|The Biblical Examiner
An Examination of Biblical Precepts Involved in Issues at Hand
1) Judicial Blindness
2) Policies & Politics of Envy - 1992 Style
3) Exalted without faithfulness
This text is rightly called, "The Great Commission," and is one of the most familiar passages in the Scripture. Our Lord's words here clearly present His only method of advancing His Kingdom into all the world, and His method of addressing the disconcerting situations in the world today. God's answer for the world's ills here is to take the gospel of Christ into all the world, baptize the new believers and then instruct them in the total of God's word.
Notice what the Lord did not say in this passage: go into all the world and elect good men into office; go into all the world and study the constitution; go into all the world and work for good laws; go into all the world and protest evil in all its many forms. All of these things are commendable, and I either am presently or have been previously involved in all of them, but they are not the Lord's answer to the deteriorate conditions in the world today.
The Lord did say that the answer to the
surrounding evil is to
Matthew 28:19, 20 is the only means given to cure the ills of the family, church, community, world and America. Only the gospel contains the power of God to bring social change, 1 Corinthians 1 & 2. God's answer is not hard to understand, and it is right before us. Matthew 28:19, 20, is God's plan for claiming the world for Christ and for stopping the anti-christ crowd.
If God's method for stopping the "New World Order" is so obvious, why cannot Christian people see and understand it? Why cannot professed Christians see that the Lord has clearly given the answer to the mounting world-wide crises of socialism and tyranny? Why will Christians dedicate themselves to everything except getting out the gospel? Why will they find time to do everything except obey the Lord's "Great Commission" to make disciples and teach them the word of God? God's answer is not in some far away place or unreachable object, so why cannot Christians see it, Deuteronomy 31:14.
The question we want to address is this: Why cannot Christians and even pastors, see that the Lord's commission here in Matthew is the only answer which will change things for the Kingdom's sake?
The answer must be that men, even Christians, are blinded to the obvious teaching of God's word. A term which we hear which describes the situation is JUDICIAL BLINDNESS. By this term we mean that men are blinded by God so that God can bring judgment against sin.
As an introduction to these thoughts, let me mention 2 points:
I. 2 Cor 4:1-6, Judicial Blindness prohibits men from seeing cause and effect, especially in their own lives; therefore, they see no need to repent, to turn or to obey God's word. If they would see the need to repent, they would see God's mercy in every area of society, including their families and civil government.
II. It prohibits Christians from seeing the obvious teaching of the word of God. In our text, Judicial Blindness prohibits Christians from seeing that the answer to society's ills is the presentation of the gospel and making disciples of the converts by teaching them God's law and its application. The result is that those blinded escape from reality, tyranny increases and the "New World Order" is instituted.
Those who are not in this Judicial Blindness are astounded at the blindness of those, including God's people, who are unable to see any cause and effect either in their own lives, in the decisions they make or in society around them.
In my contact with people, including pastors, there are times that I am amazed at the blindness present; they seem to be totally oblivious of any connection between what they see happening all around them (in their families, in their society) with any sin in their own lives. The Scriptures say a great deal about this Supernatural Blindness; a few passages would be: Ex. 5:2; De 29:4; 32:28.
The first dirrect record we have of Judicial Blindness is with Pharaoh and the nation of Egypt. Pharaoh was blinded (hardened) by God so that He might bring judgment against Egypt for its sin against Him and against His people. We could define Judicial Blindness then as a God-sent blindness so that He can bring judgment against sin. Here are a couple of introductory thoughts about Judicial Blindness.
God sent Judicial Blindness upon Pharaoh that He might bring His judgment against Egypt for its sin against His covenant-people; Judicial Blindness was also sent upon Israel so that God could judge them for their sin against Him (they rebelled against His man, Moses, and absorbed much of Egypt's ungodly culture). All of Israel's Egyptian generation had to die because they were Egyptian slaves at heart.
