READ | SERMON NOTES
Summary l What should be our response to God’s faithfulness? As the Lord may return any time to bring an end to the age of grace, we are to live each day in a responsible manner, to be ready for action as we await His return. To be faithful is to be trustworthy, loyal and constant. We keep pressing on in our commitment to God to stay true to our relationship with Jesus regardless of cost or adversity. Our faithfulness flows from faith in God. God’s faithfulness is established in His covenant with us which cannot be broken, unlike contracts between people which can be broken because the parties are unable to fulfil their promises. God wants us to reflect His faithfulness in our relationships like marriage, friendship and life in community.
How do we develop a spirit of faithfulness?
A. Attending to three areas (V7-9)
1. Be Faithful in Prayer (V7)
We need to be mentally alert for an effective prayer life. God’s word must govern our actions. We remain faithful in prayer even though we may be discouraged when we see no change or possibility of our prayer being answered. Do not wait for a crisis before praying. Persist in praying as we have a faithful God who honours faithfulness. Be faithful stewards of prayer.
2. Be Faithful in Love (V8)
V8-above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins. “Above all” suggests first in order of importance and “deeply” describes something stretched. Our top priority is to focus on what is right in loving others and remain faithful even when the situation is against us. Such love is not an emotion but a decision of the will that leads to action. To quote Henri Nouwen – “if we wait for a feeling of love, we may never learn to love well… we are to think, speak and act according to the spiritual knowledge that we are infinitely loved by God and make this love visible. When we “do” love, we will discover that our feelings will catch up with our act even if the other does not respond with love”. Love overlooks the offences of others. Stewardship is all about love. We are grateful for all God has entrusted to us and as faithful stewards understand that our actions reveal our priority. Are we willing to forgive? If we are faithful in love, we will not delight in exposing the sins of others as love covers a multitude of sins.
3. Be Faithful in Hospitality (V9)
Offer hospitality without grumbling. Peter underscored the importance of doing something from the heart instead of just external conformance. Hospitality is the cornerstone of stewardship because it opens the doors to a person’s heart to receive love, grace and joy. Hospitality is both commanded and commended in the Bible. Jesus and the apostles experienced hospitality just as missionaries today experience hospitality of their hosts.
B. Administering God’s Grace (V10-11a)
1. We are to be God’s faithful stewards (1 Cor4:1-2). God gives us gifts to serve others. He is the source of all gifts.
2. Manifestation of grace
God’s grace manifested in speech and service. Speaking covers all forms of oral service like teaching, evangelism, giving testimonies, singing, inviting others to Alpha courses, etc
3. Administering God’s grace faithfully
We are to speak the very words of God and serve with the strength that God gives, trusting that God will always replenish the resources we have expended. Regardless of whether we are given one or more talent, we are to use our God given talent(s) faithfully. God rewards us according to our faithfulness, not how much we are given to start with. Whatever you do, do 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 (Col 3:23,24).
C. Ascribing All Glory to God (V11b).
The purpose of our stewardship is to glorify God in all things through Jesus. God is glorified when people see the Master, not the minister. We may begin well but do we finish well? We may start with good intentions but the tendency is to shift ownership of success to ourselves. As we develop the spirit of servanthood in ministry, the Lord will find us faithful in stewarding His resources and is glorified. There is a difference between fruit and result. Service that produces fruit glorifies God. Fruit comes from life. Living fruit remains and continues to multiply for God’s glory. Results obtained through sure fire formulas, manipulation and human effort may be counted but soon become silent statistics. God chose us to bear fruit that will last (Jn 15:16)
What is God saying to you about your stewardship?
PONDER | REFLECTION QUESTIONS
1. What is your understanding of stewardship?
2. How would you describe yourself as a steward?
3. Faithfulness In:
3a. Attending To Three Areas (v7-9)
i. How faithful are you in prayer, love and hospitality?
Ii. What steps can you take to grow in faithfulness in these three areas?
3b. Administering God’s Grace (v9-11a)
i. How are you manifesting God’s grace in your speech and service?
ii. If you are currently not serving in any area, share how you can be more intentional in ministering God’s grace?
3c. Ascribing All Glory To God (V11b)
i. Share an occasion in which you gave God all the glory.
ii. Share an occasion in which you did not give God all the glory.
4. Pray for one another.