MAKE MY GLORYING VOID
1 Corinthians 9:12 If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ. 13 Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? 14 Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.
1 Corinthians 9:15 ¶ But I have used none of these things: neither have I written these things, that it should be so done unto me: for it were better for me to die, than that any man should make my glorying void. 16 For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel! 17 For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me. 18 What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel. 19 ¶ For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more.
That word, glorying is the same Greek word translated, rejoicing in 2 Corinthians 1:14. For there was a rejoicing in the great heart of this beloved apostle as he conducted his extensive ministry. For as Abraham was extensively used to popular the world’s tribes and nations physically, so the Apostle Paul was extensively used to bring forth the spiritual population.
One writer has said that in these verses the apostle shows “his disinterested self-denial in preaching the gospel without reward.” (Charles Hodge) This is summed up in our verse twelve as he speaks of privileges of which he has every right to take advantage, but which he refuses, in order that “we should not hinder the gospel of Christ.”
Also take note of that which he states in verse sixteen of our context. There he states, For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: The preaching of the gospel was a “necessity” which carried a judgment from God if he failed to do so. – “yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!” Therefore his glorying was allowed, not in that he was obedient in his command to preach. His glorying was involved in HOW he preached the gospel!
Let us see an example from Abraham along these same lines. Genesis 14:21 And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself. 22 And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the LORD, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth, 23 That I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich: Here, although the spoils rightfully belonged to Abraham, he refused to accept them, thereby denying others the opportunity of saying that it was themselves, and not God who made Abraham rich. The Apostle Paul is doing the same thing!
But he speaks of “not using this power,” or authority, over them. For he had the right of the oxen, used to plow the corn not to be muzzled, so that they could reach out and eat an ear of corn as they pulled the plow. 1 Corinthians 9:9 For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen? 10 Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope. 11 If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things?
Therefore his great heart is revealed in just how much he desired them to have the opportunity to receive the gospel without any hinderance from his ministry! His great desire was their spiritual edification; their spiritual maturing. 1 Corinthians 6:12 All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. 10:23 All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not. 1 Corinthians 14:26 Let all things be done unto edifying.
It would be a lawful matter for him to require them to support him. Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel. But it was in the realm of not being expedient that his glorying and rejoicing could be made void! Abraham could have taken the spoils. It would have been lawful for him to do so. But it was not expedient. Dear Reader, it is in the matter of expediency that one can easily lose his opportunity of rejoicing in his stewardship!
The guidelines of glorying: One cannot seek for personal attainment. 2 Corinthians 12:1 ¶ It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. 2 I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. 3 And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) 4 How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. 5 Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities. 6 For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me. 7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
In relating to his being caught up into the third heaven, the apostle speaks of glorying in verses one, five and six. He is stating that for our edification he must relate this supernatural experience, but he does not want to seem to brag. For that would make his glorying void. In that verse five he states that his only glorying of himself would be in his infirmities. He states this same thing to the Galatian church. Galatians 6:14 But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.
Also glorying cannot be from the flesh. It must only be from the spirit! Jeremiah 9:23 Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: 24 But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.
1 Corinthians 1:28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: 29 That no flesh should glory in his presence. 30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: 31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.
1 Corinthians 3:21 Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours;
1 Corinthians 4:7 For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?
Glorying cannot be derived from personal assumption, and not on faith. James 4:13 Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: 14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. 15 For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. 16 But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil. 17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.
That word “rejoicing” in verse fifteen is our word, “glorying.” And the Apostle James clearly states that this boasting while assuming to do anything, without the directing hand of the Spirit “is evil.” For the believer cannot just get off into anything, not guided by the Spirit, and boast in this tempting of God.
For all glorying which honors God is to be within the limits, or ‘measure’ of God’s directing. 2 Corinthians 10:7 ¶ Do ye look on things after the outward appearance? If any man trust to himself that he is Christ’s, let him of himself think this again, that, as he is Christ’s, even so are we Christ’s. 8 For though I should boast somewhat more of our authority, which the Lord hath given us for edification, and not for your destruction, I should not be ashamed:
2 Corinthians 10:12 ¶ For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. 13 But we will not boast of things without our measure, but according to the measure of the rule which God hath distributed to us, a measure to reach even unto you. 14 For we stretch not ourselves beyond our measure, as though we reached not unto you: for we are come as far as to you also in preaching the gospel of Christ: 15 Not boasting of things without our measure, that is, of other men’s labours; but having hope, when your faith is increased, that we shall be enlarged by you according to our rule abundantly, 16 To preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, and not to boast in another man’s line of things made ready to our hand. 17 But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. 18 For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth.
But when can one without hesitation boast, or glory? When Christ is exalted! Philippians 3:3 For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.
One may also boast, or glory in seeing the development of the Spirit in other believers. 2 Thessalonians 1:3 We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth; 4 So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure: 5 ¶ Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer:
One may then boast, or glory in helping others to glory in Christ. Philippians 1:23 For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: 24 Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you. 25 And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith; 26 That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again.
But there is a price to pay for such sacrificial benefitting of other believers. For there were ten lepers cleansed, but only one expressed any thanksgivings to the one who healed him! Luke 17:17 And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? 18 There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.
The price such a sacrificing benefactor will pay is the lack of love and appreciation from those whom he benefitted! 2 Corinthians 12:15 And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved. 19 Again, think ye that we excuse ourselves unto you? we speak before God in Christ: but we do all things, dearly beloved, for your edifying.
The child never appreciates the parent. He just assumes that it is supposed to be this way. While they are being fed, clothed and housed at the parents expense, they will resent the parents disciplines and rules! Only until the child becomes a parent and experiences resentment from children for whom they were sacrificing in order to afford them a good life, will their eyes be opened. And thus we are as children of God! 1 Corinthians 13:11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. Hebrews 12:9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? 10 For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.
1 Thessalonians 2:11 As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children, 12 That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.
What two things did the Apostle Paul exact upon himself in order that his glorying not be made void? First he made the gospel without charge. 1 Corinthians 9:18 What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel.
And second, he exacted upon himself a strict personal discipline. 1 Corinthians 9:23 And this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you. 27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway (or “reprobate”).
Pastor Gene Breed
June 20, 2018