TheShiningLight

Preparing the Way of the Lord

First Corinthians 9 – 10

1 Corinthians 9

Paul now teaches that those who work in the Word of God have the right to be supported by the brethren.

1 Corinthians 9:1 Am I not an apostle? Am I not free? Have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? Are not ye my work in the Lord? 9:2 If I be not an apostle unto others, yet doubtless I am to you: for the seal of mine apostleship are ye in the Lord.

9:3 Mine answer to them that do examine me [Paul responds about taking tithes and offerings] is this, 9:4 Have we not power to eat and to drink? [to eat from the tithes and offerings of the brethren] 9:5 Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and [the same as the other elders in the faith] as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas [Peter]?

9:6 Or I only and Barnabas, have not we power [the right to abstain from physical labour and work full time in the gospel] and to forbear working? [to devote ourselves to the gospel] 9:7 Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock?

9:8 Say I these things as a man? or saith not the law the same also? 9:9 For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen? 9:10 Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope. 9:11 If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things?

Those who serve God and the brethren in spiritual matters, especially those working in doctrine, have a right given from God to fair wages for their service! Do the brethren not profit from the work of God’s teachers? If you persevere in learning the Word of God and grow through their sound biblical teachings you are gathering eternal spiritual treasures and eternal life.

9:12 If others be partakers of this power over [to take tithes of you] you, are not we rather?

On the other hand is it right to give large sums to those organizations which teach error and false traditions and the idolizing of men and not support those who teach the sound doctrine of scripture and the truth of God’s Word?

. . . Nevertheless we have not used this power; [Paul did not demand tithes because of the trials and poverty of the people of Corinth, because Paul would not be a stumbling block to the brethren of Corinth by burdening them] but suffer [endure poverty] all things, [because of Paul’s love for them] Lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ.

Paul proves that the elders have a right to take tithes of the people, yet Paul did not insist on this right from the Corinthians, being merciful for the circumstances of the brethren in Corinth.

9:13 Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? 9:14 Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.

Those who are clearly teaching sound doctrine and a passionate zeal to live by every Word of God; those who are living by every Word of God and teaching others to do so, and those who are preaching the True Gospel of Warning and Repentance; are deserving of your support.

9:15 But I have used none of these things: neither have I written these things, that it should be so done unto me: for it were better for me to die, than that any man should make my glorying void.

Paul would rather die than burden God’s people; sounds a lot like the Church of God today: doesn’t it? Of course I am being sarcastic here!

9:16 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! 9:17 For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed [teaching the Word of God is morally required for those God has called to that responsibility] unto me.

God’s people have a responsibility to preach the true Gospel of Warning and Repentance, and the way INTO the Kingdom of God. We must all do our part as a moral obligation from God in appreciation for God’s calling us to the gift of eternal life and much treasure in his kingdom. We must ALL do what we can in preaching, in teaching, in prayer or support, as God provides the opportunity to us.

9:18 What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel.

9:19 For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. 9:20 And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law

9:21 To them that are without law [the Gentiles], as without law, [yet always keeping God’s law] not without law to God, but under the law to Christ, that I might gain them that are without law [without the traditions of the Rabbins].

9:22 To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. 9:23 And this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.

9:4 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. 9:25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. 9:26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: 9:27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

Paul says: “I subject myself to God’s Word, so that I might win the prize.” and we are to do likewise.

 

1 Corinthians 10

Paul points out that an idol is nothing, but that it is a sin to participate in idolatry

1 Corinthians 10:1 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the [Red] sea; 10:2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 10:3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat; 10:4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.

Paul declares that Jesus Christ was the ROCK which led Israel out of Egypt; and Christ is the Rock which leads the “called out” out of sin! The law given to Moses was given by Jesus Christ before he was made flesh!

Drinking the water out of the rock, pictured taking in the Holy Spirit flowing from Christ, which is given to all those who obey God the Father (Acts 4:32).

Paul points out that very many of those baptized in the Red Sea to follow Christ; FAILED to overcome and desiring to go back into Egypt as a type of going back into sin and were destroyed by God.

The same is true spiritually with today’s Ekklesia, when those who make a baptismal commitment to obey and follow Christ and live by every Word of God, turn aside from following the whole Word of God to follow idols of men and the false traditions of men.

10:5 But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.

Being called out by God does NOT mean that we have it made; we must still please God; by CONTINUING in obedience to every Word of God through the power of God – the Holy Spirit – dwelling in us.

Brethren, they fell away not having God’s Spirit; while we fall away HAVING God’s Spirit because we do not follow God’s Spirit.

10:6 Now these things were our examples, [We must do better and not return to the bondage to sin which we have been delivered out of, just as many in the wilderness sought to return to bondage in Egypt.] to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Seeking to return to Egypt.

They desired to follow idols and to rebel against the Word of God and today we also want to follow men and not God, and we love the pleasures of sin [like buying food for personal pleasure on the Sabbath].

10:7 Neither be ye idolaters, [We must NOT follow false traditions and make idols of men who would deceive us into false teachings.] and there were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play [before the calf idol they had made].

10:8 Neither let us commit fornication, [Pornea; Physical sexual disloyalty whose spiritual counterpart is becoming of one mind  with false teachings and false doctrines.] as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.

10:9 Neither let us tempt Christ, [Do not tempt our espoused Husband to jealousy by seeking after the false teachings of unconverted men who know not God; or by exalting organizational teachings, idols of men and false traditions above God’s Word.] as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.

10:10 Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, [do not be chronic complainers and accusers of God; blaming our troubles on Him. Our troubles are mainly of our own doing, or from our Adversary who seeks to discourage us.] and were destroyed of the destroyer.

10:11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.

10:12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. For he is self-righteous; [let us rely on God to hold us up].

The major religions of today think that they stand; they think that they know it all spiritually and have need of nothing as it is written in Revelation 3:14-22. Those who are not teachable and are not standing on the solid foundation of the whole Word and commandments of God; Shall Fall!

10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

Therefore live by every Word of God without compromise, and our God will be pleased with us and will deliver us.

10:14 Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry. 

Avoid placing anyone or anything above our God! Do not exalt men as idols above the Word of God, but check and prove the words of men by the Word of God.

10:15 I speak as to [as if to spiritually wise men] wise men; judge ye what I say. 10:16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? 

Taking the Passover wine is an acceptance of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and a commitment to live by every Word of God; and not to follow any man.

The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? 

The Passover unleavened bread is symbolic of  internalizing JESUS CHRIST; the Bread of Life, being broken for us: and does NOT represent any human leader.

10:17 For we being many are one [we are to be in complete unity with God, together with like-minded believers], and one [spiritual] body: for we are all partakers of that one bread [picturing Jesus Christ].

If we sincerely repent and commit to internalizing God the Father and Jesus Christ by eating the symbols of unleavened bread and wine: we become one in unity with God the Father and Christ, and one with all others who share in the same commitment; however we remain one in unity with God, only as long as we are faithful to follow and live by every Word of God in Christ-like zeal.

10:18 Behold Israel after the flesh: are not they which eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar?

Just as physical Israel was to eat certain of the sacrifices to God; symbolizing the internalizing of the things of God; we must also eat [internalize] the Word of God and we are not to seek out and internalize the false teachings of idols of men.

10:19 What say I then? that the idol is any thing, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing? 10:20 But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils.

Paul now clearly commands that we are not to knowingly eat things sacrificed to idols or take part in the festivals of idols.

10:21 Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table [God’s Word], and of the table [teachings of] of devils.

We are not to partake of idolatry; like attending Christmas and Easter festivities, and following idols of men and their false teachings.