Please note that Judicial Blindness IS NOT limited to the unsaved; rather, it is in relationship to the law-word of God: the word of God speaks clearly, but people are unable to see it or its obvious implications. Accordingly, both professed Christians and pagans can be blinded to cause and effect in relationship to His word. Here are six points to consider about Judicial Blindness:
1) the purpose of Judicial Blindness is so that the Lord can take flaming vengeance upon the disobedient to His law-word; ie. that God might judge sinners, 2 Thes 1:8, 2:12, 12 (cf. Tit 1:16; 1 Jn 3:4). (Ps. 79:6; Pr 4:19; 10:21; 13:18; 14:12; Isa 6:9, 10 [Mt 13:14; Jn 12:38-41]; Isa 29:10-12; Amos 9:10; Mat 15:14; Rom 11:25.)
2) a result of blindness is that people cannot understand (or ignore) Moses, 2 Cor 3:14 (1 Jn 1:6, 2:4-9, 3:1).
3) blindness replaces the wisdom of God with the wisdom of this world, 1 Cor 1:18-20.
4) only by God's supernatural intervention will one be delivered out of the kingdom of blindness (darkness) and into the kingdom of light; therefore, the answer to Blindness is to sincerely seek the Lord, Acts 26:18; Eph 4:18; Col 1:13; Pro 28:5; Ph 3:15.
5) Our Lord warned us that from His time on, we will see Judicial Blindness increase; consequently, we should not surprised, 2 Tim 3:13, 2 Thes 2:11.
(Note that when Christ said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind (Jn 9:29-39), He was speaking specifically of and to the nation of Israel of His day. In Mat 23:34-39 Christ said that Jerusalem was going to be judged for all of the innocent blood which had been shed upon the earth from Abel unto Zacharias. Thus, He came, not only to redeem His people (Isa 53:8), but to judge those who rejected Him (ie. Jerusalem) and the One He represented, the Heavenly Father. In other words, Israel was supernaturally blinded to Christ so that they would crucify the Son of God (Acts 2:23), and so that God could judge them for all the innocent blood that had been shed upon the earth. Israel's murder of Christ resulted in Israel's destruction as judgment for her evil ways.
Also consider this: It took about 4000 years for God to avenge the blood of Able. How long will it be before He avenges the innocent blood from 70 AD to the end of time?)
The depth of "Judicial Blindness" in the church is seen in the fact that Christians cannot believe the Lord's words of Matthew 28:19, 28. If they did, their primary effort would be proclaiming the gospel and training the converts in the law-word of God; our land would be healed, 2 Chronicles 7:14.
6) We are left with this question regarding Judicial Blindness: "Why does blindness increase instead of decrease?" Though there is an abundance of passages which deal with this question, we will only look at a few.
A) it is through His judgment against sin that, a) men forsake their false gods and graven images and b) His law is magnified and made honorable, Isaiah 42 (v. 21). The time-frame of Isaiah 42 is important: it was set in motion at the time of Christ, vs. 1-4.
B) it is through His judgment against sin that the hypocrite turns from his hypocrisy, Isaiah 48.
C) God's salvation is defined as His judgment against sin, eradicating sin, Isaiah 51 (v. 4-6). Isa 11:4 tells us that His righteous judgment against sin (the rod of his mouth..) will result in the slaying of the wicked, the exaltation of righteousness and the earth being filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. Ps 72 (cf. Ps 96 & Isa 55:10), tells us that as His righteous judgment against sin descends like the rain, righteousness and peace will flourish like the new mown grass. Moreover, His judgment against sin establishes His dominion from sea to sea, unto the ends of the earth; it causes all kings to bow before Him and all nations to serve Him. Moreover, His deliverance of the needy, the poor and those who have no help depends upon His judgment falling against sin. (See also Acts 14:17.)
