Stewards of Grace

Stewards of Grace

Pastor Don Carpenter / General

Not From Around Here: The Complicated Life of a Sojourner / Stewardship; Spiritual Gifts / 1 Peter 4:9–11

Dave Stone says that “service is the language of grace.”

One day a couple of church members were out distributing loaves of bread in a low-income housing complex. They came to an apartment where they heard arguing through the door, but they decided to knock anyway. A man opened the door and asked what they wanted. One of the visitors said, “We don’t want anything. We just wondered if you know anyone who could use some loaves of bread?”

“Why are you doing that?” the man asked.

“Just to let people know that God loves them.”

“What did you just say?” the man asked, rather anxiously.

“We’re just handing out loaves of bread to let people know that God loves them.”

The man stared and said, “I can’t believe this. We just buried our three-week-old son yesterday, and now here you are at our door.”

The visitors offered to pray with them, and the couple accepted their offer. As they were leaving, and the door was being closed, they heard the husband say to his wife, “See, honey? I told you God cares. We thought he wasn’t paying attention to us, but he sent those people here to make sure we knew.”

Too many people make excuses as to why they can’t serve. Can you bake a cake? Can you cook some food item? Can you cut someone’s grass? Can you call people and give them an encouraging word? Can you do housework? Can you do handy work? Can you donate anything of value? Can you stop along your way and give a smile? Can you take an interest in someone else’s life?

The big thing is that you have to be ready to serve. You have to open your eyes and your ears to the needs of others.

As we continue to study 1 Peter, we see that even though we are not from around here, we are to use what God gives us, to help those who are around here. Perhaps they will also become pilgrims and join us in our journey to a better country. God has given us so many things, let us together be stewards of God’s grace.

Use Every Gift God Has Given You.

1 Peter 4:10 KJV

As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

A “steward” was one who served as a house manager; he had no wealth of V 2, p 854 his own, but distributed his master’s wealth according to his master’s will and direction. The “gift” (charisma) stems from God’s grace (charitos). His grace is manifested to His church as believers exercise their spiritual gifts in service to each other. His grace is evident in its various forms, that is, it is “manifold” (nasb), variegated, rich in variety (poikil?s; cf. 1:6, where Peter said trials are poikilois, or varied).1

1 Roger M. Raymer, “1 Peter,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 853–854.

“As” is in the Greek text “in whatever quality or quantity.” The word “gift” here is not the usual Greek word, but one that refers to the special spiritual enablements given graciously to certain Christians as an aid in the discharge of the special duties to which God has called them, as in I Corinthians 12 and 13. The word “stewards” is literally “one who governs a household.” It speaks of the responsibility of the proper use and disposition of something entrusted to one’s care.1

1 Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: For the English Reader, vol. 11 (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997), 116.

Use The Gift of Hospitality

1 Peter 4:9 KJV

Use hospitality one to another without grudging.

The word “hospitality” is the translation of a Greek word meaning literally “friendly to strangers.” Thus the thought in the mind of the apostle is not that of hospitality shown to one’s friends who do not need it, but to Christians who in their travels for the Lord Jesus, or for whatever other reason, may be in need of food and shelter. The persecutions which some of these Christians were enduring deprived them often of the necessities of life, and such an exhortation as this was needed.1

1 Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: For the English Reader, vol. 11 (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997), 115–116.

  • without grudging

But even with all its value, the practice was often a costly act of love for Christians who themselves often lived on a hand-to-mouth basis. Thus Peter does not simply call for hospitality (a virtue that they knew about and that would be even more in demand as persecution forced believers to flee their native villages), but for it to be offered “ungrudgingly.” This term, which means “grumbling” or “complaining”

Peter H. Davids, The First Epistle of Peter, The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1990), 159.

On June 28 (2005), four Navy SEAL commandos were on a mission in Afghanistan, searching for a notorious al-Qaeda terrorist leader hiding in a Taliban stronghold.

As the battle ensued, three of the SEALs were killed, and the fourth, Marcus Luttrell was blasted unconscious by a rocket grenade and blown over a cliff. Severely injured, he spent the next four days fighting off six al Qaeda assassins who were sent to finish him, and then crawled for seven miles through the mountains before he was taken in by a Pashtun tribe, who risked everything to protect him from the encircling Taliban killers.

They took Luttrell back to their village, where the law of hospitality, considered “strictly non-negotiable,” took hold. “They were committed to defend me against the Taliban,” Luttrell wrote, “until there was no one left alive.” (Lone Survivor – by Marcus Luttrell)

Use the Gift of Speech

1 Peter 4:11 KJV

If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

Peter gives two general examples of how God’s gifts should be used. First, “if someone speaks” covers the whole range of speaking gifts, that is, glossolalia (the second half of which comes from the verb Peter is using), prophecy, teaching, and evangelism (or preaching). It is not referring to casual talk among Christians, nor is it referring only to the actions of elders or other church officials (to whom it will be restricted in the Apostolic Fathers), but to each Christian who may exercise one of these verbal gifts. Such speech is not to be simply his or her own good ideas, nor even good exegesis, but “as … the very words of God.” 

2 Corinthians 2:17 KJV

For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.

2 Corinthians 4:2 KJV

But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.

Use The Gift of Service

1 Peter 4:11 KJV

If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

Ability that God Giveth:

…appears only here and in 2 Cor. 9:10 in the NT. It originally meant “to pay the expense for training a chorus” for a Greek theater or “to defray the expenses for something.” In 2 Corinthians it indicates a God who “will supply and multiply your resources” (RSV). Here the Christian sees a service that God wants done. One can try to do it out of one’s own zeal and strength (which might appear effective in some ministries, but not in others, e.g., healing), a recipe for ultimate ineffectiveness and burnout, or one can depend on that strength which God provides; God has ordered the job done; God will pay the expenses, be they material, physical, or emotional. He “backs up the act” of the Christian who is being a good steward of his gifts in dependence on him.1

1 Peter H. Davids, The First Epistle of Peter, The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1990), 161–162.

The Ultimate Aim is the Glory of God.

1 Peter 4:11 KJV

If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

1 Corinthians 6:20 KJV

For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

Some of us remember the bitter conflict between Russia and Finland in 1939. At last, Finnish officials ordered evacuation of their beloved homeland, including that of an old lady living alone. She had only a few hours to gather together her belongings. She was also told that to prevent the house from falling into Russian hands, it would be burned when she left. When the soldiers returned to pick up the dear soul, she was on her knees scrubbing the floor. Being astonished, they asked: “Mother, did you not understand we must burn your home?”

“Yes,” she said, “but if I must give it to my country, I want it to be the best I have to give.”

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 11:36 AM October 8, 2020.

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