I am sure that title brings up many ideas of things that might hinder the gospel being presented in any given culture. Paul mentions many throughout his letters, but in 1 Corinthians 9, he is mainly concerned about using Christian freedom, liberty or rights in such a way that it would actually hinder the gospel.
Even as to the right he had to receive compensation for his work as an Apostle, he makes this statement: “If others share this rightful claim on you, do not we even more? Nevertheless, we have not made use of this right, but we endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ” (1 Corinthians 9:12).
Notice that Paul’s highest concern was the promotion of the gospel. Then he repeats himself in verse 15; “I have made no use of any of these rights, nor am I writing these things to secure any such provision.” In other words, he was not making a point hoping the Corinthians would send him money. “For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!” (9:16). Preaching the gospel was not a job!
The force of these words should hit us in the core of our motives. Would you continue preaching the gospel and serving the Church even if you received nothing for doing it? As he goes on to say, preaching is a stewardship from the Lord who has entrusted it to us. Finally, Paul says, “What then is my reward? That in my preaching I may present the gospel free of charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel” (9:18). This is an excellent check on our motives.
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