For the Sake of the Gospel

How do we share what is good in this world with the people around us and most importantly share God's goodness with them? Part of doing that is sharing in God's blessings. God's blessings can mean anything that we can think, say, and act upon that moves us closer to God's approval and guidance. Blessings also come from God's desire to instill the Holy Spirit in us through unconditional love by way of prayer and the laying on of hands as part of consecration, to set apart someone, some group, or something solely for God's use, to make them or it holy.

One way of sharing in the good of this world is to point out to people what is life-affirming and life-sustaining by way of living in a close relationship with God. This is known as telling people about the gospel or the good news of God's love, which is God's desire to be in close relationship with everyone.

Last week I talked about the Apostle Paul's desire to surrender his liberty spiritually so as to not cause another believer to stumble on their journey with God through Christ, because he knew that eating meat that was sacrificed to idols had no negative effect on his walk with God. That liberty of spirit and body is part of the life-affirming and life-sustaining gospel message.

Even so, not all people that Paul ministered to saw it that way in the city of Corinth. The efforts that Paul made to make the gospel available to all people led him to center on the idea of giving up his liberty so the fullness of his freedom through his knowledge of the gospel message would not become a hindrance to less mature believers or nonbelievers.

Paul also wanted to point to additional freedoms spiritually that he understood could be available to him in his walk as a believer in Christ. In 1 Corinthians 9:16-23, our Bible reading for this Sunday, you will find out what freedoms Paul had.

However, you will also discover what Paul intends to do with those freedoms and how his decision has sparked a controversy in how he understands his role as a proclaimer and teacher of the gospel of Christ. As we read this passage from Paul, we need to see how we are to point to life-affirming and life-sustaining messages in the midst of his pastoral letter to the Corinthians that can seem confusing at times.

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