Stewardship of Being Part of the Body of Christ

November 5, 2005 Colossians 1:18-29

Introduction:

1.  Today, we’re beginning a new study for the next 4 weeks:  Stewardship of our Service for a Living God
 Nov. 6 – Part 1: The Foundation of Stewardship
 Stewardship of Being Part of the Body of Christ [Colossians 1:18-29]
*Emphasis: Membership // Loyalty // Using gifts // Seeking counsel // Changing churches // Solving problems
 Nov. 13 – Part 2: Stewardship of Discipleship of Others [Hebrews 5:1-14]
*Emphasis: Personal growth/ / Reaching out // Communicating or admonishing ‘one another’ // Accountability // Examples of those discipling others
 Nov. 20 – Part 3: Stewardship of Proclaiming the Message of  Christ [1 Thes. 1]
*Emphasis: Living the message – Matthew 5:16 // Speaking the message // Urgency of the message
 Nov. 27 – Part 4: Stewardship of Thankfulness Recognizing Who God Is & What He’s Done and Doing in our Lives
*Emphasis: His blessing, patience, opportunities He gives us to serve (e.g. Calvary Chapel), His Word – the promises of His Word,  for the Holy Spirit, His Son
2.  We’re going to do this for several reasons:
1) This is a very important subject in the NT – Jesus referred to it, and the epistles address it
2) Many are new to our church family and have never done a study of stewardship – we want our entire church family to be ‘on the same page’ and be thinking the same way
3) This subject/teaching has been an important part of the development of the ministry of FBC – we’ve done a lot of what we’ve done in an effort to be good stewards of what God has given to us
Example:  That’s what the counseling ministry is all about – passing the training on to others so they can others – that’s stewardship of what God has taught us
Example:  Building a Community Center – is in part, a stewardship issue: Stewardship of our Property or our Resources (dollars, people, and land)
3.  READ Luke 16:1-12 [note: ‘manager’ = steward]:
- Let’s first of all . . .


  I.  The Foundation of Stewardship


- the concept of stewardship grows out of the very nature/character of God – it’s about WHO God is and WHAT He has done!
Q: Why does God have the right to determine what we do?
- Gen. 1 – establishes the fact (along with a number of other passages) that * God is the Creator!
 Isaiah 29:16 You turn things around! Shall the potter be considered as equal with the clay, That what is made would say to its maker, "He did not make me"; Or what is formed say to him who formed it, "He has no understanding"?
 Isaiah 64:8 But now, O LORD, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand.
 Romans 9:21 Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use?
Point:  As Steve taught last week: Our God is ALIVE – we serve the LIVING GOD – the great “I AM” that sent Moses to Egypt – Yahweh, the covenant keeping God of Israel Who keeps His promises (as we learned during the Abraham series!)
- and His Son, Jesus, came to this earth to DIE and then be RAISED from the dead – and then commissioned us to represent Him to this lost and dying world:
 Matthew 28:19 "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."
 Matthew 5 – Jesus called us the ‘salt of the earth’ and the ‘light of the world’
 Acts 1:8 but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth."
- Obviously, Christ is speaking here in Luke 16 – John makes it clear (John 1:1-5) that Jesus is the Co-Creator of the universe – He was there from the beginning!
- Jesus is making the point that the ‘rich man’ is one in charge – the ‘rich man’ OWNS the very things to which he had entrusted the ‘manager’ or steward!
Q: So, what is the implication? 
  the owner has the right to set certain expectations of the one to whom he has entrusted the goods!
 Jesus is our Living Redeemer, Savior, King, and Lord – it is HIS expectations that we strive to live for and glorify Him!
- Remember the context of this passage:  Luke 15:1-3 [READ]


II.  The Definition of Stewardship


Stewardship = God-given responsibility with accountability!
- We have to recognize that even from the point of creation, and before the curse of sin, God delegated responsibilities to Adam and expected him to follow through with those:
Input: What were the responsibilities God gave to Adam?
• Genesis 1:28 God blessed them; and God said to them, (1) "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and (2) subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth."
- Adam had to name the animals and was responsible to keep the garden (work) – that is a GOOD thing, not a BAD thing – work flows from the nature of God – He rested from His ‘work’ on the 7th day
- God also gave Him one specific command:
 Genesis 2:16 The LORD God commanded the man, saying, "From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; 17 but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die."
- THAT is God-given responsibility with accountability!
- Secondly, we need to ask ”What exactly is a steward?”


