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Bold Stewards

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Palette of Gifts

Please open your Bibles to .
Read I Peter 4:10-11
Since the start of this year we have been going through the gifts.
And this text is called by some, the best definition and best explanation of spiritual gifts in the New Testament.
Please open your Bibles to .
A couple years ago, Amanda and I went to a painting store.
And this text is called by some, the best definition and best explanation of spiritual gifts in the New Testament.
The two of us, worked together on a picture of the Eiffel Tower.
She had one side of it, and I had the other side of it.
We each painted our own canvas, and when they are combined they make this nice picture of a Paris landscape with the Eiffel Tower in the background.
Husbands, this is a neat thing to do with your wives if you are ever looking for an idea for a date night.
It doesn’t mean it was easy though.
I’m not a very good artist.
I still have a hard time coloring between the lines.
And when we painted this, we had to mix our own colors.
So you put little dollops of paint on your palette, then you have to mix them together to get your desired color.
So for example, if you want grey:
You get some white.
Mix in just a dash of black, and it now becomes grey.
Need it darker?
Put more black in it.
What made this challenging is the two of us were painting a picture that had to be combined to look continuous.
Her grey had to match my grey.
So in order to get our colors the same, we had to do some experimenting.
Each color was a unique combination of multiple and varied colors to get the preferred color.
We’ve seen that the Lord is building the church.
And in His building of the church, the Lord has a palette of colors, or a palette of gifts in His hand.
At the end of verse 10, it says that we are stewards of God’s varied grace.
So in regards to the local church, each church is different, each church has different strengths, and different make ups.
And the way God designs the church is to have a palette of gifts.
Each of you are a color in His palette.
He brings you to the church for a purpose.
You are here, because God is making a picture out of you, or to use the language of , you are His Workmanship that He has planned beforehand..
He takes a dab of:
Resulting in each local church being unique.
Applies them to the canvas called Southwest Christian Church and makes this beautiful picture.
But then even the individual colors are unique.
The individual members, the individual Christians in the church are unique.
You are unique.
It’s helpful to know what color you are on His palette.
It’s helpful to know what makes up your color.
Or to be more specific, what your gifts are.
Verse 10 begins by saying, “As each has received a gift ...”
As a Christian, the moment you become a Christian, the Holy Spirit enters into you.
Your heart is changed.
Your love for God is changed.
And the Spirit uniquely gifts you.
But here’s what’s really neat, you are a unique color on His palette.
Your gift is unique.
In order to get the color grey, you mix black and white.
In order to get the color green, you mix blue and yellow.
You may be a green.
So you’ve got some blue and yellow in you.
You may be an orange.
So you’ve got some yellow and red in you.
And when it comes to your gifts there is a unique combination of gifts that make you … you.
This past week, the Elders were at the Shepherd’s Conference at Grace Community Church, up in LA.
We heard great preaching all week.
And it was exhausting.
We got to hear John MacArthur preach.
Then Steve Lawson.
Then Al Mohler.
Art Azurdia
Mark Devers.
All these great preachers.
Gifted in preaching.
But unique.
MacArthur is not Mohler who is not Lawson who is not Devers.
They are unique colors on the Lord’s palette.
Your unique experiences, coupled with your gifts make you a unique shade that this church needs.
God has created you, God has directed you, God has gifted you so that you are the exact color that He desires for the painting that He calls Southwest Christian Church.
says, “But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired.”
As I say all this.
I talk about your uniqueness, and how the Holy Spirit has gifted you, some of you may think I’m talking about someone else.
Resist the urge of humble pride.
Humble pride is where you pretend to be humble.
“Oh I’m not good at anything.”
“Oh, I’m useless.”
Or, “The Lord has no need of me.”
That’s not humility, especially when it comes to the Lord’s church.
You are on His palette.
He has a reason for you being on it.
It’s not humility, it’s humble pride, because you are saying God was wrong when He chose you, gifted you, or decided to use you.
Who are you to question God’s intentions or purposes?
says, “Can I not, O house of Israel, deal with you as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel.”
So if God wants to use a sinful piece of clay like you for His noble purposes, He can do that.
Because He’s God.
Instead rejoice that he has taken a color that might have been deemed useless, outdated and ugly, and has a purpose to use you in His beautiful church.

Knowing that you have been gifted, then we need to become Bold Stewards.

