Am I not as free as anyone else? Am I not an apostle? Haven’t I seen Jesus our Lord with my own eyes? Isn’t it because of my work that you belong to the Lord? Even if others think I am not an apostle, I certainly am to you. You yourselves are proof that I am the Lord’s apostle. This is my answer to those who question my authority.1 Corinthians 9:1-3
This is reminiscent of Chapter Two where Paul’s ability to speak well is questioned and then later in the chapter there is talk about evaluating the apostles. Chapter 4 introduces the notion of apostles being queried as to their credentials and abilities. Clearly this is something that is upper most on Paul’s mind, he is copping a lot of flack. The brickbats are flying. This fits the context of the discussion in the previous chapter where the talk was of opinionated people sounding forth. Paul has just commented about freedom in Christ to be able to eat or not to eat food sacrificed to idols. Paul’s thoughts are running on with the statements at the end of chapter eight to which he adds the questions: Am I not as free as anyone else? [ to which I would answer – I think freer than most Paul] Am I not an apostle? [If you are not an Apostle Paul, then no one is.]
Paul adds more related to his legitimacy as an apostle. I saw Jesus with my own eyes. I have had first hand contact with the Master. Not only that, but you, Corinthians are the fruits of my apostleship. Others may think I am not an apostle but certainly not any of you. You Corinthians are proof that I am an apostle. Now is that true? Is the issue of Paul’s apostleship settled among the Corinthians or not? Some would think that it was settled and not under debate there. But then again maybe Paul’s comments about opinionated people related to some among the Corinthians who had opinions on his apostleship but the following comments in verse 9:2 indicate the matter is settled.
It is clear that the Corinthian church is a prime example of Paul’s church planting skills and his apostolic mantle for forging new frontiers. Paul has had a strong, ongoing input to the Corinthian church. He knows and they know the credentials of his apostleship. In his mind and hopefully theirs, there is no doubt. Well tell that to others. A church leader will always face opposition no matter what the issue. We humans are so prone to dispute, even more so in the church as I said earlier in the Corinthian series: religion and politics will bring out the worst in us. They say you can’t please all of the people all of the time. Ain’t that true but even more so in church. Recently a friend of mine began pastoring a church and everyone was pleased with the way things were going. He was the best thing out. I made the comment, wait a while when the honeymoon period is over. It happened sooner than later. It always does. Spare a thought for your pastor. Better yet give a word of encouragement to him today. Find something to praise him for. Think on these things – Phil 4:8.
The church’s problem isn’t too many people speaking negatively, it’s too few speaking positively!Bob Gass
Complaining is toxic. It contaminates both the complainer and everyone within earshot.Bob Gass
We think we’re helping by complaining as if positive change can come from negative words.Bob Gass
Complaining makes us part of the problem instead of the solution.Bob Gass