1 Corinthians chp 9 – Butterscotch and Sea Salt

Just added to our section on 1 Corinthians; a new message preached by Dr J Stewart Gillespie:


1 Corinthians chp 9 vs 16 to 27 – Butterscotch and Sea Salt – JS Gillespie – 28042015


Outline notes from the above message:



Paul has been dealing with the Problems at Corinth:

  1. Moral Problems (chp 5)
  2. Material Problems (chp 6)
  3. Marital Problems (chp 7)
  4. Meat offered to Idols Problems (chp 8 to 10)
  5. Meeting Problems (chp 11 to 14)
  6. Miracle of Resurrection Problems (chp 15)
  7. Money Problems (chp 16)

But here in chapter 9 it seems as though:

The problems at Corinth are dealing with the apostle Paul!

There is something discordant / incongruent / disconsonant about this.

This chapter delivers a very personal attack on the Apostle Paul

This may make 1 Corinthians 9 seem a little less relevant to us

Is it not about personal problems between Paul and the Corinthians?

Nothing much to do with me then?

From it emerges a number of very important issues

A strange section in which Paul defends his rights to do what he doesn’t do!

Most of us have enough on our plates defending what we do!

Paul spends his time defending his right to do what he chooses not to do!

Just because I could do it, doesn’t mean I should do it!

Liberty doesn’t necessarily mean license.

Why spend time defending what I could do but don’t do?

Paul is a spiritual man seen through the lenses of unspiritual men; and they can’t make sense of him!

The unspiritual are trying to view the spiritual with no success!

Paul is a spiritual man being viewed through the eyes of a carnal man

To do what he does a carnal man would have to have a hidden agenda

Carnal believers will live their lives for:

  • Profit (1 Corinthians 6)
  • Pleasure (1 Corinthians 5, 6, 8,10)
  • Promotion of Self (1 Corinthians 3)

So long as ‘love’ (1 Co13) is absent from their understanding and experience they are condemned to attempt to understand the apostle Paul in terms of the flesh and of self.

Lemington: “Here lies a miser who lived for himself and cared for nothing but gathering wealth; now where he is or how he fares nobody knows and nobody cares.”

St Pauls Cathedral: “Sacred to the memory of General Charles George Gordon, who at all times and everywhere gave his strength to the weak, his substance to the poor, his sympathy to the suffering and his heart to God.

So what is Paul really after?

He must be out to exploit them / to gain something from them

Paul takes time to point out, that what he could legitimately claim from them:

  • material support (9:4)
  • financial support (9:6)

He did not do it!

He had opportunity to exploit them but refused to do so

nevertheless we have not used this power” (9:12)

But I have used none of these things” (9:15)

From verses 8 to 14 the apostle establishes his right to be supported:

  • Law of Moses (v9)
  • Law of nature (v10)
  • Law of Sowing and Reaping (v11)
  • Law of the temple and altar (v13)
  • Law of the Lord (v14)

Having established pretty thoroughly his right to use their support and expect their support, Paul doesn’t use their support!!

Why bother establishing his right to a support that he does not take?

Paul takes time to establish his right to financial support, to taking a wife and to material support in order to show what he was prepared to sacrifice in order to bring the gospel to the Corinthians.

This section is one of motives.

Paul first establishes what did not motivate him in the bringing of the gospel to Corinth, before he then explains what did drive him to bring the gospel to Corinth.

This section is in essence an answer to the question:

what is my reward then?” (9:18)

Were the Corinthians inferring a hidden agenda (9:18)?

Does Paul establish his right to expect something from them in order to show his sincerity in taking nothing from them?

This seems to have been the question asked by his critics; what is in it for Paul?

To many at Corinth, Pauls motives must have been inscrutable:

But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1Co 2:14)

This seems to have been the problem at Corinth, that the carnal mindset (cf. 1Co3:1-3) could not understand the spiritual agenda of the apostle Paul.

They thought that he thought the way they thought!

There ought to be something in the life of the believer that is totally incomprehensible to the unbelieving mind set!

Paul never sought to exploit his position, nor gain from his place, even when he could legitimately have done so.

Paul lives according to a value system they find incomprehensible.

