I Corinthians 9:1-12

Dr. 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

- 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

- 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

- 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

- 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

- 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

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

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

- we have to understand that in light of other
- 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
- 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

- 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

- 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

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

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
- 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

- 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

Dr. Steve Viars


Senior Pastor - Faith Church

Director - Faith Legacy Foundation


B.S.: Pre-Seminary & Bible, Baptist Bible College (Now Clarks Summit University)
M.Div.: Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min.: Biblical Counseling, Westminster Theological Seminary

Dr. Steve Viars has served at Faith Church in Lafayette, IN since 1987. Pastor Viars leads and equips Faith Church as Senior Pastor with a focus on preaching and teaching God’s Word and using his organizational skills in guiding the implementation of the Faith Church mission and vision. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith Church ministries. Dr. Viars serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation. Steve is the author, co-author, or contributor to six books and numerous booklets. He and his wife, Kris, were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and five grandchildren.

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