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Freedom Under Control

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                   FREEDOM UNDER CONTROL

1 COR.9

INTRO: (EX: T.V. REPAIRMAN DIDN’T LIKE TO THINK ABOUT HIS JOB WHEN HE CAME HOME FROM WORK—SO HE NEVER BOTHERED TO PUT UP HIS OWN ANTENNA THE RIGHT WAY OR EVEN TO FIX IT WHEN AN ARM BROKE OFF IN WIND STORM. A FAMILY MOVED IN NEXT DOOR AND FOUND OUT THEIR NEW NEIGHBOR WAS T.V. REPAIRMAN—SO HE PUT UP HIS ANTENNA JUST LIKE HIS NEIGHBOR’S—EVEN BROKE OFF AN ARM OF HIS NEW ANTENNA) WE TEACH BY EX. WHETHER WE INTEND TO OR NOT.  IN CH.9 PAUL CONTINUES HIS THOUGHTS FROM CH.8—CHRISTIANS ARE TO BE RESPONSIBLE IN USING THEIR FREEDOM.  SOME DIDN’T UNDERSTAND THAT—THINKING OF THEMSELVES RATHER THAN THE BODY & SOME WERE CRITICAL OF PAUL—QUESTIONING HIS AUTHORITY. PAUL WANTED THEM TO FOCUS ON THE REAL PRIZE (V.24)—BRING PEOPLE TO CHRIST AND OTHER CHRISTIANS TO MATURITY.

I.                  FREEDOM TO GIVE UP RIGHTS (V.1-18)

A.   PAUL’S “SEAL” OF APOSTLESHIP—THESE BELIEVERS KNEW PAUL LIVED AMONG THEM WITH GRACE & LOVE—SERVED, TAUGHT, LOVED THEM—YET SOME QUESTIONED HIS AUTHORITY AS APOSTLE—THAT IS NORMAL—MOSES WAS ATTACKED BY HIS PEOPLE & HIS OWN FAMILY (AARON & MIRIAM!)---JESUS ATTACKED BY HIS OWN—HIS HOMETOWN AND HIS OWN FAMILY—THEY THOUGHT HE WAS CRAZY!  IF YOU DO ANYTHING (FOR GOD) THERE WILL BE ATTACKS, CRITICISM, CHALLENGES.  BUT NOTICE WHAT PAUL SAYS—THESE BELIEVERS WERE HIS “SEAL” (IDENTIFYING MARK) OF HIM BEING AN APOSTLE. THEIR NEW LIFE IN CHRIST IS THE EVIDENCE.  (EX: MARY ANN LIVES IN CITY WITH MAJOR MEDICAL FACILITY THAT TREATS CANCER PATIENTS FROM ALL OVER WORLD. THROUGH HER CHURCH SHE GOT INVOLVED IN MINISTRY TO CANCER PATIENTS FROM OUT OF TOWN. SHE WILL CLEAN AN APT. FOR FAMILY OF CANCER PATIENT, PICK UP PATIENT AT AIRPORT, VISITS DAUGHTER OF PATOR FROM NEW MEXICO WHO WAS CONCERNED FOR HIS DAUGHTER’S DECLINGIN CONDITION. SHE IS HAPPY/THANKFUL FOR PRIVILEGE OF DOING THESE THINGS. SHE HAS FORGOTTEN HER RIGHTS FOR SAKE OF GOSPEL)—PAUL SHARED GOSPEL WITH THEM—AND HIS LIFE. WITHOUT THAT MINISTRY OF LOVE THEY WOULD KNOW FREEDOM IN CHRIST. 

