Thursday, 11 September 2014
In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel. 1 Corinthians 9:14
Paul has made a logical and orderly defense concerning the rights of those who minister to others in spiritual matters. He even reached back to the law both from a spiritual application and concerning those who “serve in the temple” and “those who serve at the altar.” In a final and unambiguous defense, he notes that the Lord Himself “has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel.”
Although the gospel which was preached during the Lord’s earthly ministry lacked a knowledge of the “church age” for both those He commissioned to teach it as well as those who heard it, it was still a preaching of the gospel. Though the disciples at that time expected the gospel to be immediately realized as one of an earthly kingdom, something He corrected them on in Acts 1:6-8, it was nonetheless the gospel proclamation. At that time, he gave these instructions to the twelve apostles –
“Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. 6 Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. 7 As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give. 9 “Do not get any gold or silver or copper to take with you in your belts— 10 no bag for the journey or extra shirt or sandals or a staff, for the worker is worth his keep. 11 Whatever town or village you enter, search there for some worthy person and stay at their house until you leave. 12 As you enter the home, give it your greeting. 13 If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you.” Matthew 10:5-13
His words “the worker is worth his keep” indicates that these men were to be cared for during their travels as they carried this good news to the people of Israel. Based on this, along with all of his other supporting thoughts, it was clearly evident that Paul (and all who preach the gospel) are to be given the same support as they minister to others.
Paul’s reference to “the Lord has commanded” implies that the words were already being circulated among believers. In other words, there were probably copies of these words from Matthew already out among the people. If not, then he would have most likely said something like “as Peter informed me, the Lord has commanded.” The fact that he left the source out of his letter implies that the gospel narrative was already known to those in Corinth. It is an attestation of a very early date for the writing of the gospel record.
Finally for this verse, Paul notes that preachers “should receive their living from the gospel.” In essence, he is equating the “gospel” with the “altar” of his previous thoughts. The work of the temple only prefigured the greater work of Christ. Thus we see in Hebrews these words –
“We have an altar from which those who minister at the tabernacle have no right to eat. 11 The high priest carries the blood of animals into the Most Holy Place as a sin offering, but the bodies are burned outside the camp. 12 And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood. 13 Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore. 14 For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.” Hebrews 13:10-11
Life application: Remember as you go to your respective place of worship, that your pastor is entitled to certain benefits and honors. If faithful in his proclamation of the gospel, which includes the whole counsel of God, then don’t be timid to do something special for him from time to time. In many ways, serving as a pastor can be a brutal job. People get angry and leave for petty reasons and this will cut the metal of the toughest man eventually. So let him know you support him as long as he continues to present the Bible in a careful and God-honoring way.
Thank You Lord for another morning in Your presence. Today I will do my best to fix my eyes on You; to fix my thoughts on You; and to meditate on Your word as I go about my business. Please guide my every step, be with me in the decisions I make, and help me to remember to be good, kind, and courteous to others as the day unfolds. Help me Lord, to be the example of grace and goodness that You would desire of me. This is my prayer and this is my petition for the day ahead. Amen.