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1 Corinthians 9- Winning Souls not Arguments

For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law.To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. 1 Corinthians 9:19-22

The Apostle Paul was more concerned about winning souls than winning arguments. This is one of the biggest hindrances we have at evangelizing, we care more about winning the argument than winning the soul. Should we care about sharing sound doctrine? Absolutely, but should we become stumbling blocks in the meantime, shame on us!

As Paul says here “To the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain Jews” We need to know our audience. Alot of Christians, when they do decide to evangelize, they don’t care about their audience , they just shout repent or burn in Hell. Is this making a personal connection with anyone? Is anyone truly receiving this message? We need to be trying to reach people, not just shout at them. Ask people questions, get to know where they are coming from. Try to find some common ground to share the gospel message.

Brother John shared the story on one of our podcasts about preacher Voodie Baucham, when his was in seminary a Jehovah Witness knocked on his door. He arrange a meeting with the JW to destroy them theologically and initially he felt pretty good about himself, until his professor asked “Are they coming back”? And he replied no. It finally hit him, it wasn’t about destroying people in arguments, it was about building relationships so they would entrust you to share the gospel with them

As Paul said “I made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some” If you want to evangelize to a certain group of people, then learn about those people. Understand what they already know, where they are coming from, what personal struggles they have had in their life. Were not just a wrecking ball coming in to destroy people, remember we were all lost sinners once also

And this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you. I Corinthians 9: 23

Why take all this time to build relationships? Because we do this for the gospels sake, we do this because we care about people’s souls, we do this because Jesus Christ first loved us so we love others, Amen!

1 Corinthians 9- Preach The Gospel

For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel! For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me. What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel. 1 Corinthians 9:16-18

Why do we preach the gospel? Why do we focus our lives around Christ? Because we are called by Christ to preach the gospel. We didn’t wake up one day and say “I think I’m going to be a preacher” No, The Lord calls us and we are baptized by the Holy Spirit, we are Born Again, a new Creature in Christ

As the Apostle Paul says here “For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of” Whatever we do it’s for the glory of God and not ourselves. When we preach the gospel, and we see fruits of the Holy Spirit, it’s all glory to God and not ourselves. We are just chosen vessels to be the hands and feet of Christ, but we are nothing more than a vessel. It’s an honor and privilege to be a servant of Christ and all glory to God and his Kingdom

Woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel says Paul. Just think about Jonah, God called him to preach to Nineveh and he ran away, how did that work out for Jonah? When God calls you to do something, you either do it or you will be in opposition of God Almighty. 

As it’s been said, with great power comes great responsibility. As the Apostle Paul says here “that I abuse not my power in the gospel” We know many have abused their authority in the Church, and great will be their punishment when they meet Christ face to face. Make sure we remain humble, and focused on Gods will be done and not our own

So who is called to preach the gospel? Everyone who is Born Again is called to preach the gospel (Matthew 28:19) That probably means You also , if you are saved. Don’t neglect your calling, don’t abuse your spiritual power and authority in Jesus name , Amen!

1 Corinthians 9- Live of The Gospel

If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things? If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ. Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? 1 Corinthians 9:11-13

Whenever the topic of tithing or donating money to the Church comes up, it’s typically a touchy subject. There is a perception by the carnal world , that those doing spiritual work for God’s Kingdom are not worthy of getting paid. This overall mentality and attitude is partly one of the main reasons there is a Pastor shortage in the Church today. Churches want the greatest Pastor in the Kingdom to be their shepherd, however they just don’t want to pay them. We see this all the time and anyone who has worked in ministry knows this is unfortunately true.

Now we also have the other side of the spectrum, we have false prophets using prosperity gospel to make millions and rip off well-meaning Christians. People see these wolves and become leery of all Christians. Let me first tell you, anyone who was truly called by God to be in ministry, didn’t choose to be in ministry for money. The Apostle Paul knew the perception out there and refrained from collecting everything he was owed as he said “Nevertheless we have not used this power, but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ”

Fulfilling the Great Commision was Paul’s main goal, whether he had to suffer in poverty or imprisonment. When it comes to the Pastor of your Church, this should be their same goal also. If your pastor is more worried about budgets than the saving of souls, then it would be a red flag. However if your Pastor is a faithful servant of Christ, make sure you support them financially

Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel. But I have used none of these things: neither have I written these things, that it should be so done unto me: for it were better for me to die, than that any man should make my glorying void. 1 Corinthians 9:14-15

The Apostle Paul understood the perception this must cause the Church. As Paul said “They which preach the gospel should live of the gospel” The Church should be willing to support their spiritual leaders. The reality is we all need to live, we need to pay our mortgage, we need to feed our family, we need to buy clothing, we don’t need extravagant things, but a Pastor does need necessities of life and the Word of God states they are entitled to them as their wages.

The Apostle Paul again understood the perception this might cause and said “for it were better for me to die, than that any man should make my glorying void” Paul would rather have died from hunger than have the gospel hindered by peoples hardened hearts. Should your Pastor suffer because of your hardened heart?

I understand money is a difficult topic for the Church, but should it really? Doesn’t everything we own belong to The Lord? Do we deserve all the credit and glory for our success or God? Take care of the spiritual leaders that take care of you! Amen!

1 Corinthians 9- Support The Brethren

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? 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. Mine answer to them that do examine me is this, Have we not power to eat and to drink? 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? Or I only and Barnabas, have not we power to forbear working? 1 Corinthians 9:1-6

There is a popular movement nowadays, especially in the Hebrews roots , to deny Paul as an Apostle, some even say he is an “AntiChrist”. Now to reject Paul as an Apostle of Christ, will lead you down a long slippery slope. Let me explain, if you reject Paul, first then you are rejecting the Word of God is inerrant, secondly you are rejecting over half of The New Testament. Remember Paul didn’t work alone, the Dr. Luke worked with Paul also. So if you reject Paul, then you are going to have to reject Luke also. So now you have to eliminate the gospel of Luke and the book of Acts. Do you see where we are headed here?

The fact of the matter is Paul is an Apostle of Christ (Acts 1:21) and Paul did see Christ face to face on the road to Damascus during his conversion (Acts 9:4) It’s a biblical fact that Jesus Christ choose Paul as a chosen vessel to preach the gospel and build God’s Kingdom (Acts 9:15) Just because Paul is an Apostle, doesn’t mean he or the disciples don’t deserve to have any happiness in life

Yes we all know Paul suffered greatly for The Lord, but as Paul says here “Have we not power to eat and drink?” “Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord” Paul is saying as Christians, as servants of Christ, we still can enjoy food and drink , we still have the right to enjoy marriage and fellowship with others. God gave us families and communities for a reason, enjoy the love and fellowship of your family and neighbors

Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock? Say I these things as a man? or saith not the law the same also? For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen? Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope. 1 Corinthians 9:7-10

 Tithing is another issue in the Church today, while I don’t believe the 10% tithe tax of the Mosaic Covenant applies to the Church, I do believe God loves a cheerful giver and we should support our Brethren for the Kingdom. Now of course we should beware of wolves looking to profit on God, however those who are truly soldiers of Christ need to be supported.

As the Apostle Paul said “Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox treading out the corn” This is in reference you shouldn’t avoid supporting ministries and Churches that are working for Christ. Notice Paul mentions this as a commandment from God

The bottom line is we need to support our brothers and sisters in Christ who are on the front lines in spiritual warfare. Now support doesn’t always mean financial, it can be spiritual, it can be emotional, use the freedom of Christ to do good for the Kingdom, Amen

1 Corinthians 8- Stumbling Block

Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled. But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse. But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak 1 Corinthians 8:7-9

We all need to be on fire for The Lord, and we should all have great zeal for the Kingdom, however we also need to make sure we are not a stumbling block for those coming to Christ. We need to remember we are all on different levels and places in our walk with Christ. If we hinder people from seeking Jesus , what good does your zeal accomplish , except to exalt yourself?

We see many stumbling blocks in the Church of Corinth, we see some arguing with other Christians over what they are eating, whether they are circumcised, what day they are worshiping, sound familiar? Yes there are still many stumbling blocks in the Church today, as Paul says here “Take heed by any means this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to them that are weak” 

We have freedom and liberty with Jesus Christ, don’t allow your convictions to become a stumbling block for others. You might ask what do I mean? I know there are some who are convinced Christians must “Keep the Saturday Sabbath”, some have even said people are not saved unless they worship on Saturday. However this was never commanded by Christ or the Apostles, so why push your convictions on others? 

For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols; And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ. Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend. 1 Corinthians 8:10-13

I’ll take this even one step further, being a stumbling block to other believers you sin against Christ The Apostle Paul says here “But when you sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ” There are many new believers that stumbling blocks prey on. They know they don’t have deep theological knowledge, so they push their false teachings upon them. This is a sin against the Church and against The Lord. 

Now there is nothing wrong with healthy internal discussions about differences in theology, in fact it’s very healthy. However we shouldn’t force our viewpoints on others or threaten their salvation if they don’t agree. The worst thing we can do is to become a stumbling block for those coming to Christ, we were all once lost also, be a Shepherd and not a wolf , Amen!

1 Corinthians 8- Legalism

Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth. And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know. But if any man love God, the same is known of him. As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one. 1 Corinthians 8:1-4

 Legalism has been an issue within the Church since the very beginning. Anything Satan can do to divide the body of Christ, he will do. With knowledge comes power, we have all heard that but it’s very true especially with our walk with Christ. However knowledge without love is useless or dangerous. 

