Lessons about Leadership (Part 1)

1 Corinthians   •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  51:44
0 ratings


Modern day story of “do as I say, not as I do.”
Many of you have heard the statement, do as I say and not as I do. I’m sure for many of you, you probably heard that or might have even said that in a parent child type of conversation. It’s certainly a little bit satisfying when you can catch your parent doing something they've been telling you not to do (as long as it wasn’t too terrible). For me, it was driver’s training. I was the first born and the first to go on this journey with my parents. My father was pretty good about it, but my mother wasn’t so chill. “The back seat driver” really wasn’t accurate enough description of how she was in the car. There were many things that she would often call me out on. The one she probably called me out on the most was speeding and braking. Stopping before the stop sign, or driving 57 in a 55. But I can certainly remember catching her a time or two not heeding the advice she gave me. Her answer was usually… “well.... then drift of to another subject, or say it’s different for you.” I can tell you from my more edgy adolescent days, her response and advice meant very little to me on those subjects. It certainly didn’t make me want to follow it. The best way to teach someone and convince someone of what is right is by living these behaviors ourselves. In the church, we call this "practicing what we preach" and we call failure to practice what we teach hypocrisy.
In leadership, this is a very important aspect. In the world we live in, those that live in leadership positions often exercise they power over people. Look at Mark 10:42.
Mark 10:42 ESV
And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them.
If I’m the boss, I get to do what I want, is the mentality that is portrayed. But for Christian leaders and for Christ followers, we ought to think in an entirely different way.
Some of you might think, well this is a lesson for the Pastor and deacons, but hardly for me. I’m hear to tell you that if you are a Christian and you are influencing another person, than you are a leaders...
Parents, Husbands, teachers, disciplemakers, older saints… Maybe we don’t consider ourselves leaders, but God does. God gives every believer a level of influence over some else and we are responsible for leading and influencing them well. We are held accountable to it. Some to great degrees as some possess spiritual gifts of leadership and positions, but all of us have influence over another person, we are called to it. To be a leader in that domain.
An thats what we are going to talk about today. “Lesson about Leadership” - Examples from Paul’s Life regarding Liberties found in 1 Corinthians 9.
1 Corinthian Outline
1 Corinthians: The MacArthur New Testament Commentary (Chapter 21: Supporting the Man of God (9:1–14))
In chapter 8 Paul set out the limits of Christian liberty, limits that are to be determined by brotherly love, by concern for the welfare of fellow Christians. We are given freedom in Christ to enjoy our Christian liberty- or defined “that which is not strictly forbidden in Scriptures.” But Paul summarizes the principle as, “Take care lest this liberty of yours somehow become a stumbling block to the weak” (8:9). Our rights end when another person is offended. It’s not a question of what I can do, but rather a question of what is best for the Body of Christ and others.
Limited Liberty for Limitless Love....
So in chapter 9 the apostle illustrates how he followed this principle in his own life.
Notice: In defense of truth, Biblical principles (ch.8) proceed Examples and Experiences (ch.9)
In experiences, we might say look at me, look at what I’m doing, and look how it’s turned out for me. Though there are certain blessings for doing right, it is not always the gauge for measuring if you are doing what God wants. Blessings (especially material blessings) don’t indicate approval.
Jeremiah 12:1 ESV
Righteous are you, O Lord, when I complain to you; yet I would plead my case before you. Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why do all who are treacherous thrive?
Matthew 5:45 ESV
so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
Before we get into these....
-Paul’s Rights (v. 1-14)
-Paul’s Restrictions (v.15-23)
-Paul’s Race & Reward (v.24-27)

I. Paul’s Rights (v.1-14)

1 Corinthians 9:1–14 ESV
Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are not you my workmanship in the Lord? If to others I am not an apostle, at least I am to you, for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord. This is my defense to those who would examine me. Do we not have the right to eat and drink? Do we not have the right to take along a believing wife, as do the other apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas? Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working for a living? Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard without eating any of its fruit? Or who tends a flock without getting some of the milk? Do I say these things on human authority? Does not the Law say the same? For it is written in the Law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain.” Is it for oxen that God is concerned? Does he not certainly speak for our sake? It was written for our sake, because the plowman should plow in hope and the thresher thresh in hope of sharing in the crop. If we have sown spiritual things among you, is it too much if we reap material things from you? 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. Do you not know that those who are employed in the temple service get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in the sacrificial offerings? In the same way, the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel.
AS A FREE MAN (Christian): “Am I not free” - “I have no less freedom than you do.” is what he implies here as well as “I cherish my freedom no less than you do. But I cherish some other things even more.”
AS AN APOSTLE: “Am I not an apostle” - clarifying “Have I not seen Jesus our Lord”. He was God’s man. The boss. In our human flesh, we like to highlight the Man part, but Paul highlights the part about being God’s. He was commissioned by God and strengthened by God alone apart from anything in an of himself.
He had rights!
He had not claimed these rights… even as Christian and an apostle
Notice: Leader’s can claim Biblically the authority they possess as leaders (I am your Father and you will do as I say.) But notice how Paul illustrates for us that the relational side is super important. “Are you not my workmanship in the Lord?” “At least I am to you, for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.” - Love covers a multitude of sins.
What were his rights?
1 Corinthians 9:3 ESV
This is my defense to those who would examine me.

