The Steward of God’s Stuff (2)

The Stewardship Of The Priesthood

Malachi 2:1-17

When we began these messages on Stewardship back in January we looked at chapter one of Malachi – THE STEWARDSHIP OF WORSHIP. Worship is our stewardship of the way we lift up, magnify, and praise Him. We saw that we are to REMEMBER WHO WE ARE; THAT WE WERE CHOSEN BY GOD, that SINCE WE HAVE BEEN CHOSEN BY HIM AND PURCHASED WITH HIS OWN BLOOD, WE CANNOT AFFORD TO GIVE ANYTHING, EXCEPT THE VERY BEST – would the government be happy if we sent less than expected of us? We went on and saw, and should see that BOREDOM IS THE BANE [poison] OF THE CHRISTIAN SOUL AND WORSHIP. If we desire to fight boredom in our worship we must be always REMEMBERING THE GREATNESS OF OUR GOD, HIS NAME, AND HIS WORD WILL KEEP US FROM BOREDOM. Worship is not in any specific type of music it will be found in the individual’s heart.

Today we look at THE STEWARDSHIP OF THE PRIESTHOOD, which could be seen as the Stewardship of Leadership as well. Seeing how the Old Testament passage is speaking of the heirs of Levi as the priests, we can also see this as being to the Priesthood of each believer.

In looking at this Old Testament priesthood things do not look too well. They are mostly responsible for the deadness of the worship of the people. They, themselves have devalued the meaning of worship. They have been bored by their worship practices. They have counted it all contemptible.

The Bible teaches us that every believer since Christ is a Priest of Christ. First Peter 2:9 states, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:” 1 Peter 2:9 (KJV). Let’s look not at the overall outline of the chapter.

Since the Priesthood is a responsibility these will be presented as that:

I. The Priests will have RESPONSIBILITY WITH GOD’S WORD (vv. 1-9; 2 Timothy 2:15).

II. The Priests will have RESPONSIBILITY OF A GENUINE AND A DEDICATED HEART (vv. 10-13) with no hypocrisy.

III. RESPONSIBILITY OF FAMILY RELATIONS (vv. 14-16; 1 Samuel 2:12-17, 22-25; 8:1-5).

IV. RESPONSIBILITY OF ACCURATE EVALUATIONS (v. 17; John 7:24; 1 Cor. 11:31).

I. THE STEWARDSHIP OF GOD’S WORD (vv. 1-9).

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” 2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV).

A. The priesthood of the OT was dealing with spiritual leadership.
B. The priests to whom Malachi wrote were neglecting the Word of God
C. These priests also were not even hearing the Word themselves.

1. They were bringing a curse on themselves as well as the people they were supposed to be serving.
2. They had also caused ‘many to stumble’, they had corrupted the covenant of Levi.

D. As the priests of God today (All Christians) “ But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” 1 Peter 2:9 (KJV); we all are to show forth the power of God’s Word.

1. We must make it an integral part of our lives – it must not be neglected, but read, studied, heard, and applied.
2. We must not be partial in presenting the word of God, but point out the “Whole counsel of God” no matter whom it applies to.
3. Our walk with God is based upon our treatment of God’s Word in life, and it is essential to our walk with Him.
4. As priests we are the messengers of the Word of the Lord.

II. THE STEWARDSHIP OF A GENUINE AND DEDICATED HEART (vv. 10-13).

A. With a genuine, dedicated heart there is no room for hypocrisy.

1. It is hypocrisy to deal with a person more favorably because she/he may have more worldly possessions, or have political power, or the position they may have in some organization or even a church.
2. Whether we like it or not the world takes notice of the hypocrisy within those who name the name of Christ.

B. When we tolerate the joining together of our children with the godless we give the world a hypocritical statement.
C. Feigned, sanctimonious, weeping for sin will not bring back God’s blessing.
D. God’s priests today must show forth the image of Jesus Christ in our lives.

