Stewardship In Light Of The Cross- With New Living Translation

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You may download a printable copy of In Light Of The Cross Bible Study Guides-NLT here.

Stewardship

 

Brief overview: God tells us to be good stewards of our time, money and talents that He has given to us. They are to be used to help spread the gospel. See Leviticus 27:30Numbers 18:24-28Malachi 3:8-101 Corinthians 9:13-14

Why it is important to understand the truth about stewardship:

 

Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. 1 Corinthians 4:2

Why it is important to understand stewardship in light of the cross:

Soviet Pastor Richard Wurmbrand, the author of Tortured for Christ, suffered terribly for the Lord. Yet he said that even while in prison, he saw fellow Soviet believers practice generous giving. “When we were given one slice of bread a week and dirty soap every day, we decided we would faithfully ‘tithe’ even that. Every tenth week we took the slice of bread and gave it to the weaker brethren as our ‘tithe’ to the Master.”

Pastor Wurmrband and his friends practiced “tithing” even in prison not because God needed their bread and soap, but because they needed a way to express their love for God. That is what stewardship is all about; using our time, money and talents to say, “thank you God for loving me and giving us your Son.” Just like a little boy who takes his allowance money to buy a Father’s Day gift, in reality the boy is only returning what the father has already given. It is the same with us and our Heavenly Father. Let’s take a look at how we can thank God for “His unspeakable gift (2 Corinthians 9:15).”

In my home I had a plaque with a picture of the Cross, and the words, “I asked Jesus how much do you love me, this much he said, and then he spread out his arms and died.” Jesus does not need our money, that really is not what the tithe and offering system is all about. He has given us the tithing and offering system so when He asks us, “How much do you love me” we will have a way to answer.

 

Further Study on Stewardship

 

What belongs to God?

For all the animals of the forest are mine, and I own the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird on the mountains, and all the animals of the field are mine.  If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for all the world is mine and everything in it. Psalms 50:10-12 NLT

What besides the earth is His?

The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.  The world and all its people belong to him. Psalms 24:1 NLT

 

Aside from creation why are we God’s?

Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.  1 Corinthians 6:19- 20 NLT

 

What is required of a steward?

Now, a person who is put in charge as a manager must be faithful.

1 Corinthians 4:2 NLT

What will a faithful steward always remember?

One-tenth of the produce of the land, whether grain from the fields or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord and must be set apart to him as holy. Levitcus 27:30 NLT

What was this tenth to be used for?

As for the tribe of Levi, your relatives, I will compensate them for their service in the Tabernacle. Instead of an allotment of land, I will give them the tithes from the entire land of Israel. Numbers 18:21 NLT

 

What is it used for today?

 Don’t you realize that those who work in the temple get their meals from the offerings brought to the temple? And those who serve at the altar get a share of the sacrificial offerings. In the same way, the Lord ordered that those who preach the Good News should be supported by those who benefit from it.1 Corinthians 9:13-14 NLT

Which tenth is God’s?

Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the best part of everything you produce. Proverbs 3:9 NLT

Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase:  Proverbs 3:9 KJV

Note: We are to give God the best of what we have, as well as returning our offerings first, instead of just waiting to see what is left over after all our other expenses.

What do we do if we withhold tithe and offering?                                               

 Should people cheat God? Yet you have cheated me! “But you ask, ‘What do you mean? When did we ever cheat you? “You have cheated me of the tithes and offerings due to me. You are under a curse, for your whole nation has been cheating me. Malachi 3:8- 9 NLT

What does God want us to prove Him about?

 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test! Malachi 3:10 NLT

Does he promise to care for us?                                                                                  

Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?  Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?  “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?  “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’  These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.  Matthew 6:26-32 NLT

What should be placed first in our lives?

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.  Matthew 6:33 NLT

 

How much above the tithe is the offering to be?

Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.”  2 Corinthians 9:6- 7 NLT

 

What besides our possessions should we be good stewards of?

Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Ephesians 5:16 NLT

Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.  Ephesians 5:16 KJV

Note: God has given us time and talents to be used for Him as well. God bestows upon all members of His church in every age spiritual gifts which each member is to employ in loving ministry for the common good of the church and of humanity. Given by the agency of the Holy Spirit, who apportions to each member as He wills, the gifts provide all abilities and ministries needed by the church to fulfill its divinely ordained functions. According to the Scriptures, these gifts include such ministries as faith, healing, prophecy, proclamation, teaching, administration, reconciliation, compassion, and self-sacrificing service and charity for the help and encouragement of people. Some members are called of God and endowed by the Spirit for functions recognized by the church in pastoral, evangelistic, apostolic, and teaching ministries particularly needed to equip the members for service, to build up the church to spiritual maturity, and to foster unity of the faith and knowledge of God. When members employ these spiritual gifts as faithful stewards of God’s varied grace, the church is protected from the destructive influence of false doctrine, grows with a growth that is from God, and is built up in faith and love. (Rom. 12:4-81 Cor. 12:9-112728Eph. 4:811-16Acts 6:1-71 Tim. 3:1-13; 1 Peter

Do you want to hear Jesus say this to you?

