Chapter 9: This chapter is Paul’s defence or apology for the paid ministry. It is almost self explanatory as you read it. Other verses of scripture that back up these beliefs are; Romans 15 27 The Gentiles should share material things in exchange for Spiritual ministry they receive. Galatians ch 6. v 6. Instructed should share with instructor. We should see our support of those who are in the service of the Lord, as an investment, for Paul says whatever we sow we reap. That by the way is the true context of this verse which is more often aimed at unbelievers who think they can mock God. 2 Cor ch 8 Paul encourages the Corinthians to be like the churches of Macedonia who gave liberally towards supporting the poorer believers in Jerusalem 2 Cor 9. Paul encourages them further with some very well chosen words. Having boasted of their generosity to the churches of Macedonia he writes of his hope that when they arrive that the Corinthians will be well prepared to offer some financial help, especially if some people from Macedonia were to come with him. v 15 Phil 4 v 10-19. Here Paul speaks of the privilegeof being able to share in the ministry by financially supporting pastors and evangelists like himself. “Not that I desire a gift” he says, “but that fruit might abound to your account”. 1 Tim 6 v 10-17 is worth checking out on the subject of riches and money. 1 Tim 5 17-19 These are great verses for Bible teachers. For it recommends that they receive double honour - in other words double pay for their ministry. The sad truth is that there is not much appetite today for bible teaching. Most Christians are happy in their ignorance 2 Tim 2 4-7 Paul advises Timothy of the expediency of taking a living from the financial fruits No man that goes to war entangles himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully. The husbandman that labours must be first partaker of the fruits. Consider what I say; and the Lord give you understanding in all things. In the Old Testament we read that when Israel backslid they failed to support the priesthood according to the commandments, and so many priests had to earn a living elsewhere. But when there was a revival as in the time of Josiah much money was collected in tithes to ensure that the temple was renewed and the thousands of priest necessary were able to return. Tithes: In the book of Malachi the prophet accuses Israel of robbing God in not paying their tithes because only nine tenths of their income belonged to them The tenth was the Lord’s – The New testament message is that we surrender our all, there is no mention of a limit or tithe on our giving. Also when Israel returned from captivity under Ezra, the people gave generously to rebuild the temple. God looks for willing givers. God is a giver, he expects his children to be givers also, rather than takers.
Paul severely warns the Corinthian Christians about the dangers of worldliness and the threat of the consequences of their losing faith in Christ Jesus. Many people will use the phrase, “once saved, always saved”, believing that predestination means that God personally chooses individuals to salvation and nothing can alter the plans and wishes of a sovereign God. This doctrine is called “Calvinism”. Other refuse this belief and emphasise that the Gospel is available to “whosoever” and that men make their own choices about what they believe. This chapter is often quoted by the latter camp. Personally my understanding of Romans gives me complete assurance that I am saved for ever. However, if one loses one’s faith in Christ as Saviour, how can we say that such can be saved? Calvinists will argue that they never had God-given faith in the first place so they were not really saved. It is a massive argument and in the context of Corinthians a truly sad affair in terms of how it brings division in the body of Christ. For me, I reckon it is hard to find a promise that is unconditional in scripture. The Psalms tells us that God created man and he was CROWNED with glory and honour. That suggests that man has been endowed with sovereignty to operate his own will over his own life. The book of Revelation declares that the apostles cast their crowns before the thrown as a mark of their submission to the king of Kings. The book of Hebrews is probably the most severe of warnings against those who lose their faith in Jesus Christ, but it is amazing how by spiritual gymnastics and scripture twisting Calvinists can explain away, the possibility of being lost, having been once saved. I may add a small booklet I printed on this topic as an appendix to these studies.
Paul seeks to set in order some kind of discipline in the church. It seems that liberty and self expression were the norm in this fellowship, but unfortunately it had brought more confusion and chaos than true fellowship. This chapter still causes great dissention today, especially with regard to women wearing hats in church. Those who say they believe the Bible is the word of God from cover to cover are often challenged by those who don’t believe such things, if they make women wear hats in their church. Very few do. They take the argument on to a spiritual level and say something like “Its not what is on your head but in your heart that counts” It is very debatable if Paul would be as dogmatic today as he was then, for he speaks of “nature” teaching us that such things are right. Some would have us believe that feminism is a modern phenomena. But it is not true. Philippi was a matriarchal society, so I am told. Certainly in his day there was no battle of the sexes expected within the church. Paul believed that God made woman subject to a man just as the man is subject to God. So for a man to have long hair or approach God with his head covered he would be dishonouring God, in his dress if not in his heart. Likewise the woman when in the presence of men in a church should have their head covered otherwise they would be dishonouring their head which is the man. However today we would hardly find a man who felt dishonoured if his wife said “grace” before a meal with her head uncovered or even attended church without a covering. If man has ceased to feel dishonoured then may be it doesn’t mean all that much to God either. However, once again unity is the key, but God bless the lady who would cover her head in seeking to “fulfil all righteousness” as Jesus did when he was baptised. There was no need for him to be baptized except for that reason. In this chapter also we have those words which often precede communion services. It would seem that the “communion services at Corinth had developed into some kind of bunfight, “first there first served” type of thing. Paul tries to bring some order. It is a strange thing, or perhaps not that if nothing had been wrong with the early church then we would not have the guidelines of scripture that we are blessed with today. Indeed had Paul not been in prison we would not have had any of the epistles which he wrote for prison. From chaos has come order and from the seed of inability we have our epistles.