Stewardship Series 09 #4
1 Peter 4:7-11
Our Greatest Trust
Well we are coming to the end of this month long journey thinking and learning about God’s investment in our lives. In our 1st step, we talked about the Lord being a King from far away who came here to have himself appointed king. We learned how he then gave resources, a Mina, to some of his new servants and commanded them to “put them to work until he returns.” We found that he WILL return and he will have expectations when he returns. He will also give rewards to the faithful when he returns. Then we learned that being a steward, caring for the things of God, is required because we have been given all things by God and that we have to prove faithful because there is a fixed time when light is coming and we will understand all things. But for now, we must remain faithful as servants and as “underrowers”. Finally we talked last week about learning and living a life of contentment. We recognize that since we had nothing when we entered this world, then everything we have is a gain. So, we will learn to hold loosely to things, releasing them to the Lord for his honor and glory and set our heart and desire on the Lord.
So, that brings us full circle to today’s lesson. There is a message running through these teachings. That message is that our King is Coming, time is short, and we have a responsibility to complete. But today, we turn it up a notch and focus on our Greatest Trust. You see the point of our teaching is not simply to teach us to be good servants. But when we learn to give faithfully it helps us change our understanding to realize that everything we have is God’s, not just our Treasures, not just our Talents, but also our Time … all we have is a Trust and Our Time here on earth is limited and we are here for a purpose
Read With me Our Text
READ 1 Peter 4:7-11
We have been entrusted with the Gifts of God’s Grace and that is our Greatest Trust
By “Gifts”, I mean the Gifts that we receive because of God’s Grace offered to us. That is Forgiveness of Sin
The Holy Spirit
And Spiritual Gifts
And first of all we need a
1. Sense of Urgency v7
A. the End is Near
1. end – telos – end, termination, conclusion, outcome, goal, achievement, fulfillment
2. near – engiz¬¬o – approaching, coming near, nearing spatially, on the verge of
We need a Biblical Understanding of things. It is clear in the writings of Peter and others that the Church in the 1st Century expected the imminent return of Jesus Christ. It was a driving force behind everything that they did. They understood these parables of Jesus that we have looked at and expected his return at any moment. Over these last two millennia we have lost some of that. We have lost the feeling that our King will return and we will be held accountable.
We need to understand that he will come like a thief in the night and many will be caught unaware. We need to keep watch, we need to stay busy, we need to care for his things.
It doesn’t seem “near” well that’s in OUR perspective
Peter writes in 2 Peter 3:8 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: with the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day
So it has only been a couple of days
But we also have to realize that if a thousand years for us is a day, then 80 years of life is just about 2 hours on God’s time table.
How would you live your life if you only had two hours to life?
I’m almost 45 that means I have less than an hour left … how much time do you have?
By the way, this Greek word for “near” or “approaching” or “at hand” … is in the perfect, active, indicative tense
Why is that important?
Perfect tense means that this nearness of the end has been verbally declared in the past and so exists in the present already finished until it’s completion
It is Active – in that what has been said is in the act of happening
It is Indicative stating that this is an assertive word, it is something that is ACTUAL not POSSIBLE or POTENTIAL
It has been declared, it is being carried out, Jesus IS Coming
The end is near,
But also it is
B. The end of all THINGS
I just point out the Greek word … PAS – all, any, total, whole, every kind of,
The reason we don’t hold on to our THINGS too tightly is because every THING we have is going to come to an end
We aren’t taking our house, our car, our bike, our iPhone into heaven, there is NOT “an App for that”
So Be urgent …
C. Clear Your Head
Be clear-minded – Nepho nay-fo sober, self-controlled – the one word here is translated by two words the first clear or sober minded or a sober spirit – it doesn’t mean sober as in not inebriated but sober as in serious, focused, mind cleared of things that cloud it.
We can’t let THINGS, wants, desires, finances, superficial things cloud our minds and so we clear heads, focused on the
Being Clear-minded is settling in our mind and heart the things that are important
D. Control Yourself
Self-controlled – the word also means restrained
What restrains us? A Sense of Urgency, an understanding of what is important, an understanding of what we are here for because we have a
2. A Sense of Call
I called this our Greatest Trust … because yes we’ve been talking a lot about our finances and that is important, but all of this is Spiritual and
A. You Have a Spiritual Trust
1. verse 10 says the “gift he has received” We have Spiritual Gifts in Particular, Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12 give a listing of Spiritual Gifts. Are these the ONLY gifts of grace that can be given by the Spirit? Not necessarily but these are the ones showed in Scripture.
