The Joy of Stewardship Be Very Careful (Hearing and Responding to the Message)

February 27, 2022 | Buster Brown

“Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him. For God's temple is holy, and you are that temple. Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, ‘He catches the wise in their craftiness,’ and again, ‘The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.’ So let no one boast in men. For all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, and you are Christ's, and Christ is God's.”  1 Corinthians 3:16-23

1. The foundational truth: maturity in the stewardship of life (Christian living) occurs as we rejoice in the mercy and power of the cross. (Chapters 1:23-25, 2:2-5, 3:1-9)

“To assume the gospel is the first step to losing the gospel. An assumed gospel leaves the message of the gospel unspoken and implicit. Assuming the gospel is a lazy forgetfulness that we are in a battle. Don’t let the fact that you attend a good church or are involved in a good Christian organization lull you into thinking you don’t have to worry about the gospel. The battle against assuming the gospel is ongoing and lifelong.”  J. Mack Stiles, Marks of the Messenger, p. 40-41

2. The hyper-caffeinated jolt to the believer’s system. (v.10-12) 

There is only one foundation, Jesus Christ and him crucified, but there are two types of builders and two types of building materials. Therefore we should resolutely and intentionally build on the foundation of Christ. 

3. Be very careful…

• Carefulness and a sober warning (v.16-17)

“The ways of destroying the church are many and colorful. Raw factionalism will do it. Frank heresy will do it. Taking your eyes off the cross and letting other, more peripheral matters dominate the agenda will do it-admittedly, more slowly than frank heresy, but just as effectively on the long-haul…entertaining people to death, but never fostering the beauty of holiness or the centrality of self-crucifying love will build an assembly of religious people, but it will destroy the church of the living God. Gossip, prayerlessness, bitterness, sustained biblical illiteracy, self-promotion, materialism-all of these things and many more can destroy a church.”  D.A. Carson, The Cross and Christian Ministry, pp. 83-84

“...for, in my classes (at Northwestern University), so called ‘good students’ abounded. My best guess is that they didn’t get it (the meaning of literature), because they don’t feel the need to elevate their lives above worldly success and material comfort.”  Jeffrey Epstein, article in “First Things,” 3/2022

• True wisdom. 

“He who is perceived as a fool because he is wise in Christ (v.18) is one who renounces his own understanding, allows himself to be directed by the Lord, as if with his eyes shut-who distrusting himself, leans wholly on the Lord, places his whole wisdom in him, and yields himself up to God in obedience. It is necessary that the wisdom of the world should in this way vanish in order that the will of God may have authority over us, and that we be emptied of our own understanding that we may be filled with the wisdom of God.”  John Calvin, Commentary on 1 Corinthians, p. 144-145 

• How faith in Jesus answers the “Five Tyrannies” of Life. (v.21-23)

 

QUESTIONS:

1. Why is this statement by Socrates, “The unexamined life is not worth living”, dependent upon your life’s mirror?

2. Why does 1 Corinthians 3:10-12 serve as a hyper-caffeinated jolt to your body?

3. What do people mean when they say, “that is my truth” or “that is your truth”? Why is that an unclear and false statement?

4. Why did the professor of literature say about his students at Northwestern University, “My best guess is that they don’t really get it, because they don’t feel the need to elevate their lives above worldly success and material comfort”? How does this square with Matthew 11:25-28?

5. Give examples of how following Christ in our culture can prove to be very costly.