I Corinthians 9:12 If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ.
As born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, there are some ways we can hinder the gospel.
We hinder the gospel when we don’t tell it. In II Kings 7 we find the story of six lepers who were isolated from the city. This was customary because leprosy was contagious; there was no cure. Without a miracle death was imminent. The city was under siege. There was no food. They went to the enemy camp knowing that either way they could or would die. However, when they got to the camp no one was there. God had scattered them overnight. Everything was left at the camp. They could have kept it all to themselves but decided they must go and tell the king’s household what was going on. Morally, that was the right thing to do; they must let others know of the plenty at the camp. Do we not have that same responsibility with the gospel? We have the good news of the gospel that will save people from hell. We need to share it; otherwise we hinder the gospel.
We also hinder the gospel when we don’t live it. Back in chapter 8 we read what Paul said to the people about eating meat that had been offered to idols. He said there was nothing wrong with it. Why? Idols are nothing. There is one God. But he said in verse 9 But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to them that are weak. If eating it hurts others, then it is wrong. When we find ourselves wondering if we should or should not do a particular thing we need to think about it this way. Does the Bible speak to it specifically? If the Bible says that something is wrong, then it’s wrong. We don’t need to pray about it. The Bible has already settled it. The Ten Commandments is a list of absolutes. We already know it’s a sin to steal, lie, commit adultery….and so on. We don’t need to wonder about it; we don’t need to pray about whether we can do these things. Does the Bible speak to it in principle? There are some principles taught to us in the Bible. One is to remember that our body is the temple of God. In light of that, we can be guided on what we do. Does it bring glory to the Lord? In 10:31 Paul said Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. If what you’re thinking about doing will not bring glory to God, then you shouldn’t do it. How will it affect our witness to others? We live our Christian life before others. Chapter 8:13 says Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend. Paul said to put others ahead of our own desires. Others should see Christ in us. Second Corinthians 3:2 says Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men. We are the only Bible some people will ever read. We need to have a positive influence on those around us. When/if we lose our testimony, we’re in sad shape.
We hinder the gospel when we don’t give to it. Chapter 9 describes our responsibility in giving. Paul said he should have been fully supported by the giving of others, but in order to keep people from speaking against it, he refused compensation. He chose to work in his trade as a tentmaker. He worked during the day and preached at night. He didn’t want to be accused of being in it for the money. We know that some people are; if the money went away they wouldn’t be in the ministry. That’s not how it’s to be. Paul teaches we are to support the work of God. It is truly more blessed to give than receive. People who don’t love God as they should don’t give as they should.
We hinder the gospel when we don’t obey it. First Peter 4:17 says For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? Second Thessalonians 1:7-9 says And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power. Jesus is coming and he’s coming to take vengeance on those who do not obey the gospel. This is a warning to the unsaved. You may believe in God. You may believe the gospel is true. But have you received it in your heart? Just believing won’t bring about salvation. You must receive the gospel into your heart by asking the Lord to forgive your sins.
We all have a responsibility to the gospel. As Christians we must not hinder it by our actions. If you’re not a Christian, you must receive the gospel of Jesus Christ into your heart to miss the judgment of God. Let’s all do right by the gospel.