Training for What Matters Most

Paul is in the middle of addressing an attitude of church members who view and treat hired Clergy as people who have an obligation to ‘feed’ or ‘disciple’ them in the particular way they believe they should be fed and discipled….

God’s called Leaders / Clergy do not have any such obligation…They have an obligation to the Lord and to the Church Body.

The world evaluates their leaders from a consumeristic, self-focused point of view.  Are we not to be the opposite? The last is first, first is last goes for all of us!

God says thru Paul’s life: Here is how you do it.

God’s example: Paul’s others-focused life, to show the Corinthians & Us how it’s done.

Paul gives us an example of commitment, attitude, action and Motivation.

Last Week: 1 Corinthian 9:13-14

Don’t you know that those who serve in the temple get their food from the temple, and that those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar? In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel.

1st Corinthians 9:15-27

But I have not used any of these rights. And I am not writing this in the hope that you will do such things for me, for I would rather die than allow anyone to deprive me of this boast.

  • Paul is not interested in his career or his position in the leadership (politics)
  • His integrity is his reward

For when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, since I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! If I preach voluntarily, I have a reward; if not voluntarily, I am simply discharging the trust committed to me.

  • He humbly admits it’s not about him…he didn’t choose it, it chose him…
  • If supported his preaching the Gospel is is good if unsupported, better

What then is my reward? Just this: that in preaching the gospel I may offer it free of charge, and so not make full use of my rights as a preacher of the gospel. Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible.

  • The offer is made without creating an ‘Obligation’…it should elicit a ‘Response’
  • No one will have the ability to manipulate him because he give to all the same

To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law.

  • Paul no longer sees himself as a Jew… He had to become like them
  • ‘Walk a mile n a man’s moccasins’

To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak.

  • Gentiles were basically all non Jews
  • The principal of being under God’s Sovereignty by willful decision still holds
  • Again the point is to relate and join God as HE works in people
  • ‘The Weak’: marginalized people… We cannot just be available to those we like

I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.

  • Whatever it takes, no matter who it is, the standard is to do what you can!
  • The motivation is the message, the message is the motivation
  • The blessings of Christ are fully found in the things done FOR OTHERS!

How did Paul prepare for such work? It took some time…He trained for it like a sport

Approximately 8 years from the Damascus Road to him beginning missionary work

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.

  • If you sign up to race you run…but how should you prepare to win?
  • People train at crazy levels to win things that are worthless
  • We can train to get things that are eternal

Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

  • Because there is so much at stake we should focus
  • This is serious biz and we need to sacrifice like Paul
  • You can do your best so

Application Questions:

Should YOU be training for the chance to do professional ministry, why or why not?

What’s a current situation where YOU could ‘become like’ someone and share Christ?

Is YOUR approach to growth focused on you or on others?

How can you begin training for ministry like YOU have trained for other things?

Describe in detail your motivation, YOUR ‘Why’ to be a disciple who makes disciples.