Preaching 1 Corinthians 9:16-23

This Sunday, I’m preaching at Sharon Baptist Church in Iron Station, NC.

The lectionary text for this Sunday is from 1 Corinthians and is a text I’ve been wrestling with all week. So many possibilities yet such a subjective text that really makes the most sense when you can apply it directly to a community you are familiar with and understand.

I’ll post up my notes after I finish (since I don’t preach from a full manuscript… I know, I know) my preparation.

In the meantime… what would you say to a congregation based on this text from Paul?

9:16 If I proclaim the gospel, this gives me no ground for boasting, for an obligation is laid on me, and woe to me if I do not proclaim the gospel!

9:17 For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward; but if not of my own will, I am entrusted with a commission.

9:18 What then is my reward? Just this: that in my proclamation I may make the gospel free of charge, so as not to make full use of my rights in the gospel.

9:19 For though I am free with respect to all, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I might win more of them.

9:20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though I myself am not under the law) so that I might win those under the law.

9:21 To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law) so that I might win those outside the law.

9:22 To the weak I became weak, so that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that I might by all means save some.

9:23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, so that I may share in its blessings.

BTW, I love how Paul is always depicted with a receding hairline in Christian art. I should know this being that I have a Masters in Religion and Art from Yale… but I wonder where that tradition comes from?

Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B

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