Summary: This is the 6th is a series on fruits of the Spirit, namely The Character of a Christian: Faithfulness.
I. What does the word faithful mean in today’s society?
A) always faithful
B) sometimes faithful or
C) seldom faithful?
Maybe you apply it to certain topics:
What about to your job, or employer: A) always faithful B) sometimes faithful or C) seldom faithful?
How about when we apply it to your family, to your marriage: A) always faithful B) sometimes faithful or C) seldom faithful?
Or to your Church? Or more specifically to God? A) always faithful B) sometimes faithful or C) seldom faithful?
What about when you apply it to your hobbies or your favorite things to do: Drinking? Sports? Clubs? Activities? Organizations: A) always faithful B) sometimes faithful or C) seldom faithful?
And yet, one of the very core characteristics of a Christian is "Faithfulness". Paul writes to Timothy and said (para) "that he is glad that God has found him "trustworthy" even though he had previously scoffed at the name of Christ". That is very exciting, God can even find someone faithful, that once had been faithless.
Rick Warren points out in "The Purpose Driven Life", that putting on the character of Christ doesn’t happen overnight. It is the Holy Spirit at work in us to "produce Christlike Character in us..." "This process of changing us to be more like Jesus is called sanctification". (p. 174). A good Weslyian Methodist word, of the Holy Spirit of God at work in us, loving us to become more Christlike in every way. "But most of the time the Holy Spirit’s power is released in your life in quiet, unassuming ways that you aren’t aware of, or can’t feel. He often nudges us with "a gentle whisper". Christlikeness," Warren states "is not produced by imitation but by inhabitation." We allow Christ to live through us. "For this is the secret: Christ lives in you."" (p. 174).
When I began to research this word "faithfulness", the referances in the concordance were all refering to the character of God. "Great is Thy faithfulness" (Great is His Faithfulnesss); Faithful is God when He makes a promise. One can count on the "Faithfulness of God". It was about His character the Bible speaks, and as He is faithful, so to are we to become like Him in the character of Christ Jesus our Lord. Paul even speaks of that to Timothy "Oh, how kind and gracious the Lord was! He filled me completely with the faith and love of Jesus Christ." (vs 14). Christ came to save even the likes of Paul who had persecuted the Christians. His grace is even for you and for me. He is faithful, and we are to put on that faithfulness as part of the core character of who we are.
A. We are to be "committed to God". "Always Faithful" Luke 12:31 "But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. " Faithfulness is seeking first the Kingdom of God. "While effort has nothing to do with your salvation, it has much to do with your spiritual growth. At least eight times in the New Testament we are told to "make every effort"... toward becoming like Jesus." (p. 175). Real commitment; real faithfulness is not "part time".
A few weeks back I preached about the "Overnight Christian" and while you are instantly saved, the work of the Holy Spirit in sanctifying grace is not overnight. Then I mentioned at the begining of this series that a Christian without the character of JOY is like a "lopsided Christian". It is not "overnight"; you should seek to not be "lopsided" and it is not a "Part-time Christian deal". When you sign on with God it is a commitment that last through eternity. "There are no vacations from being a Christian". (1)
Some people are criticizing Judge Roy Moore’s stand in Alabama over the Ten Commandments. But one thing is certain, Judge Moore is willing to lay it all on the line for God.
B. Secondly faithfulness is to your family. Commitment is to your family: (1) "How long since came home, kissed your spouse and told them " I love you". DO IT ! Then pick them up off of the floor and do it again!"
Or how long since you canceled everything and took your kids to a ballgame? Or went fishing with them? Or has the case been that you have broken commitments with them. "Sorry I can’t tonight... well something has come up.... we’ll do it next month, or next year... and next is not the place to be on the list of commitments.
C. Thirdly, but this also goes hand in hand with number one, is commitment to the Church of Jesus Christ! Jesus Christ created the Church! Jesus Christ died for the Church! It was and is part of God’s plan for the hopes of God’s people to be lived out in faithfulness with one another. When someone breaks their commitment to their Church, God is grieved. When a Church splits or factions occur, no one is more grieved than God in Jesus Christ. The Church is not perfect, and why do we expect it to be. The Church is the people, and like Paul points out, even he was a sinner who went against the name of Christ. But thank God, that God’s grace and faithfulness was bigger than he was; and it is bigger than us to!