Over the summer, when we go cook for the youth at youth camp we have to hire house sitters.
We hire a couple of people to stay in our house and babysit our animals.
They come over before we leave and we show them around.
We show them how the TV works.
We carefully lay out 4-5 remote controls and say you have to push this button on this remote.
And this button on this remote.
And don’t ever touch that remote.
Don’t even look at it, or you’ll open the neighbors garage door.
Then we show them the animals.
You feed these supplements to this dog.
Give this dog special dry food.
Feed our cat in this way.
And don’t forget to give worms to the Bearded Dragon.
Then Amanda prepares a very detailed sheet on all their expectations.
And understand, that if they don’t follow these directions, something bad will happen.
We hire the housesitter, to take care of things while we are gone.
We don’t want the animals to suffer.
The housesitter is a steward.
He’s given the responsibility of caring for our house and our possessions.
You have been gifted by God.
You have been gifted to serve one another.
And if you don’t serve, if you don’t use your gifts, the body suffers.
Something isn’t right.
Amanda and I are painting this picture of France.
The sky is supposed to be a light grey.
She holds up hers, and it’s a very uniform and has a well painted grey sky.
Mine looks like the skies of London during World War II, littered with flack;
With dark, splotchy grey clumps all over the place.
She says, what happened?
It turns out I forgot a color.
The picture suffers.
My marriage suffers.
I wasn’t responsible with the colors I was entrusted with.
A steward in biblical times was a chief slave.
He oversaw all the master’s property, slaves, lands and business.
A great biblical example of this is Joseph.
He was the second most important man in Egypt, right underneath the Pharaoh.
There was a famine in the land, but not just in Egypt, but in the known world.
Joseph was given control of everything.
His careful planning meant that Egypt was saved from the famine, as well as the surrounding nations.
Without his leadership … people would have suffered.
You are a steward.
And in order to be a steward, you need to know what resources you have at your disposal.
You need to know your gifts.
You need to know the colors that make you the unique color that you are.
You need to know your gifts, so that you can then properly use them.
You need to know the tools available.
Amanda and I are painting this picture of France.
The sky is supposed to be a light grey.
She holds up hers, and it’s a very uniform and has a well painted grey sky.
Mine looks like the skies of London during World War II, littered with flack;
With dark, splotchy grey clumps all over the place.
She says, what happened?
It turns out I forgot a color.
The picture suffers.
My marriage suffers.
I wasn’t responsible with the colors I was entrusted with.
The Lord is painting something here at Southwest, but if you don’t know the colors available, and what color you are then the church suffers.
He has made you a steward of a gift … are you using it? Do you know what it is?
I know I’ve been hammering this point for a few months now.
And that’s because we are charged with being stewards.
Let’s be found to be good and faithful servants when the Master returns.
If we return from family camp and find out the animals haven’t been fed, when everything was there and available for them … someone’s going to rage.
And if Jesus returns and finds out that His church has not been fed … someone’s going to rage.
In , in the parable of the talents, one of the servants did not use his talents, he did not use what was entrusted to him.
Jesus said, “But these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slay them in my presence.”
My housesitting analogy actually is pretty easy compared to Christ’s parable.
And that’s because we are charged with being stewards.
Let’s be found to be good and faithful servants when the Master returns.

When you know your gifts, then Boldly Live By the Spirit

Look at verse 11, “Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; ... ”
There is an attitude of boldness in this verse.
Just to clarify, boldness is not the opposite of humility.
Or let me flip it around, humility does not mean timidity.
The young pastor Timothy, was often in difficult situations.
I can empathize. I understand.
He’s younger then some of the people that he shepherds.
He must correct widows and men older then himself.
And there can be a tendency to … chicken out.
So in , Paul encourages Timothy, “For this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline. ”
Fan into flames the gifts that you have.
Somehow I think that every man should know how to light a fire.
Perhaps I’m just a chauvinist, but when I got camping, I think it’s the man’s job to light the fire.
When I have camp fires in my back yard, in my head it’s my responsibility to get that fire going.
And if I don’t get it lit … I’ve failed in my duty as a man and a husband.
Sometimes you try to light the wood, and it just doesn’t take.
Maybe it’s because I left the wood out during that rain storm the other night.
Whatever the reason, if I do nothing, we are going to freeze.
A timid attitude towards that fire will result in a frustrating night.
So you get down low.
And you slowly but deeply blow into the fire.
Providing oxygen to the fire.
To fan the flames.
If you have been gifted by God, use the gifts.
Because if you don’t, it will bring suffering.
It will be a suffering because of a lack of action.
That’s not humility.
That’s negligence.
So when you use your gift, be bold with it, use it well.
You ever been sunburned bad?
Sharpen it.
You thought you put on sunscreen, at least you thought you covered everything that needed it.
And it turns out there’s finger prints burned into your shoulder, cause apparently you missed it.
So the next time you put on sunscreen, you follow the directions: Apply liberally.
You cover everything.
You soak it in.
And you are bold with the sunscreen.
You look like a ghost.
You are bold.
You are gifted, use it liberally.
Use it to the best of your ability.
Like a knife that you expect to have a sharp edge on, sharpen it.
I’ve been in choirs my whole life.
As you read the sheet music, there’s a specific note that needs to be hit when you sing.
I’ve never had a choir director say, “Just sing near the note.”
That’s called a bad note.
It’s ugly.
Instead it’s sing that note and sing it with confidence.
If you’ve been gifted, use that gift, and use it with confidence.
Not with a spirit of fear.
But of power and love and self-control.