“The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together! Matthew 25:21 NLT

Acts 4-5; A Warning Against Hypocrisy

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Acts of the Apostles Chapter 7

While Ananias and Sapphira practiced hypocrisy by claiming to be more giving than they were, many were sacrificing dearly for the sake of the gospel.

As the disciples proclaimed the truths of the gospel in Jerusalem, God bore witness to their word, and a multitude believed. Many of these early believers were immediately cut off from family and friends by the zealous bigotry of the Jews, and it was necessary to provide them with food and shelter.  {AA 70.1}
     The record declares, “Neither was there any among them that lacked,” and it tells how the need was filled. Those among the believers who had money and possessions cheerfully sacrificed them to meet the emergency. Selling their houses or their lands, they brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet, “and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.”  {AA 70.2} 
     This liberality on the part of the believers was the result of the outpouring of the Spirit. The converts to the gospel were “of one heart and of one soul.” One common interest controlled them–the success of the mission entrusted to 
 them; and covetousness had no place in their lives. Their love for their brethren and the cause they had espoused, was greater than their love of money and possessions. Their works testified that they accounted the souls of men of higher value then earthly wealth.  {AA 70.3} 
     Thus it will ever be when the Spirit of God takes possession of the life. Those whose hearts are filled with the love of Christ, will follow the example of Him who for our sake became poor, that through His poverty we might be made rich. Money, time, influence–all the gifts they have received from God’s hand, they will value only as a means of advancing the work of the gospel. Thus it was in the early church; and when in the church of today it is seen that by the power of the Spirit the members have taken their affections from the things of the world, and that they are willing to make sacrifices in order that their fellow men may hear the gospel, the truths proclaimed will have a powerful influence upon the hearers. {AA 71.1}

I am currently working on my sixth year as a Bible Worker/Lay Pastor for the Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist Church. 

It has been a sacred honor and privilege to serve my Lord, His church, and community. Being in the ministry as a Bible Worker, one thing is certain. Most churches will not support a full time Bible Worker for six years! Maybe a year or two, but not six years and not full time. In Texas I was fortunate to have three churches, sometimes four, support me part time for almost five years. I want to thank my pastor, and the whole Tampa First Church family for willfully putting up with me for six years. I know it has taken a lot of sacrificial giving not just for a while but systematically for six years to put a full time Bible worker into our church and community. I pray that you are as glad to have me as I am to have you. I realize also that my church has not been sacrificing and giving just to see me write this. They have given from the heart because they love Jesus and they love the souls of our community and want to see them saved. When I got real sick last fall I saw that many of you were concerned, not for me alone but for the sake of the gospel in our community. It was a sobering experience for me. Thank you not only for loving and supporting me, but even more so for loving Jesus and the world He died to save!

I would like to dedicate this song, “Thank you”, by Ray Boltz, to my Tampa First Church family and all those who support the gospel work all over the world! Thank You!

John 6; Jesus Has a Solution Before We Have a Problem

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

John 6:5 When Jesus then lifted up [his] eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat? 

 6:6         And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do

Jesus already had a solution before Philip even knew there was a problem. Jesus was testing Philip to see if He would trust him. Jesus does the same with us. He already has the solutions before we even  see the problem.

“Our heavenly Father has a thousand ways to provide for us, of which we know nothing. Those who accept the one principle of making the service and honor of God supreme will find perplexities vanish, and a plain path before their feet.”  {Desire of Ages, p. 330} 

 6:7         Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little. 

 6:8         One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, saith unto him, 

 6:9         There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many? 

Good thing there was a young boy there with a small lunch. Good thing Andrew did not tell him he was too young to help and to come back later when he grew up. Jesus could not wait for him to grow up. He needed the boy now. Jesus needs all of our young people today, not later.

 6:10       And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. 

 6:11       And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would. 

 6:12       When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost. 

 6:13       Therefore they gathered [them] together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten. 

The young boy who gave all he had did not go hungry that day either. I am sure Jesus could have worked the same miracle with just one loaf of bread, but after hearing about Jesus and His love it wasn’t enough for the boy to give a little. He had to give all! Just like the widow had to give all when she gave her two mites, and the woman who washed Jesus feet with the perfume that cost all she had, when the boy heard of Jesus’ love He had to give all. It’s just a natural response from anyone who understands the gospel and the cross of Christ.

Mark 12; Giving From The Heart

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Mark 12:41 And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much. 

