Summary: A sermon on what faithfulness is and how it is displayed in the Christian life.
July 25, 2004 Galatians 5:22 The fruit of the Spirit is faithfulness.
In Psalm 12:1-2, David prayed, Help, LORD, for the godly are no more; the faithful have vanished from among men. In Proverbs 20:6 God’s Word also asked, Many a man claims to have unfailing love, but a faithful man who can find? When we talk about the fruit of faithfulness, then, we realize that this is no ordinary fruit. Indeed, it is a rare fruit that can only be formed by a miracle of the Holy Spirit.
Even though it is formed only by the Holy Spirit - it is a fruit that all of us are to strive for. In his parable of the talents, Jesus didn’t focus so much on how many talents each person was given, but on how each person USED those talents. When they used them well, the master said to him, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” But when one servant didn’t do anything with his talents, God called him a “wicked and lazy servant” and threw him into hell. It wasn’t a matter of how many talents each one had at the end - but how FAITHFUL he was with the talents he had. In Revelation 2:10 God says to - Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life. The measure for God is not on how SUCCESSFUL you are, but on how FAITHFUL you are with what you’ve got. Isaiah was not necessarily successful in the eyes of the world - Jeremiah either. But they were FAITHFUL with the calls God gave them - which were NOT easy calls by any stretch of the imagination.
What is faithfulness? How would you describe it? It is best described by looking at what God calls faithful in the Scriptures. First and foremost, God calls HIMSELF faithful. He said to Moses that he was the LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and FAITHFULNESS. (Exodus 34:6.) He describes what that means in Psalm 89:30-37 “If his sons forsake my law and do not follow my statutes, if they violate my decrees and fail to keep my commands, I will punish their sin with the rod, their iniquity with flogging; but I will not take my love from him, nor will I ever betