In 1 Corinthians 4:1-2 the apostle Paul revealed the foundational principle for stewardship, syaing, “Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.”
In its immediate context, the apostle was speaking concerning himself and those who served with him as ministers of God’s truth for Christ’s sake. He revealed that such ministers are stewards of the truth of God’s Word, responsible to minister gospel truth unto the lost and edification truth unto the saved. Then the apostle revealed God’s foundational principle for stewardship, saying, “Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.” Brethren, in stewardship from the Lord our God, faithfulness is required.
Now, although the immediate context of this passage concerns ministers of God’s truth, it is important for us to understand that the foundational principle for stewardship in verse 2 has an application to each and every one of us as the servants of the Lord our God. Whether or not we have been called as minister of God’s truth, as our Lord’s servants we all have been given some stewardship from the Lord. Therefore, the foundational principle of stewardship stands for us all – Faithfulness is required.
In 1 Peter 2:16 God’s Word speaks to all believers, saying, “As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.” Brethren, this is the truth – Every one of us as believers is a servant of the Lord our God. In addition, in 1 Peter 4:10 God’s Word speaks to all believers, saying, “As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” Again brethren, this is the truth – Every one of us as believers is a steward of the Lord our God. Yet what does it mean to be such a servant and steward of the Lord our God? The word “steward” refers to an individual who is given the responsibility to manage the household affairs or material possessions of another. A steward is not the head of the household or the owner of the material possessions. A steward simply has the assignment to manage the household for the sake of the head of that household or to manage the material possessions for the sake of the owner of those possessions. Brethren, this is the reality of our stewardship before the Lord our God. We are not the head. God our heavenly Father is the head of His household; and God the Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, is the head of His church. We are the servants of God the Father and of Jesus Christ our Lord. We are not the owners. God the Father and God the Son, in the oneness of the eternal Godhead, are the Owners. We serve as the stewards of Their possessions.
The Relationship of Our Stewardship
As we have noted, we are the servants and stewards of God our heavenly Father and of Jesus Christ our Lord. This is the relationship of our stewardship. We are to serve as stewards for Their sake. We are to serve as stewards according to Their purpose. Then one day we shall give account unto Them of our service. Even so, in 1 Corinthians 4:3-5 the apostle continued, saying, “But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self. For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord. Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.” Yea, in the closing portion of Romans 14:10 the truth is revealed, “For we shall stand before the judgment seat of Christ.” Then in verses 11-12 God’s Word continues, “For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.”
The Requirement of Our Stewardship
What then is the requirement that the Lord our God has set upon our stewardship before Him? What then is the standard by which the Lord our God will judge our stewardship? In 1 Corinthians 4:2 the answer is revealed – “Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.” Faithfulness is our Lord’s requirement for our stewardship. Even so, in Matthew 25:45-46 our Lord Jesus Christ proclaimed, “Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.” Faithfulness is our Lord’s standard for our stewardship. Yet again in Matthew 25:14-23 our Lord Jesus Christ told the parable, “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. 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. Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money. After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. 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. 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. 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. 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.” The question before us is this – On judgment day, will we be found faithful? Will our Lord be able to commend us as good and faithful servants? Are we, right now, faithfully doing that which the Lord our God has assigned for us to do?
The Realm of Our Stewardship
As we consider this matter, we shall find that there are various realms in which we have a stewardship before the Lord our God.
First, we all have a stewardship before the Lord in our very lives and person. In 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 God’s Word declares, “What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” Our person and our lives are not our ownership. They are God’s ownership, bought with the price of Christ’s precious blood. Thus our person and our lives are simply given to us as a stewardship of God to be lived for His sake and for His glory. We are no longer to live unto ourselves, but unto Him who died for us, and rose again. We are not to seek to save our person and our lives for our own sake, but are to lose our person and our lives for our Lord’s sake. Brethren, are we faithfully denying ourselves and living for our Lord’s sake unto our Lord’s glory?