1. Living with a dedicated heart and life to the Lord
2. Hating all forms of hypocrisy – especially when it is in ourselves – because the Lord hates hypocrisy.
3. Teaching our children and grandchildren the ways of God, His Word, and holiness.
4. Having genuine, sorrowful, repentance over our sin – remembering that God truly knows our hearts.

III. THE STEWARDSHIP OF FAMILY RELATIONS (vv. 14-16).

“Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial; they knew not the LORD.  And the priests’ custom with the people was, that, when any man offered sacrifice, the priest’s servant came, while the flesh was in seething, with a fleshhook of three teeth in his hand;  And he struck it into the pan, or kettle, or caldron, or pot; all that the fleshhook brought up the priest took for himself. So they did in Shiloh unto all the Israelites that came thither.  Also before they burnt the fat, the priest’s servant came, and said to the man that sacrificed, Give flesh to roast for the priest; for he will not have sodden flesh of thee, but raw.  And if any man said unto him, Let them not fail to burn the fat presently, and then take as much as thy soul desireth; then he would answer him, Nay; but thou shalt give it me now: and if not, I will take it by force.  Wherefore the sin of the young men was very great before the LORD: for men abhorred the offering of the LORD” 1 Samuel 2:12-17 (KJV).

“Now Eli was very old, and heard all that his sons did unto all Israel; and how they lay with the women that assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.  And he said unto them, Why do ye such things? for I hear of your evil dealings by all this people.  Nay, my sons; for it is no good report that I hear: ye make the LORD’S people to transgress.  If one man sin against another, the judge shall judge him: but if a man sin against the LORD, who shall intreat for him? Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto the voice of their father, because the LORD would slay them” 1 Samuel 2:22-25 (KJV).

“And it came to pass, when Samuel was old, that he made his sons judges over Israel.  Now the name of his firstborn was Joel; and the name of his second, Abiah: they were judges in Beersheba. And his sons walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment” 1 Samuel 8:1-3 (KJV).

A. The family relationship is often hurting in Christian circles today – speaking mainly of the husband and wife.

1. Men are to be the chief priest of their home, and lead the wife in spiritual matters of holiness and godliness.
2. When we look at the marriage stats of our day we find that the divorce rate is equal among Christians as with those who do not know Christ.
3. That is a definite black mark against the truth and power of Christ in our lives.

B. The priests of the OT, to whom Malachi wrote were divorcing their wives and thinking nothing of it, yet wondering what’s happened to the blessing of God.

“Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honor unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered” (1 Peter 3:7).

1. This was for the bringing for of godly children.
2. The Messiah would come from these children.

C. As priests of God today, we bring children into the presence of God by our faith, and by always being faithful to God and His Word.

IV. THE STEWARDSHIP OF ACCURATE EVALUATIONS (v. 17).

“For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged” 1 Cor. 11”31 (KJV).

A. The OT priests of Malachi’s day were accusing God of delighting in wickedness.

1. They would even accuse God of favoring the wicked, and being unconcerned with the righteous.

B. Let’s be certain that we see God as being the benevolent Caretaker and Creator that He really is.
C. We must see ourselves as God sees us, and then we can see others as God sees them.

SUMMARY –

I. WE MUST BE FAITHFUL STEWARDS OF GOD’S WORD.
II. WE MUST BE GENUINE AND DEDICATED TO THE LORD’S TASK AT HAND.
III. WE MUST MAINTAIN GOOD AND GODLY FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS.
IV. WE MUST ALWAYS MAKE ACCURATE EVALUATIONS.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Steward of God’s Stuff

The Stewardship Of Worship

Malachi 1:1-14

PURPOSE – Learning to avoid boredom in the worship of our Lord.

Some time back a “Baptist” paper ran an article asking the question of boring churches. Something along the line of, “Are your church services boring?” If we look at the condition of the people of God – called Israel – at the time of Malachi we can find conditions of their heart which we can learn, that we do not want, nor need in our hearts or churches.

INTRODUCTORY OUTLINE –

I. GOD CHOSE JACOB, RATHER THAN ESAU, TO BE IN THE LINEAGE OF JESUS CHRIST (vv. 1-5).

They Had Questioned God’s Love.

