Who is Lord of My Life in Reality?
DATE: 3 Apr, 2005 AM
PLACE: BBC Ballincollig
A. Today, we want to look at our responsibility as stewards of what God has given to us to manage.
B. Daniel Webster said, “The most important thought I ever had was that of my individual responsibility to God.” He made that statement in response to a question at a banquet in his honour when he was asked, “What is the most profound thought you’ve ever had?” He gave the answer and became so emotional he had to excuse himself and then came back and talked for thirty minutes about our responsibility for our time, talents and resources. Today, we are going to look at my favourite passage in all the Bible pertaining to stewardship.
C. Today, we want to address the problem that most people have, the fact that they don’t recognize God as the Absolute Owner of everything in our lives.
D. You have to settle that issue first.
E. We are not owners of anything; we are managers.
F. Once we grasp this thought, we can then be the stewards God wants.
G. Let me ask you this question, “If you earned €400.00 last week, how much of it belongs to God?” If you said, “€40.00,” you don’t understand this principle yet.
H. It all belongs to God. The steward understands that God owns it and we are supposed to MANAGE it.
II. Background - Jesus teaches a parable about three things
A. The coming millennial kingdom
B. The need for Christians to learn to be good managers/stewards
C. The way to handle our possessions
III. Message - Biblical Principles of Stewardship:
A. The Coming Kingdom (Lk 19:12)
1. Jesus is the “nobleman” who is not here right now
2. He has left His servants in charge
3. He is coming again to set up His earthly kingdom – called the Millennium (Isa 9:6,7)
4. This is the Messiah that the jews only wanted and expected
5. He will come!
B. The Concept of Servant-hood (Lk 19:13)
1. Not slaves – they have no choice in the matter
2. But servants – those who are under their master, who serve HIM
3. Slaves are FORCED to serve
4. Servants LOVE to serve
5. Jesus calls his followers to be servants – not slaves
6. The highest calling of any human being – to serve the Lord (Col 3:22-24)
C. Stewardship (Lk 19:13,14)
1. God gave each person some responsibility
a. Sometimes it is the same as everyone else – as here
b. Sometimes it is related to your abilities (Mt 25:14-17)
2. He told them to hold position until He returns
a. Don’t lose ground – hold your ground - occupy
b. Don’t be careless about what you are responsible for
c. Don’t let anyone else take-over what God gave YOU to do. Don’t let the popular opinion (“we will not have this man reign over us”) affect your determination to serve your King!
3. Defined Stewardship
a. “Steward” means “caretaker, manager, overseer.”
b. Stewardship is the use of God-given resources for the accomplishment of God-given goals. When we understand God as the Owner, then when we lose material possessions and finances, the anxiety is less because we realize God owns it, not us. If I think I own everything, when I get more, I run the risk of getting proud and thinking that I did it. If I lose everything I become depressed because I feel I have lost “my” possessions.
c. Ownership is with God – He owns everything
1) He gives me things to manage, but they belong to Him. My responsibility as a good steward is to do the best I can with what He has given me.
2) Job 1:21 “And he said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD.”
3) The Lord has a right at any time to enter into my life and take away anything I have because the possessions are not mine.
4) He even has the right to take my life!
5) It is the Owner who has the rights; the steward has the responsibilities.
d. Stewardship is in my hands – my task, my responsibility - I am responsible for:
1) What I say
2) What I do
3) What I look upon and lust after
4) What I spend my money on
5) Who I am willing to love
6) What I am willing to invest my time and monies in
7) Stewardship is ME being responsible for MY LIFE to God!
e. It is a full-time job – occupy not just on occasion, but it is your life until Jesus returns
D. Accountability (Lk 19:15-25)
1. There will come a day when Jesus returns, and will hold us accountable for what we did (2Cor 5:10,11)
2. Jesus Christ expects gain – growth – maturity – for us to grow up, and to produce fruit (Jn 15:8) – the concept of the vine!
3. Three levels of performance: High performers, Medium performers, and NO performers!
a. High performers
1) Can take 1 pound and make 9 more with it
2) These are the “go-getters”
3) Thank God for them
4) We call them in the business world, Entrepreneurs
5) They are the risk takers who give everything for their goal
6) Don’t disdain people who work hard and succeed
7) THAT’S how Christianity won the world
8) Right now, it is just making money
9) What if Christians had THAT kind of drive and commitment for souls and for preaching and church starting?!
b. Medium performers
1) Can take 1 pound and make 4 more with it
2) Pretty awesome!
