Sunday, March 15, 2015

Paul's Epistles - 1 Corinthians Part 17 – Paul's Use of his Freedom

Paul's Epistles - 1 Corinthians
Part 17 – Paul's Use of his Freedom
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | |

Paul's letter to the church in Corinth, was addressing the things he had heard about them, including incest, adultery, over-spiritualized behaviors, wandering away from the Word of God, and an overall pride about them.

Paul has corrected the Corinthian Churches view about the division; Christ is head of the church, no one else. He also let them know that the power comes from God, and they should be humble, not conceited and over-spiritual.

He warned them not to go beyond what is written.

He addressed their pseudo-faith and spiritual activity of abstaining from intimate relations with their spouses, explaining this was the root of their immoral behavior.

He also warned them against lawsuits with other believers, saying the only reason they could not come to terms together inside the church was because of their pride and arrogance.

He instructed them to be content in their situations, so as to quench the immoral behavior that was coming from discontent, and selfish ambition. Paul warned about becoming a stumbling block to other believers if we have certain knowledge that they do not possess.

Week before last we spoke about how the church was to care for the Pastor and his family financially, also, bringing up the fact that he was free, and could marry if he chose.

Paul cleared the air, stating that even Peter, whom some denominations teach is the first Pope, the founder of their church, and yet, restrict ministers from marriage, was married himself. Many of the Apostles took their wives with them on their mission trips.

This week, Paul will wrap up what he has said in the last few chapters about freedom in Christ, and how he chooses to use his freedom.

SCRIPTURE REFERENCE I Corinthians 9:19 - 23
19 Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20 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. 21 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. 22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. 23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel,  that I may share in its blessings.

                   I.            I AM FREE AND BELONG TO NO ONE
a.      What about belonging to Christ?
                                                                         i.      LIT Greek, Paul actually says "...being free from all men..."

                                                                      ii.      He belongs to Christ Jesus, but belongs to no man.

b.     I made myself a slave to everyone
                                                                         i.      A voluntary submission, following the way of the Spirit

                                                                      ii.      Becoming a servant, as Christ did

c.      Why? So I may win as many as possible
                                                                         i.      Men rule, but the Lord serves.

                                                                      ii.      If we are to emulate our Lord, then we too must serve.

               II.            TO WIN AS MANY AS POSSIBLE
a.      To the Jews (race/lifestyle)
                                                                         i.      I became like a Jew

                                                                      ii.      Remember, Paul was Saul, Jew by birth, however raised as a Roman citizen in Tarsus of Cilicia.

b.     To those under the Law (Jew/Religion)
                                                                         i.      I became like one under the Law
                                                                      ii.      In Acts 16:3 Paul had Timothy circumcised

                                                                   iii.      Why? Not because he HAD to live under the Law, but he lived as one who did, SO, he could minister to those under the Law.

c.      To the lawless (Gentiles)
                                                                         i.      I became like a Gentile

                                                                      ii.      Although I am NOT free from God's Law, I am under Christ's law

                                                                   iii.      Being under the Law of Christ satisfies every Law of God.

                                                                     iv.      This scripture shows however, that when we minister to the lost, we are not free to "live/act" like the lost. We are still under the Law of Christ.

d.     To the weak
                                                                         i.      I became weak

                                                                      ii.      This is in reference to earlier chapters where Paul discusses those who are "weak in faith".

                                                                   iii.      Those who had not yet grasped that under Christ, there were certain things that no longer made a difference.
1.      i.e. one day more holy than another
2.      abstaining from wine
3.      eating clean/unclean foods
4.      eating foods sacrificed to idols

                                                                     iv.      What Paul is saying is, if he was ministering to someone of weaker faith, he would honor their weakness so that he may win them to Christ.

                                                                        v.      Paul would NOT exercise some of his Christian Liberties simply because of the possibility of causing weak Christians to stumble.

            III.            I HAVE BECOME ALL THINGS
a.      I have become all things to all people
                                                                         i.      Speaking of innocent concessions!

                                                                      ii.      He never compromised the Gospel

b.     So by all means possible, I might save some
                                                                         i.      not all, some, not WILL, but might

c.      I do all this for the sake of the Gospel
                                                                         i.      So I may share in its blessing

Everything Paul did was for the sake of the Gospel, so that others may also be partakers in the blessings that come from having a relationship with Christ Jesus, and salvation, which comes by Him alone.

We can be all things to all people, so that we may build bridges with them to Christ, and we can chose NOT to exercise all of our Christian Liberties for the sake of winning others, rather than having to "prove" we are right, or that we have liberties.

We must always think of the other person, whether saved or unsaved, strong or weak faith, that all we do is to encourage, lift up, strengthen and bring others to Christ, or closer to Christ.

Want to learn more about Salvation and Getting Saved?    CLICK HERE!

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