Audio from Senior Pastor Vaughn Drawdy on Sunday morning April 14th, 2019.
Spiritual Fitness requires Stewardship.
A true disciple is one who says, “Jesus, I want to know what you know so that I can respond to others like you with the resources God has given.”
But it is more than behaving like Jesus, it is having a heart for God that is passionate for what God is passionate about: Redeeming the lost, bringing shalom to chaos.
Our whole goal then is to become spiritually fit, to mature/grow in such a way that we build people up, serve them, encourage them to fall in love with God. We're not just trying to make them better people or better Christians, but to help them to better know the awesome power and intimacy of God’s love, - and that will radically change their hearts and lives.
Ephesians 4:11-16 NIV
11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. 14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
Paul concludes this thought of building, equipping and maturing with a call for each of us to do our part. God has given us provisions to do our part. Whatever God has called us too, He provides. We have time, energy, and talents expressed and invested in relationships, resources, and money. We need to see the product of our life in the terms of STEWARDSHIP.
Matthew 6:21 NIV
21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Stewardship is about who is in charge of your life. As this grows clearer in our understanding, the more we move in step with God - with our time, talents, resources, and money.
Great story of knowing that God has blessed and will bless.
Genesis 12 - 14
Genesis 12:1-5 NIV
1 The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. 2 “I will make you into a great nation,and I will bless you;I will make your name great,and you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you,and whoever curses you I will curse;and all peoples on earthwill be blessed through you.” 4 So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran. 5 He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Harran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there.
Abraham obeys. Trust God with his life and does what God says. Time passes, Abraham is sees God’s blessings, his herds increase… so much so that he and Lot must part and chose a place near Sodom (13:12). The place where Lot settled was not only wicked, but a war torn land. Look at Genesis 14:
In Genesis 14 we see 4 Kings join forces against 5 kings. The 5 kings lost and became subject to them. This went on for 12 years and until the 5 kings said enough and didn't want to pay anymore.. They rebelled.
Genesis 14:13-16 NIV
13 A man who had escaped came and reported this to Abram the Hebrew. Now Abram was living near the great trees of Mamre the Amorite, a brother of Eshkol and Aner, all of whom were allied with Abram. 14 When Abram heard that his relative had been taken captive, he called out the 318 trained men born in his household and went in pursuit as far as Dan. 15 During the night Abram divided his men to attack them and he routed them, pursuing them as far as Hobah, north of Damascus. 16 He recovered all the goods and brought back his relative Lot and his possessions, together with the women and the other people.
SO here in Genesis 14 we see battle lines drawn, 5 armies with their kings against 4 armies and their kings. The 5 lost…As the 4 kings swept the land to pillage and take captives to make them slaves or sell them as slaves, Lot, his family and his possessions are taken captive.
Here we see Abram going out to rescue Lot. In verse 14 it says that he took 318 men with him. Why 318? It was all he had…
This may seem like a small army - 318 against 4 great armies that just defeated 5 great armies…
But what did Abram have on his side that guaranteed a victory?
Remember back up in Genesis 12:
Genesis 12:1-2 NIV
Abram had faith. He knew God. He saw God’s hand of blessing upon him. Abram knew that these 318 would win. He knew that all he had belonged to the Lord and that God would use these simple 318 men to do mighty things.
Abram was a steward of God’s blessing.
Friends the message is simple today:
God has blessed us as well. Deut. 8:18 “But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth…” We are wealthy in relationships. We’ve been given opportunity, time, energy, resources, money… But for what purpose? What do we do with them? What are we doing with God’s provision?
(Consumers gain riches for personal wealth and use. Stewards work with a different set of views on wealth and its purposes).
Matthew 6:19-21, 24 NIV
19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
24 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
CONSUMER MENTALITY: GREED seeks money for personal gain
STEWARDSHIP MENTALITY: serves God and uses money to further His purposes.
I am not saying we should not prepare for retirement, save money, or have nice things…
Proverbs 21:20 The wise store up choice food and olive oil, but fools gulp theirs down.
The important thing is to make sure we maintain the right heart, perspective and use of what we have and what we work for…
Many wear themselves to gain riches: Proverbs 23:4-5 Do not wear yourself out to get rich; do not trust your own cleverness. 5 Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle.
Again, back to the driving word of Ephesians 4. We are called to build up, mature, work, & serve. We need to see our selves as STEWARDS of God’s people.
What does that look like:
1.Time with people (includes our talents). Not just hanging out and having a good time but being intentional to build up, encourage and help them know God, His Word, and His purpose. We live together in such a way that we are living examples of His Word in action.
2. We need to give of our resources. This includes our money. We need to see tithing and giving offerings as an act of worship. Two things that are important in this: 1. Do we really believe that God has blessed us? We tend to forget at times where our provisions has come from. A great way to refocus our lives is to keep GREED in check. Tithing on a regular basis helps detach us from GREED. It is us, give back to God knowing where it came from. … Tithing is a great expression of humility, worship and simply saying, “God I am yours.” 2. Tithing is also a BIBLICAL truth.
Malachi 3:6-12 NIV
6 “I the Lord do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. 7 Ever since the time of your ancestors you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord Almighty.“But you ask, ‘How are we to return?’ 8 “Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me.“But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’“In tithes and offerings. 9 You are under a curse—your whole nation—because you are robbing me. 10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. 11 I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe,” says the Lord Almighty. 12 “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the Lord Almighty.
Some may say… V that is OLD TESTAMENT and it doesn’t apply to us today. Well, gravity was created in the OT, does it apply today?
There are those who desire to argue, debate and say tithing isn’t for today. Either way, the truth is still the same. God desires to reveal who He is to a lost and hurting world - that didn’t change... that didn't change from OT to NT. Instead of the law making us righteous in the OT, we now have grace in the NT… the purpose though is the same… why do we not want to give of our resources? of our money?
>As members of the family of God in the body of Christ, we belong to each other, we need each other, we influence each other, and in love, we should minister to one another.
>Each of us has different gifts and abilities, resources, money amounts, that we should use for building up one another in the church of Jesus Christ.
>We should ask God not only to bless others by meeting their needs but also to make us a blessing to others and share what we have.
>The Lord says to us as he said to Abraham, “I will bless you… and you will be a blessing” Genesis 12: 2–3
So we are confronted with a choice and an opportunity: Do we take what we have, what we work for, what has been given and merely consume it for ourselves? Enjoy it for our on pleasure? OR Do we join God in His great purpose and reveal His love, care, compassion and provision with those we see, encounter, walk with, work with and live beside?
We need to remind ourselves repeatedly that we are God’s appointed stewards and that He is prepared to give us what we need so that we may accomplish His will. We are blessed so that we may bless…