Sean Scott's Blog

www.preachingjesuschrist.com

What is your pay?

with 13 comments

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! 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. 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.
(1Co 9:16-18 ESV)

By God’s grace and mighty power, I have been given the privilege of serving him by spreading this Good News.  (Eph 3:17 NLT)

I can’t tell you how grieved I get when I see believers charging other believers for them to hear the word of God; whether it comes through books, audio teachings, music, conferences, etc.  It’s crazy how Christian truth has become it’s own multi-million (probably billion) dollar market.  Just go to almost any church or ministry website and you’ll find out that you can buy their sermons on mp3, their latest worship cd, their newest book with the “freshest teaching”, or even buy apparel that promotes their ministry; shirts, mugs, hoodies, baseball caps, etc.  It’s all there for a price, and usually the price isn’t cheap!

It’s sad that more believers today don’t have the same attitude as the Apostle Paul.  Paul said, “What then is my reward (or pay)? That in my preaching I may present the gospel free of charge”.  Though Paul certainly had the right to receive funds from other believers, money would never stand in Paul’s way when it came to giving the Gospel, and God’s word, to others.  Paul considered it a gift and a privilege to preach the Gospel.  He was entrusted with it, and it was his joy to preach and teach others the truth in Jesus Christ.  You’ll never find one instance of Paul requiring a fee before he would give the biblical truth that he was given by God.  Paul was not a merchandiser and did not see the Gospel as a business opportunity.  His desire and goal was to provide the Gospel to all free of charge.  Paul did not want anything to stand in the way of other that could hinder them from receiving the words of life.

How different was Paul’s attitude than that of many ministers and ministries today!  Today everything is for sale.  What is the common reason for this?  Usually people quote 1 Cor 914:

In the same way, the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel.
(1Co 9:14)

This statement is definitely true and all believers should heed it and obey it cheerfully.  It should be a joy for us to support those who labor in the gospel, whether they minister to us directly or whether they are sent out to labor in other places (such as missionaries).   In looking at this verse though, I really like the way the NLT renders it.   It says:

In the same way, the Lord ordered that those who preach the Good News should be supported by those who benefit from it.  (1 Cor 9:14 NLT)

Those who benefit spiritually from the teaching, preaching, and shepherding from the ministry of pastors, elders, evangalist, teachers, missionaries, etc should freely support them with material provision.  When we benefit from their ministry, we are benefiting from their sacrifice, time, care, and labor, so that we, and others, might grow in our Christian life.  It should be our joy to support them just as freely and willingly as we are when we pay a physician who provides us with necessary medical care.  But I believe there is a principal in this verse that many believes and ministries get backwards.  Notice the verse says that those who preach the Good News should be supported by those “who benefit from it”.  So, ministry comes first and the willful support comes second.  However, that is not what you see with many ministries.  What you see instead is “buy my CD’s, MP3’s, Books, online articles, etc so that you can be ministered to”!  Instead of receiving ministry and then supporting those who have sown into you spiritually, you are required to pay, in advance, to receive ministry. It’s totally backwards.  Can you imagine the Apostle Paul showing up at the church (the believers) in Ephesus or Galatia and saying, “I have received a revelation from God that will benefit your soul.  The revelation didn’t come from me, it came from God. You can have this very important Epistle for only $19.99.   Not only that, if you’d like to order more than one Epistle you’ll get a 10% discount”!   Sounds crazy doesn’t it? But how is that any different than what so many ministries and ministers are doing today with the selling of their sermons, teachings, etc?  They are requiring up front payment for something they should be freely giving away.

This whole issue though really points to what’s in people heart.  While a minister is entitled to receive support for their labor, charging for God’s word should never be a barrier or prerequiste for ministry to take place.  Our attitude should be like the Apostle Paul’s, to do everything we can to provide the Gospel, and other biblical truth, free of charge so it’s accessible to the most amount of people as possible.  If a ministry and ministers are motivated by love for God and love for people, they will do everything they can to freely give away what they have received from God.  However, if they love unrighteous mammon then you’ll probably find a price attached to everything they produced, making access to the “truth” costly and not something everyone can afford.

***Just for clarity

(I do realize that if someone wanted to publish something like a Christian book that there are certain cost involved.  I certainly wouldn’t make a rule that says it’s wrong for a person to cover some of those cost by charging a fee if someone wanted a hard copy ( ultimately that is between them and the Lord and God certainly knows the motives of the heart).   However, it seems like the right thing to do would be to make the resource as cheap as possible (covering cost), so more people can afford it, and not simply personally profit through book sales.  And the fact is, in the age and time we live in, with the internet, it’s never been easier to provide biblical writings, teachings, audios, books etc, in a free format so as to impact as many people as possible (there are ministries that do provide everything free online but that charge a reasonable fee for a hard copy – you can tell that money is not their motive).  I can guarantee you that when you stand before the judgment seat of Christ, you won’t have any regret for making God’s truth free and accessible to all who want to receive it).

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Written by Sean Scott

March 2, 2012 at 8:05 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

13 Responses

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  1. Brother, That’s the truth according to the NT, according to God.

    This subject always seems to be a messy one, as far as people twisting the Scriptures. I’ve found that most who support merchandizing as OK do so by justifying it with the scriptures, “the laborer is worthy of his hire”, etc..

    But that doesn’t mean the laborer can sell his services. If that were so, then this would be legit:

    You ask a brother to come to your house and teach the word.

    He says, That will be $100 for the session.

    You say, That’s wrong!

    He says, The laborer is worthy of his hire!

