"The Stewardship of the Church”
I believe there is nothing so important to Christian GROWTH as the proper understanding and practice of STEWARDSHIP. I firmly believe that if good habits of STEWARDSHIP are formed early in the Christian life, this will serve as a deterrent to CARELESSNESS and WORLDLINESS.
Let’s face it. Money is an intricate part of life including how we get it, where we keep it, and how we use it. Jesus spoke more about money than He did about Heaven or Hell, yet the average Christian is misinformed about the real purpose of money. Too many wrongly think that money is the solution to financial problems. These messages will not only present you with a plan of stewardship, but will also point out the pitfalls on the path to financial freedom.
In I Peter 4:10 we read, “As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” By definition, a steward means one who ADMINISTERS, MANAGES or KEEPS ACCOUNTS.
Now in understanding the concept of STEWARDSHIP, there are three basic principles.
First: Biblical stewardship recognizes God as the DIVINE OWNER of all things.
Deuteronomy 10:14, “Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens is the LORD’S thy God, the earth also, with all that therein is.”
Psalms 24:1, "The earth is the Lord's"
Haggai 2:8, "The silver and the gold is mine."
Ezekiel 18:4, "Behold all souls are mine."
Everything you and I possess even our life, talent, treasure and time, all belongs God. We have been given a sacred trust to manage it on His behalf.
Second: Biblical stewardship recognizes all we possess as a SACRED TREASURE. All that we have:
our LIFE, our SALVATION, our CHURCH,
our JOB, our FAMILY, our CHILDREN,
our TIME, our TALENTS, and our MONEY,
comes from the hand of God. It is a sacred treasure He has placed in our hands.
In Deuteronomy 8:18 we find, "But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God, for it is He that giveth thee power to get wealth."
In James 1:17 we read, "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and cometh down from the father of Lights…"
In I Timothy 7:17 we read, "God giveth us richly all things to enjoy."
Third: Biblical stewardship recognizes our ACCOUNTABILITY.
In Luke 16:2 Jesus said, "… give an account of thy stewardship …"
In Romans 14:12 we are told, "So then everyone of us shall give account of himself to God."
In 2 Corinthians 5:10 we read, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad."
There is coming a day when, as believers, we will face the Lord Jesus Christ at the Judgment Seat of Christ. There God will call YOU to give an account of how you managed your LIFE, TALENT, TREASURE, and TIME he has given to you.
The idea of STEWARDSHIP is very prominent among the thirty-eight parables found in the Gospels of our Lord. More than a dozen parables have to do with STEWARDSHIP. Let me explain just two of them.
Number 1: Matthew 25:14-30:
“For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. (15) And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. (16) Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. (17) And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. (18) But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money. (19) After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. (20) And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. (21) His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. (22) He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. (23) His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. (24) Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: (25) And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. (26) His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: (27) Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. (28) Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. (29) For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. (30) And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Here we have the PARABLE OF THE TALENTS. Now in our Lord's day, a talent was a piece of money. It was that amount of money a Hebrew was equal to carrying on his person. A talent today has come to mean ABILITIES that you and I have been given by the Lord.
As I read this parable I want you to notice the underlying theme is FAITHFULNESS to the TASK. Even though the ABILITIES or TALENTS are different, the same reward is given. Not all of us have,
the same gifts, the same abilities,
the same capabilities the same talents.
BUT ALL OF US CAN BE FAITHFUL.
Number 2: Luke 12:42-48.
“And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season? (43) Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. (44) Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath. (45) But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken; (46) The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. (47) And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. (48) But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.”
I want you to especially notice verse 42, and the phrase, "Who then is that faithful and wise steward?" Please don't sit back and say, “Well, the Pastor isn't talking to me.” God calls every man, every woman and every child of God in this room to be good stewards.
I Corinthians 4:1-2 “Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. (2) Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.”
In a very real sense, these verses apply to all of us. I believe God is not so much looking for TALENTED people as He is for FAITHFUL people. I have often said that God is not bankrupt of BEAUTY, BRAINS, TALENT, INTELLIGENCE, or STRENGTH. When I look for someone to serve the Lord, I am looking for FAITHFULNESS and LOYALTY.
Again in I Peter 4:10 we read, “As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”
Everyone in this audience has some sort of gift. The question is “DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOUR SPIRITUAL GIFT IS?” If you do not know what it is, you would be wise to pray, and ask God to show you what your spiritual gift is. No matter how young or old you are, EVERY CHRISTIAN HAS A GIFT TO BE USED IN SERVICE for the Lord.
