Summary: We are called to follow Jesus, let us choose to answer as did Joshua and Paul and choose to be His faithful servant and steward.
Servants and Stewards
This past Friday Robyn and I met together, which as Elders we do on occasion, and we were sitting at the table in the “high school” classroom discussing the state and affairs of the congregation. At one point during our discussions I noticed on of the posters on the wall, it stylistically presents a portion of Joshua 14:15 “…as for me and for my house, we will serve the Lord.” And reading that verse struck a chord with much of what we had been discussing and led me to the thoughts I’d like to share with you today.
Jesus made this point to the Pharisees when asked about the kingdom of God.
I. Joshua made a choice
Joshua 24:15 ( NASB ) “If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”
A. Joshua exhorts Israel to follow after God
1. In chapter 24, Joshua gives a brief reminder to Israel of their history and God’s part in their successes and then exhorts them to put away false gods and follow after the one true God.
a. But Joshua first makes his position clear, do what you want be I and my household will serve the Lord.
B. Joshua knew there was a choice to make
1. It is the same for you and I today, for everyone everywhere, make a choice.
2. “…choose for yourselves today whom you will serve…”
3. This is a decision of eternal consequence and requires a conscience and deliberate response.
a. Joshua 24:19 ( NASB ) Then Joshua said to the people, “You will not be able to serve the LORD, for He is a holy God. He is a jealous God; He will not forgive your transgression or your sins.“ If you forsake the LORD and serve foreign gods, then He will turn and do you harm and consume you after He has done good to you.”
b. A reminder that while our God is a loving, just, and merciful God, He is also Holy and jealous for our obedience to His will. There will be judgment.
II. Servants and Stewards
A. Paul understood the choice Joshua had made
1. We find this statement in the first letter to the Corinthians:
1 Corinthians 4:1 ( NASB ) Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.
a. Paul made this statement because of a problem the congregation was having at Corinth.
b. They were dividing themselves based on the claim of whose teaching they followed: Apollos, Paul, Peter, even Christ.
c. This attitude was in arrogance and pride, in effect elevating one teacher over another and thus elevating their own standing (in their own minds.)
d. In looking to set them straight, Paul shows us where we should be in our own estimation of our standing in the body of Christ.
B. Servants of Christ
1. The Greek word for servant used here is: hypēretas
a. The word means an under-rower, or one, who, in the trireme, quadrireme, or quinquereme galleys, rowed in one of the undermost benches (as used by the Greek writers, any inferior officer or assistant)
b. Paul demonstrates our proper attitude in service, not one of elevated status but one of very humble service.
2. This was the very attitude of Jesus, our Lord.
a. Mark 10:45 ( NASB ) “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
b. Read Philippians 2:5-9
1) Not with the modern “martyr complex” (vs 3-4) but with humble obedience to the will of God.
c. Read Matthew 20:24-28
1) The mother of James and John as sought to secure places of prominence in the Kingdom, this upset the other 10 Apostles prompting Jesus’ response.
d. John 12:26 "If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.
C. Stewards of God
1. Paul was addressing the specific stewardship he and the others had for the gospel, the mysteries of God.
a. But our stewardship applies to all we have from God.
2. The steward, or oikonomos, was the master’s deputy in regulating the concerns of the household.
a. Responsible for providing food for the household, seeing it served out properly and in proper quantities. He received all the cash, expended what was necessary for the support of the family, and kept exact accounts, which he was obliged at certain times to lay before the master.