Sunday, we continued part 3 of 1 Corinthians, Finding True Freedom, where Pastor Boyd examined in further detail from 1 Corinthians 9. In this text, we gain a greater understanding of spiritual maturity and immaturity laid out from Paul to the Corinthian Christians. Pastor Boyd focused on this principle: Just because I can do something doesn’t mean I do.
A mature person gladly gives up his rights, while the immature person is handcuffed by his rights. Paul reminded the Corinthians of his long list of accomplishments: an apostle, freed by the Gospel, saw Jesus face to face, labored and suffered on the behalf of others. Pastor Boyd pointed out Paul’s selflessness was a sign of spiritual maturity because he willingly set aside his freedoms in order to remove obstacles to serve and proclaim the Gospel for the benefit of the people. Verse 12 sums the overall idea perfectly:
"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. "
We must be willing to endure anything for the good of others and the furthering of the Gospel. Pastor Boyd challenged Christians and aspiring pastors of this poignantly. Ministry leaders and guys who feel called to serve Jesus and His church must have a servant mentality for ministry. Here are three big ideas for reflection:
- Preaching The Gospel and being financially supported is a PRIVILEGE not a RIGHT. You don’t deserve to get paid to preach and lead in the church, it’s a privilege.
- The mystery of the Gospel must be stewarded well.
- Preaching and Leadership: would you do it if you were not paid?
While Paul gave up his rights as an apostle, what was the driving factor behind it all?
It was his missional convictions for the sake of others. Paul reminded the Corinthians that giving up their freedoms was the common practice of a servant. Servanthood for the apostle Paul and for us as Christians must be viewed as a blessing, not a burden. We must joyfully respond to the loss of our freedoms to serve and share the Gospel with others. Pastor Boyd pointed out that this is an easy task for the spiritually mature, but not for the immature. Pastor Boyd provided a detailed look at the perspectives on the spiritually mature and immature in regard to missional convictions and ours as a church:
Spiritual Maturity says: “I’m willing to embrace all kinds of people, despite my own comfort and pride.
Spiritual Immaturity says: “I’ll be about mission when it’s convenient and when I get something out of it.”
Missional Convictions for The District Church:
- The gospel is the uniting factor for all people of our city.
- The gospel will destroy our comfort and desire for affinity.
- The gospel will reconcile relationships.
- The gospel will force us to do life with people different then us.
- The gospel will force you to see your own depravity and eliminate grounds for boasting in your own good when it’s confronted with the cross of Jesus.
What does this mean for The District Church? What does this mean for Christians?
THE ADVANCE OF THE GOSPEL THROUGH A CHURCH MARKED BY A DETERMINED HUMILITY. Paul closed this section with a familiar illustration for the Corinthians, where he focused on the athlete receiving a prize. Athletes must put their bodies and minds in regiment prior to competing. It requires dedication, determination, discipline, and self-control.
“So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified (vs. 26-27).”
Paul wanted the Corinthians to have the determination, self-control, and discipline of an athlete to labor for the advancement of the Gospel. This discipline requires us to humble ourselves for the good of others, advancement of the Gospel, and for the glory of God.
Pastor Boyd challenged us to reflect on our own relationships: If you are a Christian, do you know any non-Christians? Are you spending time with them? Who’s being welcomed into your home? Are you willing to have people that are messy and different then you? Who are you willing to have at your dinner table?