Work in the Lord

1Corinthians 9:1-4 Am I not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? are not you my work in the Lord? If I be not an apostle unto others, yet doubtless I am to you: for the seal of mine apostleship are you in the Lord. Mine answer to them that do examine me is this, Have we not power to eat and to drink? 

‘Am I not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? are not you my work in the Lord?’ There were some in Corinth who questioned Paul’s apostleship (9:1-3).

‘Apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? are not you my work in the Lord.’ Nine arguments proving Paul’s apostleship: His claim of being an apostle (9:1). His claim to freedom from all secular and religious bondage, enabling him to be completely devoted to the apostleship (9:1). His claim of seeing Jesus (9:1; 15:8). The very existence of the Corinthian congregation and their conversion from heathenism proved his apostleship (9:1-2; Acts 18:1-28). His consecration to abnormal human living so as to preach (9:3-6). His unselfish devotion to the apostleship without pay (9:7-15). His divine obligation to fulfil his call to the apostleship (9:16-18). His devoted service to all people to win them to the gospel (9:19-23). His qualifications for the apostleship and the Christian race (9:24-27).

‘Seal’ [Greek: sphragis] It was a figure cut in stone and set in a ring by which letters of authority were stamped. Greeks excelled in this kind of engraving. Paul used this figure to express the fact that their own conversion was proof of his apostolic authority.

‘Have we not power to eat and to drink? Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas? Or I only and Barnabas, have not we power to forbear working? Who goes a warfare any time at his own charges? who plants a vineyard, and eats not of the fruit thereof? or who feeds a flock, and eats not of the milk of the flock? Say I these things as a man? or said not the law the same also?’ Have we not power to eat and drink at the expense of the congregations we have founded? If others receive your support, are we not worthy also of support? We have not used this right as others (9:12-15). Paul supported himself partly by working while starting the Thessalonians’ congregation and partly through help from Philippi (2Thess. 3:7-9). He refers to their gift as a sweet aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God. “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” This promise is still true to those who are in Christ and who are faithful to God in tithing’s as the Philippians were (Php. 4:14-18). Imagine being a partaker of all that Paul has sown through his work for God in the lives of the congregations where he laboured as well as being the author of no less than 14 books of the New Testament (Romans to Hebrew).

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