Saturday, June 17, 2017

Instruction in Righteousness: From I Corinthians 9

1   Am I am not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? are not ye my work in the Lord?


The apostle Paul was so different from the other apostles.  Paul never saw Jesus when Jesus walked on this earth in the flesh. 

When Paul "saw" Jesus, was when Jesus revealed HIMSELF to Paul after the crucifixion and resurrection when Paul was on the road to Damascus with the intent of catching and putting into bonds the followers of Jesus.

The other apostles were specifically chosen by Jesus as Jesus lived on this earth.  They walked with Jesus and saw HIS many works and witnessed HIS sufferings and death on a cross. 

After Jesus arose, HE showed HIMSELF to Paul as Paul journeyed to Damascus for the purpose of trapping those who called themselves Christians so he could place them in bonds and bring them to the Jewish rulers.  Acts 9

Some churches teach that Paul was the last apostle.

But this doesn't make any sense.

Paul was actually the first apostle that we know of who was chosen by Jesus to work in the church after Jesus arose.

Consider the following:

Eph. 4:7-8     But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.
Wherefore HE saith, When HE ascended up on high, HE led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.

11-12    And HE gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:


During Paul's life, there were some who did not believe Paul was an apostle since Paul did not walk with Jesus when Jesus was on this earth before the crucifixion.

When they got ready to choose an apostle to replace, Judas, after the crucifixion, Peter stated the requirement for this apostle: 

Acts 1:15-26   And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,)  Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus.  For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry. Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out.  And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood.  For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take.

Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that HE was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of HIS resurrection.

And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias.

And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen,  That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.

And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

As we see by this, Matthias, not Paul, was the 12th apostle, the one who replaced Judas.

Because of these things, some would have said Paul could not be an apostle.  Paul is saying even though he is not to them an apostle, he is an apostle to those affected by him at that time.

And today, 2000 years later, do any of the Church think Paul not to be an apostle?  I've never heard anyone profess such.  Though many today say there are no more apostles after Paul.  And even some of those who believe there are apostles today say we can't be an apostle because we do not fit their image of an apostle. 

But no matter what they say, we are what God says and chooses.  And we just keep doing the work God has shown us to do in the ministry given us by God, just as Paul did in his life, regardless of what some people said about him.


I Corinthians 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.


I Corinthians 9:3-18    Mine answer to them that do examine me is this,  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 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?

Say I these things as a man? or saith not the law the same also?

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?

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.

If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things?

If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ.

 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?

Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.

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.

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!

For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me.

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.


19-23    For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. 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; To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law.

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.

 And this I do for the gospel's sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.


24-27    Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.

(We are running a race right now.  Run that race in a way which gives you opportunity to win that race.  Doing the Word of God in your life by the will of God through the Spirit of God.)

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.

I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:

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.


Bringing your body into subjection to the Word of God:  

The flesh will try to rise up in us to exalt ourselves, demanding our rights. 

The flesh will have flashes of hatred as it momentarily surfaces until we regain control over the flesh.

Deadly desires surface ... desires for things which are unprofitable to us ... sexual desires ... desires for fame and glory of man.

Some people try to escape their flesh though drunkenness or drugs.

When we are defrauded, often the flesh tries to rise up inside us with desire to see that evil doer get punished as he deserves ... wrath ... ill will

All these things are works of the flesh waiting to rise up in us unless we keep them under the control of God.

The flesh never improves.  It is always flesh, just waiting to take over.

Sometimes when something happens which would give entrance to our flesh, it is good to just pause, and walk away. 

Always it is good to pray, asking God not to let me say "that" or not to let me do "that".

The flesh wants to do it.  Our job is to keep the flesh from doing it.  We control our flesh through God.  This is a continual work as long as we live on this present earth.

Galatians 5:19-21    Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness (defrauding another), lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft (superstitions), hatred, variance (to vary, debate, argue), emulations (to try to outdo another), wrath (ill will toward another), strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

22-23    But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
meekness, temperance

Walk in the Spirit ... in love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance ... for to walk in the flesh is death.

We keep control over our flesh by recognizing we are tempted to go into the flesh on a matter at hand and by turning to God in prayer, asking God for help and refusing to go in the way of the temptation.

All through this life, we have opportunities to go into the flesh in the trials of life.  Therefore we also have opportunities to walk in the Spirit instead of the flesh.

We never come to a point in this life where the flesh is gone.  It is always there waiting to take control.  Therefore we must stay alert and choose to refuse to go into the flesh in dealing with the matter at hand.