Summary: Freedom is given to us at salvation, but we must maintain it as well.

What Is Real Freedom? 1 Cor. 9:18-23

Pastor Trey Rhodes

When you have a right-standing relationship with God, you have a life of freedom, liberty, and delight; you are God’s will.

-Oswald Chambers

Background: The Revolutionary War was a hard-fought battle, and many lives were lost in order to ensure the freedom of our country. There is always a price to pay for freedom, and the moment we take our freedom for granted, we run the risk of losing it.

Freedom in Christ from our sinful nature and the god of this world is the inheritance of every believer. Christ has set you

free through His victory over sin and death on the cross. But if you have lost a measure of your freedom because you have failed to stand firm in the faith or you have disobeyed God, it is your responsibility to do whatever is necessary to maintain a right relationship with God. Your eternal destiny is not at stake; you are secure in Christ. But your daily victory in Him will be tenuous at best if you fail to assume your responsibility to maintain your freedom in Christ.

1. Real Freedom Can Only Come to Us Freely (9:18)

What then is my reward? Just this: that in preaching the gospel I may offer it free of charge, and so not make use of my rights in preaching it.

Explanation: "free of charge" comes from the word in the Greek that means "no expense" which also means "without devouring." Seems to be a play in words. These people who were saying to the Corinthians that they would offer them great things and surely had promised them freedom were actually devouring them. Paul could well had been using a double meaning ti help the church see that these men were simply devouring them and he did not nor would he.

The actual situation was that he offered them the Gospel and the freedom that came from the message of the Gospel without charge.

That is the only way that the Gospel can ever be offered, freely. Although the Gospel cost the very life of the Son of God, it can be offered to us freely because it was so costly to Him.

That is the only way that REAL FREEDOM can come, through the free gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Argument: But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. (Romans 6:22)

• His Gospel

Application: Have you rec’d God’s free gift that offers freedom to you right now?

2. Real Freedom Causes Us to Serve the Lost (9:19-22)

Explanation: What a paradox: free from all men, yet the servant of all men! “Ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake” (2 Cor. 4:5). Because he was free, Paul was able to serve others and to set aside his own rights for their sake.

To immature people, Paul’s lifestyle probably looked inconsistent. In reality, he was very consistent, for his overriding purpose was to win people to Jesus Christ. Consistency can become a very legalistic thing, and a man can become so bound by man-made rules and standards that he has no freedom to minister. He is like young David trying to battle in Saul’s armor.

Paul had the right to eat whatever pleased him, but he gave up that right so that he might win the Jews. Paul revered the Law (see Rom. 7:12), but set that aside so that he might reach the lost Gentiles. He even identified himself with the legalistic weak Christians so that he might help them to grow. It was not compromise, but rather total abandonment to the higher law of love. Paul followed the example of the Saviour and humbled himself to become the servant of all.

Application: It takes tact to have contact. When the people I witness to tell me about their experience of baptism as a child, I tell them that I too was baptized as a child. I express my appreciation for thechurch and parents who wanted that to be a part of my life. Then I tell them, “But it wasn’t until Christ came into my life at the age of thirteen that my life really changed. That was when I met Jesus Christ personally and was born again.” As a good witness your goal is to build bridges, not walls.

Argument: Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. (1 Cor. 2:12)

• Our Witness

3. Real Freedom Creates in Us the Law of Christ (see parenthesis)

Explanation: Paul was not under the law, he believed and taught and practiced that the law was crucified with Christ on the cross (Col. 2:14, "having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross." Yet He was under a greater law than a law written on paper, he was subject to the law of Christ. He was not bound to tradition, but he was bound to transformation. Paul lived the transformed lifestyle. (SEE PK Notes on tradition vs. transformation.)

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