Sermon: “Faithful Stewards” (1 Corinthians 4:1–5)

by May 12, 2019Sermons0 comments

This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2 Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful. 3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. 4 For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. 5 Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God1 Corinthians 4:1-5, ESV

This is the word of the Lord may the Lord bless our reading and preaching of his word this morning.

As we mentioned earlier, this morning is Mother’s Day. In many churches it is customary to have a sermon on mothering and our mothers. Then on Father’s Day a sermon about fathers and sometime around July 4th a sermon about our civic responsibilities, and on and on and on.

We don’t do that. I don’t say that to criticized how any other church does it, I just want to explain why we do things the way that we do. The reason that we don’t do topical sermons along those lines, such as a Mother’s Day sermon on Mother’s Day, has to do with our driving conviction that what Christians need more than anything else in this world is the whole Bible. The whole counsel of God, the whole scriptures. We need to be preaching and teaching verse by verse, chapter by chapter, book by book, to really get everything that God wants to reveal to us in his word.

In the Lord’s providence and kindness, as we work systemically through God’s word, that brings us today to 1st Corinthians 4:1-5. We come to a text that on the surface doesn’t have a thing to do with mothers or mothering, the subject doesn’t come up in the least when you first look at it. However, when we study it, we see that what Paul has to say here actually has a lot to do with mothers and what we think about mothers.

What Paul is talking about in verse one is how you should regard us ministers. In a primary sense, in an original context that we must keep this first and foremost in our minds, what Paul talking about is him and Apollo’s. Apollos was not an apostle, but he was a very famous preacher of the word of God in those days.

If you look over at chapter 4:6 he says,

I have applied all these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers, that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another. 1 Corinthians 4:6, ESV

So, the immediate context refers to Paul and Apollos. In a secondary sense, and this is what we will spend most of our time looking at today, Paul is talking about all ministers in the church of Jesus Christ. What ministers do, how do we relate to them, what authority they have? We will be looking at that particularly.

But then in a third-degree context, another application beyond what Paul has to say, is something that is significant for any authority, any leadership whatsoever in any sphere. Which would include mothers.

God has given mothers authority over their children. Children, if you get nothing more out of this sermon then obey your mothers in the Lord, for this is pleasing to the Lord, well then that’s good enough. Let’s run with that. Paul quoting the fifth commandment in in his letters to the Ephesians and Colossians says, “Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is pleasing to the Lord.”

At the end of the sermon we are going to come back after we see what Paul says in an original context, secondary context, and then we will come back to this third-degree application to see what this actually has to do with mothers.

Our big idea today as we study this passage is this, “King Jesus appoints ministers to administer the rule of his reign in his church.”

We are going to need to define some of those terms, particularly by what we mean by ministers. As we get started here, as we study this text, you’ll see three things that Paul says about ministers.

1. Authority of Ministers
2. Accountability of Ministers
3. Appraisal of Ministers

As we get started studying this text, I want to give a caveat to begin with. As a minister this passage informs my own ministry in the church. I want to make it very clear that I’m not preaching this with any kind of agenda or chip on my shoulder. Paul was dealing here with a very contentious congregation, but I am not by the grace of God. I consider it a privilege to be your pastor and I pray that God will make me faithful in the way that he uses the authority that he has entrusted to me as a pastor for building you up and not for tearing you down. You’re a wonderful congregation and I’m very privileged to be here.

I’m not trying to preach this to straighten anyone out. In fact, what this text tells me is that in my job as a minister, the only authority I have is to preach verse by verse, chapter by chapter, book by book through the whole word of God as a steward who dispenses the word of God. That’s getting a bit ahead of ourselves, we will come back to that in a moment.

Let’s start with this big idea that Kings Jesus appoints ministers to administer the rule of his reign in his church. What do we mean by ministers?

As Americans we don’t really understand the concept of a minister. We don’t have much of a sense that a minister is actually a governmental term. We have some people from the United Kingdom here today and for those who are from the United Kingdom, you understand that the word minister is a government term. When we talk about minister, we are talking about church governments.

Perhaps the way to think about this, the analogy breaks down very quickly if you press on the details, consider the way the United Kingdom establishes the reign and the rule of the crown, which right now is Queen Elizabeth II.

