I hope that you have been enjoying learning about the different attributes of our awesome God the past few weeks.
We cannot see or touch God so we have to learn about Him though His attributes.
The last couple of weeks we looked at the attributes of creativity and God’s love.
The attributes that we have and will be looking at are the things that make up God’s character. These attributes are things that we would use to describe our Great God.
We do the same thing as we think about people, we describe them by their attributes. We will describe them by their physical attributes or by their character features. We will say that so and so is trustworthy, or that they are a loving father.
Today I want us to look at another attribute that is central to God’s character.
A college man walked into a photography studio with a framed picture of his girlfriend. He wanted the picture duplicated. This involved removing it from the frame. In doing this, the studio owner noticed the inscription on the back of the photograph: "My dearest Tom, I love you with all my heart. I love you more and more each day. I will love you forever and ever. I am yours for all eternity." It was signed "Diane," and it contained a P.S.: "If we ever break up, I want this picture back."
We are going to see that God is faithful. I hope that we see that with God there are no p.s.’
I believe that faithfulness is an attribute that the whole world would be better if we had a little more of it. The world really needs something that they can count on.
You can look from the very heights of leadership to the very bottom of society and see that faithfulness is something that we need to work on.
Today we are going to see what it means to be faithful, then I will make the case that God is faithful and finally that God expects us to be faithful.
I. WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE FAITHFUL?
A. Define faithful
When we think about being faithful what comes to your mind?
FAITHFUL Steadfast, dedicated, dependable, and worthy of trust.
The word It is derived from the Hebrew root having the basic meaning “to trust (a person),” or “to believe (a statement).”
This is the same root that gives us the word “amen.” The derived meaning is that the one so described is trustworthy, dependable, trusting, or loyal. Moses was faithful in all God’s household (Num. 12:7). “Faithful” is used to describe the relation of God and Israel (Deut. 7:9). The faithful God keeps His covenant, and the faithful people keep His commandments.
In the New Testament the adjective “faithful” has the same fundamental meaning as the Old Testament word. The meaning is that the one so described is trustworthy and loyal. The root idea is that one has loyalty toward another person or toward God.
The faithful person is steadfast, unchanging, and thoroughly grounded in relation to the other. This sort of fidelity, or faithfulness, is used in both the Old Testament and the New Testament to describe God’s relation to the world and to describe the quality of relationship that Israel and Christians are called upon to have with God and with one another.
B. Examples of Faithfulness
For example, in 1 Corinthians 7:25 Paul tells the Corinthians church that by the mercy of God could be counted as one who is “faithful” (KJV) or “trustworthy” (NASB).
In Revelation 2:10 the church in Smyrna and subsequent readers are commanded “be faithful unto death.” and, in Ephesians 1:1 Paul addressed the letter “to the faithful in Christ Jesus.” In other cases, however, “faithful” describes God’s mode of relation toward persons or toward God’s creation.
If you went to cash you paycheck at the bank and the teller gave you the right amount of money 90% of the time, would you consider that teller to be faithful?
A faithful person is one who will finish the race;
Max DePree, in an article in Leadership magazine stated, “A friend of mine described a colleague as great at running the "ninety-five-yard dash." That is a distinction I can do without. Lacking the last five yards makes the first ninety-five pointless.”
A faithful person is one who you can count on to keep their word. They will keep the promises that they make even if it costs them something to do it.
I am sure that some of you who have been married for many years have had to make some personal sacrifices in order to remain a faithful spouse.
The world needs to see more faithful and trustworthy people. The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, cited in Harper’s (4/96) said that only 35% of Americans believe that "most people can be trusted.”
II. GOD IS FAITHFUL.
How do we know that God is faithful?
A. The Bible tells us He is.
1CO 1:9 God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
PSA 36:5 Your lovingkindness, O Lord, extends to the heavens, Your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
PSA 89:1 I will sing of the lovingkindness of the Lord forever; To all generations I will make known Your faithfulness with my mouth.
These among many other passages tell us that God is faithful.
Many other passages speak of God as faithful in order to comfort and encourage Christians. “
1JO 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1CO 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.
1THESS 5:24 Faithful is He who calls you..
Another reason that we know God is faithful is that:
B. God models faithfulness
DEU 7:9 "Know therefore that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments;
God has kept His promises.
God made promises to Abraham concerning having many descendents even though Abraham and Sarah were very old and they had no children
God kept His promises to David, Israel and Joseph just to name a few.
God kept His promise to mankind that He made back in Genesis 3:15 where God promised that Satan’s power would be broken; this was accomplished with the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.
God kept His promises that He made through the prophets. He kept His promise to Lot’s wife when He told them not to look back when they left Sodom and Gomorrah.
