In a Sunday School class, a teacher questioned all the children, “If I sell my car and my house, donate all of my savings to the church, and arrange a grand garage sale will there be any chance for me to enter heaven?
One of the children from the class replied excitedly, “NO!”
“After I’m done with mowing the yard, cleaning the church daily, and keeping all the things tidy, would I be allowed into heaven?”
The reply was the same, “NO!”
She asked, “well then, how can I enter heaven?”
From the last chair in the back of the room, a 5-year-old boy screamed frustratedly, “You need to be dead first!”
Historical/Cultural Context -
Paul preached the gospel in Corinth in the early 50s AD during his second missionary journey (Acts 18:1–18).
When opposition grew fierce there, the Lord Jesus spoke to him in a vision assuring him that he had ‘many people’ in the city (Acts 18:10).
With this encouragement, Paul stayed on for eighteen months, ‘teaching them the word of God’ (Acts 18:11).
God used Paul’s ministry to bring about the birth and establishment of the church in Corinth.
Biblical Text -
Life Principle - We Are Called To Support Our Local Church With Our Time, Talents, & Monetarily.
Life Point- Support Your Local Church, Not False Teachers.
I personally, don’t like to mention money from the pulpit.
I think it may be an over reaction because of the few years I spent studying the Pentecostal/Charismatic name-it-and-claim-it movement.
However, we are going through this book expositing the text.
So here we are.
What is going on here?
Paul had just shared about conscience and has hit them with a lot of things up to this point on how to believe and act.
Because act out what you truly believe.
There were those going around saying that Paul is not a true Apostle because he was not one of the 12 or one of Jesus’ half brothers.
The Judaizers and other false teachers were going against Paul’s teaching.
So he addresses their criticism of him line by line.
rhetorical question by rhetorical question.
These same types of things are said about pastors and ministers today.
Some of the criticisms may be valid for certain ministers, but not all.
1) Paul points out that he saw the Lord physically on his way to Damascus.
He was knocked off his horse and the Lord showed and spoke to Him.
2) He is not less of an apostle than the others for he writes “am I not as free as anyone else?”
3) His work amongst the Corinthians and them coming to faith is proof he is an apostle, even if others deny him the Corinthian church should not because he is, at the bare minimum, their Apostle.
He has setup why you should listen to him over other people.
Over the false teachers.
We know that Peter equates Paul’s writings as scripture:
Scripture is not something that we can pick and chose what we apply and not apply.
We believe and do it all.
Where we fall short God grants forgiveness and is made strong in our weakness:
So we know that those today who distort the teaching of scripture is nothing new.
Which is why 1) Paul puts this section in hist letter to the Corinthians and why 2) we must study, not just read the Bible:
Now we come to his direct questions for those that question him:
1) 1 Corinthians 9:4
It was common for teachers to be put up for the night or a few nights and be taken care of by the hosts of the house.
This allowed them to not have to worry about having a place to stay in small villages that didn’t have inns.
It also freed them up for the cost of food and lodging in larger cities.
2) 1 Corinthians 9:5
Having a believing spouse in this culture was kind of like a status symbol.
You have a household and you are taking care of it well.
So this was a criticism laid against Paul.
3) 1 Corinthians 9:6-7
In many situations, Paul would go into a city and work a job in order to supply his own way and not lay that upon the people as he was introducing the Gospel.
Because many teachers of others religions and so-called Christian teachers would require a payment or an offering of money in order to listen to them.
Paul didn’t want to be lumped in with them in people’s minds as they were taking advantage of the people.
You might say they were living the high life while those in their congregations were struggling to make ends meat.
Does that sound like some teachers in the world today?
Your name-it-claim-it folks?
Now Paul continues down this vein letting them know that it is right for the worker of the Gospel to be given a certain monetary gift in order to live.
This should be done at a fair livable wage, from which the church can afford.
Notice Paul says that is right for the man of God who preaches the Gospel to be supplied by the Gospel.
Now this is the part that I hate to teach on, but it is in the Word.
I don’t like talking about money because it seems so self-serving to me.
Yet here it is in the scripture.
One question that comes up all the time is “What should a minister be paid?”
Well, the conventional wisdom says that they should be paid whatever the average of the church members make in their jobs.
Then we take that range of pay and pick something on the higher end.
That’s all well and good, but if a church can’t afford it, they can’t afford it.
God often calls ministers to bi-vocational ministries and even volunteer ministries.
This is usually for a season.
That is what Paul is referring to when he says he had not used this right.
Now you have so-called ministers who will not only use the right but take advantage of that right and then blow it out of the water.
Benny Hinn comes to mind.
Right here in Orlando Benny was preaching and then told them to shut off the cameras.
They shut them off and then he said and I quote, “My family and I have been good to you all year, it is now your time to be good to us.
Give your watches, rings, cash, checks.
Whatever you have.”
The sad part is that people did it!
They gave all their high dollar items in the offering plate.
When it was all set and done he had them turn the cameras back on so he could finish his speech.
Yes I said speech, because he is so theologically whacked that his speeches shouldn’t be called sermons.
This is pure selfishness and disgusting.
When I read this section of scripture about the other teachers Paul refers to here I always think it was something like what happened there in Orlando.
Now on the other end you have a church that won’t let the pastor or his wife take another job, but they literally says things like, “We pay our pastor so little because we want him to remain humble.”
Yet the people who say that aren’t living in run-down homes with a car that may or may not start and can’t afford to put shoes on their kids feet.
You think I am joking?
I am not.
I know of a minister that, that was his first church.
One last thing about this.
My grandmother who went to be with the Lord in the mid 90s was a Godly woman.
She had a direct line to God we used to say.
Because if we had a problem and she prayed about it, it just seemed like the problem was resolved quickly.
This wasn’t a one-off but 98% of the time.
She got to the place where she would send a little in to her church and then send just about the rest of here Social Security to these TV charlatans.
We didn’t know until after she died that her house was falling apart.
There were holes under the couch, the refrigerator, and her bed.
She would hide it from us because she wanted to give to the work of God.