I Corinthians 9:1-12

Steve Viars February 11, 1992 1 Corinthians 9:1-12

- tonight we're going to move into chapter 9 in our study of
  I Corinthians
- this is an interesting passage of Scripture
- earlier, we said that chapters 8-10 go together as a unit
   on the subject of Christian liberty
   - if you just read the first 14 verses of chapter 9, you
     might say - that's not really so, because Paul is
     talking in these verses about the way a church treats
     full time Christian servants financially
   - it's true that those verses deal with that subject, but
     then as you keep reading in the passage, you find that
     Paul is using that subject as a personal illustration of
     Christian liberty

- if you were going to try to diagram that, it would look
   something like this


   - Diagram   (Box with "How to treat Christian servants
        financially" inside a larger box of "Christian
        liberty"

- For our purposes tonight, we're going to concentrate on the
   center box
- Lord willing, next week we'll move into the next series of
    verses and see how this fits in with the subject of
    Christian liberty

- there's one other interesting "sub-theme" taking place in
   this chapter
- let's read the first couple of verses  (READ 1-3)

- there are some people in the church of Corinth that are
   actually questioning Paul's apostleship
- they're saying that Paul's not really an apostle and
   therefore he should have no authority over them
- this becomes a major problem in the book of II Cor. and
   Paul spends a significant amount of time defending his
   apostleship in that letter
- so, we really need to add something to our diagram
   - add circle (questioning Paul's apostleship)

- Lord willing, next week we'll talk about the outer boxes
   and some applications that flow out of them

- for tonight - let's jump into this "inner box" and see what
   Paul says about how to treat Christian servants
   financially

- READ 3-14

- in these verses Paul gives us seven reasons why we must be
  generous with God's servants

- let me just say at this point (and I know I'm speaking for
   everyone on our staff) that we appreciate the generous way
   we are treated financially
- it's not just a matter of being treated adequately, it's a
   matter being treated generously
- I can't imagine what it would be like to teach on these
   verses if that wasn't happening, but there are a lot of
   folks around here who believe these truths strongly

- but we still need to study these verses
- that’s true for several reasons:
   1) it's possible to get in the habit of doing things
      without knowing why we do them (or without knowing what
      the Bible says on that subject)
   2) some here will graduate or be transferred and will be
      serving in another church. (we'll have more to say
      about that later on)
   3) as an opportunity to thank the Lord for folks here who
      have believed the Bible on this subject and have acted
      on that belief.

- before we begin studying the reasons Paul gives for being
  generous with God's servants, let's bat this question
  around for a minute:
    INPUT - what are some reasons a church might not obey
      the principles found in these verses?


- Those are some reasons why a church might not obey these
  principles, let's look at some reasons why we should

I. God's Servants Have Normal "Human Rights"

  - I chose that terminology because that’s the terminology
    Paul uses
  - six times in this chapter he uses the word "right"
     - the word literally means "power, authority"
     - he's saying "Christian servants have the same power,
       authority, rights, as anyone else who's working hard
       at their jobs"

     - please note the last part of that sentence
     - none of us believe a person is entitled to a handout
        just because they're a human
     - in fact, the Bible makes it clear in passages like
       I Tim. 5:8 and Ii Thes. 3:10 that a person who can
       work must work or he shouldn't be allowed to eat

     - but assuming that’s the case, Paul is arguing, that
       person has some "authority, power, rights."

    A. To eat and drink - v. 4

        - Paul says in verse 4 - don't we have a right to eat
           and drink just like anyone else who's working
        - of course the answer is "yes"

    B. To support their families

        - verse 4 says - a full-time Christian servant ought
           to have the freedom to have a wife, and some
           children, and his salary ought to be able to meet
           the needs of his family
- the point is - Christian servants have normal human rights-
    their salaries ought to meet the needs of them and their
    families

- listen, this may not be part of your experience, but there
    are many churches that have violated these principles for
    years and years

- Jim Rickard, who's a Christian financial planner and spoke
   at our church a couple of years ago, prepared tax returns
   for 941 pastors in 1990
- he did some statistical analysis on those returns and
   one of the things he came up with was:

