PHBC April 18, 1999

Series: First Peter, Ser. #69

BEING GOOD STEWARDS OF GODíS GRACIOUS GIFTS


Scripture: I Pet. 4:1-11

TEXT: 1 Peter 4:10 As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

INTRO: I have read the first eleven verses of this chapter for two reasons. First, since we have not been in this series on I Peter since the middle of January, I thought it might help to refresh our minds on what we have studied. Second, the first verse of this chapter calls on us to be of the same mind as Christ who gave all for us and for our sakes. That theme is continued in our text.

The verse before us this morning is verse 10. As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. It speaks of being good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Godís grace is manifold. In my mind I sometimes pronounce the word manifold, many-fold.

There are two words in the verse that I want to call to your attention before starting an exposition of the verse. The first is the word received which reminds us that all that we have whether spiritual or material gifts, they were received. The second word is stewards. A steward is one in charge of something belonging to another. God has bestowed on us his graces and made us stewards of those graces. And, stewards are to be found faithful in using and disbursing those things received from our gracious God.

I. EVERYTHING WE HAVE THAT IS WORTHWHILE CAME FROM GOD

A. Every good and perfect gift comes from God. James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

B. We have nothing that we did not receive and we must remember that always. 1 Corinthians 4:7 For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?

1. The obvious implications of Paulís questions is that any difference in us and others is a God-made difference.

2. He also indicates that whatever we have that is any worth came from God.

3. How can we glory in what we have received as a gracious gift from God?

4. When we do glory in those things as though we did not receive them but achieved them on our own, we rob God of the glory due him.

C. The sin of Herod, for which he was severely punished, was the sin of taking credit for a talent given him by God. Acts 12:21-23 And upon a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat upon his throne, and made an oration unto them. 22 And the people gave a shout, saying, It is the voice of a god, and not of a man. 23 And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost.

1. Herodís sin was terrible and his punishment was severe.

2. Is it not even worse for one of Godís graciously regenerated, saved children to take glory for that which is his by gracious bestowment by God?

D. Paul was always very careful to give God all the glory for all he had and all he was.

1. When it came to his ministry God was the receiver of the glory. 1 Corinthians 3:5-6 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? 6 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.

2. Paul was probably one of the greatest missionaries and planters of churches Godís people have ever known but it was all due to grace, Godís grace. 1 Corinthians 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

3. Again, hear the Apostle on this matter. Ephesians 3:8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.

E. Taking credit for what God had given him and made him was the great sin of Nebuchadnezzar and cost him seven horrible years. Daniel 4:32-33 And they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field: they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and seven times shall pass over thee, until thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will. 33 The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eaglesí feathers, and his nails like birdsí claws.

F. Let us also remember that the gift and talent which God may give to us, he may to give to another and vice-versa. 1 Corinthians 7:7 For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that.

G. We need the attitude expressed by David when the people and he had given such a great offering for the building of the temple. 1 Chronicles 29:11-16 Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all. 12 Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all. 13 Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name. 14 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. 15 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. 16 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.

H. Some think God is unreasonable when he charged Israel with robbing him in tithes and offerings but that charge becomes even more valid, if that is possible, when we remember it came from him in the first place.

I. Much more could be read from Godís word on this subject point and much more could be said but these things should suffice to remind us to give God all the glory for what we are and what we have.

II. AS WE HAVE GRACIOUSLY RECEIVED WHAT WE HAVE AND ARE; WE SHOULD MINISTER TO OTHERS AND TO THE LORDíS CHURCH

A. One who has the ability to teach, should do so with grace and readiness when given the opportunity.

B. One who has the ability to play an instrument should do so readily and eagerly.

C. One who has the finances should help others with graciousness and without grudging. 1 Corinthians 16:1-2 Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. 2 Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.

D. One who has an income should give with the promise we cannot outgive God. Luke 6:38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

E. Though we should not give with the idea of getting back, God has promised to bless when we do give. Malachi 3:7-11 Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return? 8 Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. 9 Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. 10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. 11 And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts.

F. I detest a legalistic doctrine on giving as much as any one else; but I love the doctrine of grace-giving and encourage you to try it if you have not. 2 Corinthians 8:7-9 Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also. 8 I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love. 9 For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.

III. A REMINDER THAT WE ARE STEWARDS OF THAT WHICH GOD HAS GIVEN US AND WE ARE ADMONISHED TO BE GOOD STEWARDS

A. God will bless those who are good stewards of that which he has given, whether it be spiritual or material gifts. Matthew 24:45-46 Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? 46 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.

B. We must be faithful in the little things as well as the big. Luke 16:10-12 He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. 11 If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? 12 And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another manís, who shall give you that which is your own?

C. God will call all of us into account for how we have handle all that he has given us. 1 Corinthians 4:1-5 Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2 Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. 3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of manís judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self. 4 For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord. 5 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.

1. Let me emphasize that we will not simply be asked to give an account for a certain percentage of what he has given us, such as 10% or another percentage.

2. We must give an account for all of it. Matthew 25:14-29 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. 15 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. 16 Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. 17 And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. 18 But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lordís money. 19 After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. 20 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. 21 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. 22 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. 23 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. 24 Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: 25 And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. 26 His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: 27 Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. 28 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. 29 For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.

a. Whatever else this passage and its context may teach, it teaches faithful stewardship of all that we receive from the Lord.

b. Whatever else this passage and its context may teach, it teaches that we will be called to account for our stewardship of what God has given us.

c. Let us be found faithful in our stewardship of our time, our talents and abilities, and our wealth, however little or much it may be.

D. Let me remind you again that it is REQUIRED in stewards that they be found faithful. 1 Corinthians 4:2 Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.

E. Let us be careful that we are good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 1 Peter 4:10 As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

CONC: In conclusion, let me assure you that God will not make an exception for you. He will require an accounting of your stewardship of all that he has given you. How will you fare at the judgment seat of Christ? 2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

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