1 Corinthians 9:24-27
We return now to our study in 1 Corinthians, particularly this middle section of the epistle, ch. 8-10, where Paul deals with the topic of “Christian Liberty.” In our study this morning, we will do a bit of an overview and review of the background to this section in ch. 8-9.
In ch. 8, Paul deals specifically with the topic of eating food offered to idols. He examines this topic from several points of view, but his conclusion is that while it may be totally legitimate to eat food offered to idols, it is not worthwhile to exercise this liberty if in so doing we cause someone to stumble in their relationship to God. So Christian liberty must be subordinated to the work and priority of the gospel.
In ch. 9, Paul gives a vigorous defense of his own Christian liberties as an apostle, and deals specifically with his right to earn a living financially from gospel work. He points out that many other apostles do this very thing, and it was totally legitimate. But in vs. 15-23, Paul lays out a very compelling argument (persuasive to him, and by God’s grace to us as well) as to why legitimate liberties must be sacrificed for the benefit of Gospel work. In other words, bringing men and women to Jesus Christ is of paramount importance- and this mentality clearly explains Paul’s effectiveness in gospel ministry. So the primary goal of the Apostle Paul, and by extension, a primary goal of every God-fearing Christian, by merit of the Great Commission, is to live in such a way as to bring men and women to saving faith in Jesus Christ.
Thus as we come to our text this morning, we see that there is a direct relationship between our efforts for God, our single-mindedness to do God’s work, our effectiveness for God, and our reward from God. In ch. 8-9, Paul has spoken much about the importance of single-mindedness for the gospel, and this is an extremely important matter in the church of God.