Boldly Believe

Peter says to boldly speak, as if you are speaking the very oracles of God, or the very words of God.
Before we talk about speaking, there is an underlying truth here, boldly believe what God has spoken.
says that All Scripture is breathed out by God ...
Do you believe that?
If Scripture is actually breathed out by God, then it’s to be believed.
You don’t have to be hesitant or afraid of it.
Don’t apologize for God’s Word.
There are things that the world is opposed to, and actively opposed to.
Don’t come to the world apologizing for what the Bible says.
Why? Well first, they are actually rejecting truth.
It’s not that they have accepted a different opinion.
They’ve rejected truth.
They’ve actively rejected truth.
says, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,”
When do you ever apologize to someone who rejects truth?
You plead with them.
You logic with them.
You explain how they are in error.
Additionally, what is the Bible?
It’s not a collection of men’s ideas.
It’s God’s Word.
These are God’s values, these are God’s ideas.
I’m not going to apologize for:
There being clear genders.
Roles of men and women.
Male headship and church leadership.
The sovereignty of God.
The judgment of the wicked.
An eternal heaven or a eternal Hell.
And I’m never going to apologize for the exclusivity of Christ.
Because to apologize for these things is to have an attitude that belittles what this truth is … it’s God’s word.
So believe it.
And believe it unashamedly.
Paul said, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes ...”
This truth was something he would live and die for.
So boldly believe.

Boldly Preach and Hear Sermons

And if we are to boldly believe it then we can boldly speak it.
Verse 11, “Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God ...”
So, to you Sunday school teachers, CU teachers, when you are called to teach from God’s Word, teach and preach boldly.
Because the words contained in this book … are the very utterances of God.
All Scripture is God breathed.
All Scripture is the word of God.
So we preach boldly.
Paul told Timothy in , “I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.”
You might be thinking to yourself, “I don’t preach, I don’t teach, so why should I care about those who speak?”.
Maybe you’re thinking since you’re not a preacher, you can tune out.
Why do you need to hear this?
Because this sets the standard for how you are to listen to a sermon.
Because this sets the standard for what you are to expect from a preacher.
When someone opens up the Word and preaches to you, don’t expect someone to come up front and just give their opinions.
Don’t ever sit under someone who doesn’t think that the Bible is Word of God.
Don’t ever sit under someone who doesn’t think that the Bible is Word of God.
Let me make that a positive statement instead of a negative statement.
Expect whoever comes up to handle the Word of God with fear and care, knowing that He is handling the very oracles, or utterances of God.
I’ll tell you what, there are a lot of people preaching in churches, who don’t think this book is important.
And who don’t think preaching is important.
There’s a sense of urgency here.
People are going to Hell.
They need the Gospel.
People are rebelling against God, and sinning.
They need to receive new hearts.
And I know, not I think, I know, that when the Word of God is preached, God breathed words are uttered, the Holy Spirit is active, and lives are changed.
says, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”
There’s a sense of urgency here.
Have a high expectation of what you hear, but also expect the Holy Spirit to work in other’s lives.
So bring people.
Because when they hear the Word faithfully preached, they will be changed by the Holy Spirit.
Develop a high expectation for this time.
Come prepared to hear someone speak who:
Fears the Lord.
And believes that he is speaking the utterances of God as he opens up God’s Word.