In the United Kingdom, all authority is possessed by the crown, Queen Elizabeth II. What Queen Elizabeth II does is that she entrusts her rule to a prime minister, who establishes the rule of her authority on her behalf. She is the queen; she possesses all authority in the United Kingdom and also in Australia and Canada and all throughout the British Commonwealth. Then these ministers are entrusted with that authority to establish a government on behalf of the crown.

In the same way, the Lord Jesus Christ possesses all authority in heaven and on Earth, particularly all authority in the church. There’s one king in the church and his name is Jesus. He possesses all reign, all authority, he is the sovereign and the crown.

In Great Britain in the United Kingdom, there are some details in place of how their constitutional monarchy works, that actually limits the authority of the sovereign. Not so in the church, there are no limits on Jesus’s reign or authority. Jesus is the one who possesses and upholds all things by the word of his power.

But Jesus entrusts the rule, that is the governing, of his reign as king to his church through ministers. This is the way that Jesus Christ establishes his church. He could rule directly over all of us together, but what Jesus does is calls particular men to serve in the office of elder in order to administer the rule and reign of Jesus on his behalf.

I want to be very clear that this is not something we just imagined or infer or just think that it would work better if we did it this way. This is something that we wouldn’t dare to presume upon the authority of King Jesus unless he explicitly instructed us into his word that this is the way he intends to work.

This is what he does in 1st Timothy chapter 5:17 the apostle Paul, writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit says this,

17 Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching.
1 Timothy 5:17, ESV

Elders in the church, those who possess the responsibility of that office, is a role of ruling. Not apart from Jesus or against Jesus but ruling on behalf of Jesus in the church. Notice what Paul says is that there’s another kind of elder who rules by laboring in preaching and teaching. For this reason, in our church, we have ruling elders who do this work of ruling. Then we have what are called teaching elders or pastors. Pastors are those who labor in preaching and teaching, along with ruling as a session.

Ruling elders do the key of discipline, to make disciples. Then we have teaching elders who labor in the realm of discipline, as well as doctrine, preaching, teaching the doctrine, and administering the reign and rule of Jesus Christ and his church.

This is what Paul has in mind when he talks about this. He’s talking about a specific authority that is entrusted to ministers, particularly those who labor in preaching and teaching in his church. What he says is that this is a significant authority and it is authority that has serious, severe, accountability. I say all of this to kind of lead up, because it’s not a way that we commonly think. We are Americans, power is very decentralized, we don’t think in these terms. This is the way that our King, Jesus Christ, has structured his church.

The Authority of Ministers

With that let us get into the text, that was kind of a background of what’s happening here.

This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. 1 Corinthians 4:1, ESV

In verse one Paul talks about the authority of ministers. In this first verse we need to define four terms. Paul says this is how one should regard us. The first term that we need to be very clear about is who this term refers to. The term us refers to Paul and Apollos in a very primary context. But in a secondary way, this refers to all ministers in the church of Jesus Christ, particularly those who labor in preaching and teaching. Pastors or teaching elders. That is who us is, but let’s keep going.

This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ. The second term we need to define is what this word servants means. You may be familiar with the Greek word for servant that means a bond servant or a slave, the word doulos. That word is one of the more common known Greek words.

That’s not the word that Paul uses here. What Paul uses here is a word that literally means an under-rower, a very common sailor. Remember they don’t have engines in those days, so the way to make a ship go was to row it. So, he’s talking about this kind of servant on a ship who has no authority whatsoever. His only responsibility is to row and to keep rowing and rowing as long as he has been instructed to row.

Do you think the under-rowers have any rights? Do you think they can name their own coffee breaks under that system? Do you think they have the ability to inform and guide how the rowing should be done? They take orders and they march according to those orders. Just keep rowing.

What Paul is saying here is that ministers are servants. A servant is one who is led under authority. That’s the first thing that must be said of ministers. I am a man under authority. I have my marching orders and I can’t go beyond that. I can’t advise King Jesus on the better way I think it would be to take his kingdom. I am a servant and I am an under-rower and I am called to minister according to another’s authority, the authority of King Jesus.