Therefore, the answer to the questions, "What is the purpose of Judicial Blindness?" and "Why does blindness increase instead of decrease?" is that God increases Judicial Blindness so that He can bring in His righteous reign and justice here on this earth. As time progresses from Christ on, men grow harder and harder in their refusal to turn to the law of the Lord. The result will be the expiration of the Lord's goodness, forbearance and longsuffering, His wrath revealed from heaven against all ungodliness, His law exalted and magnified and, finally, righteousness and salvation springing up as the new mown grass after a rain storm. (Cf. Rom 2.)
Judicial Blindness is prevalent today, not only among those who make no profession of Christ, but among the great majority of God's people. People are unable to make any connection between their personal relationship with the Lord and His law, their personal lives (attitudes, decisions and indifference to the things of God), and what is taking place around them in society. People are unable to see that society only reflects their attitude toward the Lord and His word.
The result is two-fold: first, men, even "Christian men," seek answers everywhere except where the answer lies: renewed faithfulness to the Lord and to His total word. People no longer see the foundational importance of proclaiming the gospel, teaching the law of the Lord to the converts and of long range planing. People now look for short cuts through protests of all kinds, laws, political/religious leaders, and social/political actions of all description (but they will only find judgment). The second result is that the situation can only deteriorate farther away from God, hastening God's judgment against sin.
But in spite of the apparent impending flood of fiery wrath against sin, we have a sure promise: judgment descends like the rain so that righteousness, justice and salvation might flourish as the crops in the field.
Here in our part of Indiana the corn crop looked very sickly at the first of July because of the drought. By the end of July we had had 10 in. of rain and many lightening storms. The lightening did some damage, but the corn is now 7-9 feet tall. The storms must come or there will be no crop. God's judgment must come or there will be no righteousness (cf. Mat 7:21-29).
The answer to blindness is to sincerely seek the Lord, Pro 28:5; Ph 3:15. Furthermore, we must return to Mt 28:19, 20. The spreading of the gospel and the instruction in God's total word is God's only ordained means to address the problems of our day. Anything other answer is clearly unscriptural.
What a marvelous day for the faithful servant of God to live in!
|Policies & Politics of Envy|
Deuteronomy chapter 27 records God's promised curse against 12 particularly evil actions; in chapter 28, we find God's promised blessing unto His obedient people in 5 areas of life; then in Matthew 5, we find the Sermon on the Mount in which the Lord Jesus completes Moses' message by adding the missing 7 blessings (to balance the 12 curses) of God upon His obedient people. However, we will restrict our focus on just 2 of the curse: secret theft and perversion of justice.
Deuteronomy 27:17 & 19 gives the third and fifth curse; the third curse is against moving our neighbor's landmark; the fifth curse is against the perversion of justice. Because these two curses are so closely connected, we will herein examine some general efforts to move the neighbor's landmark (secret theft) and to pervert justice. Therefore, note these four classes of people who have God's curse against them:
1) God's curse is against all who would seek to use the law to take another's goods. We live in a society controlled by envy; people look on the prosperity of others and wish that either the prosperous were lowered to their level or they had what another person has. The law is being used to pursue their envy.
2) God's curse is against ungodly lawyers because their primary job is to pervert justice and use the law to vindicate the guilty, Luke 11:45-52.
3) God's curse is against judges who pervert justice. (The Reader's Digest regularly carries a feature about such judges.)
4) God's curse is not only against envious people, ungodly lawyers and perverted judges, but it is also against any nation permitting perverted justice. When we elect or appoint judges contrary to God's law, injustice must prevail. (Cf. Ex 18:21, 22.)
Where does the blame lie for perverted justice? Judge for yourself!
The Policy of Envy
"Pan Am guilty in Flight 103 bombing" (The Indpls Star,
This kind of perverse justice could be called "The Deep Pockets Syndrome." If the defendant is thought to have a lot of money, "Deep Pockets," they are automatically guilty unless proven otherwise beyond any shadow of doubt.
