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I Have the Right…

In First Corinthians, Paul explains to the church that as an Apostle of Jesus Christ, he has the right to ask them for support.  Those who work in the ministry should receive their living from that ministry.

Having laid that foundation, he now makes a very astounding statement.

But I have not used any of these rights.  And I am not writing this in the hope that you will do such things for me.  I would rather die than have anyone deprive me of this boast.
1 Corinthians 9:15

Paul makes it clear that he absolutely had the right to ask them for support.  But, by his own choosing, he did not ask them for it.  He also wants them to understand that he’s not telling them this to manipulate them into sending him something.

There were some important reasons for this decision.  Paul knew the controversy that his ministry stirred up in the church at Corinth.  It was a church of many factions.  They argued over whether Paul was an apostle or not.

Because of this, he decided not to ask them for support.  He didn’t want to be the cause of strife in the body of Christ.

Of course, that didn’t let the Corinthian church off the hook.  They were called by God to support Paul, even if he didn’t ask for it.  So there were blessings and rewards that they’ll never receive because of their disobedience.

Paul was able to do this because of the position he was in.  Firstly, we know from Acts, chapter 18, that Paul had a trade that he could fall back on.  He was a tentmaker.  Besides that, we know from 2 Corinthians 11:7-12, that Paul was supported by other churches while he ministered in Corinth.

He was able to minister freely in Corinth because God was supplying his need from elsewhere.

Yet when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, for I am compelled to preach.  Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!  If I preach voluntarily, I have a reward; if not voluntarily, I am simply discharging the trust committed to me.  What then is my reward?  Just this: that in preaching the gospel I may offer it free of charge, and so not make use of my rights in preaching it.
1 Corinthians 9:16-18

This is the attitude of a true minister of the Gospel.  It’s unfortunate that many in the church use it to hold back support to those who need it.

A true minister is called to preach.  They’ll do it for Christ’s sake.  They’ll do it no matter how hard a church makes it for them to survive.

As a pastor and traveling minister, I understand this.  When God places a message in my spirit, I can’t help but preach it.  I serve Christ, not the church.

There have been times that I knew God wanted me to preach in a certain church.  I obeyed.  Then, whether by oversight or decision, I received no offering from them.  Am I going to be bitter or complain about it?  Absolutely not!  God pays my salary.  Whoever He uses to support me is up to him, not me.

On the other side of the coin, I don’t want to be found guilty of not supporting the Lord’s servants.  If I’m a member of a church, then I want that pastor or minister to be abundantly supplied.  I want their ministry to be a joy, not a constant struggle to survive.

This is an issue that many churches need to come to grips with.  They think that it’s their responsibility to keep their pastor in poverty.  It may not be until the Judgment Seat of Christ that the church board finds out what their greed and desire for control has cost them.

We need to support those in ministry as the Lord leads us to.

Question: Why is it better if the minister is not struggling to provide an income?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

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Posted by on April 26, 2019 in God's Provision, Ministry, The Church

 

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Give Your Life a Solid Foundation

In my last post, I talked about true Biblical faith.  We learned that you can’t just “set it and forget it”.  Instead, it’s a process that must be walked out on a daily basis.  Here is an illustration that Paul used to describe it.

In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.
Ephesians 6:16

Think about faith like a huge wooden shield, big enough for you to hide behind in the raging battle.  What is it protecting you from?  Paul says that it’s the flaming arrows of the enemy.

What does flame do to wood?  We all know that wood is a fuel.  As the weapons of the enemy hit it, the shield begins to wear away.  If you just stand still in your Christian walk, you begin to lose ground.  What you believed last year, you may not believe this year.  Your faith begins to fade.

Scripture tells us that we must continually maintain our faith.  That’s why prayer, reading the word, and fellowship with other believers are so vital to our walk with the Lord.

We need to continue in all of those things just to stand still.  If that’s the case, then I really need to build my faith for moving forward in God.

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
Hebrews 11:1

The words being sure in this verse literally mean setting under.  The scriptural definition for hope is our expectation of what God is going to work out in our lives.  So, in actuality, what this verse says is that faith is our support or foundation.

Faith is a support for our expectations.  How can I continue to expect God’s best in the middle of the struggles of life?  My expectations must be supported.  It’s only through faith in what God has said that I can have this kind of foundation.

We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first.
Hebrews 3:14

This is really what we want from God.  We want to share in what Christ has provided for us.  The only way this will take place is if we hold firmly to our support.  That’s why we need the shield.

If faith is not held firmly, it can be knocked out of our hands.  Make sure that you are maintaining your faith.  It’s what you need to support you through the rough times.

Question: How has your faith in God supported you in the past?

© Nick Zaccardi 2012

 
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Posted by on October 31, 2012 in Encouragement, Faith, Spiritual Warfare

 

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