Here’s the third term, stewards of the mysteries of God. What’s a steward? A steward is someone who is still a servant, who under the authority of the master, but a steward is someone who has a bit more authority than a common servant. A steward is someone who is responsible for dispensing provisions in a household. In a household with lots of different servants in those days, the steward would be sort of the one who was in charge of all the other servants and responsible for dispensing food and whatever provisions that belong to the master to the other servants. So, a steward is someone who is still under authority, but he is also entrusted with authority to lead everyone else.

Pauls’ point here is that ministers are stewards of something, they are called on to dispense something. The only thing they can do, according to the ruling and command of the master, is to dispense with the master gives them to the dispense.

What is that? Paul says that we are stewards of the mysteries of God. We have to define this term; this is the last term in this verse that we have to define. This mystery is not something that we can figure out if we just have enough clues. You can solve a case or solve a mystery by looking around and observing the evidence and that’s not what you do with the mystery of God.

This kind of a mystery is something that is so thoroughly hidden in God that there is no way to know it, there is no way to access it, there to figure it out on your own, Until and unless God himself reveals the mystery to you, you won’t figure it out, you won’t work your way rationally up to the mystery. You can’t figure it out because it is hidden and secret in God, until God chooses to reveal its.

So, what are these mysteries of God? What Paul is talking about is what God reveals to us in his word. The primary meaning here is that Paul is talking about stewards in charge of dispensing God’s word, the Bible. Again, this is why I have to preach verse by verse, chapter by chapter, book by book, because my only marching orders, what I will be held accountable for, is dispensing the word of God, the mysteries of God.

Why does Paul call it a mystery, why not just talk about the fact that this is the word of God? Paul is actually referring to something that he wrote a little bit earlier in 2:7,

7 But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. 1 Corinthians 2:7, ESV

Paul is saying that when God reveals his word, what he’s doing in the Bible is revealing something that is hidden. Something that God predestined before the ages. Something that God had decided and planned in the counsels of the Father, of the Son and the Holy Spirit before any work began in creation. God in those days predestined that the Father would send his Son into the world.

That the Son would come into this world born as a human being, taking upon himself a human nature like ours in every respect except without sin. In his humanity the Son would suffer, the Son would obey his father’s will and his law. The Son would be crucified and died for our sins and on the third day the Son, in his humanity, would be raised up from the dead to reign as the king and as the mediator over God’s people. This is what God has been planning, this is the secret counsels of God’s will from before time began. This is what God is revealing in all 66 books of the Bible.

So, what is the authority of ministers? It’s to reveal this, to dispense this, to preach this, to proclaim this. This is why ordinarily we only have ordained pastors preach the word. In a secondary sense these mysteries then refer to the sacraments. You might know that the word sacramentum in Latin means mystery. For long time when people spoke Latin and didn’t understand what was happening in verses like this, they thought that whenever you saw sacramentum you were talking about the sacraments.

But the scriptures never use the word mysteries to talk about the sacraments of Baptism or the Lord’s Supper. Instead they only use the word mystery to talk about the revealed word of God. That is why the word of God is a primary sense of these mysteries of God.

The sacraments aren’t magical things on their own. Rather the sacraments are signs and seals that verify and authenticate and confirm what King Jesus teaches us in his word. This is why ordinarily only pastors are the ones who administer the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.

What Paul is saying is ministers, us, not only Paul and Apollos, but the ministers who labor and preaching and teaching, we are servants under rowers of Christ, and we are stewards of the mysteries of God. Jesus has appointed ministers to administer his reign and rule of his church.

What this means is that you and your Bible are not quite enough. It’s important for you to study the scriptures, it is so important for you to study the scriptures. But the way that King Jesus establishes his kingdom is that he wants you to be led by a minister who is preaching and teaching the word of God alongside the ruling elders who are called to shepherd the people of God. This is how he established it, and this is what it means to administer the kingdom of God.

Of course, you’re probably wondering what is the check on that, what is the balance there? How much authority does a pastor have? What do we do in cases of actual abuse of authority? Paul seems to anticipate this when he talks in the next session about the accountability of ministers.

Accountability of Ministers

2 Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful. 1 Corinthians 4:2, ESV

Look at verse two. Stewards are not given free reign over the authority of the masters. They are only allowed to administer and dispense the provisions of the master that is the word of God and nothing else.

