Stewardship of Our Church Family

Steve Viars November 15, 2003

Introduction:

1.  One aspect of being a Christian that we don’t want to loose is the reality of being a part of the body of Christ

- There are two aspects of that body or the church (called out ones):

1) What’s known as the UNIVERSAL church – i.e. all believers anywhere it the world (Note:  The ‘universal’ church is NOT a decision making body as is the local church –see below)

> that is one thing about being a Christian that has always amazed me – especially as I travel and/or we host conferences here at FBC – I can meet a person on an airplane, in another state, from another country and IMMEDIATELY make a friend because they are part of the Body of Christ, the Church, the Family of God – that person is my brother or sister!

- The other aspect of the body of Christ is . . .

2) The LOCAL church – the group of called out ones in a local setting who have the authority to send out missionaries, to be ordain a pastor to be a shepherd, to make decisions as a congregation (e.g. church discipline – 1 Cor. 5; election of Deacons, etc.)

> The local church is the one that is most mentioned in the NT – context determines which is being referred to – the local or the universal

  • Matthew 16:18 I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.

>  Church here is NOT one local church – Jesus was not referring to only one church, but the entire body of Christ or the ‘called out ones’

 (evkklhsi,aecclasia, = church, congregation; assembly)

  • 1 Corinthians 1:2 To the church [same word as Matthew 16] of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling. . .

> But is referring to a specific part of the body, i.e. the church of God AT CORINTH!

Input: When you think of the advantages of being a part of a church family, what comes to your mind?

 

2.  Many churches are loosing the flavor of being a ‘Church Family’ – brothers/sisters in Christ united in a common goal of . . . winning people to Jesus Christ and equipping them to be more faithful disciples!

- summarized in Matthew 28:19-20; Ephesians 4:11-16

3.  Since this is Stewardship Month, we wanted to make sure we emphasized the joy, privilege, and responsibility of being a part of a church family.

> Faith Baptist Church is not the buildings or the land – those are resources, and very temporal!

> Faith Baptist Church is the PEOPLE – God the Holy Spirit dwells each individual who knows Jesus Christ as his/her Lord and Savior (1 Cor. 6:19-20), not in any building

4.  We want to be good stewards of our Church Family – both in how we benefit from being a part of a church family AND what responsibilities we have as a result of being a part of a church family!

5.  Let’s do a quick review of  . . . .

1.  Definition of Stewardship

Stewardship = God-given responsibility with accountability!

-  That responsibility applies to all areas of life – not just money

-  Stewardship applies to ALL areas of life – of our Church Family, [Next:  Thanksgiving]

- Secondly, we need to ask what exactly is a steward?

2.  What Is a Steward?

Input: Can someone explain the biblical concept of a steward? [use the following statement]

“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

Major Point: We do not choose to become stewards; we are stewards!  The question is, “What kind of steward are you?”

- Review the Four Factors of Stewardship

3.  There Are Four Important Factors in Stewardship

#1:  God Owns Everything, and I Own Nothing.

  • 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?

#2:  God Entrusts Me with Everything I Have.

- The text doesn’t say that the master gave his possessions to the steward for the steward to keep for himself – he entrusted the steward

#3:  I Am Responsible to Increase What God Has Given to Me. I May Increase It or Diminish It.

#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.

4.  Stewardship of Our Church Family

- There are about 60 uses of the term “one another” throughout the NT [see handout]

[Skim over the document] – We’re going to take about 3 of these and apply to our church!

- I want to start by asking a question:

A.  Where Does the Idea of ‘One Another’ Get Its Foundation?

- It goes back to Genesis 1 – the references to the Trinity

> The uses of the word God are plural AND the references to the Trinity are very obvious:

  • Genesis 1:2 The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.
  • Genesis 1:26 Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness . . ."

- Add to that the NT reference to Jesus being the Creator:

  • John 1:3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.
  • Colossians 1:16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth . . .

Point: The Trinity is the picture of the perfect relationship!

- Part of man being made in the image of God is this:  Man is a relational being – like God!

- Any relationship such as marriage, a church family, a friendship finds its roots in the relationship of the members of the Godhead (Father, Son, Spirit).

- But Genesis 3 messed all that up – the idea of a perfect relationship between God and man was marred

Note: But thank the Lord for Gen. 315 – a reference to the Messiah and His sufferings

  • Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel.

