The Stewardship Of The Gospel

In my early days in radio, working at KVOI in Tucson, our station was only licensed to broadcast from sunrise to sunset. Our management applied to the FCC to get permission to broadcast overnight at a lower power. The FCC said yes and gave us permission to broadcast at 2.5 watts. 2.5 watts? That’s a joke. The signal would barely reach a mile. 

Our manager, Doug Martin, brought in some staff to discuss what we should do. I don’t remember all of the conversation but I do remember that someone brought up Jesus’ words, “He who is faithful with little will be faithful with much.” It was then that Doug decided to go ahead and broadcast at night. 2.5 watts wasn’t much, but we wanted to be good stewards of what we had, no matter how small it was. I believe God blessed the ministry for that faithfulness in our leadership. 

Today I want to talk to you about stewardship, specifically, stewardship of the Gospel. What exactly is stewardship? Here’s one definition: “Supervising or taking care of something, such as an organization or property.” In its most basic form, stewardship is to be entrusted with something.

There are many things we can be stewards of: money, property, families, information, etc. However, the most important thing we can steward is the Gospel. If you are a Christian, then you have been entrusted with the good news about Jesus Christ. The Gospel is not just information that we hear and make a decision to follow, it is the most important message in the world. If you are entrusted with the Gospel you are entrusted with bringing people into eternity. Thus, biblical stewardship is deeper than an earthly stewardship.

Examples of Good Stewards

Here are a few quick examples of stewards in the Bible. 

  • Adam caring for the Garden (a job or career stewardship). 
  • Joseph managing Potiphar’s house and later all of Egypt (political, economic).
  • Moses managed Israel’s affairs, gave them the law, and lead them to God’s promise (Spiritual and political stewardship).
  • Daniel’s administration of Babylon (political and prophetic stewardship). 

Stewardship Begins with God’s Calling and Favor 

“Just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts” (I Thessalonians 2:4).

Everyone whom God uses in ministry does not come to their ministry through their own ideas. Rather, our stewardship of our ministry and the Gospel starts with God. He calls. This is true of all of our examples. From Adam to Paul, each person didn’t pursue a personal ministry dream, they were called out of their lives into new lives for Christ.

We Are Appointed By God to Share the Gospel 

“In accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted. I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service” (I Timothy 1:11-12).

Before you decide to begin your ministry you must be assured that it is God who leads you in this direction. You must be sure of his calling. 

Remember Israel in the wilderness. The presence of God was with them in the pillar of cloud by day and fire by night. Israel didn’t move unless the pillar moved first. When the pillar moved, Israel quickly packed up and hit the road. If the pillar didn’t move, they stayed put. But when it moved, they moved with it. 

No matter what you encounter, don’t make a move unless God has moved first. Don’t strike out on your own. Wait for God to show you what he is doing, then go and do that.

We Must Be Faithful 

“This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful” (I Corinthians 4:1-2).

  • Moses was called, “Faithful in all my house” (Hebrews 3:5).
  • David did what was right (I Kings 15:5).
  • Paul “Kept the faith” (II Timothy 4:7).

One of the things that we look for in our ministries is success. We want to perform well, preach well, teach well, evangelize well.  However, the scripture doesn’t speak this way about ministry. Rather than success we must seek out faithfulness. Think of the prophet Jeremiah. Can you count on one or two hands the number of people who repented because of his ministry? By modern standards, Jeremiah might be considered a failure. However, in God’s eyes, Jeremiah was successful because he was faithful even though he encountered extremely, unfavorable odds.

As You Have Received the Gospel Freely, Give It Out Freely 

“For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward, but if not of my own will, I am still entrusted with a stewardship. What then is my reward? That in my preaching I may present the gospel free of charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel” (I Corinthians 9:16-18).

Let me use myself as an example. I don’t mean this as a boast, only as an example. Wherever I go and teach, whether I’m teach scripture or teaching broadcasting, I am not paid for my time. Whatever expertise I have, I always offer without charge. This does not make me a great person or important. It simply means that my time can be an expression of love to one another and devotion to Christ. I have received freely, so when I teach, I teach freely.

Our Lives Take Second Place to the Sharing of the Gospel 

“But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24).

“God will not merely judge us on the basis of what we gave but also on the basis of what we did with what we kept for ourselves” – Erwin W. Lutzer.

The Gospel May Require Our Suffering, Even Our Very Lives 

“Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known” (Colossians 1:24-25).

During my days of managing Eagle TV in Mongolia a man who was a missionary to China came to my office, seeking my advice. In a nutshell, he was terrified to return to China. He was convinced that when he returned to China he would be arrested and killed in prison. As he talked with me his terror was apparent. 

When he asked my advice I quickly prayed, “Lord help!” Then I opened my Bible to the book of Revelation and shared with him Jesus’ letter to Smyrna. I read it to him, then I paraphrased it. I told him, this is what is said, “Guys, things are bad. They’re going to get worse. Then you’re going to die. Be faithful anyway.”

At that moment, the man slid out of his seat. His knees hit the floor. He thrust his arms into the air and yelled out loudly, “God is speaking through you right now!”

We talked for a while longer. Then I prayed for him. He left my office resolute and determined to make his way back to China. 

I never saw him again. 

Our Stewardship is not for Our Benefit, But for the Benefit of Those Who Will Hear Us 

“You have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power” (Ephesians 3:2-7). 

The Stewardship of the Gospel Requires Partnership 

“On the contrary, when they saw that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel to the circumcised…and when James and Cephas and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given to me, they gave the right hand of fellowship to Barnabas and me, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised” (Galatians 2:7-9).

In one city where I used to work there was a small church that wanted to hire a youth minister, but they couldn’t afford it. It turned out there were several churches in their area with the same problem. So they decided to partner together and all chipped in to fund a youth minister that would represent them all. Each week their youth meetings had around 400 kids. Had they not put denominational and other issues aside to work together, there would be 400 less kids reached with the Gospel.

The Gospel is Reconciliation

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God” (II Corinthians 5:17-20).

The Greek word in this passage for “Reconcile” is a financial term. Its literal meaning is, “An exchange of equal value.” Consider what this means. Jesus exchanged himself for you on the cross as if you were of equal value to him. This should be life changing. This means that God loves you just as much as he loves Jesus. Jesus exchanged himself for you as if you were of equal value to him.

The Trinity partnered together to enable your salvation. The Father planned Jesus’ exchange for you. Jesus obeyed the Father’s plan and went to the cross. And the Holy Spirit empowered Jesus to do all he did as he exchanged himself for you. Your salvation was a grand partnership between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. What a grand stewardship of your life!

We are Ambassadors

“There is no portion of our time that is our time, and the rest God’s; there is no portion of our money that is our money, and the rest God’s money. It is all his; he made it all, gives it all, and he has simply trusted it to us for his service. A servant has two purses, the master’s and his own, but we have only one” – Adolphe Theodore Monod.

This is also true of our whole lives. Our lives do not belong to us. We are not living our lives, Christ is living his life through us. Therefore, everything in our lives belongs to him. We are therefore his ambassadors. An ambassador does not represent his country through his own policies and ideas. He advances the policies of his home country, abroad. So it also is with Ambassadors for Christ. We are advancing the policies and ideas of the Kingdom.

Application 

God loves you just as much as he loves Jesus. Let that motivate you.

You are given a great honor—you are entrusted with the Gospel. Let that drive you.

You are God’s partner in the Gospel. Let that stir humility in you.

You are God’s ambassador. That means you represent the kingdom. Let that stir faithfulness in you.


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