Notice that it was a jury and not a judge which found Pan Am guilty. This could be called "The Policy of Envy," and the lawyers know very well how to use it to pervert justice. People envy those who have more than they; then they use the legal system to take from those whom they envy. In this case, the jury's envy was against Pan Am's insurers.
In the past, the primary standard of justice favored the rich over the poor. This has reversed. Special treatment is now for the "poor" and "minorities." The insurance companies and big corporations are being destroyed by the envy of the juries and the "victims" of the companies. Apparently, facts about a case play a minute role in the judicial system; the primary fact which controls decisions is the defendant's "Deep Pockets." Thus, the judicial system is being used to take the possessions from those who have for redistribution among those who envy. God's curse is against this perversion of justice.
The Politics of Envy
Not only do lawyers know how to use envy, and not only is the judicial system encouraging people to pursue their envy, but politicians know well the power of envy. This could be called, "The Politics of Envy." Thus, both the politician and judicial system make the envy in the people's heart work for them.
President Bush is an expert at using envy. I, and probably every one else whom the Republicans perceive as a Christian leader, received a letter from the Bush-Quayle campaign headquarters dated June 30, 1992. It presents Bush's "announced.. education program of great significance to the Evangelical community -- G.I. Bills for Children," which "would authorize $500 million in federal demonstration grants to provide $1,000 scholarships for children of middle- and low-income families allowing children to study at a school of choice, including religious schools." The letter concludes with: "Once again, President Bush has proved his commitment to the values of our community and to meeting our needs. The president now needs you to support his efforts on our behalf and with your vote for him this November."
A FACT SHEET was enclosed with the letter which deserves some dishonorable mention. First, its opening paragraph contains this statement: "Each family may spend these scholarships at any lawfully operating school -- public, private, or religious." Second, "Choosing a school is mainly an option for families wealthy enough to move to a different public school area or for those who can afford a private or religious school. Partly because of this lack of choice and an absence of the competition among schools that choice would create, many children have to attend elementary and secondary schools that do not provide an adequate education. This legislation is designed to give middle- and low-income parents greater consumer power." Third, at the conclusion of the FACT SHEET we are told that the upper eligibility level of yearly income for a four member family would be $40,000. (Emph added. Copy of the whole letter supplied upon request.)
First, clearly, the primary purpose of this bill is to tap into the power of envy within the heart of the "Evangelical community." Bush takes for granted that everyone without "school choice" envies those who have school choice.
Second, who defines a lawful school?
Third, note the blatant use of envy against those who might be able to do something that a particular Christian might not be able to do. Bush is offering to forcefully take $500 million which belongs neither to him nor to the Republican party but to our fellow tax-payers, and buy the "Evangelical" vote. What a sad commentary on 20th century Christianity when envy is so obviously prevalent in the church that an incumbent presidential candidate makes an open bid for that envy. God will judge the "Evangelicals" who tolerate such theft and raise not their voice against it! (Ps 50:18, When thou sawest a thief, then thou consentedst with him, and hast been partaker with adulterers. Rom 1:32.)
Fourth, consumer power is equated with forcefully taking someone else's money to spend as we please (remove our neighbor's landmark, and spend the gain on ourselves, De 27:17). Guess what governmental force removes our neighbor's landmark? The IRS.
Fifth, "The president now needs you to support his efforts on our behalf and with your vote for him this November." For without favorable public opinion ("Evangelical community"), he cannot move our neighbor's landmark. And their envy will help him.
Not only does Bush have a plan to purchase the "Evangelicals" with tax money, but he has one for every segment of the population. "Sullivan [Secretary of Health and Human Services] vows to improve minority health care," says a little article tucked away on the side of a newspaper page (Indpls Star, 7/11/92). "The Bush administration will dramatically improve minority health care during the coming year," Sullivan promised to the NAACP's 83rd annual convention. "The health care package includes the Minority Male Initiative, a national program to teach ethnic minority men how to prevent AIDS and other illness, Sullivan said." [Wanna bet on what they will teach? Ed.]
