Word@Work, Let God's Word energise your working day!

Compelling Gospel

1 Corinthians 9:16-18
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! If I preach voluntarily, I have a reward; if not voluntarily, I am simply discharging the trust committed to me. 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. (NIVUK)

Some people in Corinth may have wondered: if Paul does not get any money for preaching the gospel, then why does he do it (and put himself at risk from mobs, jealous religious people and Roman soldiers)? The Apostle wanted to make clear that his preaching did not boost his ego, nor were the associated risks a sort of 'danger game' that gave him a thrill. Presenting the gospel was a simple act of obedience. He was privileged to be appointed by the Lord Jesus Christ to tell the gospel (Acts 26:15-18). And he was deeply grateful, because He knew all his sins had been forgiven when he trusted in Jesus (1 Timothy 1:16).
Jesus not only commissioned him to spread the gospel message, bringing people to repentance and faith in Him, but He also implanted a deep desire into Paul's heart to do it (Romans 10:1). The Apostle was compelled by the truth of the gospel and by the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 20:22). Failure to tell others would have been disobedience to God and spiritual negligence towards many people who faced eternal judgement, from which they would be saved if they heard and believed the gospel message (Acts 26:19-20).
There was a reward for Paul, but it was not money, or public approval. It was sharing Christ's joy over people repenting, putting their faith in the Lord Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit and set on course for heaven (1 Thessalonians 2:19). Paul's apostleship was not about him, his role or authority. He was called to work with God so that the world might know that Jesus loves them and had died to rescue them from God's wrath over their sins (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10).
"Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!" That is a very strong statement, which should find an echo in every believer. Yet all too many believers ignore the fact that they must be witnesses to the grace of Christ. The Holy Spirit empowers so why do so many remain silent (Acts 1:8)? Do some leaders love their position, and the support they receive, more than the gospel (1 Thessalonians 2:3-6)? The Lord who has called us to Himself has also commissioned us to be His ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20). In the workplace or the local community we carry the truth of the gospel - the key to the kingdom of heaven. Ask the Lord to refresh your heart with love to obey Him and with love for people who do not know Him yet. Ask Him to compel your heart to share the gospel. 

God of grace. Thank You for compelling me to come to the safety of Your love through the gospel. Forgive me for ignoring Your call to share the gospel, or holding back through fear, or being preoccupied with myself. Please refresh my love for You and amaze me again with the wonder of Your gospel so that I will be compelled to tell others that Jesus has died to save them. In His Name. Amen.
Bible Book: 

© Dr Paul Adams