Intro to Stewardship

Faith Church October 24, 2009 Luke 16:1-12

 

Introduction:

1.  Today is a new day – in several ways:

  • It’s a new and fresh opportunity to worship our risen Savior!
  • It’s a new day in that we have new/fresh opportunities to serve our Lord
  • It’s a new day in that we begin a new series: Finding Hope in Faithful Stewardship!

2.  Each year, we set aside a whole month to study STEWARDSHIP

> for some who have been saved a longer time, this is "old hat"

> for others, it may be a "brand new" concept & teaching

3.  Our goal for our church our ABFs (and you as an individual) would be that STEWARDSHIP MONTH would be a great blessing for several reasons:

1.  Because, as you will see, stewardship involves more than money – it applies to EVERY area of our lives – although we are going to put most of our focus on that subject this year!

2.  You’ll enjoy hearing testimonies from individuals who are growing in stewardship

3.  Hopefully, the topics/passages we study will help you to take some steps of growth

*  GOAL:  To get each of us (no matter where we are in our understanding of biblical stewardship) THINKING about the subject and considerways we need to CHANGE to please Godin this very important area of our Christian lives!

- We want to do a quick review of the BASIC PRINCIPLES of Stewardship – these are taken from Luke 16

IMPORTANT:  Depending on when your ABF meets, you may have already heard these in the worship service, or you will hear them again in the worship service AFTER your ABF

4.  This is simply more like a quick REVIEW, dig a little deeper, and then an Application

5.  A key passage for understanding Stewardship is Luke 16:1-12 – comments a/b to whom it was written (Greeks) presenting Christ as the Son of Man

- These words were spoken prior to our Lord’s betrayal, the Passover, and ultimately the Cross!

 - One of the first steps in becoming a good steward is understanding the term!

  I.  What Is a "Steward?"

-  Refers to the manager of a household or of household affairs; especially a steward, manager, superintendent 

steward = one entrusted with the master's household and was to consistently manage it in the master's absence.

- One of the words God has chosen to describe you and me as a Christian is "steward"

POINT:  I am a steward -- I do not choose to become one – God declares it!!

>  I have been entrusted with the master's household and I’m to consistently manage it in the master's absence

* Practical definition:  God given responsibility with accountability

- it would be wrong for us to enjoy the benefits of FBC, but bear no responsibility in GIVING, SERVING, and the FAITHFUL USE OF OUR GIFTS & OPPORTUNITIES

- for some, they want the benefits of a church, but no responsibility or accountability – that’s not what God wants and not the way He described the Christian life in His Word!

-  the issue is: * What kind of a steward am I?

- we need to make a big deal out of this subject because God has made a big deal of it

II.  What Are the Four Factors of Stewardship? - Matt. 25:14-30 (contains all 4 factors)

A.  God Owns Everything, You Own Nothing (v. 14)

- another verse that support this factor:

  • James 1:17Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

B.  God Entrusts You With Everything You Have.  (v. 14-15)

- Jesus’ words in Matthew 7 also confirm this: 

  • Matt. 7:11 "If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall you Father, who is in heaven, give good things to them that ask Him.?"

- stop and think for a moment about ALL the things that God has entrusted to you
(Examples:  your body, your spouse, children, your house … your church)

Q: Does it surprise you God has been so good to you?

> someone once said:  We're shocked when something BAD happens; we should be amazed that anything GOOD happens!

- that leads us to ....

C.  You Are Responsible to Increase What God Has Given to You.  You May Increase It or Diminish It. (v. 16-18)

- This principle is also supported in:

  • Luke 16:10 "He who is faithful in a very little things is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much."

- that’s why we as a church need to look at ways to grow and change . . . to INCREASE what God has entrusted to us

- you can’t be in the MAINTENANCE MODE and be a good steward at the same time!

D.  God Can Call You Into Account at Any Time. (v. 19)

  • Luke 16:2 "So he called him and said to him, 'What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your stewardship, for you can no longer be a steward.'” (KJV)

- 2 Cor. 5:10 "For we must all ..."

- let’s DIG A LITTLE DEEPER into this subject of stewardship:

III.  What Kind of Thinking or Actions Hinder Effective Stewardship?

- in other words: Q:  What keeps you from being an effective steward?

- this would fit into the ‘put off’ side of Eph. 4:22-24

> it needs to STOP {do PUT OFF 1st and then the PUT ON)

Put Off

Put On

Living for the "moment"

>  doing whatever your lustful heart wants to do (without self-control)

 

Living for eternity

> not looking back and waste it in  the things that pass away with time!

