Shrewd Stewardship & Servanthood
06 May 2014 Leader’s Meeting – Dr A.R Bernard
The Old Testament was basically the story of the rejected King.
Israel needed to first repent.
John’s message started the process – Repentance. Because the King had come. And He had come to receive his own people, but they received Him not.
Jesus was ultimately preaching the message: Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.
It was the turning back of Israel that is what the Old Testament is mainly about. “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.”
There were many widows in Israel, but God sent a prophet to a widow in Zarephath, which is outside of Israel.
There were many lepers in Israel. But God sent a prophet to Naaman.
God is simply trying to say: You’re going to reject me, and this message is going to go from you, to others.
He moves from the message, the Kingdom of heaven at hand, and then he introduces a framework, the sermon on the mount.
28 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29 for he taught with real authority—quite unlike their teachers of religious law. Matt 7:28-29 NLT … He taught with authority, quite unlike the teachers of the law. He demonstrated his credentials through His WORDS.
Matt 8 – He begins to engage in miracles
27 The disciples were amazed. “Who is this man?” they asked. “Even the winds and waves obey him!” … He demonstrates his credentials through his WORKS.
All we have, is our WORDS and our WORKS. If you don’t believe me through my Word, then believe through my Works.
Matt 12 – Words + Works: How did the religious leaders respond? They said that His words/works and the source of His power was from Satan.
When you blaspheme against the Holy Spirit, you cross the line, and this is unpardonable. This was the critical turning point in His ministry; it was the ultimate rejection.
He shifted from blood relationship, to a relationship of people who would relate to Him on the basis of FAITH.
“I will build my church..” …related to Him not by blood as Jews, but through faith.
Jesus speaks to the crowd in a boat, now in parables. He was speaking clearly at the Sermon on the mount, but now He was speaking in parables. Why?
A parable is intended to connect to some people in the audience, and to lose others. Why? Because the crowd was mixed with people who believed in Him, and those who plotted to killed Him. So He did not want those people to know about this.
His ministry was moving from a messianic form to a new form..
Now He starts talking about when is He coming back. BACK because He was rejected.
In the gospel of Luke, there are many parables specifically geared towards His disciples ; discipleship.
In the gospel of John, He starts to talk about the Holy Spirit.
He tells them
#1 Discipleship involves an ACTIVE RESPONSE, to Him, to His Words, to His Works. You can’t be passive, you must be engaged!
#2 Discipleship involves humility and self-sacrifice.
#3 Discipleship involves renouncing all for Christ. There can be no competition against Christ, not family, not friends, not careers.
#4 Discipleship involves a concern for the lost.
Jesus gives a parable in reply to a question or a conversation He is responding to:
How do you interpret the parable?
A. Understand it in the context that it’s given
B. It always answers a question that is directly presented to Jesus, or a conversation that is taking place that He is responding to
#5 A disciple must be shrewd.
He talks about a shrewd manager who gets into trouble.
Shrewd = wise, savvy
A disciple must be shrewd! We must be wise, but don’t use that wisdom maliciously.
16 “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.
#6 Discipleship involves good family relations. (Because otherwise it wouldn’t be a sacrifice to leave your family to follow Him)
#7 Discipleship involves the need to be thankful, watchful and prayerful.
Lk 17, 18
Shrewd stewardship and servanthood.
The keyword here is shrewd.
Christians tend to NOT be street-wise. We are not culturally savvy. We don’t associate this wisdom and shrewdness with discipleship. This is where we are wrong!
Don’t be naive!
Naive – Deficient in worldly wisdom
The cultural mandate, Kristos kai Kosmos – it literally just means being a witness of Christ to the world, in the marketplace.
Ecclesiates – the whole book is intended to see life as it really is.
Don’t deny the realities of life. If we do, then we are naive! The world loves its own… and you’re not of the world.
Solomon was observing the way the world works..
13 Here is another bit of wisdom that has impressed me as I have watched the way our world works. Eccl 9:13 NLT – this means the world works in a certain way…. If you have a naive idea of the world, then you’re going to be in for a rude awakening. Because the world works in a system; in a certain way. There are certain rules that govern it, and they didn’t come from Jesus!
The way the world works:
Again, I observed all the oppression that takes place under the sun. I saw the tears of the oppressed, with no one to comfort them. The oppressors have great power, and their victims are helpless. 4:1 — He noticed oppression in the world
16 I also noticed that under the sun there is evil in the courtroom. Yes, even the courts of law are corrupt! 3:16 — Even the courts of law are corrupt! Notice, a court of law. Not court of justice. You go to court to get justice, but if there are unjust laws, you won’t get justice.
4 Then I observed that most people are motivated to success because they envy their neighbors. But this, too, is meaningless—like chasing the wind. 4:4 — Some people are envious
5 There is another evil I have seen under the sun. Kings and rulers make a grave mistake10:5 — Kings and rulers make grave mistake.. when they give authority to the wrong people!
You cannot build your life on the way you like things to be, but on the way how things are really are. Don’t be naive that it works some other way, because the world works in a certain way!
Eg in politics
Politics is :
⁃ Not about who you know, but about what you know about who
⁃ All progress is by negotiation
Wisdom is the ability to successfully navigate life. Which means navigating the world in how it works, not the way you like it to be.
You’re navigating through
⁃ Human weaknesses
⁃ Moral weaknesses (of both our own and others) (Galations calls it the works of the flesh)