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Summary: Faithfulness is evidence of how attached we are to God.

Introduction: (Overhead 1) Faithfulness

E-mail survey:

a. Who/what do you trust the most?

b. Top three most frequent responses:

i. Family

ii. Best Friend

iii. Car

iv. One person – you forgot God!

c. How do you rank these groups and people?

d. What role does faithfulness play in these responses? A large role! Why? A sign of long-term commitment, of trust, of confidence

The Bible and Faithfulness (Overhead 2)

The Bible has much to say about faithfulness.

a. A key element in our faith.

b. Scripture provides us with many stories of faithfulness such as:

i. Noah who was faithful to God’s assignment to build an Ark (@ 120 years?)

ii. Abraham who was faithful to God’s call to go to a new place

iii. Ruth who demonstrated faithfulness to her mother-in-law by remaining with her even in a foreign land

iv. David who demonstrated faithfulness to a friend in life and death

c. These people demonstrated faithfulness to God directly and indirectly but they also had moments of unfaithfulness as well:

i. Abraham got cold feet a couple of times for fear that Sarah might be taken from him by force so he lied about who she was.

ii. David, who should have been in battle, instead gave into lust and murder and created great hardship for himself and others as well as grieving God.

d. There is one however who clearly and perfectly demonstrated faithfulness – Jesus Christ himself.

i. Our main text this morning is a text in which Jesus reveals the extent and importance of faithfulness in God’s eyes.

ii. Faithfulness is evidence of how attached we are to God. It is the bonding fruit because faithfulness is evidence of commitment.

Faithfulness: (Overhead 3) A kingdom value/expectation

This passage:

a. Part of some final statements about the Kingdom of God to the disciples

a. Chapter 24

i. Relates temple to his body

ii. Speaks of the coming trials and conflicts

b. Chapter 25

i. Verses 1 though 13 illustrate the need of being ready and prepared for Christ’s return in the story of the 10 virgins.

ii. Verses 31 through 46 speak of the final judgment in which a key criterion for admittance into the kingdom is caring through service to those less fortunate.

iii. Faithfulness is a part of each of these stories.

a. Faithfulness through being ready

b. Faithfulness is doing something with what you have been given

c. Faithfulness is serving and caring for those who are less fortunate.

A closer look at our text: (Overhead 4) God sees faithfulness as a critical value

a. The master in our text is Jesus

b. The trip is His return to the Father

c. The servants are the disciples and us

d. The return is Jesus’ return

e. The performance evaluation is the Final Judgment

f. The two different responses represent the two responses we have to choose from that involved

1. Our willingness or unwillingness to accept the conditions of the relationship

2. Our decision to serve or not serve with what we have been given

g. The main point of the story is thus being faithful or unfaithful for being faithful requires a choice.

Why is there is a difference in the response to the assignment and the employer between the first two servants and the third?

1. Observations about the differences in responses:

i. One is of affirmation; The other is of fear

ii. One is of respect; The other is of disrespect

iii. One is of action; The other is of inaction

iv. One is of faithfulness; The other is of unfaithfulness

v. BUT WHY? Some suggestions:

1. Personal circumstances (that are created due to personal choices made) could have influenced the choices made by each of the three servants.

2. Beliefs about the master (You are a hard man) could have influenced the choices made.

3. Attitudes of faith or fear (I was afraid) could have influenced the choices made.

2. The faithfulness of the three servants was a deciding factor in the response and the reward of the employer.

i. Servant #1 – I have doubled your investment

ii. Response – You have been faithful

iii. Servant #2 – I have double your investment

iv. Response – You have been faithful

v. Servant #3 – You are a hard man, I was afraid

vi. Response – You wicked and lazy servant, throw him out!

How does faithfulness take root and grow in our lives? (Overhead 5)

1. Allow the Holy Spirit to continue to cultivate the other fruits in our lives

2. Identify and understand our faithfulness “hang-ups” and turn them over to God for change and help. (Commitment is hard for all of us in one way or another)

3. Change our view of God (Keith Miller illustration – “Fire your God!”)

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