Lesson 13 The Results of Stewardship

English
(Matthew 7, Proverbs 3, 1 Peter 2, Philippians 4)
Year: 
2018
Quarter: 
1
Lesson Number: 
13

Copr. 2018, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.  All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society,  unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. If you normally receive this lesson by e-mail, but it is lost one week, you can find it by clicking on this link: http://www.GoBible.org. Pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as you study.

 

Introduction: How then should we live? After studying all of these lessons on stewardship, now that we come to the last lesson, have you changed your attitudes and your actions? We learned that God is much more generous to us than He is demanding. We learned that being generous, like our God, is the key to a better life. We learned that generosity is not only about money, it is also about our time, our talents, and our attention.  We’ve learned that stewards must have common sense. We’ve learned that stewards trust God. Let’s finish this series by studying some passages from the Bible that help us understand exactly what living the life of God’s steward looks like!

 

  1. Acknowledging God

 

    1. Read Matthew 7:21. What does this suggest a proper steward will do? (“The will of my Father.” Just calling Jesus’ name is apparently not sufficient.)

 

    1. Read Matthew 7:22. If you were asked “Why should you go to heaven?” “What proves you have been a proper steward of God?” Would you give an answer like the one found in this verse?

 

      1. If you could give such a powerful answer (I could not) would you think that you had been a glorious steward for God?

 

    1. Read Matthew 7:23. Wait a minute! Doesn’t doing all of these things involve the power of the Holy Spirit?  No mere human can be a true prophet, overpower demons, or perform miracles!  These are the very things that Jesus did!

 

      1. Worse, how can those who perform these powerful deeds be called “evildoers?”

 

    1. Let’s skip down a chapter in Matthew and read Matthew 8:5-8. Is this the attitude that you would expect of a Roman army officer?

 

    1. Read Matthew 8:9-12. How would this Roman army officer answer the question of whether he should go to heaven? (Obviously, he would not claim the merits of his deeds. He would claim the merits of Jesus’ power.)

 

      1. Do you see now what is wrong with the responses in Matthew 7:22? (These people claim their own works as the basis for salvation. These works can only be done through the power of the Holy Spirit. It is God who did these things, not the individuals.)

 

 

      1. Let’s assume that the people in Matthew 7:22 are not lying. These miracles really happened. Why are they evil-doers? (Clearly, casting out demons, performing miracles, and prophesying are not evil works. That means that the evil is claiming personal credit for these things. It is claiming that they entitle the person to be saved.)

 

      1. What, then, is the first “work” of a true steward of God? (Understanding that all that is accomplished to advance the Kingdom of God is done by the grace and power of God - and not the steward.)

 

  1. Trusting God

 

    1. Read Proverbs 3:5-6. What two things should characterize the life of a steward who understands the lesson we just learned in the previous section? (Trust God. Acknowledge God.)

 

      1. What does it mean that God will make our paths “straight?” (Our life is uncomplicated.)

 

    1. Read Proverbs 3:7. Why do you think that being “wise in your own eyes” is contrasted with fearing God and “shun[ning] evil?” (This suggests that if we rely on our own wisdom, we would not shun evil or defer to God’s wisdom.)

 

    1. Read Proverbs 3:8. Does this seem reasonable to you? Trusting God, deferring to His wisdom and directions, makes you healthier and your bones stronger? We typically think that eating well and exercising brings health and strong bones! (If we defer to the wisdom of God, we find that a life lived in dependence on Him makes us healthier.)

 

  1. Bringing Glory to God

 

    1. Read 1 Peter 2:11. Why does Peter call us “aliens and strangers?” (This suggests an attitude on our part - that we don’t really belong here.)

 

      1. What is the problem with “sinful desires?” (They attack our soul. Could this have something to do with the matter we just discussed, that trust and obedience make us healthier? If our soul feels under attack because of our wrong desires, our health suffers?)

 

    1. Read 1 Peter 2:12. Will pagans accuse us of wrongdoing? (Yes!)

 

      1. Will they know that they are lying? (Yes.)

 

      1. Do we have a role in making sure that they are lying? (Yes. Peter tells us that living a life in accord with God’s will not only makes our life better, but it brings glory to God.)

 

        1. Notice the time frame: “on the day He visits us.” Are we going to see pagans give glory to God anytime soon?

 

    1. Read 1 Peter 2:15. What does this say about foolish talk and living a life in accord with God’s will? (This tells us that proper living will convince many that the pagan attacks on us are false, foolish and ignorant. That can happen now, it need not wait for the Second Coming of Jesus.)

 

  1. Peaceful Living

 

 

    1. Read Philippians 4:4-5. We see two connected concepts: rejoicing and gentleness. Normally, I don’t think of them as being connected. How would you make sense of this? (I’m not gentle when I’m arguing a point in court.  (And even when I’m not in court my arguments are often not gentle.) This is undoubtedly due to the fact that I’m trying to get something changed. When you rejoice, you are content with your situation. This connects the two concepts for me - being content with your situation and the resulting gentleness of actions.)

 

      1. Notice the last sentence: “The Lord is near.” What does that have to do with being gentle? (Contrast what I just said (about arguing a point) with the people in Matthew 7:22. I’m falling into that same trap - thinking that my “ungentle” efforts will cause the change. The truth is that our God, who is “near,” is the One who powers the changes.)

 

    1. Read Philippians 4:6-7. Would you like to reach a point like this in your life? (This paints a wonderful picture of a peaceful life.)

 

      1. Will it be obvious to all those around you that you should feel this sense of peace? (The phrase is “the peace ... which transcends all understanding.” That tells us that our peaceful attitude makes no sense to the world. But, it makes perfect sense to those who trust in their God who is near.)

 

        1. When I previously asked about “reaching a point” where you would have peace, I was thinking about a natural progression of a well-lived life. This seems to be something different, something that we can have regardless of what is going on in our life. Is that how you understand this text about “peace” that defies pagan understanding? (Trusting God gives peace now.)

 

    1. Read Philippians 4:8. Have you considered how much of your time is wasted thinking about things that, frankly, are inappropriate?

 

      1. Sometimes my thoughts are rediculous. I was working out in the gym when a scary-looking guy entered. He looked dangerous, and I think he wanted to look that way.  As I was exercising, I was thinking about how he might attack me and I might defend myself.  Some days later in the gym, when he saw we were lifting the same amount of weight, he spoke to me. We became very friendly - and he commented on how unusual it was that we should be friends. What should an old man who writes Bible studies have been thinking about instead defending himself? (Had I been following the Bible, I would have been thinking how I could bring the gospel to him!  Although I started out on the completely wrong mental track, I ended up inviting him to my Bible study.)

 

    1. Read Philippians 4:9. What should we do with all of the lessons that we have learned about stewardship? (Put them into practice!  The result is that the “God of peace will be with you.”)

 

 

    1. Friend, would you like to have peace? Would you like to enjoy a better life? Why not resolve right now, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to live the life of a steward of God?

 

  1. Next week: We begin a series of lessons entitled “Preparation for the End Time.”