Sermon Summary

This week, Pastor Chris continued in our Healthy Church series with a word on faithful stewardship. He shared how we have been entrusted with the things of God, and how we deal with those things matters. Good stewards are humble servants of Christ and others, and they endure in difficulty. Chris expressed how it is easy to steward well when our circumstances are favorable, but faithful stewards will learn how to faithfully steward in the midst of pain, adversity, and hardship.

Called to be Faithful Servants and Stewards

1 Corinthians 4:1–2 (ESV)
1 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.

A steward is a trusted servant whom the master has appointed to conduct his business matters in his absence.

1 Peter 4:10 (ESV)
10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.

Faithful Stewards Serve Jesus

1 Corinthians 4:3–5 (ESV)
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 God.

Faithful Stewards Endure Hardship

1 Corinthians 4:6–13 (ESV)
6 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. 7 For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it? 8 Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! Without us you have become kings! And would that you did reign, so that we might share the rule with you! 9 For I think that God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, like men sentenced to death, because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men. 10 We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute. 11 To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are poorly dressed and buffeted and homeless, 12 and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; 13 when slandered, we entreat. We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things.

Faithless Stewards

  1. Proud (4:6–7).
  2. Presumptuous (4:8).
  3. Wise in their own eyes (4:10b).
  4. Find their worth in physical strength (4:10d).
  5. Well thought of by the world (4:10e).

Faithful Stewards

  1. Have a clear conscience (4:1–4).
  2. Do not judge others (4:5).
  3. Become a spectacle (4:9).
  4. Considered by some in the world to be a fool (4:10a).
  5. May be physically weak (4:10c).
  6. May be laughed at by the world (4:10f).
  7. May go hungry, thirsty, and without warm clothes (4:11a).
  8. May be brutally treated (4:11b).
  9. May know backbreaking labor (4:12a).
  10. Bless their enemies (4:12b, 13a).

A Fact of Life: Everyone has hurt, pain, and hardship.

Stewardship Pain
Growth = Change
Change = Loss
Loss = Pain
(Thus,) Growth = Pain

James 1:2–4 (The Message)
2 Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. 3 You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. 4 So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.

Learn to appreciate the lessons you learn from pain, hurt, and hardship.

Faithful Stewards…

  1. Need a vision for the future that’s bigger than their pain.
  2. Need a few trusted pain partners.
  3. Need to learn to raise their pain threshold again.
  4. Know how to endure with God.

James 1:12 (ESV)
12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

James 1:12 (MSG)
12 Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life.

“Suffering unbolts the door of the heart, that the Word hath easier entrance.” Richard Baxter

Matthew 5:15 (ESV)
15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.

Discussion Questions

  1. Would those in your life describe you as faithful?
  2. Whose opinion in your life matters the most to you?
  3. Have you ever believed the false idea that following Jesus should be or will be easy? What is your natural response when difficult circumstances arise in your life?
  4. Are you currently experiencing a hardship in your life? What do you think Jesus could be trying to teach you through this difficult season?

Application Questions

  1. Read 1 Corinthians 4:7. This week, ponder Paul’s question that asks, “What do you have that you did not receive?” Are you living in light of this truth?
  2. Are you currently experiencing a hardship? Think about Chris’s statement that nonbelievers can learn about Christ by watching how you endure difficulty.