Finding Common Ground – I Corinthians 9:22-23

finding-common-ground“Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some. I do everything to spread the Good News and share in its blessings” (I Corinthians 9:22-23, NLT).

In 1 Corinthians 9 the Apostle Paul describes in various ways how those who work in the ministry of the gospel have the right to share in the blessings of the gospel.

Paul uses examples of other apostles who ministered among the Corinthians and brought their wives and lived and ate in the Corinthians’ homes (vs. 5-6). He asked what soldier pays his own expenses (vs. 7). He pointed out how farmers and shepherds have the right to eat from their own produce (vs. 7). Even the law of Moses said not to muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain (vs. 9, Deuteronomy 25:4).

These examples supported Paul’s contention that he and other Christian workers had a right to be supported financially by those they served. But Paul, sees loving others and extending God’s grace to them as more important than his rights or privileges as a minister of the gospel.

Real Christian love is always sacrificial, like Christ’s own love. Christians ought never to focus on what is best for themselves, but on what is best for others.

Paul characterized this approach to sharing the gospel with people as finding common ground.

Somebody once said you can never win someone to Jesus whom you don’t first win to yourself. In other words, you must model the message that you’re proclaiming. People must be able to see how the gospel works in your life before they believe it will work for them.

So Paul does that by finding common ground where the people he is sharing the gospel with can relate to him and he to them. For Paul, sharing the gospel effectively with others means you must identify with the people you are sharing the gospel with and they must be able to identify with you

And Paul considers it his responsibility to find the common ground with them, not them with him!

So the point of Paul’s teaching is not that ministers of the gospel should not be paid (in fact, he proves they should be paid), but that effectively preaching and teaching the gospel in a way that relates to people is the most important thing.

“When I first came to you, dear brothers and sisters,[a] I didn’t use lofty words and impressive wisdom to tell you God’s secret plan.For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified. I came to you in weakness—timid and trembling. And my message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit. I did this so you would trust not in human wisdom but in the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 2:1-5, NLT)

2 thoughts on “Finding Common Ground – I Corinthians 9:22-23

  1. We should have salt within ourselves and peace with all men as we preach and live the gospel. I struggle with what is ok about techniques technology that are used to enhance as salt. The real Holy Spirit is to be a daily commitment without extra manipulation…or is this work out your own salvation about it? Is group anointing the power of God? When does it become a tower of Babel or mob rule that would demand control?

    On focusing to meet someone’s need, I think there needs to be an agreement and understanding. But not by teach em a lesson. I hope to one day be able to do this without problems to each other. Right now I am unresolved and have questions that I need for God to send someone to directly help me with. I feel upset at dealt with deceptively even if people mean well it causes problems. I have prayed out loud, called and emailed people, and tried but failed to talk directly about what is this? I do not hear with it and everyone has denied any knowledge of a program, treatment, favor, service, monitoring, technology, etc… I hope everyone is given pertinently without it handicapped nor taken advantage of, what they need to know to be able. I have worn out pastors who blame it in the devil. Yes the devil oppress by ignorance. Doctors do not seem to know medically. Mental Health workers have cruel medications that turn me into a dead zombie and do not counsel. So if you can talk with Bobby and I by email that might help him with this. Also pray me in my answers without deceitfully done nor misunderstandings nor harm…yet able. How is everyone in Ardmore? You must be almost ready in a few years to retire from work, then are you going into ministry as well as raising children? I saw Chris Brown and Linda and the Spradlings on Facebook. Tell Ben and Donna that I hope all is well with their family. The Lemings call Bobby every now in then that he enjoys. I like your devotionals and sometimes share them or write in journal a thought from them.

    Date: Wed, 17 Jul 2013 11:22:51 +0000 To: wordinheart@hotmail.com

    • Sheryl, it seems like Paul thought that being a friend that cared enough to share the message of Jesus with another person was more important that exerting his apostolic authority over them. That’s certainly a good lesson for all of us to follow. I will be praying for you. Thanks for reading…Steve

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