B.   PAUL’S ‘RIGHT’ TO SUPPORT—(V.3-18) PAUL & OTHER APOSTLES HAD RIGHT TO NECESSITIES OF LIFE—RIGHT TO TAKE WIFE AND HAVE NEEDS PROVIDED (PETER HAD WIFE CONTRARY TO CATHOLIC TEACHING)—TRAVELING PHILOSOPHERS RECEIVED THESE THINGS—WHY NOT PAUL—AND EVEN MORE THAN THEY! (V.12) BUT PAUL REFUSED TO DEMAND THESE RIGHTS---IT WAS THOUGHT THAT IF PHILOSOPHER/TEACHER REFUSED TO TAKE ANYTHING FOR HIS TEACHNG THEN HIS TEACHING MUST BE WORTH NOTHING—SOME WERE SAYING THAT ABOUT PAUL.  BUT PAUL CHOSE NOT TO TAKE THAT SUPPORT—OFTEN HE WORKED ON HIS OWN OR GOT IT FROM OTHER SOURCES (ACTS 18:3-5)  (PHILIPPIAN HELP—PHIL.4:14,15)—PAUL REFERRED TO SOLDIER/FARMER/SHEPHERD/O.T. PRIEST—OTHER WORKERS EXPECTED COMPENSATION FOR THEIR WORK. PAUL QUOTED DEUT. 25:4 AND ASKS “IS IT ABOUT OXEN GOD IS CONCERNED?”—PAUL WAS MAKING PRACTICAL APPLICATION—THERE IS A GREATER PRIORITY THAN OXEN –1 TIM. 5:17,18—LIKE THE O.T. PRIESTS WHO RECEIVED SUPPORT FOR THEIR MINISTRY SO SHOULD PAUL & OTHER MINISTERS. GOD’S PEOPLE ARE TO REFLECT LOVE, GENEROSITY TO EACH OTHER BECAUSE OF THE BLESSINGS OF GOD. ONE SOWING SPIRITUAL FOOD CANT LIVE ON JUST SPIRPITUAL FOOD—NO WE DON’T LIVE ON BREAD ALONE BUT THEY DO NEED SOME BREAD (V.11)  SOLDIERS CANT EAR BULLETS AND PREACHER/MISS CANT EAT WORDS TO SURVIVE.  CHURCH TO TAKE CARE OF SPIRITUAL LEADERS. YES PAUL HAD RIGHTS BUT HE CHOSE TO SACRIFICE THEM—HE WOULD “ENDURE” OR PUT UP WITH ANYTHING TO NOT “HINDER” THE GOSPEL (V.12)—HINDER MEANS “CUT INTO”—CUT PATH ACROSS ROAD TO HINDER TRAVELERS.   IN SOME CASES ITS NOT WISE OR PRACTICAL TO RECEIVE MONEY—SOME MISS. ARE IN AREAS WHERE MONEY NOT ADEQUATE—SO RECEIVE FROM OTHER CHURCHES AS PAUL DID AT TIMES—AND YES SOME ARE IN IT FOR WRONG REASONS—TO MAKE MONEY OR MAKE A NAME.  BUT THE EXCEPTIONS DON’T CANCEL THE PRINCIPLE.  JESUS COMMANDED THOSE WHO PREACHD GOSPEL BE CARED FOR (V.14) (MATT. 10 & LUKE 10)—GAL.6:6—ANYONE WHO RECEIVES INSTRUCTION IN WORD MUST SHARE ALL GOOD THINGS WITH HIS INSTRUCTOR.

C.   PAUL’S MOTIVATION—PAUL WAS COMPELED TO PREACH—HE DIDN’T HAVE TO PREACH TO MAKE A LIVING—HE ALSO DIDN’T WANT TO GIVE ENEMIES AMMUNITION TO DISCREDIT HIS WORK FOR CHRIST. THERE WAS A FIRE IN PAUL’S BONES TO DECLARE CHRIST (JER. 20:9—FIRE IN BONES)—TO PAUL PREACHING WAS COMMISSION/TRUST.  (EX: BILLY GRAHAM’S MINISTRY FREE FROM SCANDAL—VERY CAREFUL TO HINDER MESSAGE OF GOSPEL.  PAUL’S REWARD WAS DOING WHAT SPIRIT COMPELED HIM TO DO.  FOR HIM IT WAS NOT ABOUT SALARY BUT SERVICE.

 