God was faithful to Jesus. HEB 3:2 He was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was in all His house.
God did not send Him and then change His mind about what He was going to do.
C. Faithfulness is central to God’s character.
We find that faithfulness or trustworthiness is something that has to be a central part of who God is. What if you could not trust God to do what He says He will do?
God exhibits His character as worthy of the love and confidence of man and assures us that He will certainly fulfill His promises as well as execute His threats against sin. His faithfulness covers “temporal blessings (1 Timothy 4:8; Psalm 84:11 Isaiah 33:16);
Spiritual blessings (1 Corinthians 1:9)
Support in temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13) and persecution (1 Peter 4:12-13; Isaiah 41:10);
Directing in difficulties (2 Chronicles 32:22; Psalm 32:8); enabling to persevere (Jeremiah 32:40), and bringing to glory (1John 2:25).”
He told us that if we are immersed into Christ, that we would receive eternal life, that our sins would be washed away and that He would give us the indwelling gift of the Holy Spirit.
God’s word is faithful (1 Timothy 1:9). Jesus is faithful and trustworthy (Heb 13:8).
The thing that stops people from giving their lives to Christ is fear. They are afraid that they cannot trust God to do what He says He will. If people KNEW FOR SURE WITH 100% CERTAINTY that God would do what He said He would do for them, there would be very few people who would turn Him down.
God has to be faithful and trustworthy or else what would we base Him keeping His promises.
I think a lot of people are cynical about politics because for too many years, politicians have promised everything to everyone and have delivered nothing.
God keeps His promises.
This is one of the reasons we can love Him and trust Him. Who are you more apt to trust someone with a proven track record or someone full of empty promises?
God is there for us even when we are struggling.
What effect does God’s faithfulness have on us?
III. GOD EXPECTS US TO BE FAITHFUL.
A. God has been to us
When you read your bible, I want you to take note of the promises that God makes to us, they are ALL conditional. The condition is our faithfulness to Him. This does not imply sinless perfection, but it means that if we were taken to court and accused of being a Christian, we would be found guilty. David was not perfect, but He was considered faithful.
Are you a good runner if you run 50% of the race? What about 80%? What about 95%? You have to run the whole race. God ran the whole race for you. Jesus did not give up because people were mean to Him or because the going got tough. He kept His promise to us.
B. Receiving God’s blessings and our salvation depends on our faithfulness
REV 2:10 ’Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.
God tells us that the only way that we receive eternal life is by being faithful to Him until death. You cannot be immersed into Christ when you are a kid, and then leave the church and expect God to welcome you into heaven. (Read Hebrews 6 and see what it says)
It is an insult to those who have died for their faith for us to think that God will accept us when we walk away from Him just because something bad happened in life.
LUKE 16:10 "He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much.
So many people wonder why God has not seemed to bless them, just maybe it is that they have not been faithful to God. Can God trust you to keep the promise that you made to Him when you said you were going to give yourself up to Him?
HEB 10:23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;
C. The salvation of others is dependent on our faithfulness.
2CO 5:20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
People will be looking at those of us who profess a faith in Jesus to see how Jesus has changed us.
If we say we are a Christian or if people see you going to church, they expect to see something different about you. They expect to see a process of growth.
We may be the only Jesus that person sees. Paul tells us God is literally making an appeal to the lost world through us.
Payne Stewart’ s death caught nearly everyone’s attention. There has been much said about the PGA player who had recently said after his U.S. Open win that, "I’m proud of the fact that my faith in God is so much stronger and I am so much more at peace with myself than I have ever been." His friend Paul Azinger who had been diagnosed with cancer in 1994 helped steer Payne towards faith, primarily by how Azinger handled his health issue. Payne said, he saw such unbelievable faith in Paul, and it started him in a more spiritual direction. Payne recently said, "I’m a lot more mentally prepared to deal with situations than I have been in the past," he said. "It goes back to my faith being so much stronger over the past couple of years."
Faith matters in how we handle life issues and it really mattered when Stewart’s plane went down. Who knows how much influence you might have in the lives of people around you as you live out your faith.
Being faithful means being trustworthy. You can trust God, He has a track record that you can follow. He has always been and will always be faithful. You can count on God doing what He says He will do.
What about you? Have you been faithful to God? If you pray 2 days out of 5 are you being faithful?
If you come to church 1 week out of the month or just at Christmas and Easter, are you being faithful?
If you just make an effort to be holy just on Sunday only, can you be counted as faithful?
Being faithful to God is for your benefit, you will receive the blessing from God for being faithful. You will be the one who collects the promise of eternal life for being faithful.
If we are going to be transformed into the image of God, we must be faithful! The faithless have no place with God.