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Paul’s Restrictions
This morning, I would like to begin our time with a small story.
On Friday, I knew I would be out late with study so around lunchtime I decided to take a break from my studies to go hang with my kids at a nearby park.
After having our fair share of time on the playground, we decide to go on a nature walk.
Per the norm, Evalette, my bold aggressive vocal daughter, announced that she would be the leader and began assigning everyone a task.
I was assigned the map man, Bekah the nurse, Matthias the crazy guy, and Annalise the fighter (I really think she miss labeled our sweet Annalise- for she will often say that of herself that she is a lover not a fighter).
Regardless, we set on our way along the path.
As we walked along the way, at times Matthias would wander off the path and Evalette would ever so loudly tell him to come back.
That he had to follow her.
That your not allowed to do anything else except for what I say.
Eventually we would get back on track and shortly later Evalette would be telling Annalise that she needed to do such and such… and with added emphasis say, “Annalise, because I’m the leader, you have to do what I say.”
As I think about my daughter and her energetic spirit, I certainly laugh at her vigor (and perhaps her bossiness), though I do admire her desire to lead.
Scripture says that leading is a good thing.
“how will they hear without a preacher”, “those that desire the office of a bishop desire a good thing.”
The desire to lead is indeed good, but I believe that many, like my daughter, have the wrong mindset about what it means to lead.
Do as I say, but not necessarily do as I do mentality is quite rank amongst purposed leaders.
It’s a leadership based upon self, not a leadership based upon others which will find is a very unbiblical kind of leadership.
That is indeed the topic we will again talk about today.
The series is called “Lessons about Leadership”.
We began this series back in June and will finish this mini series through these next three weeks.
Background Info:
How did we get to this topic.
Well, in 1 Corinthians, the book written to immature church at Corinth.
A city so vile and worldly that it had it’s own reputation.
Yet God was at work here.
The Corinthian believer had their many faults and failures, but it is a wonderful book about God’s grace and forgiveness as well.
When I think of this book I think of the song, “He’s still working on me, to make me what I ought to be.”
The Corinthians were immature, they needed alot of things set straight in their lives.
Division, improper conduct amounst each other, sexual misconduct, improper suing and use of judicial system… Though they had many faults, Paul never gave up on them.
They were young and had many questions to which Paul will address in this book.
Beginning in chapter 7, Paul would answer questions regarding Marriage, intimacy, singleness, and food offered to idols.
This last issue was a big one because it was causing conflict amongst weaker and mature saints in the church.
Chapter 8, Paul went into details about the issues of not just food offered to idols, but Christian liberties in general.
In the beginning of Chapter 9, we looked at Paul’s Rights…
He had a Right to Eat
He had a Right to take along a Believing Spouse
He had a Right to be Financially Supported
It’s Customary in Nature
It’s God’s Law
It’s Being Done for Others
Its the OT Practice
It’s Christ’s Own Words
Today we will look at Paul’s Restrictions.
Why he would choice to restrict himself from these God-given rights.
In doing so, we will see several things revealed about being a leader… these will not only make us better leaders, but also correct wrong beliefs about what being a leader means.
And remember, all of us our leaders.
Anyone that has influence over another is a leader, and all of us are called to influence another… as a parent, guardian, employer, deacon, ministry leader, pastor, as a disciple-maker or even just being an older saint.
We must be leaders.
So from the life of Paul, let’s first look at...
The Leader’s Character (v.15-17)
He is Genuine (15a)
Paul states that he used none of these things nor did I write these things so that you would do them.
That would be like my son Marcus asking me to play a certain game with him.
I would tell him that I can’t at this time and would list my reason.
He may respond “Ok, that’s fine.
I understand.”
but a few minutes late would say “Hey dad, remember on such and such a game.... that’s so cool or that’s so fun isn’t it.”
There’s a reason he suddenly goes to remember this after being declined.
Though it’s like he’s says ok we won’t play, at the same time he’s trying to goad me into it.
Spouses do this to each other too quite often.
We might say … can you … and then say never mind.
Now that you’ve captured their attention you tell them but then say “don’t worry about it.”
We say don’t worry about it to maybe come across as being sensitive or we might say it to not make them feel burden to do it but at the same time want them to do what we like them to do.
So we are kinda speaking out of two mouths.
That’s exactly what Paul didn’t want to happen here.
But Paul did not list these three rights to make people feel sorry for him or even to suggest he would now like to claim the rights.
He was illustrating that not only was he asking them to lay aside certain liberties for a good reason but he himself was already doing what he was asking them to do.
This is very clear in his statement in verse 15: “I have used none of these things, nor have I written these things that it should be done for me.”
The secret of the power and influence of the leaders of the first-century church wasn’t just in the things they said but the fact that they were themselves an incarnation of their own message.
There wasn’t an attitude of DO AS I SAY BUT NOT AS I DO found anywhere in Paul’s remarks
He legitimately wants them to appreciate & know the extent of the sacrifices He has made so that....
-They may follow his example so they too would know the extent of sacrifices they too should make before the Lord (will take about this one more in detail latter)
-Walk differently than the course of this world (everyone does whatever they can to enjoy their liberties- that’s normal human behavior to do what makes me happy)
There is something extremely important here.
As leaders, we get nervous about sharing our victorious lest we come across as haughty or boastful.
But let me tell you that it is absolutely essential that we do share from our victorious otherwise, how will people know the way?
Do you know what the verse before that says
This may sound perhaps haughty too us, but it is perfectly acceptable behavior as a follower of Christ.
I really love Mike Calhoun’s definition and philosophy of disciple-making.
He simply states that disciple-making is… “Teaching others to be what I already am.”
The key to doing this Biblically is verbally (outwardly and to others) but also internally (to ourselves) trace all accomplishments back to Christ.
Not by my strength but by yours alone.
Humility is the needed key to balance this important aspect of leadership accomplishments.
So a leader must be genuine but he also must be devoted.
He is Deeply Devoted (15b)
In the esv, Paul says, “for I would rather die than have anyone deprive me of my ground for boasting.”
Boast (kauchēma) refers to that in which one glories or to the basis for glorying.
It also carries the idea of rejoicing or reveling.
Because it is frequently done in pride, boasting is usually a sin; but it need not be proud and sinful.
Paul’s boast was not intended to convey arrogance but joy.
He was so glad for that spiritual privilege and commitment in which he rejoiced that he would rather die than contradict it.
He had his priorities right, receiving his joy from exercising his privilege to restrict his freedoms rather than from using them.
His boasting was far different from boasting of his accomplishments, as he immediately makes clear.
He would rather die than contradict his opportunity to serve and to sacrifice for the Lord.
He gives all, knowing that there is something to gain.
We read these verses before but here they are again.
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