 

Laziness

 

> will keep you from increasing or decreasing what God has entrusted to you

Hard Work (diligence)

 

Selfishness

 

> it’s all about “me” and what I want . . . vs. what will bring the most glory to God

Unselfishness

 

> thinking of what’s best for others, including people and God’s kingdom

 

Maintenance Mode

 

>  Rev. 3:16: ‘lukewarm’ attitude

Productive and effectiveness

 

> do as much as we can, not how little just to get by

 

Unresolved problems

 

>  wasting energy on bitterness & resentment vs. being productive!

Solving problems

 

>in a biblical way – Peace Maker

 

- the list could go on: ingratitude // greed // idolatry // impatience…etc.

- Finally, we need to ask the question – What is at the CORE of stewardship?

IV.  What Is Expected of a Steward?

- I think the best answer to this question could be summarized with 2 words:

A.  Fruitfulness – John 15 (as we studied recently, the Father purges the fruitful vine to bear fruit, more fruit, and much fruit – that comes about through the ‘pruning’ process!)

- God the Father helps us to deal with things that keep us from being productive with the opportunities He entrusts to us

- in part, that’s why we have Stewardship Month – and the BANQUET – it’s a time of learning and growing, but it also a time of accountability

- and it’s time to put the focus on what do we need to do to ACCOMPLISH MORE for the glory of God

> what can we do to accomplish our MISSION!

- if we are being ‘fruitful’there will be:

* Evidence of growth in several areas:

1: Your relationship with God – are you producing the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23)

2. Your relationship to His Word – are you a student of the Word (besides Sunday)?

3. Your relationship to your spouse – is your marriage growing stronger?

4. Your relationship to your children – are growing as a parent?

5. Your relationship to the body of Christ – are you using your gifts and abilities?

6. Your relationship to the ‘world’ (as inMatt. 28:19-20) – looking for ways to share the Gospel (NOTE: That will be one of our studies in this series: Stewardship of the Gospel!]

- In addition, there’s not just FRUITFULNESS, but there will be….

B.  Faithfulness

  • I Corinthians 4:2Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.

- as a steward, you might not be the smartest person, most talented person . . . but as the text reveals… what God has given to you … you are FAITHFUL to produce more

- the problem with many is they have the mindset of the person given ONE talent (how much is NOT the issue … it’s what you DO with what you’ve been GIVEN!)

Reliability (the idea of faithfulness, trustworthiness over time) is the one necessary virtue for all servants and stewards, especially in the things of God.[1]

 

The ministers of Christ should make it their hearty and continual endeavor to approve themselves trustworthy; and when they have the testimony of a good conscience, and the (approval) of their Master, they must (minimize) the opinions and (criticism) of their fellow-servants: [2] - Matthew Henry

- let’s apply this to a very important area of our lives:

V.  Application of Stewardship to God’s Word

- God’s Word is God’s revelation about Himself and His will for our lives

- it is not all God knows, but it’s all we need to know to glorify Him

Q: What theological term is used to describe that concept?

Sufficiency of the Scriptures

Key Passage:

  • 2 Peter 1:3seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.

- the first step in being a good steward is that fact that we need to…

A.  Know the Word

- this is where wisdom comes into the picture – you’ll never be wise unless you know the Word

- when you know the Word, you can make decisions based on biblical truth – not your feelings or desires (that are cursed by sin)

- the Psalmist put it like this;

  • Psalm 119:169 Let my cry come before You, O LORD; give me understanding according to Your word.

Q: Do you faithfully read the Word to know the Word?

- but just to read the word is not enough, there needs to be a level of diligent study:

B.  Study the Word

- this takes us to a much more deeper level and allows for “MORE FRUIT!”

  • KJV 2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
  • NAS 2 Timothy 2:15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth.

- this would include individual study – not just showing up Sunday morning – listen to a sermon – take notes (which is good/helpful) – and then go home and do NOTHING!

Q: Do you faithfully study the Word?

- after reading and studying the Word, it’s really helps us to:

C.  Memorize the Word

  • Psalm 119:11 Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You.

Q: How does memorizing the Word help us in our walk with God?

- it’s in our hearts/mind – we can ‘bring it up’ when we need it the most!

- and it allows us to accomplish the next step: Meditation!

Q: When is the last time you memorized a verse?

[Note: This is why I want to pick some specific passages for our ABF to memorize!]

D.  Meditate on the Word

  • KJV 1 Timothy 4:15 Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.
  • NASB translates this word: “Take pains” with these things; be absorbed in them, so that your progress will be evident to all.

- in the OT, God spoke to Joshua (after the death of Moses) - -preparing him to go into the Promised Land

  • Joshua 1:8 "This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.
  • Psalm 119:148 My eyes anticipate the night watches, that I may meditate on Your word.

