The Critical Church - RR274F12b
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|This transcript is unedited. It was:|
|Archived by the Mt. Olive Tape Library|
|Digitized, transcribed, and published by Christ Rules|
|Posted by with permission.|
Mindful of how great our need is, how great is Thy mercy and grace. And how marvelous are all Thy ways. Give us day by day that which we need that we may serve Thee and grow in Thy service and in knowledge of Thee. Speak to us to comfort, strengthen and bless. That which is weak in us and that which seeks to serve Thee more faithfully. Now Father as we turn to Thy word grant that we may know Thee better thereby and serve Thee more faithfully. In Christ’s Name, Amen.
Our scripture is First Corinthians 9:1-14. Our subject: The Critical Church.
“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? 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. 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.”
In First Corinthians 9: 1-27, Paul having first dealt with the serious problems in the Corinthian Church turns to a spiritual and a spirited defense of himself. [00:05:05]
First in verses one through fourteen Paul answers the...
First in verses one through fourteen Paul answers the mean spirited attacks on himself. He cites God’s law to vindicate his ministry. Thus what he says from start to finish is not well this is what I have done, but primarily this is what God’s word says. Second, in verses fifteen through twenty seven he develops the implications of a God-given ministry. This he continues in Chapter ten. More than a personal defense, Paul’s argument simply relies on God’s law. The law of God is no less valid then when first given at Sinai. And Paul cites it as God’s eternally binding word. It is pretty amazing that people will try and make an antinomian out of Paul who again and again stands firmly on the law of God. So Paul says their argument is really with God, not himself, not Paul. Paul is the Lord’s servant he is also an apostle. Paul does not say I am beyond criticism. Rather he cites God’s law in terms of which all righteous judgment must be made. He uses the law of God to vindicate himself. Up to this point Paul has been placing Corinthian antinomianism under the light of the law. In his answer now to this criticism of himself he invokes this same law. Where men abandon the law of God criticisms flow from petty personal and lawless realms. Paul insists that the Corinthians like himself use only God’s law as their standard. In verse one Paul asks four rhetorical questions which the Corinthians cannot rightly challenge. [00:08:15]
First, he is an apostle...
First, he is an apostle. And he stands firmly on that fact. They know it, there’s no getting around that fact. Second he is a free man, not their servant but the Lords. Third he has seen Jesus Christ in a vision. This alone is not enough but condemned with other acceptations and the backing of the Jerusalem church it stands. Fourth they cannot deny that they are the results of Paul’s apostleship. In verse two he reminds them that others have not questioned his apostleship. And the seal or verification of his apostleship is their conversion. Then in verses three to six Paul answers his critics with some questions which are themselves also answers. First, whether an apostle or a missionary he has the legitimate claim to be cared for, to eat and to drink at their expense. Then second he has the legitimate claim to travel with a sister, a wife. Sister in the usage of the day can mean a wife who is a believer. Other apostles travel with their wives, as for example Peter and the brethren of the Lord such as James and Jude, are the only exceptions to this rule Paul and Barnabus? He asks in verse six. Third when men go into battle their expenses are provided for. And Paul’s work is to engage in the wars of the Lord. Fourth, does not a man who plants a vineyard eat the fruit thereof? Fifth, the man who cares for a flock has freedom to drink the milk thereof. Why should rules valid in everyday life be invalid in the church? [00:11:12]
Then Paul adds significantly, I can call attention...
Then Paul adds significantly, I can call attention to these very natural facts he says in verse eight. But even now, God’s law sustains me. The Law of Moses declares in Deuteronomy 25:4 and in First Timothy 5:18 thou shalt not muzzle the ox who treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen? This is verse nine. God’s law he says has more than the oxen in mind. Oxen cannot read, people can. God spoke to people about their care of oxen but also to lay down a general premise, namely that the laborer is worthy of his hire. God in giving this law spoke entirely to us, for our sakes, Paul says. That we might understand a basic premise of God’s order which is applicable to men and to oxen alike. In verse ten Paul rams home the conclusion. The law is directed to men, given and written for men, that he that shall ploweth shall plow in hope and he that thresheth in hope shall be partakers of his hope. This means that in every area of life this premise prevails. That the laborer, whether man or beast is worthy of his hire, is worthy of a reward. Paul then asks: if we have sown unto you spiritual things is it a great thing that we shall reap your carnal things? This is verse eleven. Carnal means material. A material reward is necessary and proper. Others, Paul says, have been rewarded materially by the Corinthian church. Are not we rather as the founder even more so entitled then those who came after me? [00:14:20]
Nevertheless we have not used this power, he says in...