Therefore, stewards will be judged if they were faithful with the stewarding of the mysteries of God. In the last day I will be judged with how I was faithful with the mysteries of God.

3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. 1 Corinthians 4:3, ESV

In verse three Paul goes on to say that it is a small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. I don’t even judge myself.

Does Paul not care what other people think? That’s not true. Paul does have a place in his theology for the importance of human courts. He’s not minimizing the scrutiny that he is under. He’s not saying only God can judge me, so I can do whatever I whatever I want, and you can’t do a thing about it. Actually, he is maximizing it. He says even if you do judge, you don’t have an accurate opinion of me because you don’t have all the factors involved, the facts that Jesus Christ will bring to light to judge me in the final day.

We know this because of what Paul actually did. Paul received the mysteries of God, the revelation of Jesus Christ, directly from Jesus himself. How would you like that? How would you like it if you went to a Bible study and didn’t just open the printed word of God, but had Jesus Christ appear to you and teach it to you directly?

Even so, the apostle Paul with all the authority given to him, did check his message with the leaders of the church. In Galatians 2:1-2 Paul says,

Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along with me. 2 I went up because of a revelation and set before them (though privately before those who seemed influential) the gospel that I proclaim among the Gentiles, in order to make sure I was not running or had not run in vain. Galatians 2:1-2, ESV

There’s a very important place then for human church courts. This is what we consider the session, which has oversight of the church and is made up of the ruling elders and teaching elders in the church. It also has to do it the presbytery, that is the regional group that represents the churches.

When a man comes forward to be a candidate to be a teaching elder, a pastor, in the church, we grill that guy. He has a thorough examination in his understanding of the Bible, in his understanding of theology, of his life and character. We grill him on his understanding of church history and the way he’s going to explain the sacraments because we understand that man will be entrusted with the authority to be a steward of the mysteries of God in the church. We want to make sure that he will be faithful.

Now Paul is not diminishing that, he’s not minimizing the scrutiny on himself. He’s not saying there’s no role for that, but what he is saying however is that he’s not going to be judged by the swaying opinions of the church. You do something good for me today and I think you’re a great pastor. If you do something I don’t like, I think you’re a terrible pastor. Paul says I’m not going to ride those waves. I don’t even judge myself.

In verse four Paul says

4 For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. 1 Corinthians 4:4, ESV

Again, Paul isn’t minimizing the scrutiny he’s under, he’s maximizing it. He’s saying you’re not in a position to judge me to take into account everything that the Lord Jesus Christ will bring into the light when he returns.

Appraisal of Ministers

Not only does Jesus Christ entrust ministers with the mystery of the gospel, but he holds them accountable. How should we think about this? How should we think about Paul is teaching us in the word of God and the way that we relate to ministers?

Paul says that we should avoid judging ministers by their external success. Well, that was seems like an effective minister and that one seems like a terrible minister. The Lord Jesus Christ Christ will reveal his judgment, but only when he returns.

Look at what he says in verse five,

5 Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God1 Corinthians 4:5, ESV

What he’s saying there is there’s many deeds and actions that right now you don’t know about in this world. This is true, we don’t know everything that is happening in someone, but when Jesus Christ returns he is going to bring to light everything that is hidden, nothing will be hidden any longer. Some of this is a very good thing.

Jesus in The Sermon on the Mount said there’s lots of good things that are hidden and secret right now, that one day will be revealed and it will be a wonderful thing. He says that if you give to the needy, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing so that you’re giving may be in secret; and your father who sees in secret will reward you.

What about praying? Well don’t pray publicly to get lots of attention. Jesus says when you pray go into your room and shut the door and pray to your father who is in secret; and your father who sees in secret will reward you.

What about fasting? When you fast anoint your head and wash your face that you’re fasting may not be seen by others, but by the father who is in secrets; and your father who sees in secret will reward you.

You see your opinion of a minister, my opinion of a minister, from what we can see publicly is really of no consequence until all these things that are hidden are brought to light. Now hopefully a minister is the same in public and in private, outwardly as he is in secret. Hopefully when the things that are revealed they’re going to be like this; it’s a good thing since I had no idea that was going on.

Of course, we know that there are also some bad things hidden among people who are the ministers of God. Jesus told us that hypocrisies he can’t be hidden forever. In Luke 12 he said

“Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. 2 Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. 3 Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops. Luke 12:1-3, ESV

Now the question is, are any of us, whether we’re ministers or not, hiding these secret sins? It’s not just ministers, it’s all of us. Everything hidden and secret in our lives will one day be revealed. You might be able to hide this from the rest of us, but you won’t be able to hide it from God. Repent and turn from your sin. The day is coming when the Lord Jesus Christ is going to reveal everything that is hidden in darkness

Paul goes on, saying not only the things that are hidden in darkness but says that Jesus will also disclose the purposes of the heart. Why you do something is as important as what you do. You might get patted on the back and encouraged for something that someone sees says isn’t that a wonderful person. Yet the Lord knows that in your heart you’re sort of a whitewashed tomb; outside it looks beautiful, it’s white, it’s wonderful, but it’s still a tomb filled with decay and death and corruption and filth.

Those refer to the motivations of your heart. Why you do something is as important as what you do. When Christ returns, he will not only reveal the hidden actions but the hidden motivations of the heart. Paul says in verse five then each one will receive his commendation, his praise from God.

What Paul is saying is not that I want you to minimize the scrutiny on me, but you don’t know enough and if you knew enough, only then would you be able to make a right judge about me. What Paul is saying is I don’t really care what you think, I don’t even care what I think. I want to do everything in my life, in my power, by prayer in order to finally in the last day hear what Jesus praises me by saying, “well done faithful servants.”

So, come back to this question of abuse. Some of you wonder what happens to those who abuse power and authority. Good question. What Paul is saying here is that even if someone escapes the lights in this life, the Lord Jesus Christ will not allow the abuse of power to go unpunished.

It’s always his authority that we’re yielding. It’s always his kingdom that we are administrating. Whether you’re talking about officers in the church, elders, pastors, ruling elders or whether you’re talking about those who have other kinds of authority. Mothers in this life. Whoever abuses authority will in no way escape the blazing glory of the light of Jesus Christ when he comes.

Application

So how should we apply this text? Three applications

1. Pray for your ministers, for those who labor and preaching and teaching. As well as for the ruling elders who seek to be faithful and shepherd the church in the discipline of Jesus Christ, to make disciples to worship and serve.

But especially pray for those who labor in preaching and teaching. Paul himself says in in 2 Corinthians 2:16 he says,

Who is sufficient for these things? 2 Corinthians 2:16, ESV

If Paul doesn’t feel sufficient for the mysteries of God, you better believe that I don’t. You better believe that this is a complicated thing to stand here at the risk of sounding self-serving, but it’s my job. I’m under-rower, I just have to preach the word of God here. Pray for faithfulness.

James in James 3:1 says,

Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness
James 3:1, ESV

Pray that as we dispense, as stewards, provisions from the mysteries for the household of God, that God will make us faithful. That God will give growth through fruitfulness. That God will give us patience and humility and resilience in the face of setbacks and shortcomings of discernment and wisdom and uprightness.

Pray for us we need it, desperately we need it.

2. Submit to your ministers and hold them accountable. I want you to hear both sides submit to your ministers and hold them accountable. Submit to your ministers insofar as we dispense to you God’s word as faithful stewards. The implication of this, of calling ministers stewards of the mysteries of God, is that ministers are not merely offering you pious, helpful advice that you are free to take or to leave as you see fit. What we give you is the word of God. This is how Jesus Christ has established the rule of his reign, the government of the church, is through the preaching and teaching and discipline of his word through the officers that he has appointed in his church.

Submission then is like trust. We’re calling you to submit, but only insofar as you trust us to give you the word of God. But again, we wouldn’t presume this for ourselves, Hebrews 13:17,

17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you. Hebrews 13:17, ESV

As I said earlier it’s a joy to be here. I love being your pastor. But, as your pastor I also ask you to not only submit to me as I give you God’s word, but also to hold me accountable if or when I depart from the word of God.

Again, think back to the government. If the prime minister commits treason against the sovereign, we don’t follow the prime minister, we follow the sovereign, the crown, the king. What I’m telling you to do is to oppose me if I give you something other than God’s word.

