Summary: The word for "faithfulness" is the same word translated "faith." It is our faith in the faithfulness of God that enables us to be faithful to Him and to one another.
THE ORANGE OF FAITHFULNESS
Are you getting tired of fruit? I hope not, because our "fruit salad" is only 2/3 finished. We’ve considered the INNER FRUIT: Love, Joy and Peace. We’ve studied the OUTWARD FRUIT: Patience, Kindness and Goodness. But we have yet to dissect the UPWARD FRUIT - those Christ-like qualities which most particularly have to do with our relationship with God - our faithfulness to God, our meekness before God and our self-control by the power of the Spirit of God.
When I was in Bible College, a tractor trailer load of Tropicana Orange Juice was dropped off at the cafeteria every week. I wondered how a low-cost Bible College could afford so much expensive O.J. One morning in chapel, I found out how an older Italian man in broken English, gave his testimony. He said he had come to the US from Italy in the 20’s as a young teenager, with nothing but the clothes on his back. A Christian couple befriended him and through their love he came to know Christ as his Savior and Lord. One Sunday in church, he prayed: "Lord, if you give me an idea for a business, I will be faithful to give a portion of everything I make back to Your work." That very morning, the idea of "Fresh squeezed orange juice" popped into his head - and the rest is history: Anthony Rossi founded the "Tropicana Co" and has been faithful to give God - not 10% of his income, as many faithful believers do, but 50% of his income, for the past 60 years! He also gave truckloads of FREE O.J. to Christian colleges throughout the country!
So, when I think of "oranges," I think of faithfulness - God’s great faithfulness to His children and the importance of our being faithful, both to Him and to one another.
Orange you glad God is so faithful? Orange you blessed when other people are faithful to you? Then let’s study the "orange of faithfulness" and learn how to squeeze the most sweetness out of this fruit, in our own lives!
I. WHAT IS FAITHFULNESS?
Actually the word for "faithfulness" is the same word translated faith. It is our faith in the faithfulness of God that enables us to be faithful to Him and to one another.
emunah = "steadfastness or stability"
pistis = reliability or dependability
Def: Faithfulness is "the Christ-like quality of dependability - stability in our relationship with God and reliability in our relationship with others."
The greatest example of faithfulness is God Himself:
In 1 Pt. 4:19 God is called the "faithful Creator" - i.e. we can see God’s faithfulness in the order and constancy of nature.
Ps. 119:138 "Thy testimonies are very faithful." i.e. God always keeps His Word and His promises.
1 Cor. 1:9 "God is faithful by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son." i.e. God is faithful in calling His own to salvation.
1 Cor. 10:13 "...God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tested above that you are able, but will with the testing also make a way to escape that you may be able to bear it." i.e. God is faithful in preserving and protecting His children.
And again in 2 Thess. 3:3 "The Lord is faithful, who will establish you and keep you from evil."
2 Tim. 2:13 "If we are faithless, He remains faithful, He cannot deny Himself." i.e. even when we fail God, He will not fail us!
1 John 1:9 shows God’s faithfulness in forgiveness!
One Scripture summarizes it all:
Lam. 3:22+23 "Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not, they are new every morning-great is Thy faithfulness."
(SING: "Great Is Thy Faithfulness")
The faithfulness of God on earth is our Lord Jesus Christ:
Heb. 2:17 "That He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God." Jesus is faithful, praying for us!
Heb. 3:1+2 "Consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession -Christ Jesus was faithful to Him who appointed Him." Jesus was faithful in doing the Father’s will!
Rev. 1:5 "From Jesus Christ, the faithful Witness." Jesus was faithful in proclaiming God’s message!
Rev. 19:11 "He that sat upon the white horse was called Faithful and True."
Jesus will be faithful in judging evil and rewarding faith! Jesus is faithfulness personified!
So, the more we see how faithful God is to us, how He never lets us down, how He is always reliable, steadfast, constant and dependable - the more we will desire to be faithful to Him and to one another!
II. HOW IS FAITHFULNESS EXPRESSED?
A. Faithfulness to God (or stability in our relationship with God)
In Luke 16:10 Jesus said, "He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much."