Second, we all have a stewardship before the Lord in the truth of God’s Word. God’s holy Word is just that – God’s Word. It is given by inspiration of God; and it is given for our learning, growth, and obedience. It is given “that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17) Thus the truth of God’s holy Word is given unto us as a stewardship of God to be received and obeyed in submission unto Him. We must desire the pure truth of God’s Word that we may grow thereby. (1 Peter 2:2) We must study to show ourselves approved unto God. (2 Timothy 2:15) We must “meditate therein day and night.” (Joshua 1:8) We must receive the truth of God’s Word with all meekness and readiness of mind. (James 1:21) We must be “doers of the Word, and not hearers only.” (James 2:22) We must look into the perfect truth of God’s Word and continue therein, “being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work.” (James 2:25) Brethren, are we faithfully learning from and following after the truth of God’s Word each day?
Third, we all have a stewardship before the Lord in our gospel witness to the lost. In 2 Corinthians 5:18-20 God’s Word declares, “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; to wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.” Thus the gospel of Jesus Christ is committed unto us as a stewardship of God to be proclaimed unto every lost soul. We must go “into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15) We must go in the power of the Holy Spirit as witnesses unto Christ. (Acts 1:8) We must go as ambassadors for Christ in His stead. We must go to lead souls unto faith in Christ for eternal salvation from their sinfulness. Brethren, are we faithfully serving as Spirit-filled witnesses of the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ unto the lost souls around us?
Fourth, we all have a stewardship before the Lord in our church ministry unto one another. In Romans 12:3-5 God’s Word instructs, “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.” Again in 1 Peter 4:10-11 God’s Word instructs, “As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” Thus our calling and ministry in the church body is given to us as a stewardship of God to be accomplished for God’s glory and for the edification of others. We must “love one another with a pure heart fervently.” (1 Peter 1:22) We must “be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love.” (Romans 12:9) We must serve one another by love. (Galatians 5:13) We must speak the truth and edify one another in love. (Ephesians 4:15-16) We must not forsake the assembling of ourselves together for church services, but must continually meet to exhort one another unto love and good works. (Hebrews 10:24-25) Brethren, are we faithfully attending the services of the church and faithfully involving ourselves in the ministry of loving edification one to another?
Fifth, we all have a stewardship before the Lord in our material possessions. In 1 Chronicles 29:14-16 David prayed unto the Lord, saying, “But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? For all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee. For we are strangers before thee, and sojourners, as were all our fathers: our days on the earth are as a shadow, and there is none abiding. O LORD our God, all this store that we have prepared to build thee an house for thine holy name cometh of thine hand, and is all thine own.” All of our material possessions are not actually our own. They all come from the hand of the Lord unto us and are all actually His own. Thus all our money and material possessions are given to us as a stewardship of God to be employed for His honor and for His ministry. We must honor Him with our substance, and with the first fruits of all our increase. (Proverbs 3:9) We must bring all our tithes in offering unto Him for the furtherance of His ministry. (Malachi 3:10) We must give in godly love to help meet the material needs of our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. (1 John 3:17-18) We must give, “not grudgingly, or of necessity,” but with a cheerful heart. (2 Corinthians 9:8) Brethren, are we faithfully managing our material possessions unto the honor of the Lord our God and Savior?
Sixth, we have a stewardship before the Lord in our home relationships. In the first place, husbands have a stewardship before the Lord in the marriage relationship as the head of their own wives. In Proverbs 18:22 God’s Word declares, “Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD.” Husband, your wife is a gift of God’s gracious favor to you. Thus your marriage relationship with her as her husband and head is given to you as a stewardship of God for you to love her and lead her in a godly marriage relationship for God’s glory. You must take up the God-given responsibility to lead in developing and maintaining the one-flesh relationship that the Lord our God desires in your marriage relationship. Furthermore, you must take up the God-given responsibility to lead your marriage relationship in godly obedience and service to the Lord. In the second place, parents have a stewardship before the Lord to bring up their children for the Lord. In Psalm 127:3 God’s Word declares, “Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.” Parents, your children are the Lord’s heritage, entrusted into your care for the years of their upbringing. Thus your children are given to you as a stewardship of God for you to bring them up as a godly generation for the Lord. You must take up the God-given responsibility to walk before them as an example of faithful godliness. Furthermore, you must take up the God-given responsibility to “bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4) Brethren, are we faithfully taking up and pursuing our God-given responsibilities in our home relationships?
Posted in Weekly Sermon, 1 Corinthians, Faithfulness, Serving the Lord, Godly Priorities, Walk in Righteousness,
Word of God, Godly Witnessing, Godly Ministry, Godly Giving, For the Sake of the Home