Summary: In this sermon we define faithfulness and talk about how to develop it.
A. For several weeks now I have been trying to communicate something about God’s faithfulness.
1. Hopefully we all are grasping and internalizing some of the things I’m communicating.
2. But we all know how difficult communication can be.
3. For instance, this week I read this little conversation:
a. A visitor to a ranch said, “Say, look at that big bunch of buffaloes."
b. The ranch hand corrected the visitor, “Not ’bunch’ -- ’herd’.
c. The visitor replied: "Heard what?"
d. "Herd of buffaloes." Said the ranch hand.
e. "Sure, I’ve heard of buffaloes. Said the visitor, “There’s a big bunch of ’em right over there."
4. So far, I’ve been saying that God is faithful. He’s faithful to his promises.
5. We see his faithfulness over and over again to his people in the Old Testament, whether Israel as a nation, or to individuals like Naomi and Ruth.
6. His faithfulness is something we can celebrate and take comfort in, right?
B. Psalm 100:5 says, "The Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations."
1. Every time we see a rainbow, we can remember that God is faithful - He keeps His promises.
2. Every time we pick up a Bible, we can remember that He said, "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away" [Matthew 24:35].
3. Every time we gather to worship with brothers and sisters in Christ, we can remember that He said, "Where 2 or 3 come together in my name, there am I with them" [Matthew 18:20].
4. Every time we face trials and temptations, we can remember that He said, "I will be with you always, even to the end of the world." (Matthew 28:20)
5. And when we stand on the brink of death, we can remember His promise, "In my Father’s house are many rooms...I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me. For where I am, there you will be also" [John 14:2-4].
6. The songwriter was so right when he penned these words: "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."
C. So, there is no doubt that God is faithful. The question is: What effect will God’s faithfulness have on us?
1. Because God is faithful, he calls us to be faithful just like Him.
2. And because God calls us to be faithful, we are guaranteed that he will enable us to be faithful.
3. But, just what does it mean to be faithful?
I. THE DEFINITION OF FAITHFULNESS
A. To begin with, let’s define "faithfulness" so that we make sure that we’re talking about the same thing.
1. If you were going to define faithfulness, as Paul uses it in the N.T., how would you define it?
2. Well, if you looked in the dictionary, you would find a technical definition that says, "To follow through with a commitment regardless of difficulty." That’s a pretty good definition.
3. Another dictionary definition says: “Firm in belief, reliable; dependable; honest; loyal. Consistent in the performance of duties or service. Steady; not fickle.”
B. One thing I want us to be very clear about is that being faithful does not mean being perfect.
1. Even though aiming for perfection is a Scriptural goal and command (2 Cor. 13:11), it is not what God requires from us to be saved.
2. God knows us, and knows that we will not be perfect.
3. He’s the one who declared that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:21).
4. So, our call to faithfulness is not a call to perfection.
5. Our call to faithfulness is a call to consistency and reliability.
C. Take some folks in Scripture as an example. No one in the Bible, except Jesus, was perfect, yet many were described as being faithful.
1. Let me give you two prime examples.
2. Moses was the deliverer of God’s people from Egypt.
a. He was the one who received the Law from God, including the 10 commandments.
b. He was the one who led God’s people through the desert for 40 years.
c. His imperfections kept him from entering the earthly promised land.
d. Moses was far from perfect, but he was called faithful. (Numbers 12:7)
3. David was chosen as a young boy to be the second king of Israel.
a. He reigned very effectively for 40 years, defeating God’s enemies and expanding the empire.
b. He wrote many Psalms and was called the man after God’s own heart.