Shepherds’ Conference 2019 Final Session Notes

Session 14 (or 15 if you count the MacArthur interview)

John MacArthur

Faithful

1 Corinthians 9:16-ff

Verse 19

So that I may win more

As Calvinists, we underestimate the role that we play in God’s sovereign work.

Daniel 12:3; Malachi 2:6; Jeremiah 23:22; Proverbs 11:30; Luke 1:??,

Being used by God to win these requires two things:

  • An external, objective reality – the gospel
  • An internal, subjective reality

That internal reality concerns Paul in this passage.

The Corinthians were very interested in all sorts of freedom.

They wanted to be free to stay connected to their pagan culture.

The issue is not how free are you to connect to the world, but what freedoms must you give up to win some.

How eager are you to sacrifice any freedom to win some to the gospel for Christ?

Fleshly Christians are concerned with how much freedom they are entitled to.

Mature, godly, loving Christians are concerned with how many freedoms they may gladly set aside to make the gospel attractive.

Verse 19

I am free from all men.

Paul has no tradition he has to follow.

There are no non-moral expectations to which he must bow.

Paul says he has made himself a slave to all that he might win more.

1 Corinthians 10:25

Eat meat without asking questions.

But if they tell you it was sacrificed to idols, do not eat it.

Why?

For the sake of their conscience.

Imagine a pagan offering you food that had been sacrificed, but you have a young believer with you who just came out of that system and would be deeply offended If you eat.

If you must choose whom to offend, a pagan or a brother, offend the pagan.

I have made myself a slave to all.

I have enslaved myself.

I am a slave to God.

I am slave to everyone else.

Mark 10:44, slave to all.

Paul binds and enslaves himself.

He sets aside freedoms to win more, to save some.

Self-denial is key.

Three illustrations:

  • To the Jews I became like a Jew.

Paul did not offend Jews on purpose.

Acts 15:19

What do gentile believers need to abstain from?

Abstain from blood so as not to offend faithful Jews.

Acts 21:20

The Jews in Jerusalem thought Paul could cause a riot.

Paul willingly kept a vow at the temple.

Romans 9:1

Paul desperately wanted the Jews to be saved.

Romans 10:1

He wanted them to be saved.

Paul was not under ceremonial or traditional law.

He would be respectful of the law so as not to offend.

One God, one Lord

Some think idols are something.

Food does not impact our relationship with God.

But we do not want our liberty to become a stumbling block.

Verse 22, to the weak I became weak.

Romans 14 and 15, Paul speaks a lot about the weak.

Paul always seeks to save some.

Paul sets aside many freedoms to save some.

Paul tries not to use his freedom in any way that would offend a sinner.

Why is this important?

It works toward the salvation of people.

If you are asking for your freedoms, you are going down the path of uselessness.

Then Paul illustrates.

He uses athletics.

Isthmian games held in Corinth.

Had to show evidence of 10 months of training.

Then attend a full month of daily exercises.

Only after all conditions of training were met could you participate.

Many would be disqualified before the games.

Only one winner.

In the Christian race, there are many winners.

WE strive to be useful in saving souls.

]Vessels of honor and dishonor.

Flee lusts.

Two kinds of vessels.

Clay pots, chamber pots.

Fine china for serving the food.

Be a garbage can or be a plate.

Here Paul is talking about issues of freedom.

Run to win.

Meet the qualifications.

Those who hold tightly to their liberties will not win.

Verse 25

All who compete exercise self-control in all things.

How do you become a slave to all to win some?

Self-control

Selfish freedom lovers do not win.

Neither do grace abusers.

We do this to win an imperishable wreath.

Not a perishable one like in the games.

All things are lawful for me, but not all are profitable.

I will not be mastered by any.

Just because something is lawful does not mean you should do it.

Not all things edify.

Verse 26, I run to win.

Verse 27, I make my body my slave.

You win or you are disqualified.

Corinthians thought they could exercise their freedom with no consideration for others.

Paul sacrificed freedoms to win others and not be disqualified.

1 Corinthians 10, Moreover

That keeps the subject of disqualification going.

A whole generation were disqualified in the wilderness.

Israel was a witness nation.

They were going into Canaan to represent the Lord.

All received deliverance from Egypt.

All were under the glory cloud.

All went through the sea.

All were delivered by blood.

They were all called out of bondage.

They were to tell and show the world that there is only one God.

They were baptized into Moses.

They were externally identified with Moses.

They were identified with God and his work.

We too are all united in Christ.

We are led by Christ to the promised heavenly land as New Covenant people.

God provided for them all.

Verse 4, they drank from the spiritual rock which followed them, and the rock was Christ.

Jesus made sure they were fed and watered.

OT deliverance was great.

Ours is so much greater.

With most of those in the OT, God was not well pleased.

Joshua and Caleb are the only two who made it into the land.

Numbers 14:16

HE slaughtered them in the wilderness.

They were disqualified.

603,550 were soldiers leaving Egypt.

If that is 1 of 4 or 5, that is 2.5 million bodies in the wilderness.

Verse 6, these things happened as examples for us.

We do not want to be disqualified.

Do not crave evil things as they also craved.

People run their freedoms to the edge because they are craving evil.

Verse 6, we should not be cravers after evil things.

Do not be greedy for the pleasures left behind in Egypt.

God judged men of Israel in the desert even as they ate the meat that God gave them when they had complained.

Liberty can be a cloak of maliciousness.

Four sins mentioned.

Verse 7, do not be idolaters.

Israel was barely out of Egypt, barely enjoying the freedom God gave, before they fell back into Egyptian idolatry.

Exodus 32:??

They made the calf.

They declared the calf to be the god who brought them up out of Egypt.

They were worshipping their God in a faulty and evil form.

Aaron said that they would have a feast to the Lord.

That was terribly blasphemous.

It is dangerous to make God in your own image.

They ate.

They rose up to play, perhaps sexual immorality in pagan rights.

The sons of Levi killed about 3,000 of the people that day.

The Corinthians were going back to idol behavior, getting caught up in idol worship.

Idol worship is libel on the character of God.

Deuteronomy 17:2-ff

Flee from idolatry.

Idolatry is sacrificing to demons and not to God.

You cannot drink of the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons.

Idolatry is offensive and deadly.

Verse 8, acting immorally.

23,000 fell in a single day.

Numbers 25.

Verse 9, testing the Lord.

Numbers 21

How do you test the Lord?

Trying to get away with as much as you can.

How much can you get away with before he acts?

Verse , complaining

Grumbling

They were destroyed by the destroyer

14,700 people died for complaining.

That was a frightening death.

The death angel.

Killed the firstborn in Egypt.

Killed 70,000 at the census.

Killed 185,000 Assyrians.

Idolatry, immorality, testing God, complaining

These were an example to warn us.

We do not wish to be disqualified.

The lesson says that most in the Exodus were disqualified.

Freedom can be deceiving.

Live in a healthy fear of that.

Verse 12, Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.

Do not overestimate your spiritual strength.

You are not strong enough to take your freedom to the edge.

Pursue holiness.

Do not try to get as close to unholiness as you can.

Verse 13, no temptation has overtaken you except what is common to man.

God is Faithful!

God can keep you.

God knows what you can take.

God always provides the way of escape.

He makes a way for you to stand.

You can never fall and blame him.

God is never unfaithful.

God wants to use you to win souls, to save some.

Psalm 124

Had it not been the Lord who was on our side, they would have swallowed us alive.

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