1 Corinthians 4:1-5
Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.…
I. THE STATION WHICH IS OCCUPIED. The station of a steward — one who has a delegated authority — who acts in subserviency to another — and who is required to account for the manner in which he has conducted himself while holding that responsible station. The term applies originally to the ministers of the gospel; yet we may safely found upon them a general argument and appeal. You have each of you received various gifts, which you are to hold as stewards of God, and for which you have to render a final account.
1. Intellectual faculties.
2. Temporal blessings, such as —
(1) Property, and opulence, and rank, and those things which give men such influence in the sphere in which they move.
(2) National distinction.
(3) Civil and religious liberty.
3. Spiritual mercies.
(1) The Scriptures.
(2) Holy ordinances.
(3) The ministry of the gospel.
(4) The gift of the Spirit to convince, convert, sanctify, &c.Every Christian attainment, hope, enjoyment, makes the person who possesses it steward, and involves the highest responsibility.
II. THE CHARACTER BY WHICH THE OCCUPATION OF THIS STATION SHOULD BE ATTENDED. The steward is called upon to "be faithful" to his Master's property, and whatever is committed to his trust.
1. Abundant facts prove that men are generally reckless in regard to all the privileges enumerated.
2. Consider, then, in what this fidelity consists. The great basis of all duty is "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God," &c. Now, in order to answer to the character described in the text, there must be sincere repentance, an entire reliance on the one only foundation of hope, and an earnest striving for the salvation of the immortal soul by the diligent use of the means prescribed. It is your duty —
(1) To work out your salvation with fear and trembling. There must be employed for this every natural and intellectual power: for this Sabbaths were hallowed, the Book of God given, the ministry instituted, &c.
(2) To attend to what pertains to the Divine honour and glory in the world in which we live. While we attend diligently to the common business of life we must not forget what we owe to God, on whose bounty we live, in whose presence we stand, and before whom we must soon appear.
(3) This part of the subject may be applied —
(a) To those who occupy private stations in the Church of Christ. What have you done in the way of desire, in the way of effort, in the way of prayer?
(b) To ministers.
III. THE SOLEMN CONSIDERATIONS BY WHICH THE EXHIBITION OF SUCH A CHARACTER MAY BE ENFORCED. A steward must reckon on a day of final account. This will be a day of reckoning —
1. For rewards of glory.
2. For punishment also.
Parallel VersesKJV: Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.