In the Greco Roman world, paganism was very common. Everyone typically worshiped a false god or idols, therefore all the animals that were typically sacrificed for these pagan practices, the meat would be sold for food. Typically nobody had any idea if the meat they were eating from markets was from a pagan sacrifice or not, but some Christians in the Church felt it was necessary to rebuke any Christians basically eating meat

Now this might sound ridiculous to us now, but we have the same issues still going on in the Church today. I know “Christians” who rebuke other Christians for eating pork or shrimp, what is the point? Is this a salvation issue? No of course not, this is somebody trying to authorize their understanding of the Mosaic Law and how it applies in the New Covenant. Is this edifying or beneficial to the Church? Of course not, it just creates more division and useless arguments , just like this issue about eating meat “sacrificed” to idols in Corinth

As Paul says here “Knowledge puffs up, but Love or Charity edifies” Paul also makes it very clear “we know that an idol is nothing in the world” It amazes me how Christians get so worked up over paganism. Let’s take for example , the Christmas Tree, which I don’t personally believe is pagan, but other Christians claim it is. Even if it was, why are Christians so afraid of paganism? Do they not believe that Jesus is Lord of all Lords and the demons tremble at his word?

For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him. 1 Corinthians 8:5-6

There are many “idols” or demons in this world, but I’m personally not afraid or intimidated by any of them. Not only that, everything and everyone is under the feet of Christ, why do we allow demons to claim and own things? Most importantly don’t allow your head knowledge to overtake your love for your brothers and sisters.

There is only One God, there is only Lord Jesus, and there is only One Holy Spirit who lives inside of us, don’t allow legalism to rule your heart, let Christ rule your heart, Amen!

1 Corinthians 7- Stay Focused

Now concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord: yet I give my judgment, as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful. I suppose therefore that this is good for the present distress, I say, that it is good for a man so to be. Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife. But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh: but I spare you. But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none; And they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not; And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away. But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord: But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife. There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband. 1 Corinthians 7:25-34

As we work through Chapter 7, it’s very apparent that there are some difficult teachings by Paul for us to understand. We can take the easy route and just say all this just applies to the Church of Corinth, but as Paul also said “All scripture is God breathed and useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training” (2 Timothy 3:16) So while it’s very appealing to just skip over these verses, since I believe the whole Bible is the Word of God, we are going to study it because the Holy Spirit is trying to tell us something. Now whether we can discern the Holy Spirits message is another topic , haha

I’m going to just sum up what I believe Paul is trying to say here, without getting into complicated debates and scenarios, Paul is telling the people “Stay Focused” Ok what do I mean by that? Well as a Born Again Christian we all have a calling, we all have a job to do as a servant of Christ. Whether you’re married or not, whether you’re a parent or not, whether you’re employed or not employed, we are all responsible to carry out our mission in Christ. 

Paul is not prohibiting marriage or family, as this would oppose Gods creation design. What Paul is warning here, the more responsibilities you take on , such as being a husband and father, you are going to bear a greater burden of managing your time between God and your family. As a husband and father myself, I can attest, managing a family, career, and a ministry can be overwhelming at times. However I rely on the grace of God to get me through it. I can’t do anything on my own accord, including being a husband and wife, without the Holy Spirit guideing me through every aspect of my life.

And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction. But if any man think that he behaveth himself uncomely toward his virgin, if she pass the flower of her age, and need so require, let him do what he will, he sinneth not: let them marry. Nevertheless he that standeth stedfast in his heart, having no necessity, but hath power over his own will, and hath so decreed in his heart that he will keep his virgin, doeth well. So then he that giveth her in marriage doeth well; but he that giveth her not in marriage doeth better. The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord. But she is happier if she so abide, after my judgment: and I think also that I have the Spirit of God 1 Corinthians 7:35-40

As our brother Damon once said “God is in everything, God is in our family, God is in our work, God is in our ministry” I totally agree with Damon, The Holy Spirit is living inside of me and therefor leading me with whatever I’m doing, but everything I do should be for the glory of God

I know this post is probably is not the exegesis of scripture most people are looking for, and if we went line by line with the above passages, we could be here for months. But this is a summarization I feel the Holy Spirit is trying to tell us here in Pauls’ teaching. The bottom line is as a Christian, you have a job to do, Stay focused on finishing your race that was layed before you in Jesus name Amen!

1 Corinthians 7- Live Your Calling

But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk. And so ordain I in all churches. Is any man called being circumcised? let him not become uncircumcised. Is any called in uncircumcision? let him not be circumcised. Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God. 1 Corinthians 7:17-19

We don’t choose Jesus, Jesus chooses us! This is a statement you probably have heard, and it’s Biblical. Look at the scriptures here from the Apostle Paul “God has distributed to every man, as The Lord has called everyone, so let him walk” Notice who has distributed the calling and gifts , it is God not man. There is no group or organization that can anoint you as a Christian leader, God anoints you first!

