Stewardship

Luke 12:42

And the Lord said, “Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his master will make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season.

  • Stewardship – The act of being a steward
  • Steward – head, chief, captain, one who is in charge of a particular function, an activity, project or job
  • Faithful and wise steward

Luke 12:41-48 – Then Peter said to Him, “Lord, do You speak this parable only to us, or to all people?”  And the Lord said, “Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his master will make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season?  Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes.  Truly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all that he has.  But if that servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and be drunk, the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.  And that servant who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.  But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.

What has God given to you?

  • Money
  • Job
  • Land
  • Family
  • Ministry
  • Talent
  • Education

How are you managing those things God has given to you?

  • Are you responsible
  • Are you industrious
  • Are you lazy

Matthew 24:45-46 – Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season?  Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing.

Matthew 25:14-30 – For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them.  And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey.  Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents.  And likewise he who had received two gained two more also.  But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money.  After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them.  “So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.’  His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’  He also who had received two talents came and said, ‘Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.’  His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’  “Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed.  And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’  “But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed.  So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest.  Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents.  ‘For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away.  And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

God expects us to use all He has given to us to advance, promote, to carry on the Gospel message.

Steward of mysteries

1 Corinthians 4:1 – Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.

In every part of our life we are to:

  • Be faithful
  • Always strive to be the best we possibly can in all areas

2 Corinthians 6:4-10 – But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses,  in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in fastings;  by purity, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love,  by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left,  by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report; as deceivers, and yet true;  as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as chastened, and yet not killed;  as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.

1 Peter 4:10 – As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

Use what you have that God has given you – He will bless you as you bless others. Minister to others with the great grace He has given you

Rules to be a good steward

  • Start where you are
  • Use what you have
  • Do all you can

Parable of faithfulness in a steward

Luke 19:12-27 – Therefore He said: “A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return.  So he called ten of his servants, delivered to them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Do business till I come.’  But his citizens hated him, and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We will not have this man to reign over us.’  “And so it was that when he returned, having received the kingdom, he then commanded these servants, to whom he had given the money, to be called to him, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading.  Then came the first, saying, ‘Master, your mina has earned ten minas.’  And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.’  And the second came, saying, ‘Master, your mina has earned five minas.’  Likewise he said to him, ‘You also be over five cities.’  “Then another came, saying, ‘Master, here is your mina, which I have kept put away in a handkerchief.  For I feared you, because you are an austere man. You collect what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.’  And he said to him, ‘Out of your own mouth I will judge you, you wicked servant. You knew that I was an austere man, collecting what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow.  Why then did you not put my money in the bank, that at my coming I might have collected it with interest?’  “And he said to those who stood by, ‘Take the mina from him, and give it to him who has ten minas.’  (But they said to him, ‘Master, he has ten minas.’)  ‘For I say to you, that to everyone who has will be given; and from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.  But bring here those enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, and slay them before me.’”

We are all stewards of what God has given us.  When He returns will He find us faithful?  Have we used what He has blessed us with to further His kingdom?

In that which has been entrusted to you, be faithful.  Whether it is little or much, whether you are old or young, educated or illiterate, rich or poor, be faithful to God so He can use you, bless you and reward you.

Summary:  God has given all of us who are born again much grace that enables us to give to others of His goodness.  Have we done so?  Have we been faithful?

  • Reach out and touch someone
  • Find a need and fix it
  • Find a hurt and heal it
  • Find a soul and lead them to Jesus Christ
  • S – Sincere
  • T – Trustworthy
  • E – Earnest
  • W – Watchful
  • A – Actively involved
  • R – Responsible
  • D – Diligent

The Word of God

Luke 8:4-15

And when a great multitude had gathered, and they had come to Him from every city, He spoke by a parable: “A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell by the wayside; and it was trampled down, and the birds of the air devoured it. Some fell on rock; and as soon as it sprang up, it withered away because it lacked moisture.  And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up with it and choked it. But others fell on good ground, sprang up, and yielded a crop a hundredfold.” When He had said these things He cried, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”  Then His disciples asked Him, saying, “What does this parable mean?”  And He said, “To you it has been given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is given in parables, that ‘Seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.’  Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. But the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away. Now the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity. But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience.