54.6% of the pastor's wives had to work full time
  - I realize you could say - well, maybe they were working
      when they didn't have to be
    - that may be true in some isolated cases, but I think
      it's safe to assume that in the average case, that wife
      was working because the church was not paying her
      husband what it would take to support the family (which
      is a direct violation of this passage)
    - I'd be lost if Kris had to do that

- it's interesting when you go to conferences and talk to
   some of these pastors and their wives
- some of them are "war-worn"
    - some of them are in churches that are "stingy" and
      won't obey these kinds of passages

    - some pastors, wives, and families struggle with
       bitterness over that
    - now they're responsible for their side - they need to
       do all they can to rejoice in trials and use them as
       an opportunity to grow

     - but the other side of that is - there's going to be
       some churches that are going to bear responsibility
       for not obeying these passages

     - some day those folks will stand before the judgement
       seat of Christ
         - I'd sure rather stand at the judgement seat of
           Christ and explain my generosity than explain my
           stinginess

- one of the reasons I'm excited about this message is
   because the Lord in His sovereignty will undoubtedly move
   folks here to other parts of the country
     - it may be because you're graduating
     - it may be a job transfer

- but listen, one layman with biblical convictions on this
   subject can make a tremendous impact on a church

- another reason Paul gives for being generous with God's
   servants is:

II. Because Workers In Other Fields Are Compensated

    - Paul gives three illustrations of this in verse 7

    A. soldier

        - a soldier is compensated for his work

        - he doesn't pay for his uniform, weapons, lodging,
          food, travel, expenses,
        - of course not - he's compensated for his work
        - the same is true for:

    B. Farmer (who tends a vineyard)

    C. Shepherd

        - the overall principle is this:

            - there ought to be some consistency between the
              way secular workers are compensated and the
              way Christian workers are compensated

            - in many places, that just doesn't happen

- I talked to Randy Patten as I was preparing this message
   because he works with pastors and churches on these issues
   and he was a lot of help
- one of the things he does with churches is recommends that
     a church get in touch with the local school board to
     find out what a principal in the school makes
- he says that the principle's job is similar to a pastor's
     - and most school districts have a chart where you can
       plug in the person's education and years of experience
       and come out with a number
     - he says that's an eye opener for some places

- no one's saying you have to do it exactly that way
    - but that is a biblical concept

- there ought to be some consistency between the way secular
    workers and Christian workers are compensated
- but often times, there's not

- here's some other statistics from the study Jim Rickard
    prepared

- 35.2% of the pastor's were not reimbursed for their
    professional expenses
      - so if he took a special speaker out to dinner, not
        only did he have to pay for the dinner, he also had
        to pay full social security and federal and state
        taxes on that money
- 54.6% of the pastor's wives had to work full time

- 42.5% are either renting or living in a parsonage
    - in other words, they don't own their own home
    - you might say - well, having a parsonage would really
        be nice
    - let me say something about that - they may be nice -
        but they don't have wheels under them!
          - you can't take them with you when you go
- add to that:

- 25.4% are exempt from social security
   - a pastor can opt out of the social security program and
     many pastors did that, esp. a number of years ago

- and Randy said this - "One of the challenges we're facing
   is that we have a generation of pastors retiring who have
   no home, no equity, no retirement, and no social security"
- I realize that there may be some exceptions to this
- but many of those are dear folks, who gave their lives
   faithfully serving in local churches, and are in the
   financial condition they're in primarily because churches
   were not generous

- let's work down through some of these other reasons:

III. Because It's Consistent With OT Law

    - Paul reminds folks of Deut. 25:4 - Don't muzzle the ox

        - the picture is of the farmer who has an ox dragging
          a heavy stone to process the grain
        - that ox was allowed to eat some of that grain as a
          payment for his work

    A.  principle - a worker deserves to benefit from his
         labor

    B. interesting question - (v. 9) - does God care for
             oxen?

       - what is the answer Paul expects to that verse?  (no)

       - we have to understand that in light of other
           scripture
       - Matt. 6 tells us the Lord is concerned about animals
       - Prov. 12:10 - "The righteous man regards the life of
            his beast"

    C. overall point - Though the Lord is concerned for the
         treatment of animals, that's nothing compared to His
         concern for the treatment of His servants.

