Summary: This message brings an interesting question regarding what is ours and what we are willing to sacrifice. It seems that the level of commitment and outreach for Christ is related to what we perceive as our rights against what we sacrifice as God.
WILLING TO SACRIFICE
INTRODUCTION: In this chapter, Paul makes some statements concerning his apostleship. He takes the time to describe his rights as an apostle and minister, and also his sacrifice as that same apostle and minister. In essence, Paul embraces his rights, and then sacrifices them. This brings an interesting question regarding what is ours and what we are willing to sacrifice. It seems that the level of commitment and outreach for Christ is related to what we perceive as our rights against what we sacrifice as God.
I Paul’s Rights
A Paul had the right to be accepted as a minister
1 Lord had worked through Paul
2 Lives had been changed
B Paul had the right to be supported
1 Soldier serves at the expense of another
2 Farmer farms to obtain from his labors
3 Old Testament held that a laborer deserved some support
4 Others of lesser status were already enjoying what Paul had a right to.
C Paul had a right to priority in the church
1 Paul founded the church
2 Paul had a special unique relationship with the church
D Paul had the right to make judgments concerning his rights
1 Not whether they were his or not
2 Whether to exercise them or not
II Paul’s Sacrifice
A Paul’s sacrifice was possible because his focus was right.
1 Paul had the right
2 Paul focused on the ministry
3 When we focus on winning others for Christ, our rights seem unimportant
B Paul’s sacrifice was possible because his responsibility was right
1 Paul had a responsibility to let the Lord work through him
2 Paul had a responsibility to allow the gospel as much freedom as possible
III Our Mindset – How important the gospel is to us!
A The gospel must be more important than my rights
1 Country says we have a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness
2 Bible says I have not rights because my life is not my own – I have been bought with a price
a Not bartered for
b Not picked up on sale
c Not a knock-off, or a second
d God paid top dollar for me!
3 The gospel must be more important than my wants
a Bible tells me toMatthew 6:33 (NIV) Mt 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.:
b Bible tells me to: Psalms 37:4 (NIV) Ps 4 Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.
4 The gospel must be more important than my expectations
a Matthew 20:20-28 (NIV) Mt 20 Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of him. 21 "What is it you want?" he asked. She said, "Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom." 22 "You don’t know what you are asking," Jesus said to them. "Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?" "We can," they answered. 23 Jesus said to them, "You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father." 24 When the ten heard about this, they were indignant with the two brothers. 25 Jesus called them together and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 26 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave-- 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."
b The gospel is not what we do for God, but what God did for us
c The moment we come expecting God to grant us some special favor for service, we come in mistaken
5 The gospel must be more important than my friends
a Friends can easily entice us away from spiritual things. Always seek to have your closet friends your most spiritual friends
b The needs of our friends are important when their greatest need is the gospel.
6 The gospel needs to be more important than my limits
a Isaiah 40:31 (NIV) Isa 31 but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
IV WHY THE BELIEVER SACRIFICES
A Reveals our sanctification – our difference