Summary: Expository Sermon from 1 Corinthians 4:1-7 on the stewardship of the gospel entrusted to us.
It was in Okinawa in WWII, a tremendous Japanese defense was located on Hem Hill. For 13 days Americans were penned at the base of Hem Hill and thousands had died. On the 13th day, a reconnaisance team of 6 men was sent to ascend Hem Hill. Within minutes, 5 of the men were dead, and 1 man, a private named Clarence Craft lay on his face in the mud.
Clarence Craft stood up, alone, and instead of returning to the American encampment, he began to march up Hem Hill. With every Japanese rifle pointed at him and grenades thrown toward him, he continued to march up the hill and take out the enemy one-by-one. He threw grenades and took out one enemy encampment and then another, fired his rifle until he reached the top of Hem Hill. The American Marines, after seeing Clarence Craft singlehandedly ascend Hem Hill began to march forward. As they did Clarence Craft began to march down the back side of Hem Hill. He fired at the enemy troops until they ran into a cave to hide. Throwing his last hand grenade into the cave, Private Clarence Craft wiped out the remainder of the enemies defense.
For this Clarence Craft was awarded the Congression Metal of Honor. On it was inscribed, "For valor above and beyond the call of duty, Private Clarence Craft singlehandedly defeated the Japanese on Hem Hill."
1. SERVANTS OF CHRIST
(a) Slaves are obedient, unquestioning, willing to perform menial tasks, own nothing, but are the property of the Master
(b) Private like Clarence Craft
2. STEWARDS OF THE MYSTERIES OF GOD -- RESPONSIBLE
(a) Managers of God’s Estate, entrusted with His property, Kingdom, but accountable to manage it wisely
(b) Do I have to give God 10%? The question reveals a lack of understanding of stewardship. God let’s you use 90% of what He has entrusted to you for your livelihood.
(c) Like Clarence Craft Entrusted with reconnaissance mission.
3. THEY ARE FAITHFUL
"moreover of stewards, it is required that they be found faithful"
(a) Faithful to his trust, not to abuse it
(b) Faithful to his Owner, following his direction
(c) Faithful to his hearers, seeking no man’s applause, fearing no man’s frown
(d) Like Clarence Craft, we must be faithful to do what we have been commanded, despite the hardship that comes with the mission
"but with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment"
(a) Not concerned with favor or contempt of men, so long as he is faithful to his God
(b) Paul, personally, does not know of any unfaithfulness in his apostleship but says, "I know nothing of myself, but I am not hereby justified." -- He does not use his justification as means for unfaithfulness
(c) Paul’s confidence is in judgment of God, "But He that judges me is the Lord."
(d) Paul is confident in a full revelation of that judgment "Therefore judge nothing before the TIME, until the Lord comes, who will bring to light the hidden things of darkness."
(1) Let us not judge one another or trust too much to our own judgment of ourselves. Let us await Heaven’s judgment.
(2) At that day, man will have his due -- praise from God.
5. HUMBLED AT GIFTEDNESS
"For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive?"
(a) The man of the most far-reaching intellect, the most brilliant imaginations and transcendent genius has nothing which he has not received from that Spirit which distributes to every man according to His will.
(b) To whom much is given, much is required
(c) F. W. Robertson said, "Let us strive as much as possible to be tranquil. Smile when men sneer; be humble when they praise; patient when they blame. Their judgment will not last; man’s judgment is only for a time, but God’s judgment is for eternity. Be not secure when men applaud you nor fear when they frown upon you. God will judge. It is a small thing to be judged of any man; for your cause will be pleaded before the Judge and Discerner of all secrets."
(d) Medal of honor does not expand our ego, for we realize we have given nothing compared to the sacrifice given by the other 5 men with the same mission.