Summary: The purpose of this sermon is to demonstrate that Paul intended 1 Corinthians 9 as a personal example of the point that he made in chapter 8. That point being that Christians are to give up their rights for the cause of others and to demonstrate love.

1 Corinthians

An Example of Love

1 Corinthians 9:1-18

March 23, 2003


A. [If Sermon Offends Thee]

A preacher came to the breakfast table with a cut on his cheek.

His wife asked him what had happened.

He replied that he was concentrating on his sermon while shaving and cut his face.

His wife said, “Maybe you should concentrate on your shaving and cut your sermons.”

B. [Long-Winded Driving]

A pastor and his wife were driving to visit Grandma and Grandpa for Christmas.

Their daughter asked the inevitable question, “Are we almost there?”

The father said, “No, we are still 150 miles away.”

She asked, “Well, how long is that?”

“Well, honey, it’s about three more hours.”

She didn’t say anything for a few moments as she thought about what three hours must be.

She leaned forward from the back seat to the front, making sure she could see her mother’s face and said, “Mommy, is that as long as one of Daddy’s sermons?”

C. Today we’re up to the 9th chapter of 1 Corinthians.

1. And Paul is going to say a few things about apostles in this chapter, but I will warn you ahead of time that the things that he is saying are not really his point.

2. Now I know that that may sound a little strange.

3. The points that he makes are right, Biblical, and should be followed today.

4. But there is really a much deeper point that Paul is making.

5. See if you can tell what it is as we begin reading the first 6 verses, where he states that…

I. Paul has the right to be called an apostle (1-6)

1 Corinthians 9:1-6 (NIV), Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not the result of my work in the Lord? 2 Even though I may not be an apostle to others, surely I am to you! For you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord. 3 This is my defense to those who sit in judgment on me. 4 Don’t we have the right to food and drink? 5 Don’t we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord’s brothers and Cephas ? 6 Or is it only I and Barnabas who must work for a living?

A. Here, Paul asks a series of rhetorical questions that the answer to each is clearly, “Yes.”

1. Am I not free? Yes.

2. Am I not an apostle? Yes.

3. Have I not seen our Lord? Yes.

4. Are you not the result of my work in the Lord? Yes.

5. Don’t we have the right to food and drink? Yes.

6. Don’t we have the right to take a believing wife along with us? Yes.

7. Or is it only I and Barnabas who must work for a living? No.

B. But what Paul is getting at here is that he is an apostle an apostle and he has the right to be called an apostle.

1. Paul was pointing out to the Corinthians that there is clearly evidence that he had been called by God to be an apostle.

2. Paul was pointing out that since it is obviously true that he was indeed and apostle, he had the right to refer to himself as an apostle.

3. Paul was pointing out that since he is obviously an authority, he had the right to exert the authority of an apostle.

C. Paul says that he clearly meets all of the criteria for being called and apostle.

1. Every requirement that there was of an apostle, Paul met.

2. There were benefits of being an apostle that Paul chose not to accept, but he meet all of the requirements of an apostle.

D. Paul has every right to be called an apostle and enjoy all of the benefits entitled to that office; now…

II. Paul has the right to be paid as an apostle

1 Corinthians 9:7-12a (NIV), Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat of its grapes? Who tends a flock and does not drink of the milk? 8 Do I say this merely from a human point of view? Doesn’t the Law say the same thing? 9 For it is written in the Law of Moses: "Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain." Is it about oxen that God is concerned? 10 Surely he says this for us, doesn’t he? Yes, this was written for us, because when the plowman plows and the thresher threshes, they ought to do so in the hope of sharing in the harvest. 11 If we have sown spiritual seed among you, is it too much if we reap a material harvest from you? 12 If others have this right of support from you, shouldn’t we have it all the more?

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