassle free, no gimmicks! No pushy sales men, no red tape, or small print. It is freely given, why? Because, it is the Power that wins soul!!! How is this accomplish? Listen, Paul, never leaves us on the edge of the cliff.
(19-23): Serving to Win
I want everyone to listen up, this is important to truly understand for spiritual leadership. Paul declares he is free from all men. He was not talking about financial or political freedom but spiritual freedom. This freedom that Paul experienced came through Jesus Christ. It is the only way to experience true freedom. Jesus gave the disciples the key to this in John 8:36.
John 8:36 ESV
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
Remember we are slave to something. It is either sin or Christ. If it is the latter, we do not look at as slavery but true freedom. Paul knew the Gospel was liberating word and the church is a liberating community. AMEN! Even though Paul was free from all men, he elected himself to be servant to all. Discipleship is setting aside our wants and desires giving of ourselves free to others. We cast of our freedom from men and become servants to them. The problem we have is we think in terms of Freedom we have here in the U.S. We are not free to live a life as we so desire, that is what we have been saved from. We are now free to live a life from punishment from the former life. There is no sting in death anymore. Therefore, we live to serve Christ by serving others. Jesus said in Matthew 25:40,
Matthew 25:40 ESV
And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
Why? So that we may win more of them. We serve others because that is the example Christ set for us, Paul lived, and disciples of Christ’s practice. If a Jew we become like a Jew to win them, Gentile, we become like a gentile to win them, outside or under the law, we become like them to win them, weak, become weak to win them. We become all things to win people to Christ. I become an avid football fan and attend games, why, to win people to Christ. I go to basketball games to win people to Christ. Wherever I am at, my goal is to serve people, preach the Gospel, and love them as Christ has loved me.
When we realize that true freedom in Christ is to serve that is when the church starts to become an unstoppable force. It is when Satan becomes afraid and tries to thwart it by putting up obstacles. Paul was imprisoned, marooned on a island, ship wrecked, fell out of the top story, beaten, put on trial, and eventually beheaded. Why? Because, Satan had to stop him.
(24-27): Run the Race to Win
I ran cross country in high school. There was one thing that it taught me. The race cannot be won in the beginning but it can be lost. When running cross country the idea is to run at a steady pace, reserving your energy for the last leg. The one that crosses the finish line first is the winner. Paul uses this metaphor here to encourage the church in Corinth and us. Pace yourself, do not rely on your strength but that of Christ’s. It is not how you start but how you finish. But run to win. Win the prize that is imperishable. What is the prize? Philippians 3:14
Philippians 3:14 ESV
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
We should preach with this in mind. To serve others with the Gospel of Christ is winning the race that you are running. Loving others is winning them with the Gospel of Christ. Making disciples is winning the race. Doing life together, not allowing someone to go through things alone is serving to win. Encouraging others with the message of Hope is serving to win. Sitting with someone in the hospital is serving to win.
Application:
If we are children of God let us serve like He served us.
Run the race to win people to Christ
Preach the Gospel so you may be the vessel the Holy Spirit uses to win some.
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