I Can But should I?
The Declaration of Independence speaks about rights in the second paragraph like this:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
~ The Declaration of Independence, 1776
Why would they need to write this declaration?
Because their RIGHTS were being taken away.
Paul declares his rights as an apostle.
1 Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not the result of my work in the Lord? 2 Even though I may not be an apostle to others, surely I am to you! For you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.
3 This is my defense to those who sit in judgment on me. 4 Don’t we have the right to food and drink? 5 Don’t we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord’s brothers and Cephas? 6 Or is it only I and Barnabas who lack the right to not work for a living?
Rhetoric - the art of persuasion
Proving that he has some rights to comfort and normalcy.
Also used in Philippians 3 to prove his right to put his confidence in his works:
If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.
Paul defends his rights to:
- live a normal Christian life.
- sit in judgement of others.
1. Christians have rights according to the Bible
On he goes.
7 Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat its grapes? Who tends a flock and does not drink the milk? 8 Do I say this merely on human authority? Doesn’t the Law say the same thing? 9 For it is written in the Law of Moses: “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.” Is it about oxen that God is concerned? 10 Surely he says this for us, doesn’t he? Yes, this was written for us, because whoever plows and threshes should be able to do so in the hope of sharing in the harvest. 11 If we have sown spiritual seed among you, is it too much if we reap a material harvest from you? 12 If others have this right of support from you, shouldn’t we have it all the more?
Even the Bible says I have this right.
2. People have the right to benefit from their work.
But we did not use this right. On the contrary, we put up with anything rather than hinder the gospel of Christ.
13 Don’t you know that those who serve in the temple get their food from the temple, and that those who serve at the altar share in what is offered on the altar? 14 In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel.
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, for I would rather die than allow anyone to deprive me of this boast.
Just because you have a right, doesn’t mean you must use it.
3. Defending personal rights might hinder the gospel.
Does “I told you so” help advance the gospel?
16 For when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, since 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 full use of my rights as a preacher of the gospel.
Let’s talk about rewards.
What’s motivating you?
How does a person be sure their motives are clean?
Being paid vs. not.
In politics, we are resolved that politicians are crooks.
They earn huge salaries and steal from the people they lead.
Should they be getting rich at all?
Lord Acton, the British historian said:
“All power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
Professional educators vs. True Teachers.
There is a huge difference “…between schooling and education. The former being a large scale institutional tool, the latter the goals and dreams we have for out kids. The trouble is that those who earn their living in schools are probably the least likely to honestly acknowledge this difference, because we’re all unlikely to call attention to things that might raise hard questions about the sources of our funding.”
~ Ben Sasse
The same principal runs through all of life and certainly applies to preachers.
Church has become big business too.
Would you rather be taught by someone who loves Jesus and does it because he or she knows they are loved or by someone who is thinking about how to get you to buy his or her book?
The world’s richest pastors.
"The early church was married to poverty, prisons and persecutions. Today, the church is married to prosperity, personality, and popularity."
- Leonard Ravenhill
4. Voluntarily service is most beneficial for everyone.
What is motivating you?
How can you tell? See how you react to things. What if funding was gone?
19 Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. 23 I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.
Though I am free, I made myself a slave.
I serve by choice.
For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.
5. True ministers lay down their lives for the sake of others.
Shouldn’t the mark of a minister be personal sacrifice for their people?
What is motivating you?
Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness are ‘divinely ordained’ rights if you’re an American.
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”
If I defend anyone’s RIGHTS, let it be the rights of my brothers and sisters, the unborn, the voiceless, not my own right to be fat and happy.