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Passion to Preach

Passion to Preach

Words of Faith 6-20-17

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2017

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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1 Corinthians 9

   [15] But I have not used any of these rights. And I am not writing this in the hope that you will do such things for me. I would rather die than have anyone deprive me of this boast. [16] Yet when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, for I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! [17] If I preach voluntarily, I have a reward; if not voluntarily, I am simply discharging the trust committed to me. [18] What then is my reward? Just this: that in preaching the gospel I may offer it free of charge, and so not make use of my rights in preaching it.


       Paul had made it crystal clear that he had a right to be compensated generously by the Corinthian church yet he had refused to exercise this right. But don't misunderstand! This was not some veiled attempt to get the Corinthians church to send him money.

       Paul would rather have died than give up this one boast and be accused of being some sort of Christian mercenary or charlatan. Paul wanted to dispel any question concerning the integrity of his ministry. It was not a matter of pride; it was a matter of passion! The love of Christ compelled Paul to preach the Gospel at great personal cost and hardship. This was his passion.

         In his second letter to Corinth, Paul wrote-- "And when I was with you and needed something, I was not a burden to anyone, for the brothers who came from Macedonia supplied what I needed. I have kept myself from being a burden to you in any way, and will continue to do so. As surely as the truth of Christ is in me, nobody in the regions of Achaia will stop this boasting of mine. Why? Because I do not love you? God knows I do! And I will keep on doing what I am doing in order to cut the ground from under those who want an opportunity to be considered equal with us in the things they boast about" (2 Cor. 11:9-12).

         A few years ago we traveled to Greece and Turkey visiting the major cities that were on Paul's second missionary journey-- Philippi, Thessalonica, Athens, Corinth and Ephesus. We went by ship from port to port and then traveled by motor coach over land to these places. The bus trips in this part of the world are not short! The journey can be a bit hard today in places. But how astonishing it was to think that Paul WALKED between these cities on the old Roman roads! No modern paving. No motor coach. No modern cruise ship. He walked and he loved to do so for the Gospel. There was no greater joy for Paul than to carry the Good News of Jesus. This was his passion!

         Paul preached the Gospel because, in his heart, he had to, not because he was paid to. His journeys had nothing to do with a "career". His efforts had nothing to do with compensation. He could do no other thing but preach the Gospel. He had no boast in preaching because there was no other choice for him! "Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel!" Paul found his great reward in offering the Good News free of charge and in not using his right to receive compensation.

         So did Paul not have any reward? To the contrary, first, he had this one boast that he had offered the gospel free of charge, and no one could deny that. Second, he had the opportunity to see the gospel at work among those to whom he preached. What could be more exciting? He saw the results-- the believers themselves-- who were his reward.

       The word translated "reward" refers to a wage. Paul had shunned material recompense, but he was not without return for his labor. He had the joy of reaping. To widen that harvest he would gladly give up certain rights in order to enjoy both the integrity of his boast and the results of his ministry. Jesus said: "Even now the reaper draws his wages, even now he harvests the crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together" (John 4:36).

       All this prompts the question: How is my passion for the Gospel? Do I have a passion for the lost? Am I prepared to be sacrificial in order to bring the Good News to those who need to hear? Paul was willing to go across a continent to carry the Good News-- am I willing to walk across the street to do so? Am I willing to walk across the room to share a word of welcome and Good News?


       Lord Jesus, give me a passion like Paul for the Gospel. Give me a passion for souls like the Apostles. Put in my heart a sacrificial willingness to listen and respond when there are those who need to hear the Good News. In Jesus' Name.