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1 Corinthians 9 sermon – part two

Continued from here.

What does it mean to give up our rights for the sake of the Gospel?  What does that even mean?  What is the gospel?  Let me summarize it for you:

‘Gospel’ is a word that just means good news.  And here is the good news that the bible tells us: 

[SLIDE - the Gospel]

Jesus Christ has all the rights in the universe.  Jesus Christ is the LORD.  He’s the King.  He is the Son of God.  He made the world.  He owns everything.  He’s got rights.  Ultimate, supreme, absolute, unimpeachable rights.

On the other hand we...   We think WE are Lord.  If I ask you ‘Who’s got the right to tell you what to do...?’  Your heart, if it’s anything like mine, answers: ‘No-one!  No-one’s got the right to tell me what to do.’  Well... what have I just said about Jesus.  He does have the right to tell you what to do.  So when we say ‘No-one’s got the right’.  That’s blasphemy, mutiny, an utter rejection of Christ.  It’s what the bible calls sin.

Now how does Jesus respond?  He has every right to crush our little rebellion.  But here’s what He does.  He gives up His rights.  He who was rich became poor.  He came into our world as a penniless preacher.  He who was free became our slave.  He stooped and served and washed our feet.  He who was powerful became weak.  He could have called on 12 armies of angels to save Him from death, but instead He walked alone to His execution.  He who was righteous, became sin.  You see on the cross Jesus stepped into our guilty shoes and He took the punishment due to us.  Have you ever seen a Man more stripped of His rights than Jesus Christ on the cross?  Next time you find yourself bitterly lamenting how you’ve been wronged, think of your LORD, Jesus Christ.  Next time your entitlement spirit surges up within you and you cry out ‘It’s not fair’, think of the cross.  There is the King of the Heavens, the LORD of the earth betrayed by a close friend, deserted by the disciples, wronged outrageously in the courts, mocked and abused by the soldiers, nailed to a piece of wood and jeered at by those He came to save.  But He gave up His rights and took our punishment.  So that we, who were due His punishment can have His rights. 

[SLIDE - John 1:12]

John’s gospel chapter 1 says ‘To all who receive Jesus, to those who believe in His name, He gave the right to become a child of God.”  Jesus has the right to be a child of God – He’s the eternal Son of God.  If you receive Him, you get His rights – you’re adopted into the family.  This offer is for free and it’s for everyone.

[SLIDE - For free, For everyone]

There are only two kinds of people in this room.  Those who insist on their own rights to run life their own way.  And those who’ve given that up and received Jesus instead.  In Him they’ve received the right to be a child of God. Which are you?

If you’re not yet a Christian, if you’re still insisting on your own rights to run life your own way, stop!  Tonight, stop insisting on your rights.  Receive Jesus and by receiving Him receive the right to be a child of God.  That’s the only right worth getting excited about.

If you have received Jesus, do you realize the nature of this gospel?  This gospel is an offer.  And if you receive the offer, it claims you so you pass it on.  The gospel doesn’t just save you – it claims you.  It’s not just a message you once trusted – it’s a way of being that has wrapped its arms around you.  We’re like someone who has received the torrent flowing down the hill, and we are swept along to offer it to others.  So as we pass it on to others we will pass it on for free and for everyone.

You know what that means though, don't you?  It’ll be costly. Not costly to pay off God – all that’s dealt with. We’re children now. Kids don’t pay back their parents, they just receive. But of course kids grow up and have other kids. And that’s costly. Same with us. We don’t pay back God, but it will be costly as we pass the gospel on to others. It was costly for Jesus to offer us a free salvation. It was costly for Paul to offer the Corinthians free gospel ministry. It will be costly for us to freely offer the gospel in Eastbourne.

In the first 18 verses, Paul has outlined the time and money cost.  It put tremendous pressure on Paul’s diary and his wallet to serve the Corinthians like this.  Gospel ministry costs time and money.  And that’s a huge sacrifice.  Are we prepared to sacrifice time and money?  But more than this, from v19, Paul talks about another sacrifice that is just as costly. 

From v19 we see Paul sacrificing his personal comfort.  It shows him moving out of cultural comfort zones and into other cultures and religions and socio-economic groups to win them.  But to offer the gospel for free and for everyone that's precisely what needs to happen.

To be continued...

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