Issues of Christian Stewardship
A God Honering Lifestyle

Treasure Principal
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Issues of Christian Stewardship
A series of talks given to Christian Community Church in Murray, KY
by Scott Thile as inspired by the writing of Randy Alcorn of Eternal Perspective Ministries (EPM)

Martin Luther once said: "People go through three conversions in the Christian faith: their head, their heart, and their pocketbook -- unfortunately, not all at the same time!"

He who has God and everything has no more than he who has God alone. C.S. Lewis

Jesus Christ said more about money than about any other single thing because, when it comes to a man's real nature, money is of first importance. Money is an exact index to a man's true character. All through Scripture there is an intimate correlation between the development of a man's character and how he handles money. Richard Halverson

Our use of money and possessions is a decisive statement of our eternal values. What we do with our money loudly affirms which kingdom we belong to. Whenever we give of our resources to further God's kingdom, we cast a ballot for Christ and against Satan, for heaven and against hell. Whenever we use them selfishly and indifferently we do the opposite. Randy Alcorn

Randy Alcorn's writing has had a profound effect on my thinking. The Bible is full of instruction on how we are to handle His resources, which are entrusted to us. I think and pray that I am recovering from being a lukewarm Christian, and I think that our churches are full of the lukewarm. We look to ourselves (other Christians) as the measuring stick, instead of to the Bible. The church at Laodecea seems to be much like most of our modern day American churches:

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this: "I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. Because you say, "I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing," and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked", (Rev 3:13-17 NASB)

This is the condition I am hoping to recover from, and this is what I see exampled in so many believers in this country. Fortunately, God follows His reproof in versus 13 -17 with the following passage:

I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. (Rev 3:18-22 NASB)

See Matthew Henry's commentary of this passage.

Lord God, Please give us the strength to stand up to the temptations of wealth in our culture and help us to be on fire for You!

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth. (Mat 6:19-24 NASB).

As Brian Baldwin says, "we have a decision to make". Who are we going to serve, God or wealth?

Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.

Lets answer that door in the context of Revelations 3, shall we? This likely does not mean we have to give away everything, though for some it might, but I think it does mean that many of us will need to make some changes in how we live and how we look at money.

"Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life." (1 Timothy 6:17-19)

But who are the rich?

From Investing In Eternity
by Randy Alcorn

(Excerpts from A Finance Column written for New Man magazine, published June 1997)

If you have enough food, decent clothes, live in a home that shields you from the weather and own some kind of reliable transportation, you are in the top 15 percent of the world's wealthy. Add some savings, a hobby like hunting or fishing that requires equipment, two cars (in any condition), a variety of clothing and your own house, and you have reached the top five percent.

You may not feel wealthy. But that's because you're comparing yourself to someone who owns even more.

To get a better handle on reality, consider that more than 1.1 billion people in the world live on less than the equivalent of one U.S. dollar per day. Five hundred million people are hungry and another 500 million are so poor they don't get enough food to be fully productive.

Though the proportion of the world's hungry is slowly declining, population increases mean the number of hungry persons is the highest in history. Every day nearly 75,000 people, most of them children, die because of dirty drinking water, disease or malnutrition.

By the year 2000, two billion children will live in extreme poverty or high-risk situations. By 2020, the number of street children is expected to skyrocket from today's 100 million to 800 million.

Much of the world lives with an even worse shortage: the good news that Jesus died for our sins and is the way to eternal life. Ninety-five percent of these unreached groups live in an area from West Africa to China known as the 10/40 Window. Of these 3.1 billion people, two-thirds have never heard of Jesus, at least not as Savior. (Eighty-five percent of the world's poorest also live in this region).

"To whom much is given, of him will much be required" (Luke 12:48)

As we study these issues, please remember that you cannot present to God any amount of money, good works, or possessions in order to merit His favor. The Christian life begins when you yield your heart and life to Christ and receive what He wants to give you -- eternal life, forgiveness of sins, assurance of heaven when you die, a brand new start, and a relationship with Himself!

Stewardship is not about salvation or justifying ourselves before God, however, it is about sanctification, obedience, and even our future rewards in heaven.




Rembrandt’s The Return of the Prodigal Son. ca 1668/69. Oil on canvas. The Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia. (Luke 15:11-32).


“our society cultivates materialism in powerful ways. As the earth holds the moon in orbit by its gravity, the more possessions you have the more likely they will hold you in their gravity.”

“Loosening the grip of materialism on our lives is a good reason to live more simply. There are a thousand ways to do this. We can buy used cars instead of new, choose a modest home over an expensive one, shop at thrift stores and own a bicycle instead of a second car.”

“What's the point? Paul explained in Ephesians 4:28 that the reason for productive work was so we could "have something to share with those in need." When we earn more, we should use those resources to help others. God doesn't call us to increase our standard of living, but our standard of giving.”

Where to give?

“As Christians, we must always be concerned with spreading the gospel through missions work. But we also need relief and development agencies to provide food and medicine. You can't convert a man who is so hungry he can't sit up.”
“How can I be sure the money I give will be used wisely? If your church isn't doing anything to feed the hungry and reach the lost, be an advocate for starting an outreach. Just because you can't reach the world is no reason not to help one, two or ten. How do you feed a billion hungry people? One at a time.”

Giving through CCC

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(Joe and Terry Stallings)
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Parachurch giving

“There are also many missions, hunger relief organizations and evangelistic organizations that need help. Before giving to one, do your homework to make sure they will use your donations wisely. Pastors, missionaries and missions professors at colleges and seminaries are good sources of information about foreign ministries.”
“You also need to know that the ministry is Christ-centered and biblically sound, that its leaders have character and integrity, and that it maintains accountability for how it spends its funds.”

“Consider, too, where it devotes its efforts. Ninety-five percent of Western missions money and resources go to areas of the world where there is already an established or emerging church. Only five percent help areas where there is no church.”

For Randy Alcorn's full article: