Scripture: 1 Corinthians 9:19-27


Did you ever fall into the trap of trying to become a different person to impress a girl? Or brutally making fun of a friend or using bad language just to fit in with the cool kids. Or maybe lowering your standards to get noticed or get ahead at work? Guilty of any of these? I know I am. We often try so hard to be liked and included that it seems we will do almost anything. These poor choices backfire most of the time, so don’t make the same mistakes I did.

Today, in a letter to the church in Corinth, the apostle Paul talks about giving up some of his liberty and freedom in order to share the Gospel with more people. But Paul never lowers his biblical standards or stoops to sin to do this. While he maintained his godly lifestyle, he was willing to give up his personal preferences and even some long-held traditions to see lost people become followers of Jesus Christ. Paul was not doing any of these things to be cool or to be liked or to win the Best Apostle Award. His goal was always that Jesus Christ would be magnified and God would receive all the glory he deserves. It was never about Paul, it was always about Jesus.

Paul reached unbelievers where they were. But he still protected his testimony and kept his personal life in full obedience to Jesus Christ and His Word.


  • We are continuing our series in 1 Corinthians called Living in Light of Eternity. The Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Corinth about some very serious problems they were dealing with like sexual morality, marriage, singleness, using our spiritual gifts, and the need for everything to be done in love. And then he gave them encouraging theology about the resurrection of Jesus Christ and our future resurrection as believerss.
  • That’s where the series title “Living in Light of Eternity” comes from. With our view of eternity, knowing that our souls will go on forever and ever, knowing that God will judge our behavior, and knowing that His Son Jesus died so that we can spend eternity with God, how should we think, live, and act today?‌
  • The city of Corinth was a key seaport city in the Roman Empire’s trade route. Like many other wealthy crossroads cities, it had a reputation for immorality, religious diversity and corruption. A lot like our culture today. As we read this letter to another group of Christians in another church from another century, let’s watch for principles or teachings that apply to our church community right here in Dunkirk.

Freedom and Slavery

(v 19, 23)

Paul again references the liberty and freedom he has in Jesus Christ. Because he was willing to give up any kind of pay as a minister of the Gospel, in verse 19, Paul says I am free from all. I don’t owe anyone anything. You don’t pay me. I don’t work for you. But, I chose to be a servant to all. To give up my liberty and freedoms, so that I might win more people to Christ. Paul was willing to give up his choices to help see others come to Jesus. In verse 23, he says, I do all of this for the sake of the gospel, so that I can share with other people the blessings of forgiveness, salvation, eternal life, peace with God, and even freedom in Jesus Christ.

Winning people to Christ is not a contest.

Motive is love!

Sports Analogy

People of Corinth in the first century didn’t have TV or Smart Phones, but they loved watching the Olympic games. The Olympics had been going on in Greece for centuries and were a major draw. And right here in Corinth, they had the Isthmian Games, held every two years. Athletes competed in running, long jump, boxing, javelin, wrestling, chariot racing, and a boxing wrestling mash up called pankration – kind of like UFC where almost anything goes except biting and eye gouging.

So Paul, knowing his audience, uses a sports analogy to help the people in Corinth understand. Even if you are not a serious athlete or a big sports fan, you will also understand these concepts.


(vv 20-22)

Weak (Not Understanding)

Not a holy huddle!
Get out there and let your light shine! Matt 5:16

Eyes on the Prize

(v 24)

Jesus Christ is the prize. Help others find Him too!

Philippians 3:13-14


(vv 25-27)

Spiritual Discipline
Giving up what keeps you from growing

Book Recommendation: Habits of Grace by David Mathis

Avoid Disqualification

(vv 26-27)

Follow the rules – Obey God’s

Walk the Walk!

Take Aways

How is your agility and flexibility?

What would someone else say your life goal is?

How is your spiritual fitness plan coming?

Are you safe-guarding your personal life?

Need help?