Jesus Attracted Large Crowds – Multiples of people were flocking to hear Jesus speak and see His miracles.  But Jesus knew most were not sincere.  They did not have a real sprit of repentance which led to a changed life.  They had no honest commitment and no willingness to sacrifice.  Many followed Jesus, just as they do today, because of family and friends, for the social identification, to get their needs met by the church members or because as some have put it, “for insurance just in case the Bible is true.”

Jesus Taught a Parable to Explain the Difference in People’s Responses to His Teachings

  • The seed planted was the same in every kind of soil.
  • The sower was the same person in every kind of soil.
  • The difference was not in the seed or the sower, but in the soil that received the seed.

Seed by the wayside.

  • Near to field.
  • They “hear” but they never apply the Word or pay close attention.
  • The Word is soon forgotten.

Acts 28:27 – For the hearts of this people have grown dull.  Their ears are hard of hearing,  and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them.

Hebrews 3:13 – but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

Proverbs 28:14 – Happy is the man who is always reverent, but he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity.

People like this may well be in church every week.  They “hear” the Word but they pay little attention to the warnings, they do not involved themselves in the study of the Word.  Church is only something to ease the conscience or fill some time.

Seed on the rock.

  • They receive the Word when they hear it.
  • They are excited about the Word.
  • They fail to consider the commitment required – and they do not apply themselves to learn and grow.
  • When trials and temptations come, they fall away.

Matthew. 24:12 – And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.

Luke 9:62 – But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

Galatians 4:9 – But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage?

2 Peter 2:20-22 – For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: “A dog returns to his own vomit,” and, “a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.”

Seed among thorns.

  • They receive the Word when they hear it.
  • They make an effort to be part of the church.
  • They are unwilling to separate themselves completely from the world.
  • They may have some fruit – but their fruit never ripens.
  • Their spiritual life is eventually choked to death by cares of this life or by riches of this life (either the actual enjoyment of them to the point of leaving out God or the constant pursuit of them to the point of leaving out God) or the pleasures of this life.

Matthew 6:25, 31 – Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?

Luke 21:34 – But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly.

Mark 4:19 – and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.

Seed on good ground.

  • Honest heart – “kalei” means fair, just, holding fast. 
  • Good heart – “agathei” means devoted, committed, given over to truth.  Once they know the truth, they hold fast to it.
  • Hear the Word.
  • Keep the Word.
  • They bear fruit – with patience.

Joshua 1:8 – This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

John 14:23 – Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.

Colossians 1:10 – that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;

Psalm 92:13-14 – Those who are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God.  They shall still bear fruit in old age; they shall be fresh and flourishing,

What is Our Mission?

Matthew 25:31-36

When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’  “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’  “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’  “Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.

Showing love to others with what God has blessed us with:

  • Our ability
  • Our time
  • Our substance

To those who are hungry:

  • Feed spiritual food (Bread of Life)
  • Feed physical food
  • Give to those in need
  • Give to local food pantries
  • Those who are naked
  • Those are strangers
  • Show love and kindness
  • Welcome them into your home, your church, your community
  • Those in prison
  • Nursing home ministry
  • Support worthy causes – your own church first, then missions and others

Our example

1 John 4:11 – Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

1 Corinthians 13:3    – And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.

Sacrificial love

John 15:13 – Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.

Proof of discipleship

John 15:35 – By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.

Obedience to our Lord

1 John 4:7-8 – Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.  He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

1 John 4:21 – And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.

John 21:15 – So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?”  He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”  He said to him, “Feed My lambs.”

The sheep did not really recognize that they had been serving Christ when they ministered to the sick, the lonely, those in jail and in the hospital.  They had not done their good deeds to others for a reward.  They had simply served others out of their love for Christ – not because it was the right thing to do – but because it was the natural thing – the thing that sheep do.  It flowed from their very nature – the nature of Christ within them.