The Politics of Envy! Bush obviously is a seasoned expert at its use, but he is by no means the only one. "Clinton's Clarion Call," Parade Magazine, 7/11/92. "[S]ources close to Clinton say he's studying the feasibility of redistributing America's wealth if elected President." [Hmmm... Sounds like Bush! Ed.] The article laments, "America's 934,000 richest households have a net worth higher than that of its 84 million poorest households." Even more devastating in their opinion is that "most of those rich households inherited their money--they didn't earn it." Clinton is being advised to heavily tax "inherited and nonproductive wealth. Attacking the rich, the pollsters are telling Clinton, can only make him look attractive in a race against a billionaire businessman and a millionaire President." (This is an attractive promise to the envious.)
"How many times have you heard that the '80s was the decade where the poor got poorer, the rich got tax giveaways, and greed became the national pastime?
Politicians knowingly cultivate this lie to create envy and class resentment in order that we may give them more control over our lives," It's time to set the record straight, Walter williams editorial column, 7/16/92. He concludes his column with: "Thus, lying about income gains of poor and middle Americans is part of leftist agenda to "create an imagery" of limited government as being pro-rich so as to incite class warfare..," through envy, we will add.
There was a good editorial column in the paper the other day pointing out that the IRS is only an arm of Congress. The bad guys are in Congress; Congress is the one who is confiscating all the wealth of the land so it can redistribute the money among itself, its friends and those controlled by envy. Thus we see that both the president and congress share the blame for promoting and financing envy among the people. The IRS is little more than the strong-arm to extract the wealth from one individual to appease the envious. It is the strong man who is aiding the envious in moving his neighbor's landmark. The IRS is only enforcing the redistribution of the wealth which the electorate desires and the public officials promised to do if elected. Therefore, it is obvious that the envious people who accept these government offers are the thieves, not the IRS.
"G.I. Bills for Children." The $500 million will have to be extracted by the force of the IRS from those above $40.000 per year income. All of the social pipe dreams must be paid, and they only give the strong collection arm of the government more power. What to the envious is a dream, is for those envied a nightmare. The ones who accept these vote buying schemes are saying that they want the power of the IRS to increase against their neighbor so they can remove his neighbor's landmark and accomplish their envy. [See the answer to Bush's letter in the last article of this mailing.]
Those controlled by envy are in a fix: will Bush or Clinton best help them move their neighbor's landmark? In either case, envy prevails among the American people, and the IRS is the vehicle to forcibly fulfill that envy; therefore, the IRS cannot be reigned in until envy is dealt with.
What does the Law of the Lord say about envy?
Pro 27:4, Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before envy. Acts 13:45, But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradiction and blaspheming.
Paul tells us that one of the descriptive signs of a society's departure from God is envy, Romans 1:29-32. The primary problem though is not that the pagans act like pagans; rather, it is that those who profess Christ act like pagans, 1 Corinthians 3:3. Paul points out that Christians at one time served the same gods of envy, hate and pleasure as do those still outside the faith, Titus 3. James tells us that the inter church fighting is brought about by envy, James 4:1-5.
But Paul goes farther than laying the charge of envy on Christians in general when he points to the teachers of God's word as being the primary victims of and promoters of envy, 1 Timothy 6 (vs. 1- 6).
The envy within the heart of Christian leaders is reflected in their people. The envy in the hearts of the people of God is reflected in society in general because their light has gone out, their salt has lost his savor. (When the church refuses to proved guidelines for godly laws and justice, starting in the very heart of the church itself -- its leaders --, what can expect from the ungodly, Deuteronomy 25:1 (Mat 18)? When the church fails to provide guidelines for godly laws and justice, who will?)
