Faithlife Sermons

The rights of a believer

ReThinking Church  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Personal Intro
recognize Riley
Thank you to our VBS Team. You all were amazing. Many donations came in and more importantly many children heard the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Did you kids have fun?!
Dismiss Children
1 Corinthians 9. Continuing our series on ReThinking church this morning we are going to be seeing what the Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Corinth about 5 years after it was planted about his rights.
Who is Paul?
Why did He write? unity, immorality, list of questions
In this chapter he is continuing his thoughts on Christian Liberty.
Last week we heard how there were 2 factions in Corinth because some believers were eating meat that had been sacrificed to idols and others were not eating the meat . Both were doing it to the glory of God so Paul said, in short, respect those who have a different opinion, don’t cause them to stumble, and bring glory to God with what you do.
In this chapter he turns to himself to build the case even more that all things are done for the glory of God.
He does this by pointing to His apostleship and what he could do, what he doesn’t do, and why he doesn’t do it.
As we read the passages this morning and I expound on them it is my desire that we would understand our rights, our privelages, and the reason why we should or should not live both out.
Have you ever had a situation where you could do something but it was questionable if you should.
In 1993 we learned about a group of scientists that were in this situation. Led by Dr. Hammond these scientists had spent the years leading up to 1993 working with Dinosaur DNA found in Mesqitous that were in amber deposits.
Dr. Hammond had invited a group of people to an island to show off what they had created. During this trip it was Dr. Ian Malcolm that said this in regards to what had been created...
(Jeff Goldbloom Picture)
You all familiar with Jurassic Park?
Ever found yourself in this situation? You were finding yourself able to do something, capable of doing it, however you had to question whether you should or not?
This is a question we face as believers often. We are saved by Grace through faith. We live by grace not the law.
Paul wrote in
Romans 3:20–24 KJV 1900
20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. 21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: 23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
Romans 3:20-24
The law does not Save us. We are not justified by it in front of God and as beleivers we live under Grace not a strict set of laws as the Jews of the Old Testament did.
This Grace lifestyle gives us the ability and capability to do much…but should we. Should you?
Look with me at what Paul wrote on this topic of the rights we have as belielvers
1 Corinthians 9:1–6 KJV 1900
1 Am I not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? are not ye my work in the Lord? 2 If I be not an apostle unto others, yet doubtless I am to you: for the seal of mine apostleship are ye in the Lord. 3 Mine answer to them that do examine me is this, 4 Have we not power to eat and to drink? 5 Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas? 6 Or I only and Barnabas, have not we power to forbear working?
1 Cor 9:1-6
Paul begins here with a rhetorical question regarding his role in the church and society.
He is an Apostle, He is a free roman citizen, he did see Jesus, and he was the one that lead the Corinthian believers to Christ.
What is an Apostle though?
The word apostle means one that is commissions or sent. In the Bible this word is used only to describe the men who saw Jesus and were commissioned by Him. The disciples that walked closely with him during his earthly ministry and Paul.
You may hear this term used in Christianity today. While I don’t like to assume they are trying to assume a role that isn’t biblical, it’s at least a misuse of the term.
Paul however, did fit the bill to be an Apostle and he was reinforcing that in the mind of the Corinthian Believers.
After establishing his apostleship he begins to address his rights.
He has the right to eat meat as he mentioned in the last chapter and he has the right to drink. He has the right to a wife just like Peter has a wife who apparently traveled with him.
He and Barnabas were not a special set of people that were prohibited from doing those things.
See, Paul knew who he was in Christ.
Pauls first interaction with Jesus was a dramatic one.
Maybe your not familiar with it so let me give you the quick version.