Nevertheless we have not used this power, he says in verse twelve, but suffer all things lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ. Paul has no wife traveling with him. And he normally supported himself with his tent making. Tents were of leather in those days and tent makers were leather workers. This gave him greater freedom in dealing with the problems in the church because he was not dependent on the particular church. Although the Corinthian church was still critical what little Paul required of them. Paul now reminds the Corinthians of God’s law again, Leviticus 6:16 and 26, Numbers 5:9-10, Numbers 18:8-20, Deuteronomy 10:9 and 18:1. To be partakers with the altar means that of that which is given to God, a portion goes to the priests. Therefore a portion goes to Paul. Paul’s use of this law is important. Antinomians are emphatic especially that what they call the ceremonial law is abrogated. But here Paul makes clear that its premise is still valid. Christ’s atonement ends the need for animal sacrifices but it does not eliminate their meaning. As Paul concludes, even so, verse fourteen, hath the Lord ordained preach the gospel shall live of the gospel. A belief current in the church that it is spiritually good for the clergy to live a poor and meager life. What Paul did in living sacrificially he did for his own good reasons, not because he was not entitled for being very well rewarded. [00:17:04]
A strong vein of aestheticism is prevalent in Christianity...
A strong vein of aestheticism is prevalent in Christianity. Unfortunately so. It holds that the evangelical clergy, for example, shall be required to live as meagerly as possible in order to be more spiritual. At one time the church manse was furnished with the discarded furnishings of church members and the church wife and children were expected to wear clothing discarded by members. This was especially true in Methodist circles. Such a view was blasphemous. One of the things modernists did early on was to insist on better pay. And the practice has seeped in evangelical churches to a degree. Yet over the centuries Paul’s letter to the Corinthians was taught in churches, catholic and protestant with no embarrassment on readers or hearers. It takes grace to hear the word of God and grace appears at times to be in short supply. If grace requires a monetary response it seems at times even less visible. Paul here as elsewhere is forthright and blunt. Not surprisingly Paul has been over the generations sharply judged by many who have good reasons to dislike Paul. And they feel he did wrong in losing his temper and speaking as sharply as he does here and elsewhere in Corinthians. But Paul is the Lord’s apostle, an ambassador from the Kings and Lord. To disagree with him is to disagree with his Lord and great Judge. And how can people who profess to believe the bible to be entirely inspired, somehow feel that Paul was not inspired when he became angry and wrote sharply. [00:19:56]
We must therefore remember that Paul plainly equates...
We must therefore remember that Paul plainly equates the privilege of the Christian ministry to those of the sacrificing priesthood. He does this because he takes the law of God seriously. Such privileges clearly belong to the apostles but Paul does not so limit them. They belong to all ministers and missionaries. The five temptations of Israel in the wilderness are worth recalling to mind. They were greedy lusting, idolatry, whoredom, provoking God and murmuring or whining. These are too prevalent in the church now as it was then in Corinth. Let us pray.
Our Lord and our God we give thanks unto Thee for Thy word, for Paul’s plain speaking and for Thy sovereign grace and Thy sovereign word. Teach us to hear and to obey, day by day to come to Thee and to commit ourselves to the discipline, the teaching and the grace of Thy word. Grant us this in Christ’s name, Amen.
Are there any questions now about our lesson? [00:22:16]
[Man speaking] The meaning of the Old Testament sacrifices...
[Man speaking] The meaning of the Old Testament sacrifices that possibly man should be in prayer daily for his sins, is that correct?
[Rushdoony] Surely. There are all levels of meanings in the sacrifices. There are to bring men to knowledge of what they were and what God is. They were to remind man that the offering he gave to the Lord had to be a clean offering but not only so, it could not only be say a clean animal such as a deer or a fish, it had to be something into which work had gone. And so on and on. The sacrificial system has still much to teach us about its meaning. So while its place as atonement is gone, it’s meaning in other areas is still valid. Are there any other questions or comments? Well if not let us close with prayer.
Our Father we give thanks unto Thee for Thy word and for Thy ministry to us through Paul and the saints of old, Thy inscriptured word. Give us hearing and obedient ears. Make us ever joyful that Thou art mindful of us even in Thy rebukes. Thy heaven sent trials for us that we may know that what comes from Thee is for our eternal good. And now go in peace, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost, bless you and keep you, guide and protect you, this day and always, Amen.