The goats did not really recognize that they had not been serving Christ when they ignored the needs of the sick, the lonely, the hurting.  They had simply been too busy with their own needs and desires, oblivious to the needs around them.  They did this because it was the natural thing for goats to do.  It flowed from their very nature – the nature of sinful man within them.

The Faithful and the Unfaithful Servant

Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. But know this that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.  Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing. Assuredly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his goods. But if that evil servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’ and begins to beat his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunkards, the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him and at an hour that he is not aware of and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Watch

Watch – “gregoreo” – to keep awake; to stay alert; to be watchful and sleepless; to be vigilant.  It also includes the idea of being motivated, of keeping one’s mind and attention upon something.  It has the idea of being alert at the right time.  It is at night that a person really needs to stay awake and watch for the thief.

Jesus said He would come again

John 14:1-3 – “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.

The Apostle Paul also wrote about the return of the Lord.

1 Thess. 4:13-18 – But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.  For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.

1 Cor. 15:51-52 – Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

The Apostle Peter wrote about the return of the Lord

2 Peter 3:10 – But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night.

Ever since the church began, people have tried to make predictions about when the Lord will return. Jesus was very clear that “no one” will know the exact hour.

Mark 13:32 – But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

What Should We Do?

First, stop speculating. Instead of trying to figure out when He will return, let us make sure we are doing all we can to share the good news of the gospel and working to further his kingdom here on earth.

Luke 12:39 – But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into.

1 Thessalonians 5:2, 4 – For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.  But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief…

Jesus Gave a Parable to Tell Us What We Should Do

A Professing Believer

  • He has a house
  • He has possessions enough to attract a thief
  • He was not watchful – awake, alert, his mind on the things of God
  • He apparently knew the thief were come – just not when
  • He failed to stay awake – to keep his mind alert, to stay focused on the signs around him – to keep up his guard – long enough.
  • He suffered disaster.

2 Peter 2:10-14- “….Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved (our homes, our businesses, our cars, our collections), what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness….be diligent (“spoudazo” – exert oneself, make every effort, be zealous, strain every nerve.  Spoudazo combines thinking and acting.  It cover seeing a need and following through to do something about it.) to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless.”

A Faithful and Wise Believer

  • He has responsibility

Matthew 28:18-20 – And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

John 15:8 – By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.

John 20:21 – So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.”

  • He has accountability

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

1 Peter 4:10 – As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

Romans 12:1-8 – I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.  For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

  • He has a great reward

Matthew 25:21 – His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’

1 Corinthians 15:58 – Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.

Revelation 3:21 – To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.

An Unfaithful and Foolish Unbeliever

  • He has a wrong attitude in his heart
  • He does not believe the Lord will return

2 Peter 3:1-9 – Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder), that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior, knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water,by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the Day of Judgment and perdition of ungodly men.  But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

  • He thinks the Lord will not return soon – he has plenty of time

2 Corinthians 6:1-2 – We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For He says:  “In an acceptable time I have heard you, and in the day of salvation I have helped you.”  Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.

Heb. 3:7-13 – Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says:  “Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, in the day of trial in the wilderness, where your fathers tested Me, tried Me, and saw My works forty years.  Therefore I was angry with that generation, and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart,
and they have not known My ways.’ So I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest.’ ”  Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

Hebrews 3:16-19 – For who, having heard, rebelled? Indeed, was it not all who came out of Egypt, led by Moses? Now with whom was He angry forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness? And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.

  • He simply ignores the Lord’s return.
  • He has a wrong behavior pattern.
  • He acts unjustly – mistreating others.
  • He lives for himself – eating and drinking – enjoying the pleasures of this life to the exclusion of his Master’s work.
  • He has a certain judgment coming.

Hebrews 9:27 – and as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.

Revelation 20:11-15 – Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the

Note:  the evil servant was still called a servant of the Master.  Worse of all is the one who professes and yet remains in a life of habitual, willful sin.  This person does several things:

  • Deceives himself and others. 
  • Minimizes the truth of eternity, of heaven, of hell and the judgment awaiting all of us.
  • Hinders others from coming to the truth.

Which servant are you? Are you watching, staying alert? Are you busy doing what God has called you to do?

What Profit?

Matthew 16:24-27

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.  For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.  For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?  For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.