Q: How often to find yourself meditating on the Word of God?

- all this has to followed by the next step – a faithful steward will…

E.  Obey the Word

- here’s a passage that is very familiar passages that teach this concept:

  • James 1:22 But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror;24 for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was.25 But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.

Q: What does it say of our lives when we know the Word but we do not obey the Word?

- rejecting God’s authority

- pride: we are smarter than God

- we really don’t care about the cross (redemption – Christ dying for us!)

Q: Are you know for your obedience to the Word?

- finally, we have the responsibility as FAITHFUL STEWARDS to …

F.  Spread the Word

Jesus did it:

  • John 17:8 for the words which You gave Me I have given to them; and they received them and truly understood that I came forth from You, and they believed that You sent Me.

- He repeated this again in v. 14

  • John 17:14 "I have given them Your word…”

- the response to the disciples was not what it should have been – the verse goes on to say…”and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.”

- we are not responsible for the RESPONSE to God’s Word, we are responsible (as good stewards) to GIVE THE WORD!

Example:  Acts 4:29-32 (Peter & John)

- explain the context of Acts 4 (Peter and John arrested and then released – v. 23)

  • Acts 4:29 "And now, Lord, take note of their threats, and grant that Your bond-servants may speak Your word with all confidence,30 while You extend Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders take place through the name of Your holy servant Jesus."31 And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness.

Q: Does this describe the way we pray – for God to help us ‘speak Your word with confidence’?

Conclusion:

1.  What are you going to do with what God has given you?

- grow and produce fruit, more fruit, and much fruit

- or ‘coast’ and be comfortable

2.  Are you going to grow in your relationship to God through His Word? 

3. What kind of a steward are you?

>  a faithful steward or do you have the mentality of the ‘one talent’ person

- Let’s be like the stewards who were willing to work hard and take a risk to advance the cause of Christ and bring glory to God in this community and around the world


 

Stewardship Month

Finding Hope in Faithful Stewardship

 

Introduction:

*  GOAL:  To get each of us _________________ about the subject and considerways we need to ______________ to please God

 

  I.  What Is a "Steward?"

steward = one entrusted with the master's household and was to consistently ______________ it in the master's absence.

* Practical definition:  God given _________________ with ________________

 

* What _________ of a steward am I?

 

II.  What Are the Four Factors of Stewardship? - Matt. 25:14-30

A.  God Owns __________________, You Own ______________ (v. 14)

 

B.  God ____________ You With Everything You Have.  (v. 14-15)

 

C.  You Are Responsible to ________________ What God Has Given to You.  You May Increase It or _______________ It. (v. 16-18)

 

D.  God Can Call You Into __________________ at Any Time. (v. 19)

 

III.  What Kind of Thinking or Actions ____________ Effective Stewardship?

 

Put Off

Put On

Living for the "____________"

 

Living for __________________

 

_________________

 

Hard Work (__________________)

 

_________________

 

_____________________

 

______________________ Mode

 

________________ and effectiveness

 

____________________ problems

 

__________________ problems

 

 

 

IV.  What Is _______________ of a Steward?

A.  _________________ – John 15

 

* Evidence of growth in several areas:

1: Your relationship with _______

2. Your relationship to His ____________

3. Your relationship to your _____________

4. Your relationship to your ________________

5. Your relationship to the ___________ of Christ

6. Your relationship to the ‘_____________’ (Matt. 28:19-20)

 

B.  ___________________

 

  • I Corinthians 4:2 Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.

 

V.  Application of Stewardship to _________ __________

A.  __________ the Word – Psalm 119:169

 

B.  __________ the Word – 2 Timothy 2:15

 

C.  _______________ the Word – Psalm 119:11

 

D.  _______________ on the Word – 1 Timothy 4:15; Joshua 1:8; Psalm 119:148

 

E.  __________ the Word – James 1:22-25

 

F.  ___________ the Word – John 17:8,14; Acts 4:29-31

 

Conclusion:

1.  What are you going to do with what God has given you?

 

2.  Are you going to grow in your relationship to God through His Word? 

 

3. What _________ of a _______________ are you?

 

 



[1]
Pfeiffer, Charles F. ; Harrison, Everett Falconer: The Wycliffe Bible Commentary : New Testament. Chicago : Moody Press, 1962, S. 1 Co 4:1

[2]Henry, Matthew: Commentary on the Whole Bible : Complete and Unabridged in One Volume. Peabody : Hendrickson, 1996, c1991, S. 1 Co 4:1

Faith Church