II.               FREEDOM TO CHOSE SERVANTHOOD (V.19-23)

A. PAUL’S GOAL—WIN SOULS!  PAUL WOULD BE SERVANT TO WIN MORE PEOPLE—NOT FOR SELFISH GAIN—ARE WE AS EAGER?  (EX: “UNCLE DOC” WAS BI-VOCATIONIAL PREACHER---CARPENTER/FARMER. HE SERVED CHURCHES WITH  UNSELFISH LOVE—THE CHURCHES COULD HAVE PROVIDED MORE BUT THAT DIDN’T BOTHER DOC.  WHEN A FRIEND COMPLAINED TO HIM—DOC SAID “IF MY GOAL IN LIFE WAS TO MAKE MONEY I WOULDN’T BE PREACHER—IF I SPEND TIME TRYING TO FIGHT FOR MORE PAY IT WILL HINDER EFFECTIVENESS OF MINISTRY.)  WHAT OF US? WILL WE GIVE UP TIME TO TALK TO OR GO VISIT A VISITOR/TEACH A NEW CHRISTIAN/ HELP IN A MINISTRY/MISS SOME MEALS TO PRAY—PAUL WOULD DO WHATEVER HE COULD TO WIN PEOPLE TO JESUS—THAT WAS IMPORTANT TO HIM THAN HIS RIGHTS. HE LEARNED TO BE FLEXIBLE AROUND THOSE WHO WERE MORE NARROW IN THINKING—ESPECIALLY IN THINGS THAT DIDN’T VIOLATE DIRECT COMMANDS FROM SCRIPTURE—HE COULD NOT EAT PORK AROUND JEWS WITHOUT THINKING PORK WAS UNCLEAN—DO THINGS WITH GENTILES WITHOUT REASONS THEY HAD.  (EX: MISS. REFRAIN FROM DRINKING JUICE BECAUSE MIGHT MEAN THEY WERE PROSTITUTES)   THE POINT: HAVE FELLOWSHIP WITH PEOPLE DIFFERENT FROM US WITHOUT CAVING ON MORAL ISSUES  (V.22,23)—JESUS IS ULTIMATE EX.—WILLING TO BECOME ONE OF US TO RECONCILE US TO GOD. BE SENSITIVE/FLEXIBLE BUT USE SELF-CONTROL IN OBEYING GOD’S WORD. PAUL JOINED FREEDOM WITH SELF-CONTROL.  HAVE MIND & ATTITUDE OF JESUS—BE SERVANT!  THERE IS NO SET APPROACH OR METHOD TO WIN OTHERS—COME ALONGSIDE THEM—GET TO KNOW THEM—LISTEN TO THEM—PRAY FOR THEM. 

III.           FREEDOM TO BE DISCIPLINED (V.24-27)

A. SPIRITUAL FREEDOM CARRIED A PRICE—SUBMIT TO JESUS!   THIS TAKES DAILY DISCIPLINE—(EX: COR. HOSTED THE ISTHMIAN GAMES—EVERY 2 YRS—EACH COMPETITOR HAD TO AGREE TO TRAIN FOR 10 MO.—HOW MUCH TRAINING WILL WE ENDURE IN GOD’S SPIRITUAL ARMY?  THE WINNER IN THOSE GAMES RECEIVED A GARLAND WREATH THAT SOON WILTED AWAY—THE CHRISTIAN REWARD IS ETERNAL CROWN!  IT TAKES GREAT DISCIPLINE TO COMPETE IN OLYMPICS—OFTEN ONLY HUNDREDTHS OF SECOND SEPRATES FIRST FROM SECOND PLACE. TOO MANY WANT EVERYTHING INSTANTLY WITH FEW DEMANDS. CUT AWAY THINGS THAT  HINDER OUR CHRISTIAN WALK—TO “BUFFET” MEANT TO HIT UNDER THE EYE—NOT A FOOD LINE! PAUL MADE HIS BODY HIS SLAVE TO THE MISSION OF WINNING SOULS. FOR MANY OF US THE BODY TELLS THE MIND WHAT TO DO.  IN ISTHMIAN GAMES A CONTESTANT WAS DISQUALIFIED IF HE FAILED TO MEET TRAINING REQUIREMENTS—MAY WE NOT BREAK SPIRITUAL TRAINING AND LOSE EFFECTIVENESS AS WITNESS.

CONCLUSION:  ROBERT RAIKES, FOUNDER OF MODERN SUNDAY SCHOOLS VISITED FAMILY WHOSE DAUGHTER WAS VERY BAD-TEMPERED, STUBBORN.  HIS EFFORTS TO GET THROUGH TO HER WERE NOT GETTING THROUGH. HE TOLD HER SHE NEEDED TO GO & KNEEL DOWN & ASK HER MOTHER’S FORGIVENESS. SHE RESISTED.  SO RAIKES HUMBLED HIMSELF FOR HER. HE KNELT BEFORE HER MOTHER AND ASKED FOR FORGIVENESS.  WHEN THE STUBBORN GIRL SAW HIM KNEELING ON HER ACCOUNT SHE BURST INTO TEARS & FELL DOWN ASKING HER MOTHER’S FORGIVENESS. SHE BECAME AN OBEDIENT, GENTLE CHILD.  SO JESUS HAS TAKEN OUR PART BEFORE GOD---HE TOOK OUR PUNISHMENT/SHAME—LOVING US EVEN WHEN WE FOUGHT AGAINST HIM.  HOW GREAT IS THE LOVE OF OUR LORD! 

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