Summary: Series of 9 Sermons for Advent on the fruits of the spirit. Sermon 7 of 9
4th Sunday in Advent Service December 22, 2002
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Be Prepared for Christ’s Coming with Faithfulness
I. Remember God’s faithfulness to us
II. Reflect God’s faithfulness to others
Dear Brothers & Sisters in Christ;
I recently read some statistics that I find hard to believe. Supposedly, the Institute of Behavior Motivation has determined that 97 out of 100 people tell lies; and they do it about one thousand times a year. Maybe this is true, but I think that there is a good chance that this information about lies is less than accurate. It’s not that I am naive; I know that people lie. I just don’t think that 97 percent of the people lie on the average of three times a day.
But as we study the fruits of the Spirit, we aren’t focusing on what others do. We are examining what we are to do. So, regardless of the statistics that exist about lying, we want to look at our own involvement in it. Are we less than always truthful? Do we tell lies? As sinners, we have all told a lie at one time or another. In fact, maybe the statistic that was the most unbelievable from the Institute of Behavior Motivation was that 3 percent claimed that they never told lies.
Because we Christians are sinner-saints, we display none of the fruits of the Spirit perfectly. This includes “faithfulness,” which is our focus for today. But as we have heard from each of the sermons during Advent, as Christians we want to strive, with the Spirit’s help, to display these fruits more and more. Today we are being encouraged to be faithful. People need to be able to trust us in little things as well as in big things. To be more faithful, we need to be more faith-filled. The more we trust God’s faithfulness to us, the more we will be faithful to others. This Advent season we are reminded to BE PREPARED FOR CHRIST’S COMING WITH FAITHFULNESS.
1. Remember God’s faithfulness to us.
First we remember God’s faithfulness to us. At times we might be tempted to question God’s faithfulness. The Old Testament believers might have wondered if God was really going to keep his promises to send a Savior. As Noah and his family waited out the Flood in the Ark, as the Israelites waited out 400 years of slavery in Egypt, as other nations defeated them in battle, as the people of the Southern Kingdom were exiled to Babylon, as 400 years of silence passed since the last word from a prophet, as the worldly empires of Syria, Greece, and Rome controlled their land—during all of these events and others, the Old Testament believers must have had times of doubt concerning God’s faithfulness. Would God really send them a Savior as he had promised?
We, too, have faced experiences in life where we may have wondered about God’s faithfulness to his promises. The pain that comes with an injury or illness may have led to doubts about God’s promises not to give us more than we can bear. The death of a loved one or family problems may have led us to question how such things can work for our good. Financial difficulties and job insecurity may have caused us to wonder if God does care for us. Days of loneliness and unhappiness tempt us not to trust God and the promises he makes.
But even if God was not faithful to us would that really surprise us? What if God based his faithfulness on how faithful we are to him?
How faithful have you been in the study of God’s Word? Do you make it an everyday part of your life; are you faithful in coming to Bible class or do you want to keep it special and only use it on special days like Christmas and Easter?
Are you faithful in your worship attendance? Or do you plan your worship around your schedule which basically boils down to making God a very low priority. You know what I mean don’t you? We can find the time to do all kinds of things but when it comes to worshiping God, well we give him one hour a week and only one hour a week.
Have you been faithful attending the Lord’s Table to receive his sacrament? This one really ties in with our faithfulness to worship attendance – Do you come to the Lord’s table every time it is offered or because the service has gone over the hour you set aside for the Lord, you cant wait the extra 15 minutes it takes to receive the Lord’s body and blood you get up in the middle of the service and leave. Are we so busy with the things of this material world that we have become unfaithful in the beautiful gift of Jesus’ body and blood which he faithfully gave for the forgiveness of our sins?