III.  What Is a Steward?


 Steward = an administrator, a person who manages the domestic affairs of a family, business, or minor, a treasurer, a chamberlain of a city, a house manager, overseer.
- Specifically, one who has authority over the servants or slaves of a family to assign their tasks and portions. Along with this was the general management of affairs and accounts.
- stewards could be slaves [cf. Eliezer (Gen. 15:2) and Joseph(Gen. 39:4)], or a free person who simply was employed (as is the case here in Luke 16)
- Broader sense, a steward was one who administers a public charge or office, a minister, agent, generally (1 Cor. 4:2); of the fiscal officer of a city or state, treasurer (Rom. 16:23).
- Read the following:
“In Bible times, because of limited means of travel, householders (men who owned large farms or livestock) would often be gone from their land for long periods of time.  In their absence, they would appoint one of their servants to manage the business.  This person was responsible for his master’s household and was to consistently manage it just as the householder would if he were there.  This important position was described as a steward. As Christians, God has called us stewards.  We do not choose to become stewards, we are stewards!  The question is, ‘What kind of steward are you?’”
- let’s turn to another passage that deals with this same concept:   READ Matthew 25:14-29 – the context was Matthew 24:3
 Matthew 24:3 As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, "Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?"
- let’s review the Four Factors of Stewardship – apply this to Being Part of the Body of Christ
IV.  There Are Four Factors in Stewardship
#1:  God Owns Everything, and I Own Nothing.
- This principle is articulated by Paul in . . .
• 1 Corinthians 4:7 For who regards you as superior? And what do you have that you did not receive? But if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?
Point:  All that we have comes from God – He is the creator, so He has a right to say how everything we have gets used – it comes from Him in the first place!
- Think about this from the perspective of James:
 James 1:17 Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.
Application:  Think about all the things God has given you! [List a few:  spouse, children, home, job, church [well talk about that shortly], health – eyes, ears, you can walk]
- God has given you the church, the Body of Christ, to help you grow and glorify Him
Q: What are some implications of this truth applied to the local church?
 This is His church – we need to make decisions based on what HE wants, not us!
 He concerned about those who come here – probably more so than you are – so we need to be growing in our love for each other and helping each other
 He’s established the leadership of our church
>  Pastor Viars is our Pastor! (some might say, “I don’t like that!” – well, a sovereign God brought him here 18 years ago – and short of a congregational vote to fire him, we have a responsibility to him according to Hebrews 13:7,17
 Hebrews 13:7 Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith.
 Hebrews 13:17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.
Point: Whatever you have – God owns it and we need to think/act like it’s His!
- and whatever He gives us, it should be used to bring glory to Him!
#2:  God Entrusts Me with Everything I Have.
- The master mentioned in Luke 16 entrusted his possessions to the steward. 
> The text doesn’t say that the master gave his possessions to the steward for the steward to keep for himself. 
>  The master expected the steward to guard and keep them secure for a specified time.
- Just like the master in this parable, God entrusts His possessions to us to use.
Application: Think about this in the context of the local church
Input: What has God entrusted to us here at FBC?
> Spiritual gifts // resources (people, land, building, money, etc.) // TRUTH taught !
#3:  I Am Responsible to Increase What God Has Given to Me. I May Increase It or
Diminish It.
-  Like the steward in Luke 16, you can chose to diminish what God has entrusted to you . . . but there will be a day of accountability
- the owner is going to return – what are doing with what He’s given you –
Apply this to our ABF ministry/children’s/serving areas of FBC:
Input:  When it comes to our church, ABF, outreach/discipleship ministries, what is the difference between the following approaches to ministry?
Growth Attitude
(Increase) “Maintenance Mode”
(Diminish)
[various answers]
 Friendly to others
 Prayer
 Faithful attendance
 Study
 Obedience [various answers]
 basically the opposite of a “Growth Attitude”
 content // self-focused (its about US)
 no changes/growth

Apply this to the following area:
 Membership – making a commitment to submit yourself to the authority of this body (membership is not commanded, it’s assumed)
 Loyalty – growing in one’s level of commitment – EXAMPLE: Church Family Nights – TONIGHT and Nov. 20th!
 Changing Churches – who should be the 1st person you talk to when you think you need to leave FBC – it ought to be Pastor Viars or me [if you talk to one of the others, you still have a biblical responsibility to communicate that to Pastor Viars –
> NOT “informing” him but go asking questions – sometimes the answer may be ‘that’s a good decision’ – other times, we may need to -  The point Jesus made in this passage was that a good steward would use his gifts and possessions for future spiritual benefit. 
 Unity – you can either help advance the ball in this area, or be divisive with your speech, attitude – failing to solve problems
#4:  God Can Call Me into Account at Any Time.
-  While we don’t know exactly when it’s coming, we are promised that our day of accountability is coming (not for our sins – those were paid for at the cross; but for our works, for the stewardship of what God has entrusted to us!)
• 2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
- Remember, we serving the Living God – and He is sovereign, and works all things after the counsel of His own will
 Ephesians 1:11 also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will.
Important Passage: Ephesians 4:11-16 – comments about being that kind of a church
Prayer Time – pray for the ABF ministry to continue to grow