And as we know God calls the people who are least expected. Just look at the life of the Apostle Paul, he was probably the last person the Church expected to be called, but as the scripture says “So let him walk” If someone is anointed and called by The Lord, then let them serve God. We don’t need to examine their credentials or their past, God is the one who calls and anoints us. 

We see Paul uses the example of circumcision, many wouldn’t accept Timothy unless he was circumcised, so he became circumcised to please those who were skeptical of him. (Acts 16:3) However Titus didn’t want to get circumcised and he didn’t (Galatians 2:3) Yet it doesn’t change whether these men were called by God or not. These men were anointed by the Holy Spirit whether they were circumcised or not. 

Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called. Art thou called being a servant? care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather. For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord’s freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ’s servant. Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men. Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God. 1 Corinthians 7:20-24

Paul then goes on to say “Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called” God placed you where you need to be, in that specific town with that group or people, answer your calling and be the Shepherd for those people. Don’t use the excuses that your not qualified or inexperienced, if God put the calling on you, we need to obey The Lord and not our flesh

The Apostle Paul uses this phrase again “You were bought with a price” When you become Born Again in Christ, you don’t belong to yourself anymore, you belong to Jesus. Christ is our Lord and we are his servants, be obedient to the calling that God has placed upon our lives, Amen!

1 Corinthians 7- Called To Peace

I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I. But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn. And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife. 1 Corinthians 7:8-11

As we continue to look at Pauls teachings here, it’s important to understand the core of the message. Paul as the shepherd of this Church is addressing the issue of sexual immorality in the Church. So one of Pauls suggestions is , if you can’t control your sexual desires you should get married.

Paul is not making a commandment to get married, as Paul addresses here “to the unmarried and widows” there are situations where Christians are not going to be married for several reasons, we don’t need to address all of them. As Paul says here “but if they cannot contain, let them marry” Meaning if you can’t control your sexual desires , you really should get married

As brother John said in our Twitter group “Many people want today’s Church like the 1rst century Church” well in many ways it is, sexual immorality was a big issue in the 1rst century Church as it’s still a big issue in todays Church. So much of an issue, many denominations are splitting over sexual immorality. The battle of the flesh is severe , and we need to deny ourselves daily to continue this Christian walk

But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away. And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy. But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace. For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife? 1 Corinthians 12-16

The Apostle Paul brings up another scenario that is still prevalent in todays Church, a Christian who is married to a non-believer. This is obviously a very difficult situation for everyone involved, this is why the Church is so important in your life. Many people need to lean on their brothers and sisters in Christ for fellowship and comfort, when they can’t receive it at home. This again was an issue in the first century just as its an issue in today Church today

Reflecting on these words by Paul “God has called us to peace” don’t allow this situation to destroy your family. Be patient and pray for your spouse that the Holy Spirit will remove the veil in Jesus name Amen!

1 Corinthians 7- Get Married

Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. 1 Corinthians 7:1-4

As you read through the Epistles of Corinthians, it becomes very clear, the Church of Corinth had alot of sexual immorality issues. The Apostle Paul spends a great deal of time working through alot of their issues, and teachings on sanctification and avoiding immorality of the body. So Paul injects another idea into the Church to avoid fornication, get married!

It’s very clear from the beginning of the Bible, Marriage was Gods plan for humanity. In Adam it was revealed “it is not good for man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18) People were designed to have a companion, being a lone wolf is a difficult lifestyle, this is another reason God designed the Church, to be a spiritual family for one another

The Bible also makes it clear, any sex outside the covenant of marriage is immoral (Hebrews 13:4) and Jesus defined the covenant of marriage between One man and One woman (Matthew 19:4-5) So what’s a solution to sexual immorality, get married!

Think about all the issues the Church has had with sexual abuse, including Catholic priests, could alot of this been prevented if these guys would have just got married? Probably, if you read the Word of God instead of relying on the traditions of men, it will keep you on the narrow path of life

Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency. But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment. For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that. 1 Corinthians 7:5-7

Now is this the solution to everyone’s immorality issues? No, of course not, we need to become Born Again first to have a Holy marriage to begin with. Marriage is a covenant from God that can resolve alot of problems if the covenant is not broken. However its not the end all, be all for everyone. I think there is alot of wisdom in this teaching when applied correctly

As Paul says here “That Satan doesnt tempt you” When your alone and vulnerable, its much easier for you to fall into temptation. Not just the sexual aspect, but also having a partner to walk side by side with you, as the two become one flesh. Apply these teachings in a practical aspect, and it will benefit you on your long journey with Christ, Amen!