Summary: God's Power, Following Christ, Love for others


1 Cor 9:19-23 (p797) August 25, 2013


I want you to try something (and if you’re like me I’m barley co-ordinated enough to do it)…Cross your arms as you normally would, now look down and see which arm is on top…half of you probably see your right arm and half of you probably see your left arm. It doesn’t really matter…

When you crossed your arms for the first time you might have still been in your play pen, and you’ve been crossing your arms the same way ever since…

Now, cross your arms again, only this time put the wrong arm on top….How weird does that feel, huh?

If I were to challenge you to cross your arms that way for the next month…could you do it? Probably…would it be difficult?...would it feel weird? You bet it would.

Here’s the point: Habits---good or bad are difficult to change…Aristotle said it best…”We are what we respectably do. Excellence is not an act…it’s a habit.”

[One of my favorite stories…I’ve told it thousands of times…shared it with our leadership and staff probably more than they’d like ….But it’s something my Dad told me...[Pretend you’re a farmer…and everyday for 30 years you get up, take your shower…eat your breakfast and head out towards the barn….every day for 30 years you walk down the same path…to the same barn…then one day you get up, take your shower, eat your breakfast and decide to go to the pond…but when you take the path its overgrown, untraveled…filled with stick tights and thorns…so you decide to go back and take the path you’ve always travelled…the one you knew so well with hopes to get to the Pond. I don’t care how much you hope or wish to get to the Pond, if you take the path you’ve always travelled you’re going to end up at the bar.]

The apostle Paul was writing to an ornery bunch, a group that found it easy to walk to the barn and argue with those who would take another path…The Corinthians would be tolerant of a man sleeping with his father’s wife (1 Cor 5:1), even proud that they were so benevolent…but this same group would argue about eating food sacrificed to idols… the art of circumcision being required for Christianity to be valid, they’d get drunk around the Lord’s table, but weren’t sure about a woman covering her head or not!

Why? Because spiritually they had crossed their arms in a certain way…and their religion had taken them down the same path over and over again…It’s the very reason Jesus describes his Kingdom as completely new…His Spirit make us completely born again…”No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment making the tear worse. Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do the skins will burst, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.” (Matt 9: 16, 17)


Listen to what the apostle Paul says in verses 19 & 20

Read! Cor. 9:19, 20 (p797)

Paul says he’s free…he belongs to no one… (We can be relatively certain at this time he’s not married ;) (All men laugh)…Paul is a Roman citizen, born that way according to Act 22:28…He was a Free Man…with the rights of a roman citizen…and those rights were many.

The right of immunity from some taxes and other legal obligations, especially local rules and regulations. The right to sue in the courts and the right to be sued. The right to have legal trial (to appear before a proper court and to defend oneself). The right to appeal from the decisions of magistrates and to appeal the lower court decisions. The right to appeal from the decisions of magistrates and to appeal the lower court decisions. A Roman citizen could not be tortured or shipped, nor could he receive the death penalty, unless he was found guilty of treason. If accused of treason, a Roman citizen had the right to be tried in Rome, and even if sentenced to death, no Roman citizen could be sentenced to die on the cross. Romans citizenship was required in order to enlist in the Roman legions, but this was sometimes ignored. No-citizens joined the Auxilia and gained citizenship through service.

Many of our Rights in America find their genesis in Roman law…Hopefully most of us won’t be arrested, but if you are then you are Mirandize…read your rights…We’re heard them on every cop show…”You have the right to remain silent…if you refuse that right everything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law…You have the right to an attorney if you cannot afford one…one will be appointed to you…” Do you understand these rights?

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