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08 Work Principles from the Life of Paul


Title: Work Principles from the Life of Paul

Scripture Text: 1 Corinthians 9
° v.23 - “I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.”

° To assess ones’ self through this question: “Why do you do what you do?”(What is the motive behind
everything you do?)
° To remind us that our main motive must be to glorify God and advance His kingdom.

I. Introduction:

° “What motivates you?” – a common job interview question.

° For students – to get good grades; to enter into a good school ; to please parents; to land a good job, etc.
° For working people – money, fame, power, (SUCCESS)
° “Is this all there is to life?”
° Cycle: Wake up in the morning. Go to work. Work. (Depends on schedule: Leisure). Go home. Sleep. Wake
up... Go to work....Work.....
° Adam’s curse. Genesis 3:17-19
° Ecclesiastes – everything is meaningless (without the right end in mind)
° Ecclesiastes 2:17-26 – Toil is meaningless
° “Is this all there is to life!?!?!?” ☻☻☻
° Fortunately, NO!
° There is more to life than just working and earning money.
° Get into the right perspective – the eternal perspective – and only then will you find the meaning of living.

II. A Glimpse into the Life Work of Paul

(1 Corinthians 9)

1. (vv.1-3) Paul defends his apostleship.

° Some people were questioning the authenticity of Paul’s apostleship.
° Their arguments:
° He wasn’t part of the disciples when Jesus was still on earth.◄
° He was a former Pharisee and Christian killer.◄
°He persecuted Jesus himself.◄
°He refused to be compensated for his apostolic ministry.
i. *Philosophers and wandering missionaries in the Greco-Roman world were “supported”
by 4 means:
° fees
° patronage
° begging
° working
(*Gordon Fee. The First Epistle to the Corinthians. pp.399-ff)
◘ POINT #1: Your place is wherever God calls you to be.
♥ Jesus himself called and appointed Paul into apostleship (encounter @ the road to Damascus).
♥ God has a place for you. Desire it. Find it. Live it.
♥ Do you question your position? Do you ask yourself, “Should I really be the one standing here?”
07.20.08 Work Principles from the Life of Paul

♥ If God has called you to be there, don’t doubt it! God wants you there. Don’t doubt God’s choice.
♥ Sometimes you feel unqualified for the job. Don’t fear men. Fear God. Obey!

2. (vv. 4-12a) Right to compensation /

(vv. 12b-18) Waiving of the apostolic rights for a reason
° Paul writes about every worker’s right to be compensated (i.e. soldier, farmer and of course, workers of God).
° In v.6, Paul shows that he works for a living, aside from being a preacher of the Word.
° He gets his funding from his own job as a tentmaker.
o Acts 18 – Paul in Corinth, working as a tentmaker during the weekdays, along with Aquilla and
Priscilla; on Sabbath days, he goes to the temple to reason with and persuade Jews and Greeks.
° After this, Paul explains his refusal to take patronage.
o v.16 – Paul is compelled to preach the gospel.
o He cannot not preach the Word.
o v.17 – Paul preached voluntarily because he wants to. If he got paid to do it, then he is just doing his
o He refused to take patronage because he did not want to be subject to anyone but Christ.


♥ Nowadays, it’s often about “what’s in it for me?” not “what can I do for you?”

◘ Illustration #1:
In Sunday School, we give out assignments to the children to take home. And to motivate them, we give
incentives to those who did their assignments and brought them back the ff. week for reporting.
One kid asked me: “Teacher, if I submit my assignment next week even if it’s already late, will I still get a
I told her no. Then she made a pouty face. So I told her, “Isn’t making Jesus happy with your good deeds
(the assignment was about accomplishing a list of good deeds the whole week) more rewarding than a material

◘ Illustration #2:
° “Kung sino ang makwenta ang siyang unang masisisante.”
° If you do things all for the sake of getting more money, then you’re a prime candidate for firing during
Personnel Evaluation.

◘ POINT #2: You must always think in eternal aspects.

♥ Paul thought in eternal aspects.
♥ He willingly did the work God called him to do without asking to be repaid because he knew the
significance (more souls for the kingdom) of what he’s sowing here on earth.
♥ If we think only in earthly aspects, everything we’re work for is meaningless. But if we think in eternal
aspects, everything we do will have a reason (all for the glory of God).

Thinking in practical aspects is not wrong.

Yes, you need to earn money so you can function here on earth.
Thinking in eternal aspects doesn’t mean letting yourself get abused.
It’s all about the attitude.
Ask for wisdom.

3. (vv. 19-22) Paul’s work principles.

° Read verse.
° v. 22b “I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.
07.20.08 Work Principles from the Life of Paul

° Paul’s work principle: a servant heart and adaptability to all.

◘ POINT #3: Allow yourself to be flexible and pray to have a servant heart.
° Illustration: FREE TRIAL programs on the internet.
Try a certain software for a period of time. Afterwards, you either continue or discontinue subscribing.
° Sometimes we wait for others to affirm us or take notice of what we have done before we continue doing good
to them.
° When we find them not doing things/reciprocating the “good deed” we’ve done, we get discouraged and stop.
° It’s all about motive and attitude. (Why are you doing it?)
° Paul’s attitude was he was willing to adapt to everyone even if he new that not all will respond positively.
° Children’s song: ♫ If you wanna be great in God’s kingdom, learn to be the servant of all...♪
07.20.08 Work Principles from the Life of Paul

III. Conclusion

4. (vv. 23-27) The reason behind it all.

° v.23 “I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.”
° Paul had a goal – to see people come to know Christ and spread the gospel themselves.
° Everything he did was aimed to fulfill that goal.
° Even his secular job as a tentmaker had a great part in fulfilling his goal. (He used that to fund his ministry)
° There should be no distinction between our secular work and our church ministry.
° Your work is your ministry.
◘ POINT #4: Christ should be your motivation.

° In all that you do, ask yourself:

o “Why am I doing this?”
o “What am I really working for?”
o “Who am I serving?”
o “How can I be of service to God through my job?”

*Turn to front page of today’s bulletin:

Each day we are given 86,400 seconds. They cannot be saved up, and those we waste
are lost forever. Life is short and precious.
For some people there are not enough hours in a day, and for others there are too
many. The most important aspect of each day is what we do with our temporary time
here on earth. Our lives are a vapor, easily dissolved. We are like the grass and the
flower that blooms and then is gone. Each of us is one heartbeat from meeting our
Lord and Savior.
It is not our accomplishments that will be remembered, but how we lived our
lives for Jesus.
Did we work for the kingdom of God or the kingdom of self? Do we live for today or are
we living for tomorrow?

**♫ Lord I Offer My Life (Chorus) ♪ **