9:1-15 is thus:

  • Paul Examined
  • Paul as an Example of the self sacrificial ministry he has just been exhorting in his approach to dealing with problems in chapter 6, 7, 8 – bearing others wrongs rather than demanding our rights.

Discouragement and Determination (9:7)

The secrets of Pauls motivation

Three pictures of Christian Work which perhaps give us insight into the stamina of Paul in the face of much profound and personal discouragement:

  • Fight: ‘who goeth a warfare any time…’

we thought of:

  • Adversary
  • Armour
  • Attack
  • Field: ‘who planteth a vineyard…’
  • Flock: ‘who feedeth a flock…’
  1. His Mission (9:16-23)

Why did Paul preach?

Maybe the answer seems to obvious to even bother asking the question?

That he might see men saved?

Paul certainly did want to see men saved and yet behind that there lay a more visceral motive still!



Here is the true motive which lay behind Pauls desire to preach the gospel.

He had to!

‘huv tae’

necessity is laid upon me; yea woe is unto me if I preach not the gospel” (9:16)

Paul preached:

  • not because of a PLAN
  • not because of a PATTERN
  • but because of a PASSION

Paul preached:

  • Like Noah built – knowing for sure that the rain was coming, that Gods verdict had been passed, that global destruction was imminent and this was mans only hope!
  • As Moses led through the Red Sea with Pharoahs armies pressing down upon him
  • With the intensity of Daniels prayers – not out of liturgy nor routine – but with the reality of being surrounded by the instruments of Satanic attack
  • With the passion of Samsons push, as he pushed upon those pillars as though it were the very last thing that ever he did, and it was, the very last thing that ever he did!
  • With the same desperation that Peter grasped the hand of the Lord as he felt the waters give way from beneath his feet and he sunk down!

Paul preached not out of some mechanically executed long term plan but out of a deep burning passion and necessity to preach.

woe is me if I preach not the gospel

Here is the psychology of Christian service

By which I mean; “woe is unto me if I preach not the gospel” (v16)

At the heart of Paul lies an insatiable passion to preach, an instinct to evangelise, an appetite to advance in the Gospel.

Paul does not preach first and foremost to:

  • Fulfil a Plan

But rather to

  • Satisfy a passion


There is something implanted within the believer that even when we are not entirely convinced about the feasibility or the productivity of the mission, nonetheless we have to tell others about Christ.

Evangelism wasn’t so much a:

  • Personal Plan

but rather a:

  • Personal Passion

Even when he is kicked in the teeth, he presses on (2 Co 11:23ff).

Even when everything seems to be adverse to him, he presses on.

This is no cold, calculating method

This is not evangelism by STRATEGY

This is evangelism by SPIRIT

This evangelism does not arise from a CONFERENCE on church growth but from a burning unquenchable CONVICTION.

Thus the grief if he does not preach; “woe is unto me if I preach not the gospel” (9:16)

A Christian not only sees men and women who have no desire to know God by His Son Jesus Christ as a great grief and sorrow but the Christian is a person who perhaps even more keenly harbours the horror that there just maybe those who would have desired to know God by His Son, had I told them about Him and yet by my failure they had no opportunity to hear!

woe is unto me if I preach not the gospel

This is the kind of mindset of the apostle Paul; “Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.” (Act 20:26-27)

To preach not according to a system but according to the Spirit of God

Paul may not have seen ‘all men’ saved, and yet he takes solace from this that he has not failed to declare the counsel of God to them.

The task given to him to do has been successfully completed.

This is a great relief, a great joy, a great satisfaction in discharging the responsibility which God has given to us; cf. “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:” (2Ti 4:7)

One of the frequent questions we get asked; ‘how do I know if I am truly saved?’

Consider 1 John:

  1. Light

Our relationship to the light

1 John 1:5-10; 2:3; 3:6-8

As born again believers:

  • we hate sin
  • we desire the light
  • we feed the burden of sin and disobedience
  • we desire fellowship with the light
  • we love the truth
  1. Love
  • We love the Lord
  • We love the Lords people
  • 1 John 2:9-11; 3:14; 4:7
  1. Life

Our relationship with God through life in the Spirit

1 John 5:10-12

‘dispensation of the gospel’ (v17)

Dispensation: oikonomia: 3622: to be a manager of a household

the administration or dispensation of the fullness of times” (Eph 1:10), the object of oikonomia, dispensation is the relative phrase “which He hath purposed.” It is the Divine purpose which is said to be administered.”

