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Paul defends his Apostleship but shows Restraint Part 6
1 Corinthians 9:16-18 For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel. For if I do this voluntarily, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have a stewardship entrusted to me. What then is my reward? That, when I preach the gospel, I may offer the gospel without charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel. NKJV
Paul after declaring to them that this portion of his letter was written by him not for their sympathy, but merely to expound or explain to them his authority as a true Apostle of our Lord Jesus Christ. Paul’s desire to proclaim the gospel of Christ is not out of greedy gain for material wealth nor for popularity with men and women, but strictly from his love and devotion to his Lord Jesus Christ who looked on his sinful, zealous, religious ignorance and dismissed it and granted him the gift of eternal or everlasting life and made him a minister as our Lord Jesus said here to brother Ananias speaking of the Apostle Paul, “Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and the Lord said to him in a vision, ‘Ananias.’ And he said, ‘Here I am, Lord.’ And the Lord said to him, ‘Get up and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying, and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him, so that he might regain his sight.’ But Ananias answered, ‘Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he did to Your saints at Jerusalem; and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name.’ But the Lord said to him, ‘Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake’” (Acts 9:10-16).
Here is the proof of the love and gratitude the Apostle Paul had to and for our Lord Jesus Christ and his declaration of the gospel was not so that he could boast before men and receive honor and glory from them, but it was a true and real love and devotion to the Lord of Glory who made Saul who later changed his name to Paul “a chosen instrument of His” and with that love for our Lord Jesus continually reigning and ruling in his heart he went about all the known world at that time doing “one thing” lifting up Jesus Christ and Him Crucified for man’s sin. This is why Paul writes these words to the Corinthian believers and to us and says, “For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!” (1 Corinthians 9:16). Paul, although, he was not a Pastor of one congregation of believers, but rather he was a missionary or evangelist to all men and women with the one desire of making Jesus Christ known to them that they might receive the forgiveness of their sins and eternal life from the Lord just as Paul had so wonderfully and gloriously received when he was knocked off of his horse on the Damascus road racing to commit even more murderous and heinous sins against men and women who he now wanted only to love and present Christ to them. Paul says, “necessity is laid upon him” and the English word necessity is translated by the Greek word anagke which means constraint that is literal or figurative and by implication distress.
Paul was not inspired to preach or proclaim the gospel of Christ for some personal fame, fortune, or finances, but he would have caused himself personal distress or psychological suffering and adversity if he had not proclaimed the gospel of Christ everywhere he went on every day of his life. This is why he concluded verse 16 with “woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!” and he used this little English word woe and it is translated by the Greek word ouai which is an exclamation of tremendous grief, pain, agony, misery, or intense mournfulness. Paul was compelled from within by the Holy Spirit of God to preach Christ Crucified everywhere he went and He (God the Holy Spirit) would not have allowed Paul to rest or have any internal satisfaction in his pilgrimage on the earth if he would have kept quiet regarding the gospel of Christ. Therefore, Paul now writes to them these words, “For if I do this voluntarily, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have a stewardship entrusted to me” (1 Corinthians 9:17). Paul declares himself as a steward with the stewardship of the “gospel of Christ” no matter whether he proclaims the gospel truthfully and faithfully voluntarily or un-voluntarily. Paul is the manager or custodian of the gospel (the only thing that can free sinful men and women from eternal destruction) for our Lord Jesus Christ and so were everyone of the Corinthian believers and so is every born again believer of every generation.
Paul now writes the final cap or seal of the testimony to his own self-restraint when it came to his inner most desire among the Corinthian people when he came to them in much fear and trembling declaring Jesus Christ and Him Crucified, Paul says, “What then is my reward? That, when I preach the gospel, I may offer the gospel without charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel” (1 Corinthians 9:18). Paul wanted his only reward in preaching the gospel to these people in the city of Corinth who as we have documented worshipped many false gods and goddesses and practiced many pagan rituals of animal sacrifice and even sexual intercourse all in the name of worship, so Paul wanted to free himself of receiving material compensation from the people in Corinth who responded to the gospel as the Holy Spirit moved upon each individual sinful heart and brought about repentance and faith in Christ. Paul’s reward was that he was blessed by our Lord Jesus Christ with the ability to support himself not requiring him to exercise his authority as the Apostle of Christ and receive material compensation from the Corinthian church, but instead he wanted his self-restraint in that area to lead more unbelieving Corinthians to turn from their pagan practices to the One True and Living God Jesus Christ.
“If I preach to please men, I am not the servant of Christ; and woe unto me, if I preach not the gospel!” William Tiptaft 1803-1864
“Whatever subject I preach, I do not stop until I reach the Savior, the Lord Jesus, for in Him are all things.” Charles Spurgeon
“Many men affect to despise fear, and in preaching resent any appeal to it; but not to fear when there is occasion is as great a weakness as to fear unduly without reason. God implanted fear in the soul as truly as He implanted hope or courage.” James H. Aughey
“The original reference of these words is to the Apostle’s principle and practice of not receiving for his support money from the churches. Gifts he did accept; pay he did not. The exposition of his reason is interesting, ingenuous, and chivalrous. He strongly asserts his right, even while he as strongly declares that he will waive it. The reason for his waiving it is that he desires to have somewhat in his service beyond the strict line of his duty. His preaching itself, with all its toils and miseries, was but part of his day’s work, which he was bidden to do, and for doing which he deserved no thanks nor praise. But he would like to have a little bit of glad service over and above what he is ordered to do, that, as he ingenuously says, he may have ‘somewhat to boast of.’” Alexander MacLaren
“Paul was not moved by the applause of men or the acceptance from them in his proclamation of the truth of the gospel, but instead it was his internal drive, desire, and devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ that was from a pure love for Him rescuing such a chief sinner like himself as he declared it in this manner to brother Timothy, “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life” (1 Timothy 1:15-16).” Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
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…
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