3) Also worked very hard at making sure his Lord’s gift to him was fruitful and would be more for Him when He returned
c. NO performers
1) Take just 1 pound and hide it and fear trying to do ANYTHING with it for God’s glory!
2) These are people who IMAGINE that they can’t do anything
3) They figure they will only lose it, or will blow it
4) They don’t even TRY!
5) God wants try-ers, not people who give-up before they even start!
E. Eternal Rewards (Lk 19:26)
1. Talking about REWARDS, not salvation – that is a gift
2. Not even eternal security
3. But rewards for faithfulness to what God has given you
4. Let’s look again at the first man
a. Took 1 pound of gold and invested it and got a return of 1000%
b. In Mt 25:16-21, the man took 5 bars of gold, and invested them, and got five additional bars worth for His master
c. Both men received not money, but greater responsibility
d. Jesus considered this accomplishment to be something “little” (19:17)
e. Yet rewarded him with the responsibility of running TEN cities in His new kingdom!
f. What a reward!
g. Responsibility is a great reward – especially for a Christian
h. Too many of the devil’s servants are running things
5. What about the second man?
a. Took 1 pound and made it into 5 (Cf Mt 25:22,23)
b. Rewarded with greater responsibility as well
c. Was made in charge of FIVE cities – because THAT was what he was capable of
d. Remember, God NEVER asks you to do something you won’t be able to do with His help – He knows your limits and abilities
6. And then, what about the third man?
a. Took his responsibility and rejected it
b. Hid it in a napkin in a hole in the ground (Cf Mt 25:18)
c. What kind of reward is HE worthy of?
d. A stern rebuke
e. A lost position in the coming kingdom
7. A great truth here – not everyone was given the same amount
a. Now in the passage also note that He did not give each the same amount.
b. He gave one 5 talents, one 2 talents and one 1 talent.
c. Matthew 25:15 tells us why: “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.” He gave them what they had the ability to handle. “…each according to his own ability….”
d. If you aren’t doing such a swift job handling €400.00 a week, why would God give you €10,000 a week?
F. The Dividing Line (Lk 19:27, cf 14)
1. Who is in charge of your life?
2. It will show by who you do things for:
a. Are you living FOR your King?
b. Are you living for the future? (Mt 6:20)
3. The general population did not like this man to be their king – talking about Jesus
4. Their place in the future kingdom is directly related to their acceptance as king now – they get kicked out!
IV. Final Principles
A. Every Spending Decision Should Be A Spiritual Decision (Mt 6:21)
B. God Uses Money And Possessions To Prepare Us For His Coming Kingdom. (Lk 19:15-19; 16:11,12)
C. Three Quick Points About Money And Possessions:
1. Money and possessions are a very effective tool that God uses in our lives. In other words, these things get our attention. When we have times of financial change, there are two responses. When we lose money or possessions, the mature Christian asks, “God, what do you want me to learn?” The immature Christian asks, “God why are you dong this to me?” These tools shape us in life.
2. Money and possessions are a very effective test that God uses in our lives. In the parable the two who were good stewards were given more, but the one who wasn’t had to give up what he had. Listen again to Luke 16:11, 12
3. Money and possessions are a very effective testimony that God uses in our lives. We are to be a light in the darkness of this world. What distinguishes us as Christians in this world concerning possessions is not whether we have a little or a lot but our attitude toward what we have. That is our testimony.
D. The Amount Is Not Important (Luke 19:13; and compare with Mt 25:15)
E. Stewardship Requires a Definite Action. (Lk 19:15-24)
V. Conclusion and Invitation:
A. We can’t talk about giving without thinking of the gift God gave in the form of His Son. Jesus died for our sins and gave His life for ours. Do you know Him today? If not, come today and let me introduce you to Him.
B. Christian have you gotten to the point where God is not first in your life anymore? Have you been giving God your leftovers or nothing at all? Have you been robbing God of His tithe and not using the gifts He gave for His glory? Come and get that settled today.
Craig Ledbetter, Ireland
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