The Stewardship of Life
Pastor David L. Brown, Ph.D.
Sermon Delivered 6/12/05
Text: 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's."
In the coming weeks, I will be preaching a series of messages on stewardship…
Definition of Stewardship
The best place to begin is by defining the word steward. The Greek word translated steward is οἰκονόμος-oikonomos, oy-kon-om'-os . It is a compound Greek word made up of oikos, which means house and nemo, which means to manage. So literally the word means "one who manages a household." The idea of a steward is a person who manages and administrates what has been entrusted to him by another. Stewardship is therefore the duty of being a steward.
The Four Basic Principles of Christian Stewardship
As we begin our study, I need to identify for you the four underlying principles of Christian stewardship.
Today’s Focus – The Stewardship of Life
American philosopher William James (1842-1910) once said, "The great use of life is to spend it for something that outlasts it." In general, I would agree, but, more specifically, as I have told you on many occasions, remember… "Only one life twill soon be past and only what’s done for Christ will last. God has given us our life and he expects us to manage and use our life wisely to His glory, that is to be a wise steward of it.
The Bible is clear – God owns mankind! He owns you and me. Turn in your Bible Deuteronomy 32:6 "Do ye thus requite the LORD, O foolish people and unwise? is not he thy father that hath bought thee? hath he not made thee, and established thee?"
There are other verses that point out God’s ownership of us –
Ezekiel 18:4 "Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die." I think Dr. John Gill, the old Baptist preacher of the 1700’s, hit the nail right on the head when he was explaining the phrase, Behold, all souls are mine in his commentary. He said, man belongs to God "by creation; they being the immediate produce of His power; hence He is called ‘the Father of spirits’, Hebrews 12:9. The souls of men He has an apparent right unto; a property in; a dominion over; they are accountable to him, and will be judged impartially by him."
Paul wrote these words to the Romans – "For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's." Romans 14:8
You may like it or lump it as the saying goes, but God owns you. That brings me to my text for this message… 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." This Pauline passage gives us the a clear, solid Biblical perspective of why we must be stewards of our life.
Life is the gift of God. The Apostle Paul references and agrees with a Greek poet (probably Aratus), in Acts 17:28-29 "For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. 29 Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God…." No man owns himself! God owns us all.
In fact, God has a two fold claim on every person . I want us to revisit a passage of Scripture that we visited just a few moments ago -- Deuteronomy 32:6 "Do ye thus requite the LORD, O foolish people and unwise? is not he thy father that hath bought thee? hath he not made thee, and established thee?"
Note the phrase "hath he not made thee?" That is a rhetorical question. That is, a question that has an easily understood answer. The answer to the question, "hath he not made thee?" is clearly a YES! God’s first claim on all people is that He made them. All people are God’s by creation.
God’s second claim on us is, we are His because he has sustained us. Or to put it the way Moses puts it, he "established thee." God has sustained, preserved and established our lives. Therefore we belong to Him. The passage says correctly, "ye are not your own." Therefore, you need to order your life to the glory of God as a faithful steward.
A person belongs to God because God created him. A
person belongs to God, because God sustains him. However, there is a third
claim on the believer’s life showing God’s ownership and that is "ye are
bought with a price." The Christian has been redeemed by the precious
blood of Christ (1 Peter 1:18-19). The believer has been bought out
of the slavery of sin and therefore belongs to the one who bought him/her,
even Jesus. You belong to Him. He owns you life. Our text tells us that --
"For ye are bought with a price…"
Our life is NOT ours to spend as we please, because God owns us. He has given us our life and sustained our life so that we will use it in a way that pleases Him. Our life is entrusted to our care and we are responsible to administer it in a way that glorifies God. As our verse tells us – "…therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." 20b
How To Be A Proper Steward of Our Life
There are two final things relating to stewardship that
I want to remind you of in closing. First, God owns you, all that you have
and all that you are. Second, you are to administer, oversee, and manage
yourself, what you have and what you are in a way that is pleasing to Him.