           - that’s his point in verse 10 (read)

- Pauls says - this is consistent with OT law

IV. Because It's Consistent with the Principle of
     Indebtedness - v. 11

    A.  Those who sow spiritually should reap materially

        - this is stated even stronger in Romans 15:25-27

    B. When someone ministers to me spiritually, I owe them a
        debt
        - the way we treat God's servants financially
          communicates something about our view of God and
          His Word
        - illus - church helping Kris and I get into a home
            - came here straight from school (develop)
            - Pastor said - after about a year, the church...
            - Why? because they have a high view of the Word.
- (if time - she-bears)
   - the way we treat others, especially God's servants,
     reveals something about the way we view God

- (REPEAT POINTS)
    - God's servants have normal human rights
    - workers in other fields are compensated
    - its consistent with OT law
    - it's consistent with the biblical principle of
        indebtedness

    - what we see Paul doing here is laying truth on top of
      truth- argument on top of argument

- let's get the last ones out and then talk about some
    applications:

V. Because You've Done It For Others - v. 12

    - Paul couldn't say this to everybody - but he could
      remind the Corinthians that they had compensated other
      full time Christian workers in the church


VI. Because It's The Universal Pattern - v. 13

    - Lev. 6:14-7:36, 27:6-33

    - God has ordained this both in the Old and New
        Testaments

VII. Jesus Ordained It - v. 14

    - Luke 10:7 - The workman is worthy of his hire

VIII. Applications

    A. To churches

        1. be fair

            - as I was talking to Randy, one of the things he
              said was - some churches aren't fair in the way
              they discuss their pastor's salary.
            - for example, when they talk about the pastor's
              salary, they're really talking about the entire
              "salary package."
               - a church might say - "well, hey, we pay our
                 pastor $ 30,000 per year."
               - a good question to ask in that is, "what all
                 is included in that?"
                 1)- you'll probably find that out of that he
                     has to pay his SS tax at 15.3 per cent.
                   - that’s $4600
                   - add another 1200 for state and federal
                      and he's down to 24,200
                 2) you may find that he's paying his own car
                    expenses. The average pastor puts 15,000
                    business miles on his car a year. At 28
                    cents a mile, thats 4200 - so we're down
                    to 20,000.

                 3) you may find he's paying his own heath
                    insurance out of that.  If he's getting
                    that for 5000, (which is a steal these
                    days), he's down to 15,000.
                 4) He needs to be putting something away for
                    retirement. Even if its only 2000, he's
                    down to 13,000.
                 5) Add to that his professional expenses,
                    like books, magizines, conferences,
                    entertaining guests
                      - and you may find that that 30,000 is
                        really more like an 11,000 salary out
                        in the world.

- one of the things we're seeing from these verses is - a
  church has to be fair in the way the figures are presented.

        2. Be pace-setters

            - one of the things that excites me about this
              message is the potential for some who the Lord
              moves to another part of the country to
              continue to develop biblical convictions in
              this area and be a real pace-setter in your
              next church.
        3. Be generous

            - the theme running all the way through these
              verses is that God is pleased when we are
              generous.
            - Giving is God-like

        4. Be prepared

            - some day we will all have to stand before the
              judgement seat of Christ.
            - I'd much rather stand at the judgement seat and
              explain my generosity than explain my
              stinginess.

- a question here might be - well, what about situations
    where the church just cannot do any better at this time
    in their history?
       1) is everybody sacrificing?
       2) plan to make it up later

    B. To pastors

        1. be thankful

            - those of us who are in churches that believe
              these principles have to work hard at being
              thankful both to the Lord and to the church.

            - develop - also, look for ways to communicate
                this to families

        2. be careful

            - one of the reasons some churches have trouble
              being generous is because they've seen a pastor
              handle funds foolishly
            - someone who wants his church to fund a "Jim
              Baker" kind of lifestyle is going to make it
              very hard for the people in the church to obey
              these verses

        3. be prepared

            - develop - (for emergencies)

        4. be diligent

            - ought to cause us to work all the harder

Steve Viars

B.S. - Bible, Baptist Bible College
M.Div. - Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min. - Westminster Theological Seminary

Pastor Steve Viars has served at Faith Church since 1987. He and his wife Kris were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and two grandchildren. Pastor Viars’ gifted teaching ministry, enthusiasm for the Word of God, and organizational skills are instrumental in equipping Faith Church. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith ministries and serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video