  • What profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world? 
  • What profit is there if I accumulate all of this world’s wealth and fortune and am spiritually lost?

Matthew 6:33 – But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

Matthew 6:19-21 – Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

  • What profit spiritually/eternally is there in what you are doing right now?
  • What profit if you take care that your home is well taken care of with all the comforts you can afford, but neglect neglect giving to the cause of Jesus Christ?
  • What profit is there to have money set aside for a rainy day if you neglect giving to help others?
  • What profit if you get an “A” or a “B” in your class if you cheat to make that grade?
  • What profit if you keep in style with the other kids but fail to obey your parents?
  • What profit if you succeed in this life but miss out with God?

1 Corinthians 6:12 – All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.

Matthew 7:13-14 – Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.  Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. Isaiah 55:6 – Seek the Lord while He may be found call upon Him while He is near

What is Required?

1 Corinthians 4:1-2

Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.

What is a steward?

A steward is one who looks after and manages the household of another. C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity notes that “Every faculty you have, your power of thinking or of moving your limbs from moment to moment, is given you by God. If you devoted every moment of your whole life exclusively to His service, you could not give Him anything that was not in a sense His own already.

What is faithfulness? What would you consider to be faithfulness? What margin of error would you allow? Would you require 100% 50%, 10%?

  • If your auto worked 50% of the time, would you consider it faithful?
  • If your spouse was faithful 75% of the time, would you consider them faithful?
  • If your children only loved you when they needed something, how would you feel?
  • If you only received a check half the time, how would you feel?  Would you keep working at that job?
  • What about your church?  If the doctrine changes every week, the teaching flip flopping with the changing wind, would the church be faithful to the Word of God and to you?

Dr. Laura Schlessinger noted that “The path to solid, supportive, healthy relationships, self respect and a quality life starts with the usually painful decision to do the right thing.  Regardless of emotions and temptations, to be fully human and to benefit from life, you must get back to the three C’s –Character, Courage and Conscience

What is faithfulness? – I’m glad you asked!

  • Steadfast in affections, loyal
  • Firm in following the promises made or in doing one’s duty as promised
  • Conscientious
  • True to facts, constant, faithful

Do you waffle on your faithfulness to God?

Hebrews 4:12 – “Let us hold fast to the profession of our faith without wavering; for He is faithful that promised.” 

He is faithful! His love is everlasting.

Hebrews 8:13 – “I am the same, yesterday, today and forever.”

Romans 8:35-39 – “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?  As it is written: “for Your sake we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”  Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.  For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” 

What part of “Thou Shalt Not” did you not understand?

James 1:22 – “Be doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourself.” 

God is not willing that any should perish, but our sin separates us from God.

Romans 12:1 – “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.”

Proverbs 3:5-6 – “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.

What is your basis for trust?  Will your faithfulness stand the test?  You know that God will meet your needs, answer your prayers, keep you from harm, and heal your body because of his past faithfulness.  What of your past faithfulness to Him?

  • Question:  If God was as faithful to you as you are to Him, where would you be today?

1 John 1:9 – “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 

Considering what Christ has done for me, what kind of person should I be?

And Others

Hebrews 11:35 – 12:1

Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented—of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth.  And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.  And others were tortured, not accepting deliverance that they might obtain a better resurrection.

  • Still others – mockings, scourgings, chains and imprisonment.
  • Great people – the super giants of the faith – poverty, destitute.  The world was not worthy of them.
  • All these, having obtained a good testimony through faith – did not receive the promise – YET WERE FAITHFUL!

Hebrews 12:1 – Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.

  • Those who were faithful in the midst of trials
  • Those who went through difficult situations
  • Those who endured to the end

They are looking over the balcony of heaven cheering us on.

Hebrews 12:1 – Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls.  (The Message)

Hebrews 11:40 – God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.

God has provided something better for us?  What about them?  They were not any different from us. 

  • They were not always successful.
  •  They were not always delivered
  • They were not always victorious

Or were they?

  • In their weakness they were made strong
  • They were the real heroes

They failed in their battle – Or did they?

