"THE FIRST EPISTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS" Not Seeking My Own Profit (10:31-33) INTRODUCTION 1. In his writings, the apostle Paul often offered himself as an example... a. To the brethren at Philippi - Php 3:17; 4:9 b. To the brethren at Corinth - 1Co 11:1 2. His call to imitation in 1Co 11:1 has reference to his attitude mentioned in the previous chapter... a. To do all things to the glory of God - 1Co 10:31 b. To give no offense to Jews, Greeks, or to the church of God
- 1Co 10:32 c. To not seek one's own profit, but rather the salvation of others - 1Co 10:33 [We find in these verses (1Co 10:31-33) a principle that governed Paul's actions in dealing with others. To fully appreciate that principle, it helps to first understand...] I. PAUL'S MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION A. THAT ALL MEN MIGHT BE SAVED... 1. Mentioned in 1Co 10:31 2. As expressed to the brethren at Colosse a. His desire and labor to present every man perfect in Christ - Col 1:28-29 b. His anguish for the spiritual growth of all men - Col 2:1-7 B. COMPASSION PROMPTED BY HIS SAVIOR... 1. For Paul was allowing Christ to live in Him - Ga 2:20 2. And Christ was certainly one who had compassion for the lost - Mt 9:35-38 [Thus Paul developed a Christ-like obsession of concern for others, which in turn motivated him to apply the magnificent principle in his dealings with others...] II. PAUL'S MAGNIFICENT PRINCIPLE A. AS EXPRESSED IN OUR TEXT... 1. "not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved" - 1Co 10:33 2. This is not to say that Paul would compromise on matters of truth a. E.g., his stand for truth regarding circumcision - Ga 2:3-5 b. E.g., his stand for truth regarding the truth of the gospel - Ga 2:11-14 3. But he would not allow his personal feelings, preferences, or opinions hinder... a. The salvation of souls outside of Christ b. The spiritual progress of brethren weak in faith B. AS EXEMPLIFIED IN OTHER TEXTS... 1. In regards to eating meats sacrificed to idols - 1Co 8:7-13 a. Paul makes clear the possible consequence of abusing one's liberty b. Thus the application of his magnificent principle ("not seeking my own profit") 2. In regards to reaching the lost - 1Co 9:19-22 a. He had made himself a servant to others, that he might save some b. Again, applying his magnificent principle ("not seeking my own profit") 3. In regards to brethren whose faith was weak - Ro 14:13-23 a. Making every effort not to put stumbling blocks in a brother's way b. Again, applying his magnificent principle ("not seeking my own profit") C. AS EXPLAINED IN OTHER TEXTS... 1. To the brethren at Rome - Ro 15:1-3 a. The strong should bear with the scruples of the weak b. We should seek to please our neighbor for his good c. We should follow the example of Christ Himself 2. To the brethren at Corinth - 1Co 10:23-24 a. It is not enough that a matter be lawful; does it also edify (build up)? b. We should not seek our own, but one another's well-being 3. To the brethren in Galatia - Ga 5:1,13 a. We may be free in Christ (free from the Law, from sin, etc.) b. But we must use our liberty to serve one another in love! D. AS EMPLOYED IN OUR LIVES... 1. It requires that we possess Paul's magnificent obsession a. That is, to save souls (both the lost and the spiritually immature) b. Otherwise there will be insufficient motivation to sacrifice personal preferences, opinions and feelings, our liberty to save and serve others! 2. It requires prayerful evaluation and discernment a. We must examine ourselves honestly 1) Regarding our impact as individuals in daily contact with others 2) Regarding our influence as a congregation in our work and worship b. We must consider whether or not our actions... 1) Keep people from becoming Christians 2) Hinder brethren from their spiritual growth in Christ 3) Destroy the peace and unity that ought to exist in the church 3. It requires understanding the parameters of our conduct a. We must never compromise the truth of the gospel b. We must be willing to refrain our personal liberty in Christ - cf. 1Co 8:13; Ro 14:21 4. Some modern-day circumstances that call for Paul's magnificent principle a. You may thinking nothing of certain recreational activities; but if you know it would cause a brother to stumble, what do you do? b. You may think your ideas for a congregation are better; but if you know it might cause division, what do you do? c. You may have different ideas as to what constitutes modest apparel; but if you know it might encourage lust in others, what do you do? CONCLUSION 1. We know how Paul would respond... a. "Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another." - Ro 14:19 b. "It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak."
- Ro 14:21 c. "Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble." - 1Co 8:13 2. Or as he summarized it in our text... "Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God, just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved." - 1Co 10:31-33 We know that Paul's attitude ("Not Seeking My Own Profit") was because he imitated Christ (1Co 11:1). Are we willing to do the same for the sake of saving and serving others...?