Paul defends his Apostleship but shows Restraint Part 5
1 Corinthians 9:13-15 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? So also the Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living from the gospel. But I have used none of these things. And I am not writing these things so that it will be done so in my case; for it would be better for me to die than have any man make my boast an empty one. NKJV
Paul now goes (where else) into the Word of God to justify his words written to these Corinthian believers and to us today as he declares to them what God commanded during the days of burnt offerings, grain offerings, and trespass offerings, etc. The Jewish people were required to bring all of these physical items like grain, lambs, rams, oxen, etc. which all pictured the “once for all sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ at Calvary” which is how these Corinthians and all of us are redeemed in every generation. Paul refers to the Old Testament Book of Leviticus and specifically the passages that read as follows, “Now this is the law of the grain offering: the sons of Aaron shall present it before the LORD in front of the altar. Then one of them shall lift up from it a handful of the fine flour of the grain offering, with its oil and all the incense that is on the grain offering, and he shall offer it up in smoke on the altar, a soothing aroma, as its memorial offering to the LORD. What is left of it Aaron and his sons are to eat. It shall be eaten as unleavened cakes in a holy place; they are to eat it in the court of the tent of meeting” (Leviticus 6:14-16).
The Jewish people from every corner of the land were to come to the temple with their grain offerings to the LORD and present them to the Priest Aaron and his sons for a sacrifice to the LORD and what remained became the possession of the Priest Aaron and his sons for them to eat for their faithful stewardship of the office of Priest the LORD had placed them in for His service. It was a gift, donation, or tribute given by the people of Israel back to the LORD as thanksgiving to Him for His blessings upon them and their land providing them their needs to sustain their lives and that of their families. Likewise Paul declares to them that as the Jewish High Priest Aaron and his sons were given access to the offerings brought by the Jewish people for their sustenance, their nourishment, and their support, so Paul and all who were with him would have been well within the “will of God” to eat from their tables and to live under their roofs without being charged by them, but instead Paul showing self-restraint among them as we saw in the last study from his own words in 2 Corinthians 11:7-9. Paul also showed the same self-restraint when he lived among the believers in Thessalonica as we declared in the previous study in “Part 2” by Paul’s words in 2 Thessalonians 3:7-9. Paul used the Word of God to show them that God’s method of taking care of those Priest in His Temple were that they would eat and live from the offerings made by the people in the Temple and to God the Father there.
Therefore, Paul says this to these Corinthian believers and to us, “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? So also the Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living from the gospel” (1 Corinthians 9:13-14). Paul presents another defense of his rights and his authority as an Apostle to partake of the material things from the Corinthian church. We must acknowledge that what he has declared is the truth because he has only said what God’s Word said and as the Psalmist declared with these words, “Forever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven” (Psalms 119:89). Paul said in verse 14 that God has “ordained” that the gospel preacher live by the fruit of his preaching of the gospel of Christ. This English word ordained is translated by the Greek word diatasso which means to arrange thoroughly, that is, specifically to institute or to prescribe or to appoint or to command or to order. Paul reveals to the Corinthian believers and to us that God commands and orders every one of His True Churches to pay the man He has placed in the position to shepherd the “flock of God” and to minister the holy Word of God faithfully to them without watering it down or without compromising any of its truth.
Here is what the LORD said to Aaron the Jewish High Priest, “Then the LORD spoke to Aaron, ‘Now behold, I Myself have given you charge of My offerings, even all the holy gifts of the sons of Israel I have given them to you as a portion and to your sons as a perpetual allotment. This shall be yours from the most holy gifts reserved from the fire; every offering of theirs, even every grain offering and every sin offering and every guilt offering, which they shall render to Me, shall be most holy for you and for your sons. As the most holy gifts you shall eat it; every male shall eat it. It shall be holy to you’” (Numbers 18:8-10). The material things of the Corinthian church and of any true church of God are not offered to the man but it is offered to God as this “rhema” or word from the Word of God states so clearly above in Numbers and the offerings presented to God are Holy by virtue of the recipient of the offering being Almighty God.
Therefore, I firmly believe this is why the Apostle Peter (inspired by God the Holy Spirit) uses such hard language in the entire chapter of 2 Peter 2 to describe the final judgment awaiting the many false prophets who have risen up in every generation. They use the Word of God to exploit people from the evil greed that is within them as they live an opulent, luxurious, and sumptuous lifestyle here on the earth. They are disguised as prophets of the True God, but in reality as we declared from Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 11:10-15 in the last study they are ministers of satan and their eternal punishment is going to be horrific, so it is no wonder that they seek to enjoy their “heaven on earth” trying to stay here as long as possible because their life after earth will be that as described by our Lord Jesus Christ of the rich man in Luke 16:19-31. Paul unlike these false greedy prophets who don’t even belong to our Lord, Master, and Savior Jesus Christ again declares to them that it was never his desire or intention by writing these words to them for them to feel sorry for him and now send him money, but again Paul declares with these words once more that his refusal to live from the resources of their church congregation was a sacrificial decision he made for their benefit not only financially but more importantly spiritually that they might see his personal restraint and imitate it among each other and by doing so eliminate the envy, strife, and dissension that was like a dark cloud hanging over their fellowship.
“The argument of the apostle here is this: As the ministers of religion under the Jewish dispensation were entitled to support by the authority and the law of God, that fact settles a general principle which is applicable also to the gospel, that He intends that the ministers of religion should derive their support in their work. If it was reasonable then, it is reasonable now. If God commanded it then, it is to be presumed that He intends to require it now.” Albert Barnes
“It is the people’s duty to maintain their minister, by Christ’s appointment, though it be not a duty bound on every minister to call for or accept it. He may waive his right, as Paul did, without being a sinner; but those transgress an appointment of Christ who deny or withhold it. Those who preach the gospel have a right to live by it; and those who attend on their ministry, and yet take no thought about their subsistence, fail very much in their duty to Christ, and respect owing to them.” Matthew Henry
“God commanded the Jewish High Priest to eat of the offerings brought by the common Jewish worshippers to the temple and every faithful Jew knew it to be the ‘will of God” as Moses had declared it to them, so likewise does God today require every one of His True Churches to pay the faithful man ordained by God to “feed His flock His Word” and He has already marked out those false greedy prophets as Peter said it this way, ‘Whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not’ (2 Peter 2:3).”
If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ and His amazing healing power, pray this from your heart to the Lord Jesus Christ (you speaking directly to Him), Dear Lord Jesus, I confess to You that I am a sinner and I need Your forgiveness. I believe You shed Your Blood and died for my sins. I believe that You rose from the dead proving that You alone are God. I repent of my sins. I want to turn from my sins. I ask You Dear Lord Jesus to come into my heart and take control of my life. I want You to be my Lord, Savior, and my God. Amen...
Sincerely in Christ,
Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
Author of “Silent Assassins of the Soul - Are you Broken by Pornography and Masturbation? You can be Restored by the Lord Jesus Christ and brought into Deliverance, Freedom, and Victory! A Guide for Men and Women in the Enemy’s Crosshairs” e-book available now @ Amazon Kindle, @ Apple I Bookstore for IPod, Barnes and Noble for Nook, Reader Store for Sony Reade, Kobo, Copia, Gardners, Baker and Taylor, and eBookPie…