|Create Date||July 6, 2019|
|Last Updated||July 6, 2019|
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STEWARDSHIP Chris Khoury - SERMON SUMMARY - 30 JUNE 2019
Psalm 24:1 The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;
God owns everything! This whole earth, belongs to God. Everyone and everything in it belongs to Him. Your life is not your own. All you possess belongs to God. Your time, your money, every talent, ability and skill you possess belongs to God.
One theologian (Peel) wrote the following.
“Although God gives us “all things richly to enjoy,” nothing is ours. Nothing really belongs to us. God owns everything; we’re responsible for how we treat it and what we do with it. While we complain about our rights here on earth, the Bible constantly asks, ‘What about your responsibilities’? Owners have rights; stewards have responsibilities.
WHAT IS A STEWARD?
A steward is one who manages the possessions of another. We are all stewards of the resources, abilities and opportunities that God has entrusted to our care. As Christians we are called upon to be wise stewards.
Owners have rights, stewards have responsibilities. As stewards are responsible for how we look after our bodies, our minds, how we use our talents and resources, our time, etc. We are called upon to be socially and environmentally responsible. This is exactly the opposite of what we see out in the world. Today its everyone for himself.
OUR LIVES ARE NOT OUR OWN.
The price of our salvation is the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Before conversion we were in slavery to sin. Jesus paid our debt, purchased us with his blood. Acts 20:28. Our time, our minds and hearts are not our own. Our relationships, skills, abilities and possessions are not ours. They all belong to Jesus. However, as stewards over God’s possessions we must decide how to use our lives, our time, relationships, skills, abilities and our possessions.
1 Corinthians 10:31(NIV) 31
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
Christians are to glorify God in everything that we do. This is what it means to be a wise and faithful steward. This is exactly what the people out in the world are not doing.
WE ARE ACCOUNTABLE.
As Christian stewards we will all be called upon to give an account for how we have managed what the Master has entrusted to our care. This is the lesson taught by the Parable of the Talents. (Matt 25:14-29)
Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master happiness!
Colossians 3:23-24 Paul writes:
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
There is confusion about giving in GCI South Africa. When the church taught that tithing is an Old Covenant practice, some thought giving is no longer necessary. This has led to the situation where many members do not give anything, except small donations during church services.
Rick Warren once wrote: "You're never more like God than when you give. God gives. It's what he does. He's generous. All you have is a gift from God. You wouldn't take
your next breath if God didn't give it to you." Jesus himself said it is more blessed to give than to receive.
There are two main types of offerings we currently practice in GCI.
- FREEWILL OFFERINGS
These are regular monthly offerings that we give freely as a percentage of our incomes. This is what in some churches they call tithes. In GCI we don't often use that word because tithing was part of the Levitical priesthood system.
When Abraham came back from rescuing Lot his nephew, he gave Melchizedek a "tenth of everything." (Gen. 14:20). This was a freewill offering by Abraham. It was not commanded or expected from him. The Levitical tithing system was later established on the same principle of giving ten percent as Abraham did. Therefore, our giving is not based on the Levitical tithing system, but on the Abrahamic-Melchizedek model.
This model is based on giving a "tenth of everything"! That is, our income, our time, our talents, EVERYTHING! However, with a FREEWILL OFFERING, the worshiper gives "what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." (2 Cor. 9:7).
The freewill offering is therefore not just ten percent, it can be more than ten percent, or less than ten percent as we feel led by the Holy Spirit, according to the blessings we receive each month. This applies to our time as well. It is not either money or time. It is everything.
- THANKSGIVING OFFERINGS.
These are weekly offerings that we give as an act of gratitude for what God has done for us during the week. This can also be called a fellowship offering. (Lev 7:12)
It is referred to as “an expression of thankfulness”.
However, a thanksgiving offering can also be a substantial offering depending on what one is grateful about, for example, a bonus payment or an unexpected windfall.
“Both Freewill offerings and Thanksgiving offerings should be part of our giving regime.”
Auditors also prefer that all income be made into church bank accounts directly by the donors as it is easier to audit. This also ensures that our tax exempt status with SARS is protected as we can prove and declare all the income we have received. Being a good steward with our finances is really only a small part of our responsibility towards God. Every aspect of our lives should be managed so that God is glorified. But we cannot ignore the important role that money has in our lives. How we manage our finances has a lot to do with spiritual maturity.
In Luke 12:13 we are told, “We cannot serve God and money.”
1 Peter 4:10-11 (NIV)10
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen
This is Christian stewardship. We live for Jesus Christ, to do his work, to serve him in everything we do.