By Pastor Israel

Text:2 Timothy 4:1-8

In this concluding message in our series on the theme, ‘Faithful Stewardship’ I want us to consider as briefly as possible the reward of faithful stewardship, and this is the topic for today’s discussion. Apostle Paul wrote that it is required in stewards that one is found faithful (1 Cor. 4:2). Faithful stewardship in the gospel -work has to do with diligence, full commitment, honesty and the love of God in doing the work that is committed to our care.

It is when we have His love in our hearts that we can do His work with all the strength and the tools He has given us. Apostle Paul, for example, appreciated the gift of His salvation so much that he dedicated the rest of his life to preaching the gospel of Christ and bringing many souls to God’s kingdom through faith in Christ.

He wrote: “For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for necessity is laid upon me, yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel. For if I do this willingly, I have a reward, but if against my will, I have been entrusted with a stewardship. What is my reward then? That when I preach the gospel, I may present the gospel of Christ without charge, that I may not abuse my authority in the gospel” (1 Cor. 9:16-18 NKJV).

Unlike many who preach the gospel of Christ for money, Paul could not be distracted by the lust for money or any earthly gain. Rather than being driven by the quest for earthly reward, he worked tirelessly looking forward only to his heavenly reward. There is no doubt that when one is driven by a purpose higher than oneself, he will pursue it with his whole strength.

That was what happened to Paul. By laying down all his energy, his life and talents for God’s use, he was more successful in the gospel work than other apostles. He wrote: “For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me” (1 Cor. 15:9-10 NKJV).

Apart from being committed to His work God requires our faithfulness in honestly teaching the whole truth of the gospel of Christ without fear or compromise. We have to be honest in preaching the whole counsel of God for the salvation of souls. Unlike some preachers who preach only what people want to hear in order to make them (the preachers) popular, rather than tell them (church members) the truth that will set them free from the hold of sin and lead them to God’s kingdom;

Apostle Paul did not fail to preach the truth of the gospel. In his farewell message to the Ephesian elders in Miletus on his journey to Rome, he told them: “You know, from the first day I came to Asia, in what manner I always lived among you, serving the Lord with all humility, with many tears and trials, which happened to me by the plotting of the Jews; and how I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house, testifying to Jews, and also Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:18-21 NKJV).

Today, in some churches, repentance from sin, holiness and the new birth are rarely preached. Rather, people are fed with rubbish instead of the true bread that can quench their spiritual hunger and prepare them for eternal life in Christ’s kingdom of righteousness and peace. Faithful stewardship imposes on us the duty of honestly dividing the word of truth. Paul counselled Timothy his spiritual son: “Preach the word. Be ready in season and out of season.
Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables” (2 Tim. 4:2-4 NKJV).

This is where we are now. But God is looking for faithful stewards who will do the work of redemption for Him. Are you one of such people He is looking for?

All of us Christians have been saddled with the Great Commission to bring the gospel of Christ to the whole world (Matt. 28:18-20). As we learnt from our previous messages, we have been given ministerial gifts and the power of the Holy Spirit to help us in this special assignment. As stewards of the gospel, are we moved by as strong purpose like Apostle Paul to do the work?

Jesus died for us as He died for Paul; do we appreciate the love that led Him to the cross to die for our sins so that we may not perish? Do we appreciate His grace that has brought us closer to God as His adopted children through faith in Christ Jesus? If our answers to these questions are in the positive, they are enough reasons for us to work faithfully for Him in His vineyard to bring others to the knowledge of His grace. God has been faithful to us, and in like manner, He demands our faithfulness.

Moreover, God has not called us to work for Him in vain. He has plenty of rewards for those who serve Him faithfully. Toward the end of Paul’s life, he looked back to his gospel ministry and with exultant jubilation he wrote: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Tim. 4:7-8 NKJV). The bible makes us to understand there are other crowns reserved for those who faithfully serve the Master – the imperishable crown (1 Cor. 9:25), the crown of life (Rev. 2:10; Jas. 1:12, and the crown of glory (1 Pe. 5:4).

Now, which of these crowns do you think God will give you? If you have been faithful in your stewardship in God’s work, you are sure to wear a crown or more on that Day. We should always remember Paul’s exhortation: “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immutable, always abounding in the works of the Lord, knowing that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Cor. 15:58 NKJV).

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