Message 8: Carrying Out the Stewardship of God for the One New Man
In Ephesian 4:11, the Lord provided four types of gifted members to perfect the saints for the building up of the Body, the one new man. These are apostles, prophets, evangelists, and shepherds and teachers. These functions are the talents that God gave to people required for perfecting and building up the saints. In this message there is another aspect that God needs stewards to carry out His economy to fulfil His purpose. These stewards are those who dispense food to God’s people in His household. They are actually the totality of the four gifted ones mentioned in Ephesians 4.
We understand God’s economy is His plan to achieve His purpose. His purpose is to obtain a corporate one new man who is His Body and Bride to represent and express Him. His plan is to dispense Himself to man so that man may be constituted with His essence and His attributes to express Him. To execute His plan, He became a man as Jesus, living through a lowly life, and finally crucified and died on the cross to bear all men’s sin and abolish the old creation. He is then resurrected and ascended to the throne and came down as life-giving spirit which is dispensed into all human beings who believe. Through such dispensing a corporate new man can be formed and grown to maturity to express God and to be His Body and His bride, to achieve His purpose.
In this message it is strongly emphasized that God needs people who can dispense God to people. These people are stewards of God’s economy and their function and service is stewardship of God. This involves two mysteries. Through apostle’s teaching we appreciate that Christ, the full embodiment of God, explains what God’s mystery is. The mystery of God is fully manifested by Christ who is also a mystery that was hidden in generations. In Colossian 1:25-27 it says: Of which I became a minister according to the stewardship of God, which was given to me for you, to complete the word of God, the mystery which has been hidden from the ages and from the generations but now has been manifested to His saints; to whom God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
The apostle Paul has completed God’s word and His desire to us in his epistles, and yet today there is still a great need to further his word concerning the divine revelation. We need to continue Paul’s ministry to dispense Christ into His people as stewards. In today’s recovery, God desires every saint to be His steward to further unveil His word to all the children of God. We need to preach the gospel to the unbelievers, to spread the truth to seeking ones, and to feed one another. As stewards, we need to pursue being perfected in the functions of apostles, prophets, evangelists, and shepherds and teachers. Some may be given more talents, some less talents but at least one talent. We need to use this one talent and be further developed such talent to minister life to others.
Another aspect of this message is that it emphasizes the stewardship of God is also stewardship of grace. Although grace is understood as generally being treated kindly and generously particularly referring to material matters, here the stewardship of grace emphasizes that dispensing Christ to us for our enjoyment as grace. Actually grace is just God Himself. The word grace implies happiness and enjoyment for us, which are very important to God’s dispensing. We need to spread the glad tidings and the heavenly food pleasantly to people as grace.
Dear saints, we need to be encouraged that we all are stewards of grace. We need to bring Christ to the saints and nourish and cherish one another. Particularly those who are taking the lead in the church should bear the responsibility of stewardship of grace. Take all the opportunities to minister life to others.