Summary: The attributes and rewards of faithfulness.
Fruit of the Spirit - Faithfulness
Scripture: Matt 24:35 - 25:30
Text: 2 Tim. 4:7
We’ve just read a good deal of what God’s Word - the Bible - has to say about faithfulness. And we’ll look at that in just a moment. But first I want to answer the question as to WHY we remain faithful. And that comes from the text for this morning. Paul’s words, in that later years of his life and what he knew to be the final stages of his ministry.
I have fought the fight. I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me - the crown of righteousness (2 Tim 4:7).
When we get to the final stages of our ministry - when we look back on the time the Lord has given us on this earth, if we want to be all that God wants us to be - if we want to have the joy and peace that Paul, despite all his struggles, and all the troubles he went through, had - we will want to be able to say, with Paul, that we have remained faithful. Why? Because it is in remaining faithful that we can look forward to the prize, the hope, which is a crown of righteousness, or right standing, with God. And we’re going to look at the earthly rewards of faithfulness in just a few minutes.
Now I just mentioned getting to the final stages of our ministry. I mentioned looking back on the time the Lord has given us. But really, for you and for me, TODAY we may be IN the final stages of our ministry. Because the Bible says no one knows the time or day, except the Father himself.
The critical time for faithfulness is:
1. When everything appears normal. The Bible says in chapter 24:37, “When the son of man returns.” In other words, the final days of our ministry - “it will be like it was in Noah’s day. ...the people were enjoying banquets and parties an weddings.” Everything normal.
So the critical time for faithfulness, is now, when everything appears normal. One day follows the next, gas prices are on the rise, presidential candidates are debating, school is starting and people are marrying and getting divorced, and going shopping and buying stuff, and bringing stuff back... Everything normal.
How are we going to know if the Spirit is developing in us, the fruit of faithfulness? We will know the Spirit is developing faithfulness in us, when we realize certain things are happening in our lives that are indicators, or attributes of faithfulness.
Attributes of the Faithful:
First of all, the fruit of the spirit of faithfulness is:
1. Protective. (24:43) The Bible says in verse 43 of chapter 24, that a homeowner would not permit his house to be broken into. In other words, he would be watching and protecting those things which have been given into his care. In verse 45 of that same chapter, the Bible says that the faithful, sensible servant can be given the responsibility of management. He will take care of, and protect, that which has been entrusted to him.
Secondly, if we want to know if the Spirit is developing faithfulness in us, we will want to examine whether or not we are good providers.
A faithful servant will be a:
2. Provider. We know that because the Bible says in that same verse - verse 45 of chapter 24, that the servant manages the other household servants and feeds them. So in managing what has been entrusted to him, the faithful servant provides for the needs of those in his care.
Thirdly, if we are to be considered faithful. If we want to know if the Spirit is developing within us, the fruit of faithfulness, we need to look to see if we are:
3. Genuine. Are we genuine? Or do we put on an act - are we not our true selves in front of certain people - or at church? You see, verse 51 of chapter 24 says that the unfaithful servant was assigned a place with the hypocrites.
Now churches, every church - every church on the face of this planet has, most likely, at one time or another, been accused of having hypocrites. Some churches are even accused of being FULL of hypocrites!!
Do you know what other places have hypocrites?
You see, hypocrites are everywhere! Church doesn’t have a corner on hypocrites. It just seems like it. And it makes a good excuse for people who don’t want to go. How many times have you heard someone say they’re not going to the baseball game because there will be hypocrites there?
And you see, Christians, if we’re going to be faithful and have the fruit of the spirit of faithfulness - we are to be radically different than all those other places. We’re to be genuine - honest - real.