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Leaders

INTRODUCTION

Last time we met we set the formwork in place ready to pour the foundations (if you get the analogy). This time we begin pouring the concrete as we seek to establish the foundations of Biblical Stewardship.

Before we focus on this next theme, would you take your notes from the first session and talk among yourselves about the verses you looked at in Matthew 6/19-34.

Were you able to read the passage during the week?

Did you gain any insights as you read?

Are there any changes you need to make (or have already made) in your approach and understanding of this subject?

What questions do you have now that you didn’t have last week? (!!)

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Now for this session. It’s about the issue of ownership. Session 3 will be about the issue of stewardship. The difference between ownership and stewardship and their relationship to each other is critical to a correct understanding of giving. The fact is that if we can get this right, every other aspect of the whole subject fits in its place. Many of the questions with which people wrestle are clarified e.g. should we tithe or was that only for the Old Covenant? How much should I give?

  1. The Issue of Ownership

A Definition of Ownership: “The right and responsibility to determine the ultimate use and disposal of goods”

How do you respond to that definition? Is it much the same as what you would have said, given the opportunity? The issue of ownership is one. The fact is that most of us want to be in control in all areas of life but especially in regards to money and possessions.

In order to grasp this principle we need to embrace two realities

[1] GOD OWNS EVERYTHING

He owns everything in the sense that He has the final say in the use, distribution and purpose of everything. From the Scriptures we can see the reality of God’s ownership in three ways:

[Please don’t rush the reading of the verses mentioned. Allocate different ones in your group to each read one of the verses and, after each verse is read, allow a few quiet moments to ponder the truth of God’s ownership before inviting comment]

(A) GOD CREATED THE WORLD

  1. Leviticus 25/23 - You do not own the land. It is mine. You are tenants

  2. Psalm 24/1,2 – a very decisive, all-inclusive statement of ownership

  3. Psalm 50/10-12 – yet another claim of God’s sovereign ownership

  4. Haggai 2/6-9 – note the claim about who owns the silver and gold

(B) GOD SUSTAINS THE WORLD

  1. Colossians 1/15-17 – the God who created the world – now holds it together

  2. Isaiah 40/25,26 – the ordered universe is evidence of God’s sustaining power

(C) GOD REDEEMED THE WORLD

  1. This is true of people. It’s also true of the world – everything damaged by sin

  2. Romans 8/19-22 – these verses impact our care of God’s creation. Do you agree?

[2] WE OWN NOTHING

If God owns everything, then it follows that we own nothing. Check the definition of ownership on the previous page. Does it fit”? In the Genesis record of creation, the man & woman were given authority to rule over and care for the creation (Genesis 1/28, 2/15-17). They never owned the creation but they were commanded by the “Owner” to look after His creation. That one prohibition “…except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil....” was a reminder to them that they were under God’s authority as the Owner.

Their sin was usurping the right to self-determination. In effect, they rejected God’s authority as the Owner and acted in rebellion as though they were the owners.

 Through the death and resurrection of Jesus, God bought us at great price. He now claims ownership of us.

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own, you were bought at a price. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NIV)

We own nothing. Everything that is mine is not mine. It belongs to the One who owns me.

If we own nothing, then what is our relationship to money and possessions?  The Bible teaches us that we are custodians, managers, administrators and caretakers.

Read Luke 12/42-44

This will be our starting point at our next session

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