Supporting the Ministry (Galatians #25)

Text: Galatians 6:6-8, 1 Corinthians 9:6-14

We come to the subject of a church’s responsibility to support the minister and a pastor living off the support of his congregation.  There are at least five times in the New Testament Paul deals with contributing to the minister that helps you spiritually.  It’s awkward for me to talk about this subject, but it happens to be where we are in Galatians.

We are not very practical when it comes to their spiritual walk and relationship with God.  Some Christians are spiritual welfare recipients where they get, but never give.  And if they treated their job like they treat their walk with Jesus Christ, they wouldn’t hold a job for longer than a week.  No dependability.  No responsibility.  No availability.  I show up when I want to.  I do things on my terms.  I don’t take direction.  And I have no idea how I fit into the bigger picture.

Illustrations of support

  • Soldiers (1 Corinthians 9:7)
    • Soldiers don’t serve their own missions.
    • Military is called “service”.  Citizens pay for the service of the soldier.
    • The soldier doesn’t leave his family because he feels like it.  He doesn’t travel to a war zone because he wants to.
    • The soldier is supported because of the work he does.
    • Likewise the minister goes where he is needed.
  • Farmers (1 Corinthians 9:7)
    • Partake of the fruit of their own labor.
  • Shepherds (1 Corinthians 9:7)
    • They partake of their own flock.

Impact of support

  • Ox (1 Corinthians 9:9-10)
    • That wasn’t written to tell you how God allows oxen to eat.
    • 1 Timothy 5:17-18 Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. 18 For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.
    • (Why communism doesn’t hope.  It creates hopelessness for the productive workers.)
    • Applied to ministry, a minister unsupported can create hopelessness.
  • No support, the work does not continue. (1 Corinthians 9:11)
    • Whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap.
    • God is not mocked.
    • 2 Corinthians 11:7-9 – support had to come from somewhere else
  • Everything is for the gospel’s sake (1 Corinthians 9:12)

Instruction on support

  • Levites (1 Corinthians 9:13-14)
    • Old testament instruction found in the Levitical priesthood.
    • Leviticus 6:14-18
  • Christians low view of godliness, low view of spiritual work, low estimation of the work of God all lead to indifference to supporting the work of God.  Malachi 1:7-14 showed how the Jews stopped caring about the ministry and began bringing leftovers or unwanted junk to offer God.
  • Communication is defined in Philippians 4:15 as giving in exchange for ministering.  Interesting Paul puts the sowing and reaping in this context.  We typically use the verse to apply to sin, but in context Paul is talking about support for the work.  Notice the cross reference in 1 Corinthians 9:11.