    You say, So, if we pay you $100 then you will be our friend and help us? Otherwise, you won’t come?
    .
    .
    .
    .
    Or when a church calls a pastor to come, and he gives the salary conditions he requires before he will come… etc…
    .
    .
    .
    .
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    Trusting in man and not in God for provision.

    Jeremiah said, Cursed is the man who trusts in man….

    ian vincent

    March 3, 2012 at 12:47 am

    • I appreciated this so much….thank you for speaking Truth!

      Andrea

      March 3, 2012 at 5:58 pm

  2. How much ”Tax Credit” did Jesus and His Disciples get from ‘the coin’ in the Fish’s mouth Jesus told Peter to go get and pay their tax? yet Church’s have Government Tax Exempts and the congregation is taxed. So they are taught ‘to account for what you give’ and never let it come out of your pocket as a cost to you without ‘Deducting it as a Tax Credit’…Ministries even send ‘Tithing Lists on what you tithe for the year so you can deduct it..Where is the Church of Jesus Christ …this is a Worldly church..They speak The Word…they ‘know Jesus’…well the devils know HIM also and they believe HE is God…but they are going to Hell! I am saddened at how much today’s Church’s are gathering in so many sheep for the slaughter!

    Andrea

    March 3, 2012 at 5:52 pm

  3. well balanced article on this sensitive and delicate issue. Rightly handled.

    Muralee

    March 3, 2012 at 5:56 pm

  4. Amen! Sean…….You will not hear to much preaching regarding free will giving because that requires faith and as Christ has declared too often we are they of “little faith”. Freely we have received and freely we should give.
    The ministry support that a minister should receive should not supercede the command from the Apostle Paul, ” For we brought nothing into [this] world, [and it is] certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content”.
    1st Timothy 6:7-8

    My prayer is that the Lord will help us to trust in him and lean not to our own understanding, because our ways will always seem right to us.

    Blessings Sean.

    William

    March 4, 2012 at 4:02 am

  5. Saints and Disciples of Christ: It should be we presented with extreme caution that any fee for truly Holy Spirit inspired Words of God need never ever be presented for a price. Regardless of cost even associated with printing and the like. What is happening here is no one is in trusting the sovereignty of God anymore and they are giving Him a bad name, as much as they themselves…

    It would be wise to apply scripture here and in every area of our life and be as BOLD as the Apostle Paul was in making sure he never offended God or man, Jew of Gentile when presenting the Gospel message of salvation.

    Here is a scripture I found and I will bless you all with it free of charge as the Holy Spirit gave it to me to read the other morning: Micah 3:9-12

    Very powerful words against the iniquity of the heads of the house of Jacob and rulers of the house of Israel and since we are no longer under their ruler-ship and now, since being in Christ are all priests of God we fall under this same warning giving by the prophet Micah… Pray and seek God’s perfect will in all of this, but please don’t let your own desires, because you might have itching ears, heap up for yourselves teachers that lead you away from the truth and turn you aside to fables… : )

    Real quick note too: Remember, a person teaching the Word of God had their basic needs met, NOT their desired needs met. And of course, this was a meal, a place to lay their head, and I’m sure a good change of clothes from time to time as they went from homes to towns spreading the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They lived simply and never EXPECTED a dime as well as never preaching to sow $1,000 seeds of faith, anticipating to be modern day millionaires! I feel in my spirit, they truly just trusted in the LORD and the power of the Holy Spirit as they followed His lead…

    Joseph V.

    March 4, 2012 at 9:39 am

    • Real quick note too: Remember, a person teaching the Word of God had their basic needs met, NOT their desired needs met. And of course, this was a meal, a place to lay their head, and I’m sure a good change of clothes from time to time as they went from homes to towns spreading the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They lived simply and never EXPECTED a dime as well as never preaching to sow $1,000 seeds of faith, anticipating to be modern day millionaires! I feel in my spirit, they truly just trusted in the LORD and the power of the Holy Spirit as they followed His lead…

      Amen Joseph.

      Sean Scott

      March 5, 2012 at 5:37 pm

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  7. My wife and I were just discussing this this morning while reading John 2:16-16 in the NLT:

    “Jesus made a whip from some ropes and chased them all out of the Temple. He drove out the sheep and cattle, scattered the money changers’ coins over the floor, and turned over their tables. Then, going over to the people who sold doves, he told them, “Get these things out of here. STOP TURNING MY FATHER’S HOUSE INTO A MARKETPLACE!”

    If it irritated Jesus, it should irritate us! 🙂

    Great word Sean!

    ejlear

    March 4, 2012 at 10:54 pm

  8. “…..What then is my reward? That in my preaching I may present the gospel FREE OF CHARGE…..”
    .
    .
    FREE OF CHARGE….

    That’s the way it was always supposed to have been…. FREE OF CHARGE.

    What Christians did was build a new paradigm for the Church, a strange wineskin (not a new wineskin, a foreign one) and that paradigm or framework can only function if the Gospel and Word of God is charged for.

    FREE OF CHARGE won’t work in the new paradigm. And that is their objection.

    And there’s too much money and egos at stake to consider going back to the original paradigm of Church.

    FREE OF CHARGE worked in the original paradigm. The way the Apostles lived and planted the Churches “worked”, to say the least.

    This tells us the new paradigm is wrong. It is wrong bcos it forces people to corrupt the truth and to sin.

    Didn’t we face this dilemma after we got saved? We knew that God had called us to serve His people, but we could not see how we could serve them within the religious system without compromising the Word of God.

    I faced this as a young “worship leader”, faced with the option of becoming an official “pastor” in a denomination. As i met with other pastors i soon realized that i did not want to become like them, that is, to compromise the truth simply for the sake of gaining a position and an income. That was 23 years ago.

    ian vincent

    March 5, 2012 at 1:44 am

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