II. THE PEOPLE OF GOD ARE CHOSEN AND CALLED UPON TO GIVE GOD THE BEST IN OFFERING AND SACRIFICE (vv. 6-11).

They Had Questioned God’s Character and Word.

III. DISRESPECT, BOREDOM, CONTEMPT IS NOT BECOMING FOR THE CHILD OF GOD (vv. 12-14).

They Had Questioned The Value of Worship.

I. REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE; THAT YOU WERE CHOSEN BY GOD (vv. 1-4).

“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” 1 Peter 2:9.

A. There are many who are troubled by this phrase, “I loved Jacob and hated Esau”.

1. “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple” Luke 14:26.
2. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.  For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.  So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.” Romans 9:13-16.

B. We should not be so amazed that He ‘hated’ Esau, but that He loved Jacob.

1. Jacob was chosen by God and Esau rejected before either one was born; “And Isaac intreated the LORD for his wife, because she was barren: and the LORD was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived.  And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to enquire of the LORD.  And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger” Gen. 25:21-23.

“ And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac;  (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)   It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.  As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.” Rom. 9:10-13.
2. This in itself is a picture of grace – God’s unmerited favor.

“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit…” Titus 3:5ff.

II. SINCE WE HAVE BEEN CHOSEN BY HIM AND PURCHASED WITH HIS OWN BLOOD, WE CANNOT AFFORD TO GIVE ANYTHING, EXCEPT THE BEST (vv. 6-11).

A. If we are to avoid boredom in worship then we must give Him our full attention in our worship – personal and corporate.
B. If God is our Father we ought to honor Him as Father.

1. If Jesus is our Master we are His servant.
2. You fear and obey your father, and master, or you are disciplined. “If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?  But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons” Heb. 12:7-8.

C. When we cease to give our best, that is when we begin losing the fire [excitement, enthusiasm] of worship for God.

1. Worship begins to be ‘Contemptible’ to us.

a. It starts becoming something of lesser importance – other things become more important.

2. We begin looking for places to place blame for ‘Dull and boring’ worship services.
3. We attend ‘Worship services’ more out of habit or duty, rather than desire and love for Jesus.
4. If the spiritual leader(s) shows contempt toward these things; it will trickle down into the congregation.

a. These were calling the ‘Table of the Lord contemptible’ – basically referring to the total ministry.
b. These were also offering blemished, unholy offerings compromising the Word of God.
c. The spiritual leaders are to commit sound teachings to ‘Faithful men’ – that includes right worship.

“ And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” 2 Timothy 2:2.

D. God will not, does not accept half-hearted worship (v. 10); “Who is there even among you that would shut the doors for nought? neither do ye kindle fire on mine altar for nought. I have no pleasure in you, saith the LORD of hosts, neither will I accept an offering at your hand.”
E. God’s name will one day be great among the nations of the world.

III. BOREDOM IS THE POISON OF THE CHRISTIAN SOUL (vv. 12-14a).

A. To overcome ‘Boredom’ in your worship you must come giving yourself first of all.

1. If you come to worship corporately with brothers and sisters in Christ and offer nothing, then you will be bored and receive nothing.
2. No one ought to ever come to worship without giving, and expecting God’s presence, power and glory.
3. When you see the cross of Jesus, His death, burial, and resurrection you can give yourself and all you possess.

B. One of the biggest parts of worshipping our Lord is loving the Lord Jesus.

1. When you love Him nothing you commit to Him will be a waste of time nor will it be boring.
2. There is nothing more exciting than serving and worshipping our God and Savior Jesus Christ.

C. Overcoming boredom will come when we treat the Name of God and His Word with great awe and respect.

IV. REMEMBERING THE GREATNESS OF OUR GOD, HIS NAME, AND HIS WORD WILL KEEP US FROM BOREDOM (v. 14b).

A. We will learn to show the utmost awe and respect for God and His Word by daily hearing it and applying it, by the power of the Spirit of God to our lives.
B. By God, His Word, and His creation we are constantly reminded of His greatness.
C. By calling on His name daily for fellowship, and directions for the day we can avoid becoming stale and bored.
D. If you experience boredom; get into God’s Word, get involved in someone else’s life for their good; develop an active sense of mission.
E. Be sure Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior.