Adult Bible Fellowships
Stewardship of Our Service for a Living God
Being Part of the Body of Christ
Luke 16:1-12
Introduction:
 Nov. 13 – Part 2:  Stewardship of Discipleship of Others [Hebrews 5:1-14]
 Nov. 20 – Part 3:  Stewardship of Proclaiming the Message of  Christ [1 Thes. 1]
 Nov. 27 – Part 4:  Stewardship of Thankfulness Recognizing Who God Is & What He’s Done and Doing in our Lives [Psalms 107]

  I.  The Foundation of Stewardship
* God is the ________________!

 

Q: So, what is the implication? 

Context:  Luke 15:1-3

II.  The Definition of Stewardship
Stewardship = God-given ___________________ with _________________-!

Input: What were the responsibilities God gave to Adam?


III.  What Is a Steward?
 Steward = an administrator, a person who manages the domestic affairs of a family, business, or minor, a treasurer, a chamberlain of a city, a house manager, overseer.
“In Bible times, because of limited means of travel, householders (men who owned large farms or livestock) would often be gone from their land for long periods of time.  In their absence, they would appoint one of their servants to manage the business.  This person was responsible for his master’s household and was to consistently manage it just as the householder would if he were there.  This important position was described as a steward. As Christians, God has called us stewards.  We do not choose to become stewards, we are stewards!  The question is, ‘What kind of steward are you?’”
IV.  There Are Four Factors in Stewardship
#1:  God Owns _________________, and I Own ______________.

Application:  Think about all the things God has given you! – _____________
Q: What are some implications of this truth applied to the local church?


#2:  God _________________ Me with Everything I Have.
Input: What has God entrusted to us here at FBC?


#3:  I Am Responsible to ______________ What God Has Given to Me. I May ____________ It or _________________ It.
Input:  When it comes to our church, ABF, outreach/discipleship ministries, what is the difference between the following approaches to ministry?
Growth Attitude
(Increase) “Maintenance Mode”
(Diminish)

 

 


Apply this to the following area:
 _______________
 ______________
 ______________________
 _____________

#4:  God Can Call Me into _______________ at Any Time.


Important Passage: ____________________
Prayer Time:


Adult Bible Fellowships
Stewardship of Our Service for a Living God
Being Part of the Body of Christ
Luke 16:1-12

Introduction:
 Nov. 13 – Part 2:  Stewardship of Discipleship of Others
 Nov. 20 – Part 3:  Stewardship of Proclaiming the Message of  Christ
 Nov. 27 – Part 4:  Stewardship of Thankfulness Recognizing Who God Is & What He’s Done and Doing in our Lives
  I.  The Foundation of Stewardship
* God is the Creator!
 Isaiah 29:16
 Isaiah 64:8
 Romans 9:21
 Matthew 28:19-20
 Matthew 5 - ‘salt of the earth’ and the ‘light of the world’
 Acts 1:8
Q: So, what is the implication? 
Luke 15:1-3
II.  The Definition of Stewardship
Stewardship = God-given responsibility with accountability!
Input: What were the responsibilities God gave to Adam?
 Genesis 1:28
 Genesis 2:16
III.  What Is a Steward?
Steward = an administrator, a person who manages the domestic affairs of a family, business, or minor, a treasurer, a chamberlain of a city, a house manager, overseer.
Statement
IV.  There Are Four Factors in Stewardship
#1:  God Owns Everything, and I Own Nothing.
 1 Corinthians 4:7
 James 1:17
Application:  Think about all the things God has given you! – Church
Q: What are some implications of this truth applied to the local church?
 This is His church
 He concerned about those who come here
 He’s established the leadership of our church
 Hebrews 13:7, 17
#2:  God Entrusts Me with Everything I Have.
Input: What has God entrusted to us here at FBC?
#3:  I Am Responsible to Increase What God Has Given to Me. I May Increase It or
Diminish It.
Input:  When it comes to our church, ABF, outreach/discipleship ministries, what is the difference between the following approaches to ministry?

Growth Attitude
(Increase) “Maintenance Mode”
(Diminish)
 Friendly to others
 Prayer
 Faithful attendance
 Study
 Obedience  Content
 Self-focused (its about US)
 no changes/growth
Apply this to the following area:
 Membership
 Loyalty
 Changing Churches
 Unity
#4:  God Can Call Me into Account at Any Time.
 2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
 Ephesians 1:11 also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will.
Important Passage: Ephesians 4:11-16
Prayer Time!