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Stewardship Series 09 #2
1 Corinthians 4:1-5
A Faithful Steward
Our emphasis this month is on stewardship, caring for the things the Lord has given us and honoring him.
If you were not with us last week, we invested in all willing, a sum of money and asked you to pray about how you could take the investment of the Lord’s money and after a month, return the investment with increase on the final Sunday in November.
We gave each Adult $10 and each child $5.
If you were not here but would like to participate with us in this exercise in stewardship, you can see a deacon after the service and they will gladly share with you the same opportunity.
Today we move on in this study of stewardship.
Paul begins this section of his letter with the phrase “so then … regard us” …
The last chapter begins with Paul saying that they were still spiritually infants, immature in their faith and his job was to feed them the simple food to enable them to grow up
Then he points to the evidence of their immaturity in the faith 3:3 says you are “still worldly” he said they quarrel over style of leadership or preaching styles … some saying they like Paul, others Apollos, still others prefer Peter.
Then in verse 16 he reminds them that they are God’s Temple and God’s Spirit lives in them, reminding them that we just can’t live our lives based on a worldly understanding of things.
Verse 19 says “the wisdom of the world is foolishness in God’s sight”
So, we have no room for boasting about church, or leaders, or ourselves
V21 says “all things are yours” this present life, leaders, this world, even death and the future to come are OURs
But though we Have all things 3:23 gives us the Big Perspective “You are OF Christ … and Christ is OF God”
Just as Jesus Submits to the Father though all things are HIS … so we must submit to Christ in all things though we have been given all things …
And we start chapter 4 .. “SO THEN”
Read Chapter 4:1-5
So then …
It is Required*
This instruction is not a suggestion, an idea, or an option
It is required – apaiteo /ap-ah-ee-the-o/ to ask back; demand back, exact something due
This is an Expectation, a command for a steward
In the previous chapter, Paul has been talking about himself, Apollos and Peter and he continues that thought saying “looks at us, are “servants” …
A Servant of Christ*
A Servant of Christ or Minister of Christ in today’s culture sounds lofty.
“We are Servants of Christ” … we are important, we are noteworthy, we are special …
NOPE … that is not this word
Huperates /hoop-ay-ret-ace/ servant (literally) an underrower, one who serves with their hands.
Paul says we aren’t the Captain of the ship … we aren’t the navigator, we aren’t even the Pilot … we are just down below deck rowing when the task master says “row”
We are all equals … I am not a special person, just a servant
and so if you will sit alongside me and row with me while we go where our Captain, Navigator, and Pilot directs we can faithfully serve him
We are servants of Christ …
If Given a Trust*
We are but underrowers but also we are “those entrusted” …
Oikonomos – manager of household affairs; a steward, manager; to whom the head of the house has entrusted the management of his affairs
One definition says “a steward is a servant who manages everything for his master, but who himself OWNS NOTHING”
What have we been given as a Trust?
Every Person has been given life
Every Person has been given Resources
If you OWN them or HOLD on to them, then in a sense they OWN or Control You.
So you ask, do my things own me?
My finances, my home, my car, my possessions, my job, any part of my life, does it OWN me
Or, does God own those things and I am a manager of them FOR HIM.
Do you seek to bring glory and pleasure to God through your life, resources, home, car, possessions, job, and all?
Then Every Born Again Follower of Jesus has been given things in trust too.
Salvation comes with Eternal Life, the Holy Spirit within, Spiritual Gifts, the Commission of Service, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ itself.
They are NOT ours, they belong to God and are a trust given to us to manage for the glory of God
Your salvation belongs to God
Your spiritual gifts belong to God
The Gospel of Jesus Christ given to you, belongs to God.
Paul calls it “the secret things” or a “mystery”.
We understand the love and grace of God by Experience even more than by comprehension
And there is a world without Christ that needs to know what YOU know about Jesus
So …
Do you have life?
Do you have Resources?
Do you have Eternal Life, the Holy Spirit, Spiritual Gifts, the Gospel and a Commission to Serve?
Yes, Yes, Yes, and more yeses …
You have been given a trust, not just Paul the Apostle, or Preachers, or Missionaries or Deacons, or whatever
You ARE a Steward
You Serve God
You are caring for things that belong to him
And you must
Prove Faithful*
So, you have to agree that we have a trust
We have a trust in the natural realm and in the spiritual realm, and we must prove faithful … Let’s break these two words down
This word translated “prove” or “found” in the NASB is the Greek word heurisko – to come upon; after searching to find a thing sought; to find by enquiry, thought, examination, scrutiny, observation, to find out by practice and experience
When you put this word together with verse 4 that says there is a judging coming … you understand that because we have a trust and that trust is accountable
This matches with the teaching of Jesus last week depicted in the Parable of the King giving monetary resources and then calling in the stewards to give account for their actions.
And there is the parable of the talents where 3 stewards were told to care for the Master’s goods and then give account when he returned.
So, because we have life, resources, jobs, spiritual gifts, eternal life, a commission to service and evangelism … we must prove ourselves under careful observation and scrutiny.
“Prove” carries with it the understanding of obedience to instructions and expectations and the understanding of desiring to please the Master first, most, and sometimes ONLY.
I remember when I was in the 6th Grade.
I started babysitting for some church members.
I was only a few years older than the boys I was watching.
The rules they had to follow, what to eat, watch on TV, and when to go to bed weren’t always popular.
I wanted to be cool and accepted by those boys, but I didn’t answer to them and they didn’t pay me.
So, it wasn’t important if they liked me.
I answered to their parents who had entrusted those boys to my care.
We have to prove ourselves to be obedient with the resources given us by our Lord
I will be specific though not exhaustive as I have two more messages to follow on this subject
In regards to Finances the Scripture teaches …
… consistent or planned giving in accordance with your income
… percentage giving is the pattern laid out in the O.T. and understood as a standard in the N.T.
… sacrificial giving of offerings were common as directed by a leading of the Holy Spirit
You may not be there yet.
You may not be giving a tithe instead you might be giving based on what fits or makes sense to you.
But I want you to know that you can trust the Lord to take care of you if you will obey him.
If you’ve gotten yourself in a situation where giving seems impossible, then take a planned, prayed over series of steps toward obedience in regards to our giving
Stay with me …
What about our Life and Witness?
In Life, we are instructed in scripture on how to live.
It is to be a life of a disciple, imitator of Christ.
We are responsible for how we obey that command.
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