The envy in the heart of the church which will leap with joy at the prospect of the "G.I. Bills for Children" is resulting in perverted justice in every area. It has brought about the Policies of Envy and the Politics of Envy. The lawyers and politicians know how to tap into this great resource of political power, especially within the church. It is a sad commentary about American Christianity when the letter offering to fulfill envy is addressed to "Dear Christian School Leader."
God's curse against moving our neighbor's landmark and against perverted justice is taking place right before our eyes. The result of God's curse is that the Western World which was built upon the word of God is entering into its final stage.
The third and fifth curse of Deuteronomy 27 are against moving our neighbor's landmark and against the perversion of justice. But perversion of justice is a result of envy. We live in a day of perverted justice because envy rules inside and outside the church. The result of a generation of envy is catching up; there is no justice for anyone.
Justice is being perverted because the justice of God is perverted in the hearts of the leaders of God's people: they are not content with what the Lord has provided for them.
But the word of God does not leave us without hope. The answer is: confess the sin of envy, Galatians 5:26, James 3:14-18; humility, James 4:6-10; contentment, 1 Timothy 6:6-8, and love toward one another that does not envy their prosperity, Romans 13:8-14.
We clearly see that, based upon the word of God, The Policies of Envy and The Politics of Envy are God's curse against the envy which is in control of the church today. As long as envy is promoted, protected and kept in the heart, perverted justice must prevail as God's judgment against that envy. The IRS is little more than an outgrowth of envy.
Until the sin of envy is dealt with in the hearts of the American Christians, pastors and people, we will continue to see the horrendous perversion of justice as God's curse against envy.
We as Christians should be free of the envy which leads to the perversion of justice.
|Exalted Without Faithfulness|
1 Cor 4:2. Moreover.. or in addition. Paul here gives the major qualification of a servant of God, particularly a minister: faithfulness to his Master. The context of this passage includes faithfulness to one's Master, but primarily it is speaking of faithfully delivering the message contained in the mysteries of God. Faithfulness in this area will create contention as it did when Paul and Peter were faithful stewards of the mysteries. As church and society in general depart from this qualification of faithfulness, they are self- destructing.
Charles Hodges, writing well over a hundred years ago, said:"The great thing required of them [God's people] is fidelity." And that fidelity is to the Lord and His word, not to the people or to one's self. Thus, "Be true to thyself," is a lie.
Undoubtedly, faithfulness is THE GREATEST requirement in God's word with all others subservient to it. God establishes the qualifications (personal gifts, disciplines and characteristics) and responsibilities (work and actions) of His ministers. Godly faithfulness follows God's word in every area; faithfulness goes far enough and does not attempt to go farther than does God, ie. more holy than God (Phariseeism).
Paul had spent the first three chapters of 1 Corinthians exposing the evil of depending upon worldly wisdom. Then in chapter four, he counters the false idea of the world (ie. wisdom and knowledge qualifies one for God's service), with the major qualification of the Lord: faithfulness.
God's definition of qualification for service is as contrary to the world's definition of qualification as any one thing can be. The world's idea of qualification for anything is education, knowledge (even about evil, ie. drug & sex-education), wisdom and learning. Our society is in serious trouble because knowledge and learning have replaced faithfulness to a task as the qualification for advancement. Furthermore, service is on extremely few person's minds; everyone desires to be a leader. Where are the servants?
The Business world
The business world has departed from faithfulness to an assigned task as the major qualification for the promotion of individuals. As a result, there are people on leadership positions who never had to prove themselves faithful in doing the actual job which they are responsible to oversee. (How can one instruct another how to do a job which one has never done?) Thus, the sad result is a business world that is unable to produce. The ones who worked their way up from within the ranks, so to speak, are being pushed out and/or are passing off the scene.
Among our group, we have several people who work for a couple major world-wide companies. Many times our folks feel as though they are going around in circles because the 'white collar' employees are in their positions of authority due to their college degrees rather than their abilities and faithfulness in their job. Secondly, there was an article in the Inpls Star, 11/29/91, about the US Forestry service not hiring or promoting any males, only females. Thus, we see in both instances that neither skill nor faithfulness is a cause for promotion in the work place.
