Summary: Inside Paul’s heart we find faithfulness: To the FAMILY, in our FINANCES, to the FELLOWSHIP, and to the FAITH. Link included to formatted text, handout, and PowerPoint Presentation.

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O Come, and be Faithful

Acts 20:18-38

[opening PowerPoint clip from Old Faithful]

The Apostle Paul took 3 missionary journeys. In chapter 20 he’s about to begin the last lap…his 3rd trip. And in these verses he’s about to head out for Jerusalem, and he has to say goodbye to these saints at Ephesus he’s spent so much time with. It’s a very tender and touching scene…one of the most moving and heartwarming farewell speeches that’s ever been recorded in literature. He literally opens up his heart and let’s us look inside.

Let’s peer inside Paul’s heart, and see what’s in there.

3 attributes we find in Paul’s heart:

1. Faithfulness

v. 18 This verse speaks of Paul’s faithfulness over those 3 years. “From the first day” he hit the ground running, and thru many hardships in this very difficult city, he was dependable and never quit, and never slacked off.

Faithfulness is the most important quality that you and I can cultivate in our hearts as well. We have such faithful people here…thank you! “God give us more faithful, dependable people for your work here!”

There may be some things you cannot do. You may not be able to get up here and sing, or teach a s.s. lesson like your teacher did this morning, or preach a sermon…but there’s one thing you CAN do…we ALL can do it…we can be faithful!

Faithfulness is a quality which I admire…but it’s a quality which God requires!

1 Cor. 4:2

Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.

Areas where we need to be faithful:

• To our family—faithfulness begins at home. Remember the ’96 presidential election? It was Clinton vs. Dole, and the cry of the day was that a candidate’s private life was his own business, and has nothing to do w/ how he runs the country. How many remember that? That’s nonsense, because it has everything to do w/ it. Public office is a matter of public trust, and if a man is not faithful at home, he’s not faithful anywhere. This is at the very core of our lives.

Let me add that we don’t have to be physically unfaithful to be classified as “unfaithful.” Some are married to their jobs, some have a love affair w/ shopping or sports. Being faithful involves establishing and maintaining proper priorities, even outside the bedroom.

Eph. 5:25

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

Ill.—I like motorcycles…I love them. I grew up on them…like a 2nd home—I was bounced from one foster-cycle to another! I’d like to have one now, but I haven’t had one since 1992, when I sold my favorite one. Know why I sold it? Kimberly asked me to when I asked her to marry me! She calls them “murder-cycles”, and wants us to raise our family before I have another bike. And if it makes her happy, it makes me happy. I had a choice to make that day and I made it. If I said no, she still may have said yes, but it wouldn’t have been right. [“honey, are you sure I can’t have one? Ok!”]

There’s nothing so precious that we should not be willing to give it up for our spouse. No bass boat, no job, no golf outing. [Paul was a golfer for at the end of his life he said, “I have finished my course!”] This goes for ladies too: no friend should come before your spouse…no coworker should know secrets you won’t tell your spouse! Our children should not come before our spouse.

Ill.—Guns are on my forbidden list as well…don’t you feel sorry for me today! At least the fun ones, that is. I mean, I have one “for protection” that is very wimpy and is locked away in a case so tight and so hard to get to that I’d have to appeal to a burglar to “give me a minute” while I get it out! But she’d prefer I not have my Ruger or Colt right now while the kids are small. [Actually, isn’t that her putting the kids before her spouse?!  ] One of our men offered to sell me his Glock the other day and I was entertaining the idea when he said “there’s no safety” on this gun. Right then and there I knew it couldn’t happen right now! If she DID let me bring it home it would only be long enough for her to threaten me w/ it in her hand and then send me to take it back!

Faithfulness is a great quality, and it begins at home or it doesn’t begin at all!

Faithful to our family…

• In our finances—Question: what would you do w/ a million dollars? One guy said, “I’d put it toward my debts, as far as it’d go!” I know what you’d do with it… exactly what you’re doing with that $100 you have right now. In other words, if you don’t put God 1st and tithe now you wouldn’t tithe if you had a million dollars. If you’re not generous now you wouldn’t be generous if you were rich. If you’re not faithful in your finances now you wouldn’t be then! Don’t believe that? Here’s a verse:

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