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Preaching The Gospel PDF Print E-mail
Written by J.H. Oliphant   

“For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward; but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me.” -1 Cor. ix. IV

The thing referred to by Paul is the preaching of the gospel; and the meaning seems to be that if he did it willingly and without cross to the flesh and entered upon it from fleshly motives, as one engaging in some trade or craft, he would have his reward. The man who preaches for a livelihood as the chief end to be secured, will have his reward, because he will see that it is pledged to him beforehand, saying, like the degenerate sons of Eli, “Put me, I pray thee, into one of the priests’ offices, that I may eat a piece of bread.” This seems to be the meaning of the first words of the text. It cor­responds with our Saviour’s teaching on the Mount, who said of those who made a show of their alms-giving and their prayers, that verily they should have their reward. The reward moved them to act, and however well they might have acted, it reaches no higher than would a commercial transaction for private gain.

“If I do this thing willingly,” according to my will and carnal nature, I will secure the reward I have in view; “but if against my will,” then the filthy lucre, the honor and applause of men and approval of the world will sink out of my sight. If it comes as a bur­den and a cross, and I go to my task feeling that necessity is laid upon me, and that “woe is me if I preach not.” then a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me. The true minister has the burden of duty laid upon him, and it becomes a load difficult to bear. If their histories were written, they would tell of many a Jonah when called to preach, rising up and fleeing from the presence of the Lord. They may find a ship and pay the fare to some distant port, and think to get away from the Lord, but they must learn that the sea is His and He made it; the storms are His, the monsters of the deep are His: how futile to think of escaping from such a God as this! All of them have to say with the Apostle, “Woe is me if I preach not the gospel.”

What a spectacle it must have been to see the disciples of Jesus as they went out from His presence to preach the gospel of the kingdom without gold or silver provided for them or scrip for their journey but going out as sheep in the midst of wolves, and being assured that scourging and persecutions were in store for them. They must have started as Paul did, under the pressure of necessity, not counting their lives dear unto themselves, that they might do the will of the Master, and prove, as Paul did, that a dispensation of the gospel was committed unto them. The dear Lord be the strength wisdom and comfort of all who go forth in His name, bearing the reproaches of Christ as the thousands who have gone before, through flood and flame and are now sheltered near that same precious Christ in the world of glory.


Last Updated ( Sunday, 17 September 2006 )
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The Primitive or Old School Baptists cling to the doctrines and practices held by Baptist Churches throughout America at the close of the Revolutionary War. This site is dedicated to providing access to our rich heritage, with both historic and contemporary writings.