Summary: Examine the fruit of Faith which can only come from the Holy Spirit.
The Fruit of the Spirit
Part 8 – Faith
Rev. Bruce A. Shields
First Baptist Church Tawas City Michigan
We are continuing our Series on The Fruits of the Holy Spirit.
We’ve spoke over the past few weeks on Love, Joy and Peace, longsuffering, gentleness and goodness. Today I would like to talk about the Spiritual Fruit of Faith.
PRAYER FOR THE HOLY SPIRIT AND UNDERSTANDING
A. In his letter to the Galatians, chapter 5, vs. 22, the Apostle Paul writes, "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness & self-control."
And this morning we’re going to focus on “faith” or "faithfulness."
ILL. A few years ago the headline of a major supermarket tabloid proclaimed, "And they said it wouldn’t last!"
The paper was celebrating the first wedding anniversary of a very well-known couple whose marriage many had predicted wouldn’t last.
The tabloid was gleefully proclaiming that the predictions were all wrong, and that the marriage was healthy and strong.
Who were they talking about? Who was this famous couple?
It was Michael Jackson & Lisa Marie Presley, whose marriage ended soon afterward.
Now not only was the tabloid absolutely wrong about the state of their marriage, but it also reveals a weakness of our modern society in suggesting that if a marriage lasts one year, it has really lasted.
ILL. Hallmark has a card that fits the mood of our time by saying, "I can’t promise you forever, but I can promise you today."
That’s about as deep a commitment as some are willing to make in the world today.
B. But in contrast to that, God exhibits and honors faithfulness.
Psalm 100:5 says,
"The Lord is good & His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations."
Every time you see a rainbow, remember that God is faithful - He keeps His promises.
Every time you pick up a Bible, remember that He said in Matthew 24:35, "Heaven & earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away".
Every time you gather to worship with brothers & sisters in Christ, remember that He said in Matthew 18:20, "Where 2 or 3 come together in my name, there am I with them".
Every time you partake of communion, every time someone answers the invitation for Christ, remember that He said, "I will be with you always, even to the end of the world."
And when you stand on the brink of death, remember His promise in Matthew 14:2-4, "In my Father’s house are many rooms...I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go & prepare a place for you, I will come back & take you to be with me. For where I am, there you will be also".
ILL. The songwriter Thomas Chisholm is so right in the lyrics he wrote in 1923;
"Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father...
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided.
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me."
Oh, I wish could do justice to singing that!
But even though I can’t, I can still proclaim that our God is a faithful God, and that "His faithfulness continues through all generations."
APPL. And if we allow His Spirit to work within us, then the fruit of faithfulness will be real and evident in our lives, too.
The more we yield to His guidance, the less indecisive, and the less vulnerable to discouragement and the less tempted we will become.
And as we are filled with His Spirit, others will find in us reliability, trustworthiness, a staying power through both good & bad, a faithfulness that the world doesn’t understand.
I. A DEFINITION OF FAITHFULNESS
A. To begin with, let’s define "faithfulness" & make sure that we’re talking about the same thing.
If you were going to define faithfulness, as Paul uses it in the N.T., how would you do it?
Well, if you looked in the dictionary, you would find a technical definition that says, "Faithfulness means to follow through with a commitment regardless of difficulty."
That’s a good definition.
But let me give you one that may be easier to remember,
"Faithfulness is love hanging on."
It is love saying, "I will not quit. There may be misunderstandings, there may be disappointments, there may be discouragements, but I will not quit."
It is love hanging on.
ILL. If someone says, "I really love my spouse," and then goes out and has an affair, you may call them a liar. You may call them a cheat. But most of all, you will say, "They were unfaithful."
That is what they have been.
And as long as they continue to be unfaithful no matter how strong their arguments may be, no matter how loudly they proclaim their love for their spouse, you will not believe them because their unfaithfulness negates their proclamation of love.