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Thistletown Baptist Church
March 22, 2009
You Shall Be My Witnesses III – A Servant to All
a.We are called to make disciples – not decisions
b.Real disciple makers
i.Have a real, growing faith in Jesus Christ
(1)they demonstrate the real marks of real believers such as we find in Galatians 5:22f, I John, Acts 2:42, Rom. 8:16f, and many other texts that tell us what real Christians are and do.
(2)they have had a real, life changing encounter with Jesus Christ. We may not be
able to say that we have seen Christ with the physical eye, but we have a real relationship with Him.
(3)A non-Christian may be able to recite the Gospel, go to church … but he cannot make a disciple.
(4)Are part of a church that does this work together. No one Christian is on a campaign to win the world all by himself. This is corporate activity.
ii.Have a heart for God
(1)The most crucial element for a Christian to be a disciple maker is not his burden for the lost. It is his burden for the glory of God. I Thess. 2:4
(2)A disciple maker is a believer in Jesus Christ who is so taken up with the God who has saved him that he cannot help but speak of Him to others. II Cor. 4:6 and 7.
a.We live in a time when the whole matter of “rights” is very important. We hear much about rights all the time. The gun lobby in the U.S. speaks much about their right to bear arms. … We talk about rights to vote, rights to decent housing, the right to speak our mind, the right to peacefully protest against the ruling government. The list is very long.
b.We should take the matter of rights seriously. The right to worship according to the dictates of
our conscience should be very precious to us. And while we would disagree with those who bang on our doors on a Saturday morning, we believe they should have the freedom to do so and that we should have the freedom to argue with them and seek to convince them that they are wrong. The right to do something does not mean that one is always right. (The right to have a homosexual partner is not a right given by God even though it is right for a government to protect them from hate crimes … .)
c.The text we read this morning speaks much about rights. I Corinthians 9: 4, 5, 6, 12, 12, 15, 18.
And this morning we are going to relate this to an essential characteristic of a disciple maker and a disciple making church.
2.Context of I Corinthians 9
a.What Paul is talking about in I Corinthians 9 begins way back in 8:1, so to understand chapter 9
properly we need to see what Paul is talking about there.
i.8:1 – “now concerning” – Paul is responding to a question – see 7:1, 25; 8:1; 12:1; 16:1, 12.
ii.8:1 – The Corinthians have asked Paul about whether it is right to eat food offered to idols.
(1)Some consider it idolatrous
(2)Some say it is fine
(3)A serious social issue in the day – a) one could be cutting himself off from a very
large part of society – the church would become an anti-social society …, b) meat in the market was not always marked as having been offered to an idol and if it is wrong to do it then it might very well be the case that one has to become a vegetarian if the origin of meat cannot be determined – c) some believers consider it agreement with the idolatry that it is associated with.
(4)The whole section from 8:1 – 10:33 Paul deals with the issue.
iii.8:1 – 3 – Paul first of all deals with their sin of pride …
iv.8:4-6 – The idol that the meat has been offered to does not exist, so it cannot be wrong to
eat it. There is only one God and He is the one who has given you the meat to eat – so eat it (v. 6 “from whom are all things …”)
v.8:7 – “However” – there is always a however isn’t there?
(1)there is a principle that is more important than your right to eat idol meat.
(2)”Not all possess this knowledge” There are those who do not know that it is OK
to eat such meat. They associate the eating with idolatry… see 7b “…”
(3)This takes us back to the first thing Paul said in verse 1 “Knowledge puffs up …”
vi.8:8 – Since food is not the issue decide on the basis of something else.
vii.8:9 – Do not allow your freedom to eat it destroy the weak faith of those who do not have
this freedom. Why? Verses 10-11 and that means you have sinned against another believer and therefor you have sinned against Christ – by doing something that you have every right to do.
viii.8:13 – Conclusion? Verse 13.
Now then dear ones: in our culture of “I have the right to …” would you do what Paul is recommending here for believers to do for the sake of their brothers and sisters in Christ?
ix.In the area of:
(2)listening to rock music, rap music, crooners …
(3)vegetarianism (there are Christians who believe that it is wrong to kill an animal
for food …
But how does all this relate to making disciples?
III Chapter 9
1.Chapter 9 consists of an illustration of the point that Paul has been making …
2.But he takes it one step further – he takes it to how we behave before, not Christians, but lost
people we are seeking to win to Christ.
3.He uses himself as proof that it is possible to surrender up one’s rights for the sake of something
4.He illustrates with two issues:
a.Verse 3 – the right to be paid for his work as a missionary
b.Verse 4 – his right to take along a wife with him, like Pater et.al. do.
c.He focusses on the matter of pay for his work
(1)v. 6…, v.7…
(2)The OT illustration of an ox having the right to eat of his labour (Deut.25:4). If a dumb animal has the right to be paid for his work then surely an apostle of the one true God does!? In fact, Paul says in verse 10 – the OT Scriptures that addressed this matter were written so that we would get paid!! Paul says to them – you want to insist on your right to eat meat and don’t think about what that does to the poor believer who believes it is wrong while here I am refusing to take the pay that God would give to an ox.
(3)Why does Paul not take the money that he could insist on? Verse 12 – It could put an obstacle in the way of the Gospel. The point? Paul will not do anything, not even take pay that the OT says is his to take, if it means that someone who does not know Christ will be blinded to the Gospel because of it. And he would rather not get paid than have that happen. See verse 15 – not boasting in the sense of “look at me I don’t get paid! Aren’t I something. Not at all (see verse 16). Boasting in the sense of “look what the Gospel is able to do. My boast is the cross.”
i.Verse 19 – To the Jews… Re: Sabbath, holidays, food, customs … .
ii.Verse 21 – what this does NOT mean – see Gal.2:4-5, Titus 1:10. See what is in the bracket in verse 21.
iii.Verse 22 – to the weak – those who think that this food should not be eaten or that drink be drunk – so Paul wouldn’t – for the sake of the Gospel – verse 23.
Dear Christian – do you have this attitude? How infected are you to the rights mentality that has infected our culture? Do you see how radically counter-cultural this is? Do you see how this is an illustration of I Peter 3:15? Set apart Christ as holy – for the sake of Christ surrender up your rights so that He will be glorified in the salvation of sinners.
Got a Muslim friend you want to influence for the Gospel – the hallal meat is given you by God – and you should not refuse it. This doesn’t mean you will shout “There is one God and Mohammed is his prophet” but it does mean that since you know that this meat comes from the triune God of the Bible that it is good to eat.
It means that you will not offer a faithful Muslim drink of wine or drink it in his presence if it offends him.
Does that anger you? Do you hear yourself saying – “Why should I have to give in to his way of doing things when he wouldn’t do it for me”? Then you have a knowledge that puffs up but not a love that builds up.
A disciple maker is one who, for the sake of the Gospel, lives for Jesus to be seen. He does not insist on its rights.
A disciple maker is one who is willing to do this because his perspective is right – see verses 24-27. Dear ones – you can’t lose. God will reward you. Keep your eye on the real prize. The prize is not the freedom that you can express at the expense of winning people to Christ. The prize is what God is going to give you because you surrendered up your rights – here and now – for the sake of the glory of God, the prosperity of the Gospel and the salvation of lost people.
Fix your eyes on the prize dear ones – and look forward to the day when you will wonder why you ever thought it was a big deal to give up something that was unessential anyway.
Examine yourself and see where your heart is and pray in this attitude that says God, the Gospel and the souls of the lost are more important than my rights.