Then Peter says to Boldly Serve

Verse 10 says, “As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. “
We have all been gifted, and God expects you to use it.
So if you speak … speak boldly.
And you’ve been gifted to serve, so serve boldly.
And you serve as one who is serving by the strength of God.
So the speaker is to speak with confidence.
And the servant is to serve with confidence.
Not with timidness.
Not with hesitation.
I remember being in Little League, and my coach would call me over to him.
So I’d start walking over to him.
My coaches would never allow me to walk anywhere on the field.
You run.
You run with purpose.
You run with direction.
And you serve with confidence.
You serve with purpose.
Run to serving opportunities.
And you say, you’re tired, you don’t have time, or you’re exhausted.
Friends, you’ve been gifted by the Holy Spirit.
He supplies you with strength.
Notice it doesn’t say “He has already supplied you” but He supplies you.
He supplies you now.
So you serve, and find that He gives you the strength that you need when you need it.
I think of Samson.
The book of Judges only records him for 3 chapters, but in reality he ruled over Israel for 20 years.
He was the bane of the Philistines.
He gave the secret of his strength to Delilah, his hair was cut, and the Spirit of God left him.
The Philistines captured him, and gouged out his eyes.
He once was the prize of Israel, but he was the Philistines prize.
A dancing monkey; a clown
The Philistines were having a pagan party, worshipping Dagon their god.
And in the middle of the party they called for Samson to come out and entertain them.
So weakly and blind, he was brought out and put between the two pillars that held up house.
By the way this is a huge house.
The roof alone had about 3,000 people on it.
That’s just on the roof.
There were people under the roof, and in the house as well.
And he prayed to God.
“O Lord God, please remember me and please strengthen me only this once, O God ...”
And what does say, “Serve as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies ...”
When he was brought out, he was weak and blind.
At that moment, he didn’t have the strength.
But God supplies the strength when we need it.
And he leaned against those pillars and pushed.
The Spirit of the Lord came upon him, and gave him strength when he needed it.
The pillars shifted and broke their grip upon the ground and the roof.
There were 3,000 people on the roof.
It doesn’t say how many were inside.
But it does say that there were more people killed in Samson’s death than during his entire lifetime.
Boldly go into service, knowing that God supplies you with the strength you need.
There is a supernatural beauty about a church, and a church that serves.
Because it’s a collection of people, who are all uniquely gifted by the Holy Spirit, a palette of gifts, who all are strengthened by the Holy Spirit.
Samson was one man who was strengthened by God.
What would an entire church be like who are living and serving on the very active and present power and strength of the Holy Spirit?

Lastly, Boldly Glorify God

The end of verse 11, “So that in all things, God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
This is a life that is living by the Spirit.
You are recognizing the gift of the Spirit.
You are using the gift of the Spirit.
You are walking by the Spirit.
And what happens? God is glorified.
God is glorified.
His work is made known.
God is taking sinners and making them saints.
Who could do that?
Only God.
God is taking rebels, and making peace with them.
When someone rebels against a king it’s treason.
And yet this King, our God, has reconciled the rebels with Christ’s blood.
That’s unfathomable.
God is taking the fatherless, and making them sons.
What a story.
In our sin, we deserve Hell.
We deserve to be the fuel that burns the fires in Hell.
And yet, God spares us from that wrath.
Jesus dying on our behalf.
Jesus receiving the justice we deserve, so that we would live.
But God not only shows mercy, but He uses us.
God is glorified through the death of Jesus Christ on our behalf.
He makes us a part of His kingdom.
Using us to be in His kingdom.
Using us to build His kingdom.
I am overwhelmed by the kindness of God.
And so we give God glory.
In this strange way, when I think about my ability to serve Jesus, I break out in worship to Him.
Amazing grace, how sweet sound, that saved a wretch like me.
When you realize that your service to the Lord is a gift from the Lord … then you worship God even more.
Because what are we?
We are a bunch of carbon molecules, clay bodies, that are weak and finite.
Yet, in our weakness, we are made strong because of the One who died for us.
And in God’s kindness, He then uses you to serve Him.
God is speaking through sinners to save sinners.
Each of you have been converted because another sinner, preached the Gospel to you at some point.
And God was glorified in this process.
This passage gives us great promises and purpose for the believer.
And if you aren’t a believer, it doesn’t mean you are hopeless.
Jesus came not for those who are perfect or good, but for the sinner and the weak.
Every Christian was at one time a servant of Satan and living in sin.
At one point, every Christian lived just like the unbeliever.
But they repented and trusted in the death of Jesus Christ for salvation.
I say this to say that this can happen to you too.
You are not so lost, or different, that God can’t save you.
He’s saved people way worse and way more lost than you.
Are you in His kingdom?
But Christian service is unique.
The only way in is if you repent and believe.
It’s strengthened by God.
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