Faithbapistchurch   -  
Hi Church!
What is the best defense?  In sports, you might say, “a good offense”.   What is a good offense when being questioned/examined?  It is asking Good questions! We all need to learn to ask more and better questions.
You have likely heard me or someone else point to the fact that Jesus was the master at this.   When Jesus was asked a trick question, he countered with his own question.  The leading religious leaders often sought to cause Jesus, an ever growing popular rabbi, to stumble by asking him difficult or controversial questions on topics like taxation, marriage, the resurrection, and what was the greatest commandment.  Jesus revealed the nature of their heart and motives by asking them a question.  The apostle Paul learned the same practice.
A group of people were questioning the legitimacy of Paul’s apostleship/missionary service and his right to receive wages for his gospel work.   Now, if that does not cause you some shock, nothing will.   Paul, the greatest apostle/missionary laborer, “sent one”, this world has ever known, had some doubters, critics and naysayers.  But listen, if Jesus, the Son of God, had them; who would not?
Paul’s defense is found in I Corinthians 9. We all should take some consolation from this.  People will question you.  And the more you do, the more questions they will have.  If you do nothing, people will say nothing. That is not an option for a Christ-follower.
How does Paul respond to such examination of his gospel work and motives?   He fires off a barrage of 18 questions.  Yes, 18!   There is no other passage like it in the Bible.   The questions come one after another like a barrage of punches. There is no doubt that his questions successfully put some people on their heels.  And rightfully so!   The man was serving, working, giving, and teaching from his own expense account.
In preparation for Sunday, I strongly encourage you to read I Corinthians 9:1-18 and try to find the 18 questions.
I have divided Paul’s questions into the following arguments:
  • Questions from a Living Argument
  • Questions from a Labor Argument
  • Questions from a Legal Argument
  • Questions from the Lord’s Argument
In the end, this passage of scripture touches on a very personal and controversial subject, the rightful wages for those who do gospel work.  Unfortunately, we all have read or heard about church scandals/embezzlement’s where pastors/evangelists and other christian workers used the gospel work to get wealthy.  And some get very wealthy.  It is a very sad reality, and I would not want to be in the shoes of those who literally stole from the working class.  God will settle that score, I can assure you.
On the other hand, my experience and circle of friends is made up of pastors and missionaries who often are on the other side of the fence.  They labor and serve for much less than they should.  And that is just as sad.  No one in their right or pure mind goes into the ministry for the money, but Paul makes it clear that “even so the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel.”  I Cor. 9:14   It is the right thing for christian workers to be fairly compensated for their labor.
One of the blessings of growing up in my home church in Springville, Pa was being led/taught by Pastor Gary Anderson that “the laborer is worthy of his hire” and that one of the most important things a church can and must do is pay their pastor well.
Listen, while this is a topic that is often avoided by pastor’s for the fear of being misunderstood, this is not a “gray” issue to be avoided or debated. God makes it clear that it is the church’s responsibility to take care of those who serve the Lord.
Paul said it like this, “if we have sown spiritual things for you, is it a great thing if we reap your material things”? I Cor. 9:11   And thus, I am extremely thankful for the remuneration priority that Faith Baptist continues to demonstrate toward me and my family.  It is a strong testimony to all who know it.
And also, it is also the reason that I have always made sure that those who come to speak at our church are compensated well for their ministry while with us.
More on Sunday.   Have a godly day, not just a good day.  “for of what lasting value is a good day, if it is not also a godly day.”
In God’s Good Grip,
Pastor Michael