Examine (anakrinō) was a legal term for the investigation or inquiry made before a decision was reached in a case. He desires to clearly defend his rights.

NOTE: the difference in commentators interpretations

(I)A. Right to Eat & Drink (v.4)

Same freedoms that all mature Christians have. It could likely be a reminder that Christ has freed him as well from the strict dietary laws which had been part of his background. Some though think this is part of being financially supported. Right to be provided for.

(I)B. Right to Take Along a Believing Wife (v.5)

A reminder that he, like the other apostles, could be married and have his wife with him to assist in the ministry. Just like the other apostles who when they traveled had a companion to meet needs. Just like missionaries today traveling to foreign lands. They were not required to be celibate like other papal doctrines require. Some again believe that this is a reference to wives being supported alongside with their husband, financially. That the church provide enough for that family unit.

(I)C. Right to be Supported Financially (v.6-14)

Leadership Point: Paul proved again how important it was to have full faith that what you’re doing in your Christian liberty is honorable and good in God’s sight for you because of the study you have done in Scripture.
Romans 14:23 ESV
But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.
Paul had absolute certainty that he could have claimed this right and felt no shame whatsoever because he was thoroughly prepared with what scripture had to say. “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.”
So Paul’s confidence in being financially supported can be seen in these 5 points that he strongly defends.
1 Corinthians 9:4–7 ESV
Do we not have the right to eat and drink? Do we not have the right to take along a believing wife, as do the other apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas? Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working for a living? Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard without eating any of its fruit? Or who tends a flock without getting some of the milk?
I Corinthians Chapter 9

The sense is, ‘Why should I and Barnabas be regarded as having no right to support? Have we been less faithful than others? Have we done less? Have we given fewer evidences that we are sent by the Lord, or that God approves us in our work? Have we been less successful? Why then should we be singled out; and why should it be supposed that we are obliged to labour for our support? Is there no other conceivable reason why we should support ourselves than a consciousness that we have no right to support from the people with whom we labour?” It is evident from ver. 12, that Barnabas as well as Paul relinquished his right to a support, and laboured to maintain himself.

While Paul supported himself, he did not suggest that his approach should be the norm. Rather he made a very strong case for ministers being supported by the churches where they served
Leadership points: Paul’s willingness to speak on things that are difficult. Telling people that he should get paid might not have been one of the easiest things to talk about. I’m certainly thankful that for me it’s just reading and proclaiming what God said.
So what is this case he makes, will go over them briefly...

1. It’s Customary in Nature: (v. 7)

Soldier- They don’t fight during the day then work at a civilian job at night in order to eat, buy clothes, and have a place to stay. They are provided food, clothing, lodging, arms, etc to live and fight effectively. They don’t serve at their own expense.
Farmer- These don’t plant or cultivate a crop for someone else without being paid. They don’t farm for free. They eat the fruit of their farm by either being paid for their work or taking a share of the crop.
Shepherds- It could be the same said of them as well.

2. It’s God’s Law (v. 8-11)

It’s not simply a matter of what human judgment thinks, as in the illustration previous, but God’s word teaches it.
Deuteronomy 25:4 ESV
“You shall not muzzle an ox when it is treading out the grain.
Wasn’t written about the oxen (especially since they can’t read… haha) but about men. Paul applied this principle to himself.
1 Corinthians: The MacArthur New Testament Commentary (It Is God’s Law)
If we sowed spiritual things in you, is it too much if we should reap material things from you? The only difference in the principle as applied to the Lord’s service is that material payment is given for spiritual work. The Lord provides His own spiritual rewards, but His people are to provide material reward, and provide it generously as unto Him.
How much some might ask. Paul provides a bit of an answer in 1 Timothy 5:17.
1 Timothy 5:17 ESV
Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching.

