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1 Corinthians 9:1-18 by Robert Dean
Series:1st Corinthians (2002)
Duration:1 hr 3 mins 44 secs

Grace Provisions for the Pastor; 1 Corinthians 9:1-18


The law of liberty

The believer has the right to enter into any activity that is not sinful. That means it is not specifically prohibited by the Word of God and will not cause personal failure in the Christian life. Every believer has liberty in Christ. The question is that there are times when we need to restrict our liberty. That brings into account the second law, the law of love which is directed toward other believers. This is the impersonal love application toward other believers. It is a spiritual law based on consideration for immature believers, it places love for the weaker Christian ahead of the law of liberty. As an application of impersonal love the believer refrains from participating in a legitimate activity, not because it is wrong but because to spare susceptible believers from temptation in their area of weakness.

The law of expediency is a spiritual law based on consideration for the unbeliever. A believer refrains from doubtful activity, not because they are sinful but because they may mislead or offend an unbeliever and prevent him from recognizing the true issue of the gospel, that Christ died for his sins.

The law of personal sacrifice is directed toward God. This is a spiritual principle directed toward God that involves the abandonment of a completely legitimate function in life in order to more intensely serve the Lord in a specialized capacity. The motive underlying this sacrifice is always evangelism and spiritual growth of the individual believer. In 1 Corinthians chapter nine we will see that the law of personal sacrifice is the issue in the first 15 verses. In verses 16-23 we have the law of expediency. Then we are going to introduce a new law which is the law of self-mastery.

1 Corinthians 9:9 NASB "…God is not concerned about oxen, is He?"  No.

1 Corinthians 9:10 NASB "Or is He speaking altogether for our sake? Yes, for our sake it was written, because the plowman ought to plow in hope, and the thresher {to thresh} in hope of sharing {the crops.}"  This is application. If you work a part of your motivation is the fact that this is going to return something from your investment of labor, and you should benefit from the results of your own labor. That is true in the secular realm.

1 Corinthians 9:11 NASB "If we sowed spiritual things in you, is it too much if we reap material things from you?" The answer: Certainly! The pastor-teacher has a right to expect to be adequately and generously supported by a congregation.

What does a church really pay a pastor for? One thing is his background, his training, his qualifications. The pastor should be a man who has personally sacrificed in order to get the training. If a man thinks he has the gift of pastor-teacher then he should train accordingly. He should plan to go to seminary or Bible college or acquire some sort of training.

1 Corinthians 9:12 NASB "If others share the right over you, do we not more? Nevertheless, we did not use this right, but we endure all things so that we will cause no hindrance to the gospel of Christ." Others came and taught, and they supported them. Shouldn't Paul also have the same privilege? This was a right that Paul had but he freely chose not to exercise it, and he did not put a financial burden on the Corinthians—"that we will cause no hindrance to the gospel of Christ." That is the law of expediency which he will develop after verse 16. He didn't want money to be an issue. But that was Paul's choice. He was not saying that was the only way to do it, it was the decision he made in the freedom of his priesthood. But the implication from the questions he asked earlier is that this was not necessarily the practice of every apostle. The application here is that there is apparently flexibility in the Scriptures as how pastors can handle money and expect remuneration.

1 Corinthians 9:13 NASB "Do you not know that those who perform sacred services eat the {food} of the temple, {and} those who attend regularly to the altar have their share from the altar?" This is a reference to the Old Testament practice where offerings were brought to the temple and the priests would get to eat the food that was brought to the temple, what was left over from the sacrifices, and that was part of the support fro the priests in the Old Testament. They also benefited from the tithes that were brought into the temple. Those mandatory tithes were for the support of the priesthood and the temple, and a tithe was taken every third year for the support of the orphans and widows basically to provide for a welfare system. The priests, however, partook of the excess as well, the free will offerings that were also given.

Application: We emphasize the fact that we have grace giving, and we have chosen a grace policy for tapes to teach something about grace, because grace is so poorly understood today. But does that mean that it is sinful or wrong for some ministry to charge for their tapes? Of course not! It is the same principle that we have in 1 Corinthians. Paul chose not to make money an issue; other apostles chose to charge for their services. It is not that one was right and one was wrong, it is just the application of a principle. It is an individual choice, it is not that one is sinful and one is not. It is a matter of freedom.

1 Corinthians 9:14 NASB "So also the Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living from the gospel."

Practical guidelines that should be part of the thinking in terms of compensation for a pastor

1)  Keep some distinctions in mind. It is important to understand that there are differences between the size of the congregation; also the age of the congregation, i.e. a new church as opposed to one that is well established.

2)  Equivalent pay. The compensation for a pastor should be equivalent to someone of equal experience, education and training would make out in the secular arena.

3)  The pastor's family should be generously taken care of so that the pastor's wife should not have to work outside the home. This is especially true if there are children because the pastor's family should be a model for how things should be.

4)  Grace and generosity should be the overriding principle.

5)  The faith-rest drill—trusting God to provide the resources. One of the reasons a lot of congregations don't have the financial resources to support the pastor is because deacon boards and many people in the congregation are operating on a secular business principle and they are not trusting God to supply the resources and there is no application of the faith-rest drill. The church needs to operate on faith, trusting God to supply the resources to support the pastor.