Matthew R. Perry

Being Good Stewards of the Gospel, Part I: Introduction

In Uncategorized on August 27, 2007 at 4:13 pm

This morning, we conclude our Stewardship Emphasis. We have dealt with being good stewards of our time, good stewards of our finances, and good stewards of our spiritual gifts with which God divinely designed us.
Some of these issues have been quite personal — digging in to our
deepest areas of need.

I suppose as we begin talking about these issues, we tend to compartmentalize our lives. Recently, I heard one of my favorite preachers, Tim Keller, make a great point about something. Suppose you go to the doctor out of concern for your health. All you want from him is better health. Yet, he begins asking you questions such as, “How much sleep are you getting?” “What is your diet?” “Are you facing any stress in your life?” “How are your relationships?” You find yourself
amazed, even offended, that the doctor is delving into your personal life. You may even say, “Doc, I’m here to ask you to get me healthy. Don’t get into my personal life.”

What’s the point? The point is we are body and soul and they are interconnected. And just as our mental and emotional status can affect us physically, so too are our physical and spiritual status intertwined as well — we cannot compartmentalize. If we come to church saying, “I want to be a good steward of what God has given to me.”   Yet are we willing to allow the Gospel to penetrate and cut out some very personal areas of our lives, or are we like that patient who says, “Doc, I just want to be spiritually healthy! But don’t get into my personal life!”

But as we get into the issue of being good stewards of the Gospel, we find the Gospel is not simply a bunch of facts to embrace, but a life transformed. Like a surgeon, the Gospel comes in and cuts out the infected, cancerous parts that destroy us and heals us. But unlike other religions who insist that the correct outward behavior changes our inward spiritual condition, the Gospel says no — the heart and mind must be redeemed and transformed by the Spirit of Christ from the inside to affect outside behavior. We must constantly live out of
love for the present reality of Christ in us, as Cameron read earlier, the hope of glory.

This morning, we will take a look at the aged Apostle Paul giving some last words to his young protégé pastor Timothy. Timothy was in his mid 30’s as he pastored the church at Ephesus. While Paul was the model of perseverance in his stewardship of the Gospel, Timothy found himself floundering. With Paul in prison and likely facing the sword, with men old enough to be his father challenging his leadership and even bringing in false teachings into the church, with the daily persecutions happening to all Christians everywhere in the Empire, young Timothy found himself with an age old problem: how does one be a steward of the Gospel in the midst of a world that takes offense and even hates not only the Gospel but those who carry it?

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