He was traveling to a town to persecute Christians and kill them. While on that journey a flash of light knocked him and his men off of their horses and Paul saw Jesus who spoke to Him. After the interaction Paul was blinded and had to find a Christian in the town he was going to named Ananias to pray over Paul for him to receive his sight.
That happens and he goes on to be trained to spread the gospel.
Paul’s life had been completely changed after being saved and trusting in Jesus. He was now like the Apostle Peter and James that said in Acts to the ruling officials who told them they could no longer preach in the name of Jesus, they said “We cannot help but to speak of what we have seen and heard.”
Paul knew Christ and now wanted everyone else to know who He was. That’s a natural reaction to the love and grace of Jesus.
In knowing who Jesus was He was committed to live for Jesus. He was committed to the life God had for him.
He sets an example for the Corinthians in these statements and for us.
Do you know Christ? Do you know who you are in Christ?
Sure you may know that you are saved but do you know Jesus? Do you know who you are because of Jesus.
If you are here and don’t know Jesus, then you can’t know who you are because of Jesus.
You see, as our kids learned this week at VBS, we are fearfully and wonderfully made. We are God’s handiwork, his workmanship, and are created unto Christ for good works.
The good works come, not from who we think we are, not from who the world tells us we are, but who we are because of Jesus. Who we are when we are yielding to the Holy Spirit of God and living for Him.
Many people can know of Jesus or even trust in Jesus but not know who they are because of Jesus.
Let’s look at it this way.
I’m a Denver Broncos fan.
If I put this jersey on, I can tell you that I identify with the Denver Broncos. I look the part, sort of. Minus the height and muscle mass…but use your imagination and work with me here.
I’ve got this jersey on and I’m telling you that I’m apart of the Denver Broncos organization. First question out of your mouth should be “Really? What is your role with the Broncos?” and I’m going to answer “Waterboy” and then you ask “Why would you do that? Why not quarterback, coach, or GM? I think you would make a great…insert role here” OK....NOW HERE IS THE PART FOR YOU TO LISTEN TO… “Well, Thsoe roles are probably great but that’s not who I am. I love water and bringing water to the guys, and it makes me happy to get them some high quality H2O. There is no greater joy in my life to bring water to those players and coaches.”
But you could be making so much money, you could have so much fame, you could take great vacations, and all these things....yea…but I wouldn’t be living out the role that the Broncos have for me. As a coach the team would fail. As a player, the team would fail. As a Gm the organization would fail. But as the waterboy, I do my part to help the organization succeed.
You’ve trusted in Jesus, you’ve been baptized, and you attend church, but are you living from who God made you to be or trying to be who you think you should be or who people tell you should be?
Do you know who God has made you to be? Are you living from the Lord’s love and direction or personal dreams and ideals because society has told you that’s how to do it?
How do you discover who God made you to be?
First, attend our Serve Seminar August 21st at 10 am and we can go through that with you. Second, find someone who is further along in their Christian life than you and have them disciple or coach you as you grow as a Christian.
Why is this important? Because Serving Jesus isn’t about sacrificing. I know, we can argue some things there. People say sacrifice here and give to the church. Sacrifice this and give time to your kids. Sacrifice this and do that.
Listen, If you are saying no to something in order to do something better, that’s not called sacrifice. That’s called having a higher priority and it’s ok to say no to things.
However, if you are saying no to the higher priority for the lower priority…it sounds like this: I’m sacrificing the opportunity to grow closer to God and others in this community of believers God has given to do XYZ on Wednesday night, I’m sacrificing laying up treasures in heaven for my 410k, I’m sacrificing the blessings of obedience to Christ because I’m too preocupied with my life to be a blessing to someone else’s.
Paul knew who he was in Christ and lived from that identity seeing anyhing that would detract from that as a sacrifice of the greatest thing he could be doing.
So much so that he found it best to deny himself what we may call pleasures of this world so that he could be focused on the Gospel. He allowed the identity Jesus gave him to determine the direction His life went.