Family businesses are an example: a man starts a business and it becomes highly successful because he faithfully looked after the small things. Then he sends his children to college to learn to take over the business. Many times the children return feeling they are now qualified to run the business because they have the education, but they are little more than a shadow of their parent's ability in the business. They sought a short cut to leadership through schooling rather than through working their way up.
The Religious world
Churches are being devastated because the qualification for "leadership" is no longer faithfulness to assigned tasks over an extended period of time; rather, it is knowledge and worldly wisdom.
I have known of several young people who desired to be active in Christian work some day, so they pursued a higher education (which is a commendable goal). The problem is that when opportunities to be faithful and active in Christian work in simple things would arise, they would not get involved unless required by their educational institution. In fact, even though some of these young people found it difficult to be faithful in simple things like church attendance, there were "Christian ministries" waiting in line to "hire" them upon graduation with good marks.
Is it any wonder that Christianity is in such a state today? Not until this evil is corrected, and these 'ministries' make their primary staff requirement that a man be found faithful, can we expect any kind of movement in the hearts of those influenced by these "Christian ministries."
Furthermore, the above is not unique. These people, both individuals and ministries, are missing God's most important qualification of all, that a man be found faithful in the small insignificant things, especially if no one is watching. If faithfulness by an individual is conditioned upon public recognition or coercion, then he is serving man and not God. Moreover, he is not depending upon the Lord to lift him up; rather, he is depending on man to exalt him. (Cf. Ja 4:10)
Paul gives us another key point, found faithful: implied discovery. Perhaps the faithful person was hidden from view, and when stumbled upon, he was discovered faithful. Found faithful could speak of surprise on the part of the one who found him faithful; it would speak of those who watched him in all situations and circumstances and found that he was faithful in the big and small things, good and bad times, and in public and private; it speaks of prolonged faithfulness on the part of the person, maybe many years of self-discipline and obeying the law-word of God; it does not speak of sinlessness, but faithfulness to the law of humility, confession, restitution and repentance.
Luke 17:1-10, increased faith is identified as increased faithfulness in doing our Master's revealed will in the most demanding circumstances, especially when no one is watching or encouraging us.
Luke 16:10-13, gives a startling implication, and this implication is one of the most common of the Lord's teaching: faithfulness in the small areas results in larger areas of responsibility. Consider this: "If a person is exalted or given a place of authority without faithfulness in the small things, was it God that exalted him? -- Will God operate contrary to His revealed word? -- Are there exceptions to what He has established in His truth? -- Does God lead people into 'full time work' who are not faithful in the small things?" I think not.
Paul is quite clear in identifying that the primary qualification of a servant or steward of God (minister especially) is faithfulness to God and His word; faithfulness in the small things; faithfulness in every thing. Faithfulness applies to young people and old, to rich and poor, to the highly intelligent and the simple; there are no exceptions and it even works for the unsaved. This is God's established truth which will never pass away or be avoided by anyone. (Yea, let God be true, and every man a liar.)
The faithful steward of God will be found faithful in at least these five areas:
1) He will not be arrogant: he will be willing to do the least of things. He will not wait for the Lord to send something his way which he feels fits his qualifications; rather, he will take advantage of any presented opportunity for service to the Lord, Matthew 10:42; 25:31-46 (the Lord tells us that our love for Him is shown by our faithfulness in small matters: seeing and doing the simple things for others).
Thus, anyone can be a faithful steward of God because the most lowly of tasks in man's eyes are very important in God's eyes. A simple word of encouragement from us to another who might be having a difficult time is like giving him a cool drink on a hot day. Every action will be rewarded, 2 Cor 5:10. Fixing a window at the church or for a Christian brother, helping put up a building, painting, mowing the grass, even sweeping a floor, if it is done because of Christ, we will not lose our reward. Furthermore, it doesn't necessarily have to be done for another Christian. In our Lord's illustration, the work was for someone in prison, yet it was done in the name of Christ, therefore, for Christ.