The examples were given is that if the Bereans, Acts 17:11,

Now these Jews (of Berea) were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. Acts 17:11, ESV

Submit this to a study of the scriptures to see if this true. If not come talk to me, hold me accountable. Take me aside, show me the error of my ways. If the session is doing something that’s unbiblical don’t gossip about that, take that as a complaint. There’s a process and procedure for a complaint to bring to the session. If we have if we ignore you, you have the right to appeal to the presbytery. For they have accountability over us. Submit to your ministers and hold them accountable.

3. This application is the one I promised at the beginning. You may have forgotten that it’s Mother’s Day after the church government sermon, but it is Mother’s Day. So, the question is how does this relate to other kinds of authority?

Mother’s Day is a reminder that none of us are independents. We all come from someone. We from a mother. Either that is a source of joy in your heart or perhaps it’s a source of pain in your heart. Either way it’s inescapable. I don’t have to prove to you that you have come from a mother, there’s not a person life who has not come from a mother.

But Mother’s Day is another reminder of the way that God has established motherhood, namely as a source of authority. When God says in the fifth commandment, “honor your father and mother”, he means it. Children once again I will tell you, the word of God says obey your mothers in the Lord. This is pleasing in the Lord, to obey your mothers.

God has given mothers an authority. The issue is that God’s authority is always for the purpose of building up and not tearing down. That’s how Paul describes his own apostolic authority in 2nd Corinthians 10:8 and 13:10. It’s for building up, for edification, not for tearing down.

Today if you look back on your mother and you said that was a woman who built me up, who sacrificed of herself and didn’t turn me down; you need to thank her, you need to honor her, you need to praise her, you need to encourage her today. But if not, what you need to remember is that a day is coming when the Lord Jesus Christ will hold all of us accountable.

Mothers in this room, fathers in this room, husbands in this room, those of you who serve in government roles, who are teachers of students, those who are elders in the church, whatever kind of authority you have, if you lead yourself (which is all of us); one day you will be called to give account to the way that you have stewarded what God has entrusted to you. Whatever authority, whatever leadership, whatever influence God has entrusted you with, whether you are friend giving informal advice to another friend; God will hold you accountable for the way in which you wield that authority.

Our example and the hope that we have is in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that our lord Jesus had authority, but he used his authority not to tear down but to build up. The way that Jesus Christ secured his kingdom was not by conquer and bowling over people, but by laying down his own life, shedding his own blood, so that he could build up his people in the mysteries of God that God has predestined before the ages for our glory. Even now King Jesus rules over his people even through his ministers, by his word and by his spirits in grace and mercy.

Will you be found in Christ? Will God look at look at the way that you have stewarded your life and the authority and influence of his has given you and say, “you have done well good and faithful servant.” Or will he see in the hidden actions and hidden motivations of your heart that you have not been a faithful steward?

If so, even today repent from those sins. Turn from them. Seek forgiveness from a king who loves you, who shed his blood to save and cover and cleanse all those who look to Jesus Christ in faith. Believe the gospel of God’s mystery hidden before the foundations of the earth that Jesus Christ has come into the world, has been crucified for you and then raised up from the dead.

Pray for the grace of the Holy Spirit, that by the word and by the spirit and through the church, that God will help you to live faithfully as you await the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is for those who are entrusted with special authority and those of us who are entrusted with no special authority at all. All of us are called to be faithful stewards of what God has given to us.

Let us pray.

Heavenly Father we ask that you would make us faithful. Father, I pray especially for those who labor in preaching and teaching, for those who labor in shepherding and ruling in the church of Jesus Christ. I pray for all those who lead as Sunday school teachers, as parents, for all those who lead in various spheres of influence. I pray that you would make us faithful stewards of the authority that King Jesus has entrusted to us for the edification and not for tearing down.

Father, protect me from my heart, protect this church from the sin that you are still putting to death in my heart. I pray God that as I come before you and seek forgiveness and keep seeking to follow you that you would make me a faithful as a steward of Jesus Christ. I pray that for everyone in this room too. That together we could repent of our short comings and bring our sin into the light. That we would move forward in faith and trust in Jesus to follow you wherever you lead us. I pray also for the mothers who are seeking to steward that influence over their children well. We pray this in Jesus name. Amen.

X