I. Your Identity determines your direction

Where is your identity drawn from? Is it from Jesus? Is it from the one who died for you? Is the direction of your life based off of prayer and seeking God for how he would want you to live?
Are you making decisions about your money, job, business, spouse, and everything else with who you are in Jesus in mind or are you not? If not, why not?
Paul was laser focused on who He was in Jesus, made decisions about his life because of who Jesus made him to be and what Jesus had called him to do.
He goes on to speak to the Corinthians saying
1 Corinthians 9:7–12 KJV 1900
7 Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock? 8 Say I these things as a man? or saith not the law the same also? 9 For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen? 10 Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope. 11 If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things? 12 If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ.
1 Cor 9:7-12
After establishing who he is in Christ to the Corinthians, we find that he goes on to speak about the rights he has as an apostle by relating back to the old testament.
He makes a plain statement here in the beginning of this section…who goes to war and doesn’t get paid? Who plants a vineyard and doesn’t eat the fruit? Who has a flock and doesn’t drink the milk.
He then asks in verse 8, Am I saying this or does the law?
The law says the same thing. Not muzzling he mouth of the ox is speaking of not keeping the ox from eating when it does the work it is supposed to do.
In verse 11 he uses a greater to lesser argument to justify the money he could be paid and thing he could do.
If he is giving spiritual things, should he reap material benefits?
Then he flips it and uses a lesser to greater argument
In verse 12 he is not speaking about other Apostles. Corinth and many of the places that Paul traveled had many itenerant speakers coming through to make a wage off of the people that would give to them, most were not preachers of the gospel.
Some of them took that money, but they hadn’t.
Paul and Barnabus had refused the lesser so that the greater, the Gospel, would not be hindered or affected by their actions.
This type of thinking can be contrary to a non-believer and even to us believers, we can get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of this life that we neglect how our actions are affecting the cause of Christ.
Paul and Barnabus were refusing financial blessings for the cause of Christ. This is the same as them giving towards the cause of Christ through a local church. I’m very grateful for the faithful givers here at LBC. It’s always my prayer that we properly steward your giving to God through LBC to get the gospel to the people of Bristol and around the world through our missions program.
If you are not giving, may I encourage you to consider starting? Maybe you are giving but not sacrificailly or faithfully. Would you see the example of Paul and Barnabus and let it be a motivator to you to be apart of what God is doing in the community and world?
Better yet, look to what Jesus has done for you and give out of your desire to worship Him with your finances, bring Him glory in your community, and see others impacted by the gospel the way you have.
Paul and Barnabus could have said “we have a right to this money and we are going to keep it”
They could have felt entitled to it and acted on it.
This reminds me of a story about a king.
This king ruled in a land where blessings abounded. The land had great harvests, the money flowed, and the livestock were healthy. One of the laws of this land entitled the king to 70% of the lands harvest, money, and livestock. This was used to feed the royal family, gaurds, fund military defense, and so on.
Something happened over the course of 3 years that changed the land. The harvest wasn’t as plentiful, the livestock got sick, and the money was running low. The king had still been taking the 70% he was entitled to.
It was at this point the king had a decision to make. To take the 70% he was entitled to or to give up his entitlement for the good of the people.
What should he do? Give it up right?
What do you think he did? Kept it.
He kept what he was entitled to but didn’t need at the expense of those around him.
As Christians we can do this same thing. Not just with money. Sure you can keep what you are entitled to under grace and not give to the Lord through the local church for the church to be cared for and the gospel to go forward. You can also do this with your time, your expertise, your love, your forgiveness, and all these things.
You see I feel comfortable saying as believers living under grace we can believe we are entitled to many things because we are not under the law. However, if you are only giving, serving, forgiving, loving, etc. becuase someone is making you, do you truly love Jesus or are you just trying to not feel guilty?
It’s the difference between a child cleaning their room because they appreciate their room or because they don’t want to get into trouble.
Paul and Barnabus were sold our for the gospel. They were willing to forgo what they were entitled to so that others may know Jesus. They were willing to give up their very lives so that Jesus’ name would be magnified. Paul ultimately did die for his preaching of the gospel.
The lived from their idenity and gave up anything that would negatively impact the life God had called them to live.
What life has God called you to live? Are you living it? Why not?
What are you keeping that you either are or feel you are entitled to that could help further the cause of Christ? Are you entitled to it because of who Jesus says you are or becuase who you say you are?
As believers in Jesus we are entitled to a relationship with God through Him, the leading of the Holy Spirit, the promises of God, and the abundant life he desires us to live. However, we are entitled to those things on Gods terms, not ours and becuase of Jesus…not us
This is why our decisions should be made from our idenity in Jesus and no where else.

