How Not To Be A Peddler

This week’s sermon is not primarily about the importance of preaching, but there are portions of it (I Corinthians 9) that keep drawing my thoughts to the subject. Take, as an example Paul’s words in 9:15-18, as he refers to the renunciation of his right of pastoral compensation, “15 But I have made no use of any of these rights, nor am I writing these things to secure any such provision. For I would rather die than have anyone deprive me of my ground for boasting. 16 For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! 17 For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward, but if not of my own will, I am still entrusted with a stewardship. 18 What then is my reward? That in my preaching I may present the gospel free of charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel.”
Paul was so impressed by the gospel that it was worth giving up everything in order to proclaim it. I think about how lightly some pastors take preaching and wonder what Paul would say to them. What would Paul say to preachers who use their time at the pulpit to construct pseudo-biblical pep talks and motivational lectures that mention one or two verses from the Bible (maybe) and then spend the rest of the time on current philosophical thought or “felt needs”? I wonder these things and remember Paul actually does have an opinion of such men, “15 For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, 16 to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? 17 For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ” (2 Corinthians 2:15-17).

Here’s a healthy reminder from Matt Chandler…


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