10 Sep 2023 | 1 Corinthians Sermon Series | Laying Down Your Rights (P&P)

September 10, 2023 | Prayer & Praise Services

Rev Benjamin Lau
10 Sep 2023 | 1 Corinthians Sermon Series | Laying Down Your Rights (P&P)

September 10, 2023 | Prayer & Praise Services

Rev Benjamin Lau
Scripture Passage: 1 Corinthians 9:1-27 (NRSVUE)

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Summary l Laying down our rights is an anathema to the world. We think we are entitled to have everything our own way. However, it becomes problematic when it leads to an inability to see beyond our own needs. Paul shares valuable insights on how to lay down our rights for the sake of the Gospel. Here are three discipleship lessons from this passage.

1.Laying down our rights… to do God’s work by relinquishing our entitlements (9:1-14)

Paul argues that he is an Apostle because he had a special commission from God to lay the foundation of the church. He met the resurrected Christ in a supernatural experience on the road to Damascus. Therefore, he could rightfully expect financial support from the Corinthian Church. However, he laid aside this right rather than hinder the gospel of Christ.

2. Laying down our rights… for the sake of the Gospel by adapting to others (9:19-23)

Paul always tried fervently to bridge the gap by adapting to different cultures and customs in order to share the gospel. He became all things to all people that by all possible means he might save some. (V22) He changed the way he communicated the gospel without changing the content of the gospel. This requires a lot of divine wisdom. We call it relational evangelism where we value and respect our friends and contextualize the gospel in a way that they can understand it better. Our Singapore constitution guarantees freedom of religion and allows us to peacefully share our faith in a respectful way.

Paul would not eat food offered to idols if it was a stumbling block to weaker (newer) Christians  who felt it was wrong although he personally had no objections. He had one objective in mind always and that was to spread the gospel and save souls.

3. Laying down our rights… for spiritual growth with spiritual discipline and perseverance (9:24-27)

Paul went on to give an analogy between the Christian life and running a race. A professional athlete will be willing to undergo strict and arduous discipline to train for a major race. How much more we should be willing to make our Christian life count for something! We too need to be disciplined in Bible study, prayer etc. in order to nurture a deep relationship with God. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith! (Heb 12:2). Jesus was the supreme example of one who lay down his rights…He gave up his  divine privileges to become human and obedient to death. (Phil 2:6-8) This was out of love for humanity, to save us from our sins.

Jesus challenged His disciples to deny themselves, take up their cross and follow Him.  (Matt 16:24). Paul argues that if an athlete would go to extraordinary lengths to win a crown that will not last, how much more we should do so for a crown that lasts forever! When we lay down our rights, sacrifice our personal entitlement and adapt to others we  emulate the selflessness of Christ.  And this is where the true greatness of the Kingdom of God lies…not in asserting our rights but in joyfully surrendering them! We are able to  do this only through the power of the Holy Spirit!

(Sermon notes by Frances Lim)


  1.  What is one key takeaway for you from this message?
  2. Are there entitlements in your life that you have to relinquish to do God’s work?
  3. Are there areas of your life where you can adapt to others so that you can witness to them?
  4. How can you practically lay down your rights so that you can grow spiritually and persevere on in the faith? 
  5. Share your journey of laying down your rights for the sake of following Christ. If you struggle in laying down your rights, what is preventing you from doing that?

Wesley Communications Team
Posted by Wesley Communications Team

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