Irrespective of what may be thrown at us we are administrators of the Divine purpose:

  • Eliezer
  • Joseph

that I may make the gospel of Christ without charge”

cf. Joseph in Gen 42:25 – Jospeh would profit corn to his brothers and give them back their money too.

Here is Grace.

A dispensation of Grace

v18 – Pauls reard is that he is able to preach the gospel freely and without charge.

  1. His Mindset (9:24-27)

Paul is an ‘administrator’ (1 Co9:17) of the gospel.

It is his delight like:

  • Joseph – the administrator of Pharoah
  • Eliezer – the administrator of Abraham
  • Naaman the Leper – the captain of the guard of the king of Assyria

To take of the glories of his master and display these glories

If God is the master and if Gods riches are His grace, then the more of Gods grace that is seen, the more of Hs Glory that is displayed

Thus when Paul preaches the gospel without charge (v18) he delivers Gods Grace by Gracious means.

Paul is empowered by Gods Grace to present free salvation freely

Paul has the dispensation of the gospel committed unto me (9:17)

From Zodhiates:

Ephesians 1:10 the object of ‘oikonomia’, dispensation is the relative phrase, ‘which He hath purposed’ (Eph 1:9). It is the Divine purpose which is said to be administered.”

Paul is an administrator then of the Divine purpose

He is the administrative means of extending Gods Grace to a lost world (Eph 1:6,7ff)

What would be better than bringing administering that grace by gracious means, than piping that fresh spring water of Divine grace through clean pipes?


Thy Kingdom Come

Just added, a new message in our series on 1 Corinthians :

1 Corinthians chapter 4 verse 8: ‘Thy Kingdom Come’

1 Corinthians chp 4 vs 8 – Thy Kingdom Come – J Stewart Gillespie – 01072014.mp3

Preaching Notes


    Reminded of Derek Binghams introduction to Daniel when he observed that God does not give prophesy simply to satisfy our intellectual curiosity about the future, but with prophetic revelation God has moral and spiritual goals in mind.

    1 John 3:1ff : ‘and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And every man that hath this hope in Him purifiers himself even as he is pure’

    2 Peter 3:11 – Edward Blum, ‘Peter makes the impending disintegration of the universe the ground for a personal challenge to his readers.’

    Christ is coming back
    Gods wrath is about to be poured out on a Christ rejecting world
    The heaven and earth will be dissolved
    A new heaven and earth are to be ushered in
    So what does all of this mean?
    Be careful what you are watching on the Tele
    Be wary of what you are browsing on the Internet

    This truth seems to come to the fore here in 1 Corinthians chapter 4, in a negative sense, namely a wrong understanding of future events results in wrong behaviour.
    The Corinthians appear to be suffering from a wrong view of the kingdom.

    1. Problem of the Kingdom (4:6)
    2. Proof of the Kingdom (4:7-14)
    3. Power of the Kingdom (4:15-21)

    1. Problem of the Kingdom

    Problems seem to have arisen due to a wrong appreciation of the Kingdom of God.
    That now is the time to reign and rule; ‘now ye are full, now ye are rich’ (4:8)
    How did this problem arise?
    We will discover in chapter 15 that they also have a wrong view of the Resurrection, that there are some among them who deny the resurrection.
    It may well be that these 2 issues are not disconnected.
    The OT spoke very clearly of a coming Kingdom when Messiah will reign physically and visibly upon the earth with His administrative centre at Jerusalem

    Psalm 2:1ff, 6
    Psalm 45
    Isaiah 9:6ff
    Isaiah 11
    Isaiah 32:1
    Jeremiah 23:5ff

    With Christ we have Messiah, God’s anointed one; We recall from our studies in Hebrews for example that Christ is; ‘King of Righteousness’ and ‘King of Peace’ (Heb 7:1-2, 15-23).
    So if we have the King, do we not then have the Kingdom.
    Again in Hebrews chp 1:8
    Rev 19:16 “King of Kings and Lord of Lords”

    The Lord and the apostles certainly speak of the spiritual or mystery aspect to the presence of His Kingdom on earth; that is that:

    all who are saved enter into this Kingdom (John 3:5)
    The Kingdom of God is ‘within you’ (Luke 17:21)
    “The Kingdom of God is not meat and drink but righteousness, and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost” (Rom 14:17)

    So all who bow to the rule of Christ in their lives are part of His spiritual Kingdom.