I know of a teenage girl who saw a well dressed elderly man sitting alone in a restaurant for whom she wanted to do something. At first, she wanted to go talk to him, but then she decided to quietly pay for his lunch from her own money, saying "actions speak louder than words." She talked to the waitress who slipped the check away from the man, and then the girl, unknown to the man, paid the bill for the man. It was done in the name of Christ and has His reward attached to it.
Remember the laymen in Acts 6? The implication is that Stephen and the other men, whom we identify as the first deacons, counted it a privilege to do the most menial tasks in the new church. The result was that the Lord provided Stephen with the opportunity to preach one of the greatest sermons in the history of the Church, as well as to have his name go down as the first martyr for the cause of Christ.
2) The faithful steward will know that what he has is from the Lord, 1 Cor. 4:7. This should be a humbling thought. Everyone has the same standard, faithfulness, but not everyone has the same responsibilities to be faithful over.
3) The faithful steward will continue in the most difficult tasks which come his way whether he has human encouragement or not. But let us hasten to add, honor should be given where honor is due, Rom. 13:7. Although the one who owes the honor would be sinning for not giving due honor, the faithful steward will be faithful regardless of whether or not that other person is honoring him faithful.
4) The faithful steward will be proficient in the word of God. He knows that he is not speaking for himself, but for the Lord; therefore, he either knows or is seeking to know what the Lord says about everything, 2 Cor. 5:20.
His actions, because he is acting under the direction of Another, the Lord according to His word, will be restricted to his Master's instructions. Moreover, he will be bold, knowing that he is acting in place of the his Master.
5) The faithful steward will be faithful primarily in the secret things because he realizes that it is the Lord Christ whom he is serving. The faithful will be faithful, not because they are being graded by others, but because they are being graded by God.
Abraham's steward is a perfect example of the faithful steward which every child of God should be. Notice Luke 16:12: the natural man will come to us and say, "What is in this for yourself? Since you will not get anything, why be faithful?" The Lord plainly tells us that if we expect to ever have anything of our own from Him to be faithful over, we must first be faithful over what belongs to someone else and primarily over what is His.
This thought brings us back to this point: if a person is given areas of responsibility without showing himself faithfully responsible over what belongs to someone else, where did that 'promotion' come from? If something is accomplished apart from God's way, how was it accomplished? -- In the flesh? In the power of the enemy?
Meyer's 1882 statement here for 1 Cor. 4:2, is sadly enlightening: "Luke vii.42, xvi.10ff.; Matt. xxv.21 ff.; Eph. vi.21, al. The summing up of the duties of spiritual service." (Meyer's Commentary on the New Testament. Emph added.) With this short statement he sums up the Christian thinking of our day.
Notice that Meyer implies that the only faithfulness which is required by God is in the area of spiritual service. His statement reveals to us the root of the problem. He implies that there are two types of normal service for the child of God, ie. spiritual and unspiritual. Such thinking is the spirit of anti- Christ at work, and is dealt with by Paul in 1 Cor. 10:31. Every activity for a child of God is spiritual and must be viewed as such.
(I have been involved in churches for around 25 years now. It has not been and is not unusual to confront individuals who believe that an activity is not spiritual unless it contains a time of preaching. This idea is the logical conclusion of the doctrine of spiritual service. We must keep foremost in our mind that all activity is either spiritual or sinful; it is either with God (sacred), or without God (secular). If it takes preaching to make an activity spiritual, even in our own minds, then we should not be involved in it. We must rebuild our thinking according to the Word of God.)
In conclusion, Paul is only summing up the total duty of man: faithfulness to God and His command-word in every area of life, thought and action. He spoke nothing different than what was already well established, Ecc 12:13, 13; Deut 10:12, 13.