- It is only in Christ that any relationship can be renewed or function as God intended!

B.  The Body of Christ Ministering to Each Other

- God has given a set of commands in the Scriptures that deal with the body relationship between believers

- These commands from God instruct all believer to be actively involved in ministering to one another.

- It is only as the body ministers to itself that there can be a truly healthy body, functioning as God has designed

- What I’d like to do is this: Break you up into small groups and have you work on this together

- You can follow the following steps:

1)  Read the verse that gives you the ‘one another’ reference.

2)  Read what that specific idea means

3)  Determine what aspect of the nature of God would merit our obedience to that idea

[Example:  “Confess your faults one to another” – God’s holiness and righteousness would merit our obedience to this, as well as His grace and mercy which make it possible]

 

4)  Discuss 3-5 ways put that specific ‘one another’ into practice and thereby be a good steward of your church family.

[Example:  Confess your faults one to another – handle problems quickly when you sin, keep short sin accounts with others in the church family, admit you’re wrong]


One Another Passages

ADMONIISH:

  • Romans 15:14 And concerning you, my brethren, I myself also am convinced that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able also to admonish one another.
  • Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

BUILDING UP/EDIFY:

  • Romans 14:19 So then let us pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:11 . . . build up one another, just as you also are doing.

ENCOURAGE:

  • Hebrews 3:13 But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called "Today," so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
  • Hebrews 10:25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

GREET:

  • Romans 16:16 Greet one another with a holy kiss.
  • 1 Corinthians 16:20 All the brethren greet you. Greet one another with a holy kiss.
  • 2 Corinthians 13:12 Greet one another with a holy kiss.
  • 1 Peter 5:14 Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace be to you all who are in Christ.

LOVE:

  • John 13:34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
  • John 13:35 By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.
  • John 15:12 This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.
  • John 15:17 This I command you, that you love one another.
  • Romans 12:10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love . . .
  • Romans 13:8 Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.
  • 1 Thessalonians 3:12 and may the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another, and for all people, just as we also do for you;
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:9 Now as to the love of the brethren, you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another;
  • 1 Peter 1:22 Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart,
  • 1 John 3:11 For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another;
  • 1 John 3:23 This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us.
  • 1 John 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.
  • 1 John 4:11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
  • 1 John 4:12 No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.
  • 2 John 1:5 Now I ask you, lady, not as though I were writing to you a new commandment, but the one which we have had from the beginning, that we love one another.

SAME MIND:

  • Romans 12:16 Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation.
  • Romans 15:5 Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus,

SERVE:

  • Galatians 5:13 For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
  • 1 Peter 4:10 As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

ONE TIME MENTIONS:

  • Romans 12:10 . . . give preference to one another in honor;
  • Romans 15:7 Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.
  • 1 Corinthians 11:33 So then, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another.
  • 1 Corinthians 12:25 so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.
  • Ephesians 4:2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love,
  • Ephesians 4:25 Therefore, laying aside falsehood, SPEAK TRUTH EACH ONE OF YOU WITH HIS NEIGHBOR, for we are members of one another.
  • Ephesians 4:32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
  • Ephesians 5:21 and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.
  • Colossians 3:13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.
  • Hebrews 10:24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds,
  • James 5:16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.
  • 1 Peter 4:9 Be hospitable to one another without complaint.
  • 1 Peter 5:5 You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.
  • 1 John 1:7 but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.

NEGATIVES (DON’T DO THIS):

  • Romans 14:13 Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this -- not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother's way.
  • Galatians 5:15 But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.
  • Galatians 5:26 Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.
  • Colossians 3:9 Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices,
  • 1 Timothy 5:21 I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of His chosen angels, to maintain these principles without bias [without preferring one before another], doing nothing in a spirit of partiality.
  • Titus 3:3 For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another.
  • James 4:11 Do not speak against one another, brethren. He who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks against the law and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge of it.
  • James 5:9 Do not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door.

1 Corinthians 7:5 Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

Steve Viars

B.S. - Bible, Baptist Bible College
M.Div. - Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min. - Westminster Theological Seminary

Pastor Steve Viars has served at Faith Church since 1987. He and his wife Kris were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and two grandchildren. Pastor Viars’ gifted teaching ministry, enthusiasm for the Word of God, and organizational skills are instrumental in equipping Faith Church. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith ministries and serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video