3-Week Series: Double Blessing

Sermons

Summary: Paul faced severe criticism; false brethren questioned his Apostleship, and they were constantly assaulting his character and attacking his reputation; particularly here at Corinth.

January 16, 2013

Commentary on First Corinthians

By: Tom Lowe

Topic #7: Questions Concerning Christian Freedom, 1 Corinthians 8.1-11.1

Lesson 7.3: Privileges of an Apostle

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 9.1-6

1 Cor 9.1-6 (KJV)

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?

Introduction

Paul may have had the most successful ministry there ever was, but his ministry certainly met a lot of resistance, not only from those outside the church but he had to contend with discouragement from those within. He faced severe criticism; false brethren questioned his Apostleship, and they were constantly assaulting his character and attacking his reputation; particularly here at Corinth. He deserved better treatment from them, because he began the church, built it up to its current status, and accomplished a lot of good for the church while personally leading many of them to faith in Christ. Note, It is not surprising and nothing new when a minister has to contend with church officers and members who block his efforts to make changes, criticize his sermons, and treat him unkindly, though he has been diligent and devoted in his ministry among them. Some of the Corinthians went so far as to question his apostolic character. He answers some of their criticisms in this chapter, and he does it in a manner that shows him to be a remarkable example of that self-denial, for the good of others, which he had been recommending in the former chapter.

There are four parts to this Chapter:

I. Privileges of an Apostle—verses 1-6

II. Support of an Apostle—verses 7-14

III. Renunciation by an Apostle—verses 15-23

IV. Discipline of Christian Freedom—verses 24-27

Commentary

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?

Am I not an Apostle?

I believe there is sufficient evidence to say that there were persons at Corinth who questioned the Apostleship of St. Paul, and in order to avoid criticism, he was obliged to walk very cautiously so that they might not find anything to use against him. It also looks as if he ministered to them free of charge; and even this, which was the highest proof of his impartial goodwill, was used by his opposition as an argument against him. They may have said something like this; "Prophets, and all divinely commissioned men, have a right to be supported by the church, but you take nothing for your labors; could the reason be that you are under conviction, that you have no apostolic right to our support" The Apostle begins to defend himself with this verse.

“Am I not an Apostle?” Of course, the answer is, “Yes, Paul, you are an Apostle.” Such an obvious truth should hardly need stating. The way this question is presented in the Greek demands a positive answer. But this was the point that needed to be settled; and it is likely that some at Corinth had denied that he could be an Apostle, since it was required that in order to be acknowledged as an Apostle one had to have seen the Lord Jesus; and since it was thought that Paul had not been an eyewitness of his life, miracles, teaching, doctrines, or death; he could hardly call himself an Apostle of His.

What evidence could Paul give to show he was indeed an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ? He begins with this verse to present his qualifications. The evidence of Paul's true status as an Apostle is shown in the following statements:

1. “Am I not free?” Paul was not under the authority of anyone but Jesus Christ; other Christians were under apostolic authority.

2. “Have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord?” Paul insists that he did not merely see a vision of Jesus, but an authentic appearance of the post-resurrection Jesus.

3. “Are you not my work in the Lord?” The proof is in the pudding. The work of God among the Corinthian Christians was evidence enough of Paul's apostolic credentials. In fact, the very existence of the Corinthian church was the seal of Paul's Apostleship in the Lord. If he was not an Apostle to others; he surely was to them. Whenever he speaks, he can do so with authority because of his relationship with the Corinthian assembly.

Copy Sermon to Clipboard with PRO Download Sermon with PRO
Talk about it...

Nobody has commented yet. Be the first!

Join the discussion