Summary: Faithfulness has Jesus as it object, obedience as its joy, and eternity as its goal. Faithfulness is the proper response to all of God's gracious giving.
Intro: What is the proper response to the manger which was the doorway for God to be with us? What is the proper response to the cross where God suffered for us? What is the proper response to the ascension where Jesus intercedes for us? What is the proper response to the gift of the Holy Spirit which is God living in us?
Faithfulness is the proper response to all of God’s gracious giving. God has one requirement that will help us fulfill all others, faithfulness. If we are faithful to the commands of Jesus we will be thankful, pray without ceasing, gather together and encourage one another. If we are faithful to abide in Jesus His love will continually flow in our hearts and we will have compassion, mercy, forgiveness. This is Christmas lived out. The spirit of Christmas is not found in malls with mobs of people racing for bargains. Mother Teresa is the Spirit of Christmas, getting gifts for widows and orphans, visiting someone alone in the nursing home, Jesus living in and through us is the Spirit of Christmas.
Faithfulness is loves habit. To be faithful is to be full of faith even if it is faith the size of a grain of mustard seed. Faithfulness cannot be strangled by suffering, crushed by hard circumstances, controlled by selfish desires, frustrated by unmet expectations. Faithfulness has Jesus as it object, obedience as its joy, and eternity as its goal. When we are faithful we should thank God and praise Him because it is what he requires.
I) Faithfulness is obedience to God
1 Corinthians 4:2 “It is required of stewards to be faithful”
The word required in the Greek here literally means demand back. God demands back from Paul the breath He gave him in faithfulness. It can be seen in Luke 12:20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life is demanded of you. And the things you have prepared—whose will they be?”
Faithful is translated from the same word as faith in Hebrews 11 “Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen. So it is only in abiding in Jesus Christ that we can meet this requirement. This demand of God is met when we depend on Jesus. Faith is the underwater spring and faithfulness is the above water geyser.
It is simply God’s requirement to be a steward. Anyone and everyone who claims to be a born again Christian should be faithful. Jesus again said if you love me keep my commandments. God demands faithfulness from His stewards. It is not so exciting to talk about faithfulness, why? Anyone and everyone who lives by faith should be able to be faithful. It is adventurous to be a missionary on a foreign field, exciting to be inspirational and instrumental in revival as a traveling evangelist, satisfying to be a well known television minister. But to be faithful means to live in faith in the mundane and monotony of daily life. Some once said that many
Christians are hypodermic saints, living for shots of religious excitement instead of daily, mundane, normal growth through feeding on the word of God, controlled by the Spirit of God, obedient to the Son of God.
The context of this passage in 1 Corinthians is someone called to proclaim the gospel. So you have to ask the question, am I called to be a steward? The resounding answer of Paul and Peter would be Yes!! The question is answered in 1 Peter 4.
First you have to ask am I a steward? According to 1 Peter 4:10 yes you are! The Holy Spirit has gifted each one. Each what? Each believer that has the Holy Spirit living in them is gifted and is a steward of the grace of God in their life. Grace in the Greek is Charis it is translated gift, giving, and grace. So we are stewards of God’s gift, giving, and character.
To make it absolutely clear Peter says, “based on the gift each one has received.”
Each one is hekastos, means each, every one, of any number separately. It means every single one and so each one of a totality in a distributive sense. Peter is teaching us a very important truth each and every believer has received at least one gift from the Spirit of God.
He also says that we are to use these gifts as “good manangers (stewards) of the varied grace of God. So we are all stewards of the grace of God. The buck does not stop with the paid staff, or the deacons, but God demands of each of us that we steward God’s grace.