    This is however a most unsatisfactory fulfilment of those literal OT prophecies and hardly does justice to Christs titles of “King of Kings” and “Lord of Lords” ; that His Kingdom reigns over a world which is on the most part in a state of outward rebellion.
    So there will be a future, literal outward Kingdom which will fulfil those OT prophecies and NT expectations.
    When will that be?
    Does the present age of Church testimony and world rebellion just merge imperceptibly with the future Kingdom or is there a specific event or set of events which divide this present time from the future Kingdom?
    If you were to ask me for those specific events which trigger the beginning of that transition I would identify 3 concurrent events:

    1 – The return of Christ
    2 – The Resurrection of the dead in Christ
    3 – The removal, by rapture of the believers form the world.

    It is these 3 events which pave the way for the pouring out of Gods wrath on a world which rejects His Son, His Spirit and His Gospel.
    These 3 events separate this present time from the future day of tribulation and wrath which paves the way for the binding of Satan for 1000 years and the establishment of Gods Kingdom under Christ.
    What is interesting is that when you come to 1 Corinthians we find that there is a group of believers who deny this resurrection (1 Co15:12ff).
    More than this in 1 Co 15:23ff Paul makes the connection between:

    1 – The Resurrection of believers (15:18-23)
    2 – The Return of Christ (15:23)
    3 – The Rule of the Kingdom (15:24ff)

    These believers then in denying the physical bodily resurrection of believers not only undermine the fundamentals of the Gospel (1Co15:17ff) but it also fundamentally alters their view of the Kingdom; for them there is no transition the present merges imperceptibly into the future.
    This all may sound a bit complicated, a bit tenuous, but in fact it has been a not infrequent teaching over the years; so much so, it even has a name: ‘post millenialism’.

    They had:

    Satisfaction : “full” : ‘korenmoi’ : to have enough (4:8)
    Prosperity: “rich” : ‘plouteo’ : to be rich (4:8)
    Authority: “reign as kings” : ‘basileuo’ : to reign, rule, be king (4:8)

    They were as a consequence accustomed to:

    Fighting for their rights (6:1ff)
    Self confidence in their new found knowledge (8:1ff)
    Standing on a few toes / breaking a few eggs to get what they wanted (8:11ff)
    Playing a prominent part in Corinthian society (8:10; 10:19-21)
    Awareness of place, position and status (1 Co 11:21ff)
    Using their gifts and abilities to claim position and place (1 Co12:15-18)
    Used to being heard and making their views known (14:26-32)

    They were reigning as Kings in their own Kingdom!
    This was a gospel for winners!
    This was a gospel with prosperity!
    But this was not the Kingdom of God (4:20)
    So long as I am doing alright
    So long as my fellowship is doing alright then all is ok!
    Proof of the Kingdom

    But here is a different view of being a king (4:9ff) – A King in Gods Kingdom.

    compare Matthew chp 5 and 1 Corinthians chapter 4:

Just added – The Meaning of Life and Other Minor Matters

Just added, a new message preached from 1 Corinthians chapter 2, by J Stewart Gillespie:

‘The Meaning of Life and Other Minor Matters’

The Meaning of Life and Other Minor Matters


As we open up the chapter we are presented with an overview of Pauls missionary endeavour at Corinth, a mission so successful that in modern times it would be referred to, perhaps inaccurately as revival.
The whole chapter is in essence a reflection of “when I came to you” (2:1)
Paul reflects on the success of his mission amongst them
This was no ‘boast in the post’
In fact when he reflects on his own contribution to the success of this missionary endeavour; he first focuses on all of the attributes he does not have:

Excellency of speech (2:1)
Wisdom (2:1)
Weakness (2:3)
Fear (2:3)
Much trembling (2:3)

These attributes were not uncommon in the Lords servants:

Excellency of speech (2:1) – Moses could have identified with that (Exodus 4:10)
Wisdom (2:1) – Peter and John could have identified with that (Acts 4:13)
Weakness (2:3) – Samson could have identified with that (Judges 16:20)
Fear (2:3) – Gideon, 3 times could identify with this (Judges 6:27)
Much trembling (2:3) – Ezekiel (12:18) and Daniel (10:11) could identify with this.

Despite coming in his weakness there was no shortage of power.
That power came from God

1. Character of the Preacher
2. Consequences of the Preaching

Demonstration of the Spirit (2:4)
Drawing, revealing, convicting, converting to Christ

Demonstration of Power (2:4)

Signs of the apostles (2 Co12:12)
Exposition of scripture (Acts 18)
Experience of the presence of Christ (1Co14)

3. Content of the Message (2:6ff)

No mere rhetoric
Deep content
Paul had as his content: “we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery” (2:7)

2 possible translations (after Gordon D Fee):

1. “we mysteriously preach the wisdom of God”
2. “we preach the mysterious wisdom of God”

“the mysterious wisdom of God” seems to fit well with the 2nd half of verse 7
They had an interest in that
They were not satisfied with what others were satisfied with:

Beyond Paganism – “eye could see”
Beyond Philosophy – “ear could ear”
Beyond Asceticism – “neither has it entered into the heart of man”

These people were looking for more
Only God could provide it: “mystery wisdom of God”
There are about 14 such mysteries running through the NT, all perhaps best viewed as aspects of one supreme mystery of all things gathered together in Christ and for His Glory (Ephesians 1)
These mysteries are the biblical answer to the question:

Why? – Why am I here?
What? – What is the meaning of life?
The mystery of the wisdom of God:

“Gods predestined and foreordained eternal purpose for His creation in Christ, hidden until the time of fulfilment and revelation, for the Glory of His Son and consequently the blessing of His people.”

This is Gods plan – He is in charge
There is purpose in life and the creation
The purpose given by God results in actions, attitudes and activities with eternal meaning and value – one of the first metaphysical thoughts I ever recall having – looking forward to Christmas and as it rapidly approached realising that it would equally as rapidly recede, leaving actions and experiences as past, done and gone, as transient and potentially as meaningless as the melting snow. God gives eternal and abiding meaning to His creation and His creature.

The mystery wisdom of God gathers together:

1. The Mystery of Israel in Unbelief (Rom 11:25)
2. The Mystery of Gods grace in Christ (Rom 16:25)
3. The Mystery of the Rapture (1 Co 15:51)
4. The Mystery of Gods Will (Eph 1:9)
5. The Mystery of the Jew and Gentile in 1 Body (Eph 3:4-11)
6. The Mystery of the Union of Christ and the Church (Eph 5:32)
7. The Mystery of Christ in you the Hope of Glory (Col 1:26-29)
8. The Mystery of Christ (Col 4:3)
9. The Mystery of the 7 Stars (Rev 1:20)
10. The Mystery of God (Rev 10:7)
11. The Mystery of Iniquity (2 Thess 2:7)
12. The Mystery of the Faith (1 Tim 3:9)
13. The Mystery of Godliness (1 Tim 3:4)
14. The Mystery of Babylon the Great (Rev 17:17)

As a consequence of this appreciation that the meaning and purpose of life and the universe are hidden in the secret counsels of God, Paul will drop a bomb shell, leaving a mushroom cloud so large that the entire Corinthians religious system collapses in the shock wave, namely that attached to knowing God and understanding the purpose and meaning of life there is a condition.

4. Conditions to Knowing God

These 8 verses (2:9-14) destroy the whole of:


Religious thinking
That if we look for more than:

Eye can see
Ear can hear
Entered into the heart of man

We are cast completely and utterly on the Grace of God alone!
Such a revelation is:

No one really knows what is going on in the heart and mind of another (2:11) only their Spirit (2:11).