The Lord’s servants deserve to be supported well. There should not be a double standard, applying to preachers, missionaries, and other Christian ministers a standard that is considerably lower than that set for those laboring in the system of man.

Giving to the Lord’s workers is giving to the Lord. God gives to His children beyond measure, so that, as Paul had already reminded the Corinthians, we “are not lacking in any gift” (1 Cor. 1:7). Peter tells us that “His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness” (2 Pet. 1:3). God supplies all our “needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19). God’s children are to reflect their heavenly Father’s generosity. “He who sows sparingly shall also reap sparingly; and he who sows bountifully shall also reap bountifully” (2 Cor. 9:6). As individuals and as churches, Christians who give generously to the Lord’s work and to the support of His servants will be blessed.

“if we sowed spiritual things, it should not be too much to ask material things from you...”
Leadership Note: This is about giving… and about how we give
There were definitely churches that supported Paul. Churches and individuals that had very little, but notice their attitude toward giving, this attitude Paul highly praises, telling the church in Corinth that they should aspire to be like this as well.
2 Corinthians 8:1–5 ESV
We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints— and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us.
Why did they literally beg to give to the Lord’s work and to the Lord’s servants (we are talking like over an abundantly giving- not tied to 10%- joyous giving), Why? Because they were hungry for the Word. The churches in Macedonia include Philippi, Thessalonica, and Berea. Churches that were really abounding in the Lord and in His word. So to be an abounding servant and growing in His word is to naturally be a giving Christian. This is the attitude and pattern that all Christians should aspire to.

3. It’s Being Done for Others (v.12)

“if others share the right over you...” probably a reference to Apollos and Cephas (Peter). But certainly Paul had all the more reason to be supported. He was the founder of the church so to speak.
Leadership Comment: “But we endure all things (hardship, trials, beatings, etc) that we may cause no hindrance to the gospel of Christ.” The basic meaning of endure (stego) is “to bear or to pass over in silence.” Paul used the present tense of this word, indicating that throughout his ministry he continued to bear UNCOMPLAININGLY whatever was necessary to fulfill his work. His way of life was always self-denial. A major point for all those that are in leadership.

4. It’s the OT Practice (v.13)

It has literally been the practice of the priesthood since the earliest days of Israel. The priests were supported by the tithes of crops and animals and well as sacrifices from the people to whom they ministered. Even hundreds of years before the Aaronic priesthood began, Abraham gave tithes to Melchizedek, “a priest of God Most High” (Gen. 14:18-20). That was the practice.

5. It’s Christ’s Own Words (v. 14)

And lest they still fail to see the importance, or that they would think that he is simply being greedy… Paul states that the Lord Himself commanded it to be so.
1 Corinthians 9:14 ESV
In the same way, the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel.
This is likely a reference to Matthew 10:10
Matthew 10:10 ESV
no bag for your journey, or two tunics or sandals or a staff, for the laborer deserves his food.
Luke 10:7 ESV
And remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages. Do not go from house to house.
Paul had plenty of rights, but here’s what he said of these rights.
1 Corinthians 9:15 ESV
But I have made no use of any of these rights, nor am I writing these things to secure any such provision. For I would rather die than have anyone deprive me of my ground for boasting.
Paul had all kinds of rights that we either never claimed or refused to claim at the moment. Thinking back to Acts 16 when he was thrown into prison unlawfully as a Roman citizen, why didn’t he claim that right at the moment. I strongly believe, that it was Paul’s regular practice to think through how claiming his rights could affect others before he actually claimed them. The church at Philippi could sure be thankful that he didn’t claim his Roman citizen rights then. The story of the Philippian jailor may have looked very different. Paul certainly refused doing many different activities like eating food offered to idols so the sake of others. This was his pattern over and over in scripture as it should be with us.
We might be “entitled to” anyone of these things or other things because of our position. But true leadership is not defined by entitlement. It’s not the kind of attitude we are called to live by.
Same is true of those in positions of influence. Do you as Parents live as entitled parents, or work employers, disciplemakers, older saints, or deacons elder and teachers...
Example: Youth leaders and seat preference!
True leadership is defined by Mark 10:43-45
Mark 10:42–45 ESV
And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

The secret of the power and influence of the leaders of the first-century church wasn’t just in the things they said but the fact that they were themselves an incarnation of their own message.

Related Media
See more
Related Sermons
See more