Spiritually speaking we are not to eat [internalize or participate in] false teachings; sitting at the table of demons; and then think we can mix these abominations with the things of God!

10:22 Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? [by following idols of men away from God’s Word] are we stronger than he?

Do demons and commandment rejecting men know better than God?

Why will the false prophets within the Ekklesia come up with some idea and then seek support for it from the teachings of the unconverted? And then dare to call themselves godly, polluting the Word of God with the doctrines of demons?

I tell you the truth as also Moses did and the scriptures declare:  We MUST NOT learn the [religious] ways of the unconverted; and try to mix them with the Word of God!

Such false prophets will be corrected by God in great tribulation along with their followers.

10:23 All things [that] are lawful for me, but all things are not [always] expedient:

Not everything that is lawful, is appropriate in all circumstances. It is wrong to cause our brothers to stumble if we can avoid that, which is why Paul did not demand financial support from the Corinthians for a time. It was lawful that Paul receive the support of their physical things, but it was not expedient to avail himself of their support at that time.

. . . All things [that] are lawful for me, but all things edify not.

If an action is lawful but will not edify [help, assist, encourage] others if we do it, we should restrain ourselves until the right time. We are not to place stumbling blocks before others like litigating against other brethren. We are to give to them with gladness; and if we do that; God will also give to us in joy at our faithfulness to him.

10:24 Let no man seek his own, but every man another’s wealth.

Let us always consider the affect that we have on others with our conduct, and live our lives as a GOOD EXAMPLE of true Godliness.

10:25 Whatsoever is sold in the shambles [market] that eat, asking no question [This is not a reference to unclean meat but is concerning asking whether it was sacrificed to an idol; for that is the contextual subject.] for conscience sake: 10:26 For the earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof.

10:27 If any of them that believe not bid you to a feast [as a wedding feast or personal matter and not an idolatrous religious observance]], and ye be disposed to go; whatsoever is set before you, eat, asking no question [concerning whether it was sacrificed to an idol; which is the subject here] for conscience sake.

10:28 But if any man say unto you, This is offered in sacrifice unto idols, eat not for his sake that shewed it, and for conscience sake: for the earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof:

10:29 Conscience, I say, not thine own, but of the other: for why is my liberty [to eat] judged of another man’s conscience?

Do not insist on doing things [even if they are lawful]; when it is not edifying to others to do so.

In the fertility religions of ancient Greece the pagan temples made money mainly in two ways 1) All girls were expected to do a period of service as prostitutes with earnings going to the temple 2) Meat from animals sacrificed to the gods was sold in the markets [shambles].

Paul advises that for the sake of conscience when buying in the shambles [market] do not ask if the animal was sacrificed to an idol, but if it is known to have been sacrificed to an idol we are not to buy or eat it.

The point is that if we are ignorant as to whether an animal was sacrificed to an idol the issue is not important for idols are nothing anyway; but if we KNOWINGLY eat things sacrificed to an idol that knowledge implies that we are acknowledging that idol and we are to avoid even the appearance of wrongdoing.

1 Thessalonians 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.

Today this is almost a non issue as our animals are not killed in sacrifice to idols. The issue today is to abstain from any appearance of evil, like even entering the door of a restaurant on the Sabbath day.

1 Corinthians 10:30 For if I by grace be a partaker, why am I evil spoken of for that for which I give thanks? 10:31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. 10:32 Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God:

10:33 Even as I please all men in all things, [By avoiding offending them in nonscriptural matters; yet still not offending God by breaking any of his commandments] not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.

Oh, that God’s people would care so much for God and for others that they would love them enough to try and avoid giving needless offense. We have gotten so very far from God that we no longer have the Spirit of godly love dwelling within us; and the more people proclaim love, the less love for God’s Word and people they exhibit.

Today’s brethren are full of offending Almighty God by provoking him to jealousy through following idols of men, instead of relying on God’s Word.

This is a Great Shame and a Great Evil.

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