  • Not always successful in the eyes of man – but a great success in the eyes of God
  • Faithfulness counts for everything
  • Being faithful in adverse conditions will cause one to triumph in God!

Be Faithful

Hebrews 3:12-15

Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end, while it is said:  “Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”

  • Believer

Believe, do not doubt. 

Praise the Lord.  Do not pout.

In Him Trust.  It’s a must.

  • Exhort
    • Lift up
    • Console, strengthen
    • Admonish
    • Beseech, to urge, comfort
    • To call out to a person and offer aid
    • To speak of, recommend, advise
    • Urge forward
    • Call to one’s side

Romans 15:4 – For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.

  • Exhort one another DAILY while it is called today.  In other words, do not delay….do it NOW.
  • Why today?  Because now is the day of salvation.  The present time because we have no guarantee of tomorrow. 
  • Be an encourager today because disappointment, discouragement, temptations are all there, ready to deceive. 
  • Be an encourager today because Satan strikes at the Christian to deceive, kill and destroy when they are at their weakest point.  Therefore, always be ready to be an encourager NOW.
  • Endure to the end.  It is not enough to just confess Christ, just to say the sinner’s prayer.  But today, NOW, this hour, this time we must determine in our heart to serve God.
  • Today, if you will hear His voice
  • Do not turn away
    • Do not delay
    • Do not look back
    • Do not stray

Revelation 2:10 – …Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.

Where is the Harvest?

Galatians 6:6-10

Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches.  Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.

  • We must not grow weary in discharging our responsibility and in obedience to the Lord.

1 Corinthians 15:58 – Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.

2 Thessalonians 3:13 – But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good

1 Corinthians 4:1 – Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart.

  • Blessings if we do not lose heart.

Matthew 24:12-13 – And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.  But he who endures to the end shall be saved. 

2 Corinthians 4:17-18 – For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

2 Peter 1:10-11 – Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

James 5:7-8 – Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.

Rev 2:7 – He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.

Rev 2:11 – He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.

Rev 2:17 – To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.

Rev 3:5 – He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.

Rev 3:12 – He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name.

Rev 3:21 – To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.

  • In due season

We do not know when the Lord will return or when we will go to be with the Lord by our death.  But we do know that He has promised to return.  In the parable He told about the faithful and unfaithful servants – we must be found sowing the seeds of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Jesus said our prayer should be for reapers because the harvest is ripe. 

Matthew 9:37-38 – Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”

You cannot reap the harvest if the seed corn is still in the barn.  Go and make disciples. 

Walk Together and Bless One Another

Galatians 6:1-10

Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For each one shall bear his own load.  Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches.  Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.

BEAR AND SHARE THE BURDENS

  • Restore a brother who has fallen.
  • Should be done only by those who are spiritual – that is, walking and being directed by the Spirit.
  • Should be done in a spirit of meekness.
  • Should be aware of your own ability to sin.

2 Tim. 2:24-26 – And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel, but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil….

  • Support one another.

 Romans 15:1 – We then who are strong ought to bear with the weaknesses of the weak, and not to please ourselves.

  • Beware of spiritual pride. 

Romans 12:3 – For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.

  • Examine yourself.  No one can boast when he measures himself and his work against the standard of God’s perfection.
  • Realize your own responsibility.

Romans 14:14 – Every one of us shall give account of himself to God.

BE GENEROUS AND DO GOOD

  • Do good to your teachers.

1 Cor. 9:11, 14 – If we have sown spiritual things for you, is it a great thing if we reap your material things?  Even so the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel.  

  • Do good to others.

Galatians 6:10 – So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

Ephesians 4:32 – Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

  • Law of reaping and sowing.
  • God will cause a harvest from our seeds.
  • God will bring the harvest about in His time.
  • Good seeds will bring a good harvest.
  • Bad seeds will bring a bad harvest.
  • While we wait for our harvest.
  • Do not become discouraged.
  • Keep your faith alive and active.
  • Give and keep on giving.
  • Love and keep on loving.
  • Live in an attitude of expectancy.

1 Cor. 15:18 – Therefore my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding (super abundant, have in excess, greatly surpass, excel) in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.