Summary: Becoming like the Master. We are talking about transformation. As a church we are wanting to produce people who are true disciples of Jesus Christ. In order for us to make true disciples we must first be one. We have identified the characteristics of
Introduction: We continue our series on Becoming like the Master. We are talking about transformation. As a church we are wanting to produce people who are true disciples of Jesus Christ. In order for us to make true disciples we must first be one. We have identified the characteristics of a disciple and called them “Jesus Traits.” Our goal is to be involved in transforming our character and behavior in such a way that we look like Jesus.
Today’s Jesus Traits of focus are – Faith, Hope and Love. Over in I Cor. 13:13 Paul says that when everything else is settled there are three virtues that stand above the rest he says, “13 Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.” (HCSB)
Jesus own words agree with Paul’s assessment: Love is the greatest of all the characteristics of God and His people. Jesus said that we are to love God with all our hearts, soul, mind and strength and love our neighbors as ourselves. He told his disciples that they would be known as his disciples by the way they loved one another. Our love for people flows out of our love for God and his recognition of his love for us! In all that we have hope because God has proven himself trustworthy and faithful. When I think about God’s love for me even though I am small and insignificant from the perspective of the universe, I am blown away!
God’s love is incredible. It knows no limits. God is love it is part of his nature! The book of Psalms has a phrase that is repeated over and over again – “His faithful love endures forever.” In that one little statement we see these 3 huge Jesus traits: Love, faith and the hope that they endure forever! Because of that faithful love there is hope and that hope spurs us on to be faithful too! It is easy to see how these 3 are so connected. And the bible says we are to imitate him. Turn to Ephesians 5:1-2. Paul says “walk in love”. What does that mean? It means we are to imitate the way he loves us – in our relationships and dealings with other people.
Love is the foundation for our faithfulness and our hope. Out of love for God and love for people faithfulness will flow. And where there is love and faith – there is hope!
We are going to an interesting place to consider the Jesus Traits of faith, hope and love. We are going to the Old Testament book of Daniel.
The story of Daniel gives us a clear picture of a person who loved God and was faithful. That love and faithfulness produced in him a strong sense of hope that he lived out. Please turn to Daniel 6 and read along with me.
Jerry Bridges in his book, “Practice of Godliness” gives this definition of a faithful person: “The faithful person is one who is dependable, trustworthy and loyal, who can be depended upon in all his relationships, and who is absolutely honest and ethical in all his affairs.” P.179
As we think about Daniel – we see that he was this type of person. Look at vs. 4.
A. The Hebrew word translated ‘trustworthy’ is the word ‘aman’ – it means faithful – to stand firm to
trust or to be certain of something. The people around him saw in him that he was a faithful person. This says to me that our faith cannot be lived out in secret. People around us need to know that we stand for God. Standing firm in our beliefs regardless of the circumstances and what it might cost us. We need to become people who are known by those around us a faithful people. Faithful to what we say we believe.
I am reading a book called, “In light of Eternity” and one of the chapters was on this idea. It says we must recognize our place in the world and use the platform God has given us to make an impact on the world around us. We cannot say we are faithful to God and cheat on our taxes. We cannot claim a close walk with Jesus and at the same time be unfaithful in our business dealings. You see our faithfulness must be visible. That doesn’t mean that we are obnoxious but we must live in such a way that others know where you stand.
This was the case for Daniel, Jesus, the disciples and every other person down through history that make a powerful impact on the world around them.
B. There is another point to this verse related to faithfulness that helps us understand: it says that no