 12:42    And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. 

 12:43    And he called [unto him] his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: 

 12:44    For all [they] did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, [even] all her living. 

With cell phones and Facebook, news travels all over the world fast these days. I can sink a 3 foot putt (Really! I can!) on a golf course in a remote area in Georgia, and seconds later have a picture of my feat published all around the globe. Even though a lot of my pictures and posts on Facebook are rather insignificant I can share them in moments all around the world. Yet as miraculous as that may seem, 2,000 years ago a lonely widow in the Mid East quietly sneaked up to a offering box and dropped a couple pennies in the box. No one in that crowd had a camera or cell phone, but somehow that simple little story has been broadcasted and published all over the world for the last 2,000 years!

What makes her story so remarkable? To Jesus it was the fact that she was giving all she had from the heart in the same way the Father was giving all He had from the heart when He gave His only Son to die for us, and the same way the Son was giving all He had from the heart when He gave up His life. We may not all be able to give equal amounts of money, but we can all give an equal sacrifice by giving all, just like this widow. However, not only did this widow’s small offering inspire us to give from the heart, but many around the world, for the last 2,000 years, have been inspired by this widow to give what little they can too. Well all of those small sacrifices around the globe for the last 2,000 years adds up to a lot of money! And let’s remember too, that while a poor widow can give from the heart, so can a rich person. Jesus was not condoning the widow for being poor. He was condoning her for giving from the heart. Rich people are just as capable of giving from the heart as poor people. Sometimes we forget that. With our without Facebook and cell phones, when we give from the heart, all heaven notices!

The Acts of The Apostles-A Liberal Church

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Acts of the Apostles Chapter 32

This Chapter is based on 1 Corinthians 9.

God’s chosen messengers, who are engaged in aggressive labor, should never be compelled to go a warfare at their own charges, unaided by the sympathetic and hearty support of their brethren. It is the part of church members to deal liberally with those who lay aside their secular employment that they may give themselves to the ministry….But when, through the selfishness of men, their rightful support is withheld, their hands are weakened, and often their usefulness is seriously crippled.  {AA 340.1} 

  The displeasure of God is kindled against those who claim to be His followers, yet allow consecrated workers to suffer for the necessities of life while engaged in active ministry. These selfish ones will be called to render an account, not only for the misuse of their Lord’s money, but for the depression and heartache which their course has brought upon His faithful servants. Those who are called to the work of the ministry, and at the call of duty give up all to engage in God’s service, should receive for their self-sacrificing efforts wages sufficient to support themselves and their families.  {AA 340.2} 
     In the various departments of secular labor, mental and physical, faithful workmen can earn good wages. Is not the work of disseminating truth, and leading souls to Christ, of more importance than any ordinary business? And are not those who faithfully engage in this work justly entitled to ample remuneration? By our estimate of the relative value of labor for moral and for physical good, we show our appreciation of the heavenly in contrast with the earthly.  {AA 341.1} 
     That there may be funds in the treasury for the support of the ministry, and to meet the calls for assistance in missionary enterprises, it is necessary that the people of God give cheerfully and liberally. A solemn responsibility rests upon ministers to keep before the churches the needs of the cause of God and to educate them to be liberal. When this is neglected, and the churches fail to give for the necessities of others, not only does the work of the Lord suffer, but the blessing that should come to believers is withheld.  {AA 341.2}

The above quotes from Acts of The Apostles, reminds me of a devotional I wrote back in 2006:

And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, [is it] not evil? and if ye offer
the lame and sick, [is it] not evil? offer it now unto thy governor; will
he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person? saith the LORD of hosts. 
Malachi 1:8

This morning I was reading Malachi for my morning devotional and this
verse caught my eye. The lord is asking why His people are giving him the
“scraps” from their flocks when He asked for the very best. And shouldn’t
He have the best? After all He gave His only begotten son, He gave the
very best He had. Still His people were keeping the best for themselves
and giving the least they could to God.

What caught my eye was that this is not just a money issue. It is also a
time issue. Just as God asked for the best of the flock for a sacrifice
and today asks for our firstfruits for offerings and not just what’s left
over after we pay our bills and buy of all our luxuries, so He also wants
the best of our time and our day. Do we give God the firstfruits of the
day, the morning moments? Do we make consecrating ourselves to Him our
very first work? Do we give Him the primetime of our day or is primetime
for TV? At the end of the day have we given God the best part of our time
and day, or just whatever “scraps” of time we have left?

Doesn’t “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all,”
deserve the best of all we have, including our time?

In Malachi when the people did not give their best of the flock, the
offerings were lame and defective. When we give God less than the best our
offerings are just as "lame".

Your Christian servant,

William
Look for more devotionals and studies at In Light of The cross.