This verse says, "As every man." That means every man and woman is a steward. When talking about the STEWARDSHIP OF THE CHURCH, I am not speaking to just a handful of preachers or a handful of church leaders, but to every born-again child of God. You have a spiritual gift to use, even if it is only to pray for the mighty power of God to touch this ministry.
Please allow me to take the rest of our time together in this service to point out to you FOUR different areas God has given us to manage. They should be easy to remember since each begins with the letter "T". Here they are: TIME, TALENT, TREASURE, and TALK.
First: We are to be stewards over our TIME: As there is no way to show you all that the Bible says concerning time, let me share just a few references.
Psalm 39:4-5 "Lord, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is, that I may know how frail I am. Behold thou hast made my days as an hand breath; mine age is as nothing before thee …"
Psalm 89:47 "Remember how short my time is…"
Psalm 103:15-16, "As for man, his days are like grass; as a flower of the field, so he florisheth. For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone …"
A day consists of 24 hours. A day has 1,440 minutes. A day has 86,400 seconds. The last 24 hours are gone. You can neither redo nor undo anything in the past 86,400 seconds. God gives us time and makes us managers of it.
Someone said, "Live for today. Yesterday is a cashed check and cannot be renegotiated. Tomorrow is a promissory note and cannot be utilized today. Today in time is like cash on hand, spend it wisely."
In Psalms 118:24 we read, "This is the day which the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it."
I have only just a minute.
Just 60 seconds in it.
Forced upon me, can't refuse it,
Didn't seek it, didn't choose it.
Yet, I must suffer if I abuse it.
Just a tiny little minute, But eternity is in it."
Our prayer ought to be from Psalm 90:12, "Lord teach me how to number my days and recognize how few they are, help me to spend them as I should."
The brevity of life should cause us to REFOCUS our perspective and remind us this world is not our home.
The brevity of life should cause us to REORDER our priorities.
The brevity of life should cause us to RE-EVALUATE our personal lives.
In Colossians 4:5 we read, “Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.” We are to walk in wisdom toward them who are without Christ, those who are unsaved. Notice we are to do so by "redeeming the time." That means we are to seize upon every opportunity or make the most of every opportunity we have with the unsaved to witness to them, win them, and get them saved.
Think about this for a few minutes. We must realize that the unsaved do not judge our Christianity by our Bible, or who Jesus is, or from our preaching, but they do judge our Christianity by how we as Christians live! The unsaved world forms its opinion of Christianity from us, the Christians! God said, "Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time."
The unsaved do not understand our doctrine. But the unsaved do understand when a Christian is a GOOD CHRISTIAN. The unsaved do know when a CHRISTIAN is INCONSISTENT. The unsaved do recognize when a CHRISTIAN IS A HYPOCRITE, which means he says one thing and does another.
In fact, an unsaved person in the world puts a higher value on Christian living than on Christian doctrine.
He does not concern himself about what those people at the GSBC BELIEVE.
But he does think a lot about how those people of GSBC LIVE.
God has made us managers of TIME.
We need to make TIME for our families.
We need to make TIME for God in devotions.
We need to make TIME for fellowship.
If we are too busy for Christian fellowship in the house of God, we are too busy. Please hear me, we must redeem the time for fellowship with God and with the people of God.
Second: We are to be stewards over our TALENTS. Here is our second "T" word. God has made us stewards over what the Bible refers to as "Talents." Now a talent in the Bible is a coin, a piece of money. The word talent as we use it refers to a special ability. In the Bible, special abilities are called "GIFTS." Every man has a gift from God. In I Corinthians 7:7 we read, "But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that."
Some Christians draw up like a snail into their shell and say, "Poor little me. I have no talent God can use." HOLD IT RIGHT THERE! God says that you DO have a gift, for in I Corinthians 12:7 we read, "But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal."
You may ask, “Preacher, what do you think my gift is?” Unfortunately, I do not know what yours gift is. I found mine. It is preaching.
You can find yours.
Let God show it to you.
Ask Him to reveal it to you.
Recognize that not everyone has the gift of teaching, preaching or music. There are many other gifts: helping, administering, giving, encouraging, praying or comforting. Read through the passages in I Corinthians 12, Romans 12 and Ephesians 4:7-16 and seek insight from the Lord as to what your gift is. Do not worry about your age, just accept that gift and use it for the glory of the Lord.
