Summary: Many levels of faithfulness are important parts of true discipleship.
Discipleship II: Faithfulness
Pastor Eric J. Hanson
August 15, 2010
As we consider what it is to be a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ, we must touch on the matter of being faithful in following Him, being faithful in following through on His call on your life, being faithful in walking away from sin and seeking closeness with God, and being faithful in your part in the mission of this local Church which the Lord has placed you into.
The word faithful is found 82 times in God’s word. Faithfulness, which is the quality of being faithful, is found there 19 times. The Bible is full of this theme. Great saints such as Ezra, Moses, Paul, and others were defined more by their faithfulness, than by anything else in their resume.
Webster’s revised dictionary links faith and faithfulness in its definition of the word faith. It says this: belief, especially in a revealed religion; trust or reliance; a system of religious doctrines believed in; loyalty; pledged word; FAITHFUL: loyal, reliable, honorable, exact.
These are the characteristics which should be notable in any person who is genuinely walking in the Faith.
We have looked at the faithfulness of God. Now let’s briefly consider some of those in the Bible who are counted as having been faithful. Among these many faithful persons are: Moses: (Numbers 12:7), David: (I Samuel 22:14), Daniel: (Daniel 6:4), Timothy: (I Corinthians 4:17), Paul: (Acts 20:20 & 27), Tychicus: (Ephesians 6:21), Epaphras: (Colossians 1:7), Onesimus: (Colossians 4:9), Silvanus: (I Peter 5:12)
A major characteristic of Godliness is faithfulness, and all who follow the Lord Jesus Christ are instructed to pursue godliness. (Read I Timothy 6:11-12.) This is not an optional extra for anyone who knows Jesus Christ. The Bible contains many appeals to the virtue of faithfulness. Let’s look at a few.
Exhortations to Faithfulness include:
Luke 16:10-12: (principles of faithfulness), Luke 19:17: (a good steward), I Corinthians 4:2: (All stewards are required to be faithful.), I Timothy 3:11: (Wives of Deacons or Females Deacons), Colossians 1:2: (The Believers in the town of Colosse), Revelation 2:10: (Faithful to death yields the crown of Life.), and Revelation 17:14. (Those with Jesus as conquering King will have been found faithful.)
The Lord desires unity: There is no real faithfulness without this. Disunity rooted in personal stubbornness and pride of learning was the #1 problem at the church in Corinth: Chapters 1 & 3 of I Corinthians are devoted to dealing with it. Jesus prayed for unity in the Faith for all believers, just before His arrest in the garden. (John 17:20-23.) Evangelism and the making of disciples for the Lord depends upon genuine unity in the church. Psalm 133 is devoted to it. Ephesians 4 tells how to have it. (Ephesians 4:1-6.)
Applications for all believers in Jesus Christ:
Scriptures dealing with the Body of Christ include these: Romans 12:5, I Corinthians 12:12 & 27, Ephesians 4:12. Note that all the gifts of the Holy Spirit are operated within the context of the Body! No believer is called to be a floater or to try to operate independent of being a faithful part of is or her local church family. Colossians 1:24 makes plain that “Christ’s Body is the Church.”
The people who make up each local church are also called a House for the Lord. (I Peter 2:5) This is a house built up of living stones. These living stones (individual believers) each have a fixed and important place within this living house which the Lord lives in. Stones in the walls of a house do not jump out of the wall. That would weaken the structure and leave holes. The living stones, just like natural stones in a physical house wall, are cemented into place. The cement in this case is the relationships and the ministry which God has called you to within your local church.
What does this mean for each one hearing this today? Here are some practical applications for doing God’s will in this matter of faithfulness, which will greatly strengthen the disciple making mission of this or any other local church.
-The primary level of faithfulness in our mission is just staying part of things week by week and year by year. You need to be faithful to show up dependably on Sundays and in your small group. This includes those times when you don’t feel like it, are tired, etc. Other things may need to be changed around in order to protect your church family times.
-More advanced applications of this principle include the importance of finding your part in the work of this Church, the local body, the wall of living stones; and fulfill that calling, ever faithful, whether teaching KIDS church or cleaning the building thoroughly and with excellence. All this will help move you toward becoming a discipler of others.