SUMMARY –

I. REMEMBER YOU WERE CHOSEN BY GOD.
II. ALWAYS GIVE GOD THE VERY BEST OF YOU.
III. AVOID BOREDOM BY CARING, AND BEING INVOLVED IN GOD’S WORK – OTHER PEOPLE’S LIVES FOR THEIR GOOD.
IV. REMEMBER THE GREATNESS OF GOD, HIS NAME, AND HIS WORD.
V. IF YOU HAVE BACKSLIDEN; COME BACK TO THE PLACE WHERE YOU LEFT GOD: IF LOST – BE SAVED TODAY.

THE CURE FOR BOREDOM: 1.) Know the Lord Jesus Christ; 2) Study His Word and pray; 3) Have an active sense of mission; 4) Read regularly from Christian materials that are in keeping with Scripture, and glorifies Jesus, and builds your faith; 5) Be a part of other’s lives.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Gifted Believer

Every Believer Gifted

Romans 12:3-8

God has placed each believer in the church to serve Him and other believers. He has not done so, and left us without desires and gifts which enable us to serve.

These gifts are not given for any to boast superiority over another, as has so often been the case with the mystical gifts; such as healing, tongues, miracles; which were reserved for the apostles, as an evidence of their call and appointment by God. These gifts of the Spirit to which we are speaking of in this study are given for the Church to have balanced ministry. No one spiritual gift is of any greater importance than the other.

Since God is the Giver of these “Grace gifts”, there is really no way any one believer has the right to think more “Highly [of himself], than he ought to thing” (v. 3). We are each responsible for the use of the gift(s) God has given us. They are, however, to be used in conjunction with other’s gifts; not separate from them. When believers use their gifts without the balance of the other gifts you have unbalanced churches.

Churches cannot operate properly if everyone is a “Lone Ranger”. Where there is unity of purpose, yet understanding of diversity; with the proper use of spiritual gifts God gives a balanced healthy, growing church.

The gifts Paul mentions in Romans and the ones which are practical for everyday Christian living for today –

1.  Prophecy – This is the “Speaking forth” of the Word of God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That is its greatest meaning. In the Old Testament even, the prophet was a “Forth-teller” more than a forteller of the future. This gift is abused by taking on oneself more than God has spoken.

2.  Ministry or Serving – This is a ministry given most of the time for deacons, for the deacons of the early church were servants and serving the widows of the church; but it includes being a servant where ever the servant sees the need. One with the servants heart is usually always looking for an opportunity to serve others. Often can become selfish and not letting others help out.

3.  Teaching – This is teaching which goes beyond just a Sunday School teacher, but does include it. The one with this gift enjoys the study of God’s Word just as much or even more than presenting it to others, and is able to present it clearly and understandably to others. Can become full of his/her own knowledge, and become distant from others.

4.  Exhortation – This gift is the gift that is able to show others in a step by step approach ways of correcting wrongs done, or encouragement in right things done, and to do right things. If not cautious can become a “Know it all” even correcting when others don’t want to hear it, nor need to hear it.

5.  Giving – Most of the time people with this gift are usually gifted in making money too, and strongly desires to use their wealth for the glory of the Lord, and the growth of His kingdom. They are also concerned greatly with how God’s money is used or spent. If the heart is not right can become selfish with the wealth, begin to hoard it and not share it with others or give it to the Lord’s work.

6.  Ruler or Leader – The ones with this gift is able to give direction for a group of people and set an example for others to follow. If not controlled by the Spirit of the Lord can become like a dictator rather than a leader pushing.

7.  Mercy – The people with this gift are very kind, non-judgmental, always willing to accept others on their word and testimony, and they can be very gullible, and weak in the discipline department concerning sin.

-Tim A. Blankenship