2. Every believer has at least one spiritual gift many have more
3. Who determines the gifts you have? The giver of the gifts, the Spirit of God – 1 Cor 12:11 – gives to each one just as he determines
4. They are all gifts of Grace … we do not deserve them
5. do you know where you are gifted? You can know. There are tools that can help you determine them. There is a great study you can get at Christian Bookstores or online called “Jesus On Leadership”. In this study you get a good picture of who you are emotionally, experientially, vocationally, and spiritually. Those assessments are not perfect but they are a good start, then confirm that with prayer and consultation with other believers and Spiritual leaders. And once you know your Spiritual gifting then
B. Use Faithfully
1. v10 says USE whatever gift he has received … faithfully administering
In 5 weeks, you are going to come into your living room, where you will probably have a tree or pretend tree decorated and a bunch of boxes and bags under that tree. Within a matter of minutes those boxes will be open. The rest of the day you will be using most of those things. Some of you will hit the stores the next day and return the things you don’t want or don’t fit your body, your sense of style, or your personality. But those gifts will be opened and the good gifts will be used
Well people, if you are a disciple of Jesus Christ, you have come to a rugged tree, where Christ died for you and you have received mercy for you sin, you have received Grace of a relationship with Jesus Christ receiving sonship and inheritance … but under that tree are also Spiritual Gifts and yet many perhaps a majority of believers leave those gifts either unopened or unused. We have to USE them …
2. faithfully – the word is kalo – good; right, proper, fitting, better, honorable, fine, beautiful precious
We have to use our gifts continually
We have to use them intentionally
We have to use them correctly
As stewards of the grace gifts from God, we have to recognize that God gave them to use to be used for his glory. He has invested them in us just like finances and they must in turn be spent or used in an honorable manor
And then he gives us some
C. Examples v11
1. if you have a gift to speak, like the gift of prophesy or the gift of exhortation, or the gift of teaching, as one speaking the very words of God. As a steward of God’s grace in this area, I have a responsibility when I speak to you to not come with an agenda that is my own but with the Words of God and with his purposes for them. God has given me a Gift and I have a responsibility for how I use that gift. That means the Lord gives me the knowledge, wisdom, and ability to learn and speak and he gets all the credit
2. if anyone serves – like gifts of hospitality, helps, giving, or mercy, he should do it with the strength the Lord provides. That means with the MEANS that God gives. That means the Lord provides and the Lord gets the credit.
3. We should be hospitable, not grumbling, not to draw people to ourselves.
4. We shouldn’t preach to show our ability, we shouldn’t minister through song just to draw attention to our talent … but for the purpose that in all things, God may be praised through Jesus Christ.
The Time is Near we have a sense of Urgency
The Gifts we have belong to God so we must have a sense of Call
And finally we must have
3 A Sense of Others
When people talk about Spiritual Gifts
There is a tendency to raise one gift above another
Some think that some Ministry Gifts are greater than other
Some think Service gifts are greater than some other
Some think some ecstatic gifts are greater
Romans 12 talks about
Prophesying, which is truth telling, serving in the physical sense, teaching, encouraging, giving, leadership, mercy,
1 Corinthians 12 talks about some of those, plus spiritual discernment, wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, other languages and interpretations
In Romans 12, and 1 Corinthians 12 and in Ephesians 4 they all three say that we all have gifts, we all have them AS the SPIRIT determines, and that God gives DIFFERENT GIFTS to Different people but it’s all the same Spirit for the purpose of doing the Ministry of God through his church.
Every person will not have every gift. Nor will every person have any particular gift. If someone tells you that if you are a true Christian you will have a particular gift, they haven’t read or aren’t willing to accept a very simple principle of scripture.
But we need to know our gifts, we need to open our gifts, learn to use our gifts
V10 says “administering God’s grace in its various forms
Not all gifts are the same
Not all believers have all gifts
But all gifts from all believers are meant to be used FOR OTHERS
A. Surpassing Love
1. v8 “above all, love each other deeply”
2. listen to me carefully and hear what I am saying, drop your shields for a minute. Do not read anything into this. But I need to say this to be faithful … ABOVE ALL LOVE EACH OTHER DEEPLY … we fail to use our gifts for a few reasons only, we don’t know what they are, we don’t know how to use them or we don’t love one another deeply enough to serve. I know that sounds harsh but I’m just reading what this says. Jesus said if we love HIM we will obey his commands and Paul is telling us if we love one another we will know and use the Spiritual Gifts for one another.
