Today at GSJ was a rather challenging preaching experience for me. I continued my sermon series out of 1 Corinthians, chapter 9; a very difficult chapter to preach where you serve as pastor. Regardless of what disclaimer you use, there will always be someone to question your motivation. Even though I’ve preached from 1 Corinthians for a few months now, there are some who accuse you of asking for a raise as if more money for faithful diligence in the Word is an anti-biblical concept. Nevertheless, I valiantly pressed on to follow Paul’s train of thought as he continues to address one of several questions the Corinthians asked of him.
Previously in chapter 8, Paul began to answer their question concerning meat offered to idols. After initially agreeing with the strong whose line of reasoning was not against biblical principles, he cautioned them to not use their christian liberties to offend the weak. While eating meat was not a sin in and of itself, it can become hazardous to the spiritual well being of the weak. Therefore, we must forgo the exercising of our right to eat meat lest we force the weak to violate their own consciences.
In chapter 9 Paul further illustrates this principle by reminding them of his own experience. He begins the opening verses defending his apostleship as he was flanked with underserved criticism from his enemies because of the message he preached, ministry methods he implemented and his refusal to exercise certain apostolic privileges. This led him, however, to remind the Corinthians of some rights he willingly refused so that the gospel is preached without obstruction. Although it was Paul’s apostolic right to receive generous compensation for service rendered, he labored among the Corinthians for three years without a salary. This was brought to their attention not to extort money from them, but to further drive home the fact that sometimes we must voluntarily surrender that which we know we are entitled so that an example of selfless sacrifice can be displayed for others to imitate.
Truly the Lord saw us through as we shared this message in a rather unorthodox way. With that said, I don’t necessarily have an outline I can share. It was one of those Sundays, if you know what I mean. According to some members I talked to following the services, it did not impede their ability to get the point of the passage, for that I am grateful.
We concluded the afternoon with lunch at a local establishment called ‘Trios’ with the Gospel Chorus. There we continued in wholesome fellowship before returning home for the day.