Here is a tragic thing. Did you know you can lose your gift and become useless to God and then lose the blessings from God? Yes, as Christians we are blessed by the Word of God and we are blessed by our fellowship with God and God's people. But I contend that we can receive greater blessings when, in the will of God, we are exercising our spiritual gift for the glory of God.
The parable that I read at the beginning of this sermon, from Matthew 25:14-30,talked about two men who took what the Lord had given them and doubled it.
The first man received FIVE Talents and when Jesus returned he had doubled it to TEN.
The other fellow received TWO talents and then doubled that to FOUR.
The third man was afraid and DID NOTHING WITH HIS TALENT. He just wrapped it in a napkin and hid it in the earth. Remember what the Lord said, "TAKE IT WAY FROM HIM."
I sincerely believe there is many a fine Christian man or Christian woman, even in this church, who has lost their talent or gift from God because they did not use what God had given to you.
We are STEWARDS over our TIME, and
We are STEWARDS over our TALENTS.
Third: We are to be stewards over our TREASURE. There is no question, in the STEWARDSHIP OF THE CHURCH, that God teaches us to be stewards of material things. Briefly, let me say several things about money.
In the first place, our wealth comes from God. In Deuteronomy 8:18 God said to the children of Israel, "But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth …" Who helps us to get money in our pocket? GOD DOES!. Whether it is LITTLE or MUCH, God gives the power to accumulate wealth.
In the second place, money cannot satisfy. You may say, “Preacher, I've heard that so many times, it sounds like a broken record.” Yes, but there are not many people including Christians who believe that. They think, "The more money I get, the happier I'll be!" Turn in your Bible to I Timothy 6:6-10,
“But godliness with contentment is great gain. (7) For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. (8) And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. (9) But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. (10) For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”
Remember money may buy you a steak, but it can't buy you an appetite.
Money may buy you a king size bed, but it will not buy you rest.
You can accumulate; but only God can give you peace.
In the third place, money cannot take the place of God. In Matthew 6:24 we read, "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and Mammon." Mammon means an IDOL that stands for riches people worship. You cannot idolize money and serve God.
In the fourth place, we are to give our Tithes and Offerings to God. In Old Testament times, they were to bring all their tithes and offerings into the Temple. In Malachi 3:8-12 we read,
“Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. (9) Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. (10) Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. (11) And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts.”
According to I Corinthians 16:2, in New Testament times, the church is the place to which believers are to bring their tithes and offerings using a systemic approach. “Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.”
If God blesses you with, say, $500.00 a week in earnings, His part is one 10th or $50.00. God made us stewards of our TREASURE. Be sure to teach your children to tithe. It is important to stress being obedient to the Lord.
We do not give just to receive a blessing. We give because it is the RIGHT thing to do. We give because it is required, and in return for our obedience, God will give a blessing.
In Proverbs 39-10 we read "Honour the Lord with thy substance and with the first fruits of all thine increase: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine."God will bless when there is "cheerful giving on our part."
Fourth: We are to be stewards over our TALK. We are to be stewards of information. In II Timothy 2:2 we read, "And the things that thou hast HEARD from me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men who shall be able to teach others also."
If the Bible was made clear to you, share it.
If the Gospel was made clear to you, share it.
If training has been given to you, share it.
Take what came to you from the last generation, and share it with the next. It is as simple as that. Our church is a place in which we can fully exercise our faith and praise God for His blessings. Stewardship of our TIME, TALENT, TREASURE, and TALK is unequivocally for the Glory of God.
If God has spoken to your heart after reading the sermon, "The Stewardship of the Church” then right now talk to God about what He has spoken to you.
Do you have the assurance that one day you will go to heaven? If you have no assurance that you know Jesus Christ, then I trust you will decide to accept Him as your personal Savior. The Bible tells us in
Acts 16:31, “…Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…”
Romans 10:13, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
This prayer is here for those who need to ask Jesus to be their personal Savior: “I do want to go to Heaven. I know I am a sinner, and I do believe Jesus Christ died for me. I realize I cannot buy this great salvation, nor can I earn it. Knowing Jesus died on the cross and arose from the grave to pay my sin debt and to purchase my salvation, I do now trust Him as my Savior, and from this moment on I am completely depending on Him for my salvation.”
If you made the decision to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, would you please let me know? Please send me an e-mail to pdmikBBM@aol.com and in return I will send you some literature that will help you in your Christian life.
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In His Amazing Grace,
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