If appearance and reputation and opinion is an unreliable way to assess what is really going on in anothers heart or what another person is truly like then why do we rely on it for something infinitely more important – our understanding of God Himself and His purposes?

Yet people deal in their understanding of God in an unbelievably superficial manner:

What I think about God
What I feel about God
Uncritically accepting popular culture
Embracing angles, myths, legends and fairy stories

verse 12 must have come as something of a bombshell:

“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.” (2:12)

That the Spirit of God was given to these believers with a purpose!

“ Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God” (1Co2:12)

The end result of any genuine exercise of the Spirit of God must be to draw us deeper into an enjoyment of Christ.

“freely given” : charizomai: 5483 : from ‘charis’ : grace – to show someone favour, be kind to, to give or bestow a thing willingly.

The gift of tongues fulfilled this purpose in the Acts of the apostles!
This was news for the Corinthians!
This would hit at the heart of many of the Corinthian problems.
Gods Spirit is not present to amuse them nor entertain them nor to make them ‘big’ (1 Co 13:4), but He is for the general profit of all (1 Co 12:7; 14:3).

This would have resolved much of the issue over tongues at Corinth (1Co14) with their many words without profit (1Co14:19) and that we recall is spoken of the genuine gift of tongues.

So then:

The Spirit of God reveals the truth of God (2:10)
The Spirit of God gives the words to communicate that truth (2:13)
The Spirit of God is given to receive that truth (2:12) and empower our understanding

Thus the communication of the truth of the Spirit is by means of Spirit inspired and given words – the spiritual means of communicating spiritual truth (2:13).

a) The Spirit of God reveals the truth of God (2:10) – Sovereign and Spiritual revelation of God – The Source

How can I learn this?
How can I obtain this?
How can I buy this?

cf. Simon the sorcerer (Acts 8:18)
I can’t!
Such an understanding of God must be received by supernatural revelation by the Spirit (2:10).
Pauls religions destroying statement to knowing God:

‘the knowledge of God alone comes from God’

Such a statement requires and deserves some justification, so here it is (2:11)
Who really knows what is going on in my heart and my life but my spirit.
Likewise God.

This is a Gracious ministry of God – dependant on the Grace of God alone – unearned

Because this is Gods revelation of God it is by Grace.
Who can give to God anything in exchange?
It is “freely given” (2:12) : charizoma – from ‘charis’ – grace

b) Received only by those who have His Spirit, Conditional – on moral and spiritual qualifications for reception

The enjoyment then of Divine revelation depends upon our relationship with the Spirit of God
Moral qualifications are required to maintain the enjoyment of that link with the Lord to continue to grow and feed upon Christ.
This is the subject of chapter 3- some have grieved the Spirit and have become hindered in their spiritual growth.

c) The Spirit of God gives the words to communicate that truth (2:13)

Thus the communication of the truth of the Spirit is by means of Spirit inspired and given words – the spiritual means of communicating spiritual truth (2:13).

When I Came to You

As a job application it was destined to leave the apostle Paul well off of the interview short-list, yet chapter 2 opens with a self appraisal which leaves the reader in no doubt as to Pauls short comings. He wasn’t big on wisdom, speaking wasn’t his strong point, he lacked self confidence and felt his weakness. Despite all of this the mission at Corinth had been a rip roaring success! It always had been the case that when God chose a man suitable for His service He had rejected anyone too proud to acquiesce to His omnipotence. God always sought a servant willing to become a channel clean enough, through which blessing might flow to others; and that blessing was GREAT!

Just added to our section on 1 Corinthians:

1 Corinthians chapter 2 vs 1 to 9 – When I Came to You – JS Gillespie – 01042014.mp3

Divided we Fall

Just added to our series on 1 Corinthians, a new message preached by J Stewart Gillespie:

1 Corinthians chp 1 vs 10 to 17 – Divided we Fall – J Stewart Gillespie – 11032014.mp3

The Grace to Get the Grace that’s Given

Just added, a new message in our series of studies in 1 Corinthians:

1 Corinthians chapter 1 verses 3 to 4 – The Grace to Get the Grace that’s Given – J Stewart Gillespie (04/03/2014)