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all boxed up..

If you haven’t ever read through 1 Corinthians, I encourage you to do so. I will challenge your socks off! That is, if you were socks. Last week, our guys group read through chapters 8 & 9. I’d like to talk a little about chapter 9 today. The title is “The Rights of an Apostle”. First, who is the apostle? Paul’s letter is to the church in Corinth. The church was made up of many small group churches that met in homes and underground for their own protection. In fact, this letter would have been read at one group meeting, then delivered to another group, and another, until all had read it. The letter saw many homes.

The the word apostle is derived from apostolos, which means one who is sent with a message. Look carefully at this word. Can you think another word that might  come from this? Think postal, like postal carrier. One who delivers messages or mail.  So the apostle has a message that needs delivered. It’s almost as if the job is not done unless its delivered. This is the purpose of this chapter from Paul. He speaks of a farmer of who is most effective when he shares his crop. Imagine if a farmer hoarded all he produced. Would he be an effective farmer? Not at all.

Paul writes in 9:10-12, “10Surely he says this for us, doesn’t he? Yes, this was written for us, because when the plowman plows and the thresher threshes, they ought to do so in the hope of sharing in the harvest. 11If we have sown spiritual seed among you, is it too much if we reap a material harvest from you? 12If others have this right of support from you, shouldn’t we have it all the more?”

Do you see what he is saying? Paul is telling his readers that they have been brought up to share this message. “Spiritual seeds have been sown..” He is asking, are they hoarding what is reaped? To be an apostle means that we are sharing a message.

Paul is painting a picture for the church in Corinth that this message is not something to be sat on and forgotten about. People have died getting this message out, why are we hindering the spreading of the gospel? Further down in verse 16 he says, “Yet when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, for I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel.” What are your thoughts when Paul says, I am compelled to preach?

He is saying that there is something about this message that needs to go out. If you had just discovered sliced bread, you probably wouldn’t keep it to yourself, you’d spread the message about it. How much more important is a saving relationship with our Lord, Jesus Christ? Paul understands that there is danger and hardship when it comes to spreading this message. He says at the end of the chapter, comparing apostles to an athlete, similar to one that would have competed in the Olympics, “Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone goes into strict training…I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”

Take it from Paul, don’t box this message up. Be the apostle you were called to be. Take the message out, and like and athlete run like you are running for the prize!

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