The verb LOVE here is a form of Agape, that’s a perfect, unconditional selfless love. And it is combined with another Greek word ECHO which means to “hold on to” … so it’s literally saying “Hold ON to Loving Each Other” … Keep it Up … Don’t Stop …
Love DEEPLY – that word means earnestly, constantly, intensely, fervently –
HOW? By using our Spiritual Gifts for the benefit of One Another
1 Cor. 12:7 – (given) “to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for common good”
Love is the Governor for our Spiritual Gifts
Notice it says that LOVE Covers a multitude of sins …
i.e. when I am ACTIVELY LOVING CONTINUALLY and DEEPLY … I will at least overlook and often miss altogether when someone doesn’t love me the same way. Cause I’m loving actively and selflessly
Listen to me and consider my heart and what I share
If we love God deeply and Love others deeply we will serve gladly and willingly
If we love deeply, the Childcare will have all the volunteer workers we need
If we love deeply people who have a financial need will be ministered to by people who have the gift of giving
People who have physical needs will be served by people with spiritual gifts of service, helps, mercy
If we love deeply people with emotional needs will be loved on by people with gifts of mercy, compassion
If we love deeply people with the gifts of helps will want to serve our awana children as listeners
We will host people in need of a place to stay
We will listen to someone needing to talk
We will teach children or adults
We will visit in the hospital
We will take a meal to someone
We will drop off anonymous groceries or mow a lawn, or pay a bill
Because we love deeply
And not for pat on the back
Not for a mention in the newsletter
Not for recognition by the Pastor
B. For God’s Glory
1. v11 – in all things … in prophesy, exhortation, discernment, teaching, mercy, helps, service, giving, hospitality, changing a diaper, hearing a memory verse, working with teenagers, cleaning a toilet, going on a mission trip, mowing a lawn, helping at a food kitchen, cleaning a gutter, changing a tire, visiting a nursing home, … IN ALL THINGS … GOD MAY BE PRAISED … Through Jesus …
Listen when you serve a child, serve a meal, or preach a sermon you are ministering to them JESUS that THAT Glorifies God. When I have given to a person in need I tell them, “I’m not doing this because I’m a nice guy, I’m doing this because Jesus Loves you and he told me to do this for you.”
2. That He May Be praised – I’m serving and using my gifts because I want someone who DOESN’T Know God to Know God. doxazo – praise, honor; glorify, exalt – the Bottom line of our service, love, ministry is that the Kingdom will be enlarged as God’s name is magnified, his reputation enlarged
3. To Him Be Glory – doxa – glory, splendor, grandeur, brilliance
And that brings us back to where we started
Everything is God’s
Everything if From Him
Everything is to Him
Everything is by
I must Give
I must Serve
I must Love
I must Live
For Jesus Christ
For his Glory
For his Honor
What are you going to do?
All that I Have …
Mathew Sands, praying on his knees. In his hands he held a telegram which read: “Your son David reported missing, believed dead.” Mathew Sands said nothing as he quietly recalled the life of his son, a pilot in the Air Force. Finally, he turned the telegram over and wrote on the back of it, “All that I have and all that I am, I give to God and for His service.”
These words of recommitment brought comfort to his heart. The telephone rang. A neighboring university was interested in Mathew Sands, a retired pastor. On the way to the university for an interview, he came upon an abandoned church. Beside it a sign read: “For sale by auction.” He entered the church to pray and while there decided to buy it and restore it to its purpose.
Later, another man entered, Andrew Jelks. He had come to appraise the property. If acquired, Jelks planned to turn the building into “Andy’s Amusement Arcade.”
Sands wrote the trustees and made them an offer.
When the day of the sale arrived, a curious group of people gathered about the church. Mathew Sands, standing among them, put his hand into his pocket only to finding the letter addressed to the trustees he thought he had mailed. In his confused state of mind, he had inadvertently enclosed the telegram from the War Office instead of his offer. He was disappointed and disgusted with himself, but it was too late. Anyway, he decided to stay for the auction.
The man in charge of the sale finally announced that the church had been sold to Mathew Sands, declaring that his was the highest offer. He then read aloud the bid: “All that I have and all that I am, I give to God for his service.”
What Amazing thing might happen if we all turned over the Best or the Worst News you’ve ever gotten and wrote on it … “All that I have and all that I am, I give to God for his service”?
What might God do through New Life Baptist Church for the Glory of God through Christ Jesus
Are you curious?
Got a Pen?