II. Your identity determines your decisions

Wheny ou makee a decision, you are doing so from an identity that you have. It is either who you say you are, who the world says you are, or who Jesus says you are.
Paul and Barnabus knew who they were in Christ and made their decisions of how to live, where to live, where to preach, what money to take and what not to take based upon that identity.
We too can do the same thing. Do you though? I know you do. I know you have areas of life where you are finding victory and growing closer to the Lord. I know many of you are out there seeing God work in your lives, in your marriages, and in your homes as you yield to the identity Christ gave you.
You may be here this morning and have some excuses in your mind as to why you can’t make decisions based on your identity in Jesus like: I’m too old, I’m too poor, I’m not that person, I don’t know enough about the bible, I’ve got this goal, or I’ve got this dream.
Whatever the excuse is, let me ask you to put an image in your mind of Jesus on the Cross with nails in his hands and blood dripping from the thorns in his head and ask you to say that excuse to Him as he dies for your sins.
Or maybe we should think of the destructive, destitute, and damnable place of hell. We should recall that it is the place where the worm doesn’t die, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth, and eternal flame that surrounds us as compared to the beauy of Heaven. We see the streets of gold and gates of pearl. We see almighty God described in Revelations there, we see friends and family, and we see what God saved us from and what he saved us for and as we worship and rejoice in that…share the excuse you have as to why you couldn’t make decisions in your life based upon the identity you have in Jesus.
Folks, I don’t say this to guilt trip you. I do say this becuase it is a reality. Both of these pictures are true. If you feel conviction because of how you are living your life whether you are a believer or not, can I encourage you with this.
Confess your sins and he is faithful and just to forgive you your sins and all unrighteousness.
Repent of how you have been living your life in neglect of the fact their is a God and He loves you. Embrace the love God has for you and demonstrated through Jesus. Live in light of who He has made you to be and see the amazing life that is.
Paul and Barnabus did this…They were used by God to have a great impact on people for the cause of Christ.
This was their driving motivation
1 Corinthians 9:19–23 KJV 1900
19 For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. 20 And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; 21 To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. 22 To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. 23 And this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.
1 Cor 9:19-23
For the sake of time I’m not going to completely break this down. Also, I believe it is pretty straight forward.
Verse 23, sums it up....I do this for the gospel’s sake.
The gospel that saved me, The gospel that saved you, the gospel that I’ve been commanded to preach.
The gospel that restores drug addcits, the gospel that changes marriages, the gospel that has the power to radically affect the lives of all who believe in the one it is about…Jesus.
This leads me to my final point I want to make today…and is just a question...

III. Is the Gospel of Jesus enough for you?

It is enough for salvation. It is enough for transformation. It is life giving and life saving...
but is it enough for you…or do you live for more?

Time of response

What is one area of your life this last week you ccould say “God, I didn’t live from my identity in you” Woudl you confess it, ask for forgiveness, recievee he forgiveness, and live from that idenitty this week?
Is there somethigny ou ahve felt entitled to, money, time, services, love, etc. That you have withheld from the Lord? Would you surrender that to him now and take action this week to direct it towards the greater thing? Jesus and the gospel.
Would you commit to the Lord right now…the gospel is enough for you. Would you ask him to help you live soley for the gospel for one week? What could happen if every person here said “I’m going to do all for Jesus this week.”
I’m going to keep jesus at the forefront of my business. I”m going to keep Jesus at the forefront of my marriage. I’m going to keep Jesus at the forefront of all my relationships. I’m going to live from my identity in my Savior for my Savior so that more may know my Savior.
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