Introduction: This week I listened to a TED talk about capitalism.
The speaker said capitalism was not a political theory or merely a
philosophy of economics, it was an “operating system.” Just like your
cell phone (or computer) has an operating system, the speaker argued
that capitalism was the way that successful economic life operated.
His example was that the two biggest economic systems in the world,
the United States and China, have completely different political
systems, but have capitalist economic systems. Our lesson this week
considers whether stewardship is the “operating system” of the
Christian life. Whatever may be your specific doctrinal views,
stewardship is the common denominator for successful Christians.
Let’s plunge into the Scriptures and see if you agree!

  1. Creation Operating System

    1. Read Genesis 1:26. What is God’s original operational
      principle for humans? (Created like God, they would be
      rulers over creation.)

    2. Read Genesis 1:27-28. Did God command humans to exercise
      His authority to rule? (Yes. God told us to rule over all
      the animals and to subdue the earth.)

    3. Read Genesis 1:29-30. If God’s revelation to humans
      stopped here, what would you think God had in mind for
      your life? (We were created to rule. That means we are
      stewards of the earth and of our delegated authority from

    4. Read Colossians 1:16-18. In this creation mandate, what
      position does God take? (He is overall. We are rulers
      under God’s authority. “All things were created for Him.”
      That is our operational directive for our stewardship.)

      1. What does the odd title, “firstborn from among the
        dead” tell us about this description of God? (This
        describes Jesus. He is the Creator and He is the
        ruler to Whom we look for our authority.)

    5. Read Colossians 1:19-23. What problem arose in our
      rulership that Jesus has fixed? (We sinned. That alienated
      us from God and made us His enemies. But, Jesus reconciled
      us to God by His life and death.)

      1. What does that suggest about our current situation?
        (Two things. First, that we are restored to our same
        “sub-ruler” role. Second, we have Jesus to thank for
        our reinstatement.)

      2. Logically, where does that place Jesus in our life?
        (He is the center. Not only is Jesus the Creator who
        made us like Him and gave us a rulership role, but He
        restored us to that role at a very great cost to
        Himself. This makes Jesus central to all that we do.)

      3. How important to understanding our role in the world
        is accepting the Genesis Creation account?

  2. Doctrinal Operating System

    1. Read John 14:6. What is the universal principle for coming
      to God? (You must come through Jesus.)

      1. We are sub-rulers under Jesus, and beholden to Jesus
        for our position. What expanded idea does John 14:6
        add to our rulership role? (Jesus is our only source
        of salvation. Not only did He provide for our
        position (ruler), but He provided for our salvation
        and our understanding of God.)

      2. A common argument is that there are “many ways” to
        God. Based on the other religions I know about, they
        all have some truth. Psalms 19:1 tells us that the
        heavens declare God’s glory. Romans 1:19-20 says that
        God’s qualities are clear from the creation. How is
        this consistent with Jesus being the only “way” to
        God? (Jesus created the heavens! Jesus created
        nature! Jesus reconciled humans to God! From any
        angle that you contemplate this, Jesus is truly “the
        way and the truth and the light” when it comes to
        approaching God.)

    2. Read Revelation 14:6. What message does this angel carry?
      (The eternal gospel.)

    3. Read Revelation 14:7. Who are we to worship? (We just
      discussed that Jesus is the Creator, thus this is a call
      to worship Jesus.)

      1. Notice again, the reference to the Genesis creation
        account. What is the basis for Jesus’ claim to
        worship? (That He is the Creator. Accepting evolution
        destroys the single most important argument for
        worshiping God. Christians who accept evolution, do
        not understand Satan’s strategy in this false

      2. As sub-rulers over the earth, what is our stewardship
        obligation regarding this message? (The angel tells
        us that “the hour of His judgment has come.” That
        means that if we are to preserve the creation, we
        need to share the urgent message of fearing and
        glorifying our Creator God.)

    4. Read Revelation 14:8. Why is this revelation important?
      (“Babylon,” which pushes to alienate us from Jesus by
      worshiping other gods, has been defeated. It is “fallen.”)

      1. What does that mean about your rulership? (It is
        safe! You get to keep being a ruler and a steward as
        long as you are on the side of God.)

        1. Is that something that you should share?

    5. Read Revelation 14:9-10. If Babylon is defeated, are
      humans still joining the losing side?(One message we need
      to promote is that Jesus has won! Apparently people don’t
      realize this and keep joining the losing side.)

      1. What is the choice that faces humans? (Worship Jesus,
        and enter the path to the only way to God. Or,
        worship the beast.)

      2. What is the final outcome for those who reject Jesus
        and choose to worship the beast? (You will receive
        the full wrath of God and will burn.)

    6. Read Revelation 14:11. Are these two statements linked?
      Are the wicked without rest “day or night” because they
      are being tormented with “burning sulfur?”

      1. When a fire is burning well, does it produce smoke?
        (In my limited experience, the smoke is greatest when
        I’m trying to start a fire or when I’m putting it

      2. Read Genesis 3:2-5. What lie did the serpent make
        about sin and death? (He said that sin did not result
        in death.)

      3. If Satan’s statement about sin not ending in death is
        a lie, then how can the wicked have an eternal life
        of torture by burning sulfur? (I think Genesis
        precludes the two concepts in Revelation 14:11 being
        linked. The smoke rises forever because the fire is
        out – it just keeps rising. During life, those who
        worship the beast and reject Jesus have no rest. They
        are tormented.)

      4. Recall two weeks ago we studied 1 Corinthians 9:7-9
        where Paul used common sense and an Old Testament
        text about cattle to argue that Christians should
        support gospel workers? Should we use common sense
        to understand God’s statements about the fate of the
        wicked? (Yes, if two alternative meanings are

        1. If you agree that “yes” is the correct answer,
          think of the most horrendous crime that has
          come to your attention. In your opinion, would
          it be a just penalty to burn that criminal with
          sulfur forever?

    7. Read Revelation 14:12. What kind of attitude do we need in
      the last days? (Patience! “Patient endurance.”)

      1. What actions and attitudes should be reflected in our
        stewardship? (First and foremost, we remain faithful
        to Jesus. We are rulers under Him, and we are
        stewards of His gospel and His creation. Second, we
        obey God. We understand that God gave His
        commandments to us to make our lives better.)

    8. Friend, do you agree that understanding our relationship
      with Jesus, understanding that He is our Creator and
      Redeemer, and that He gave us authority to rule, directs
      our stewardship for Him? If you agree, why not decide
      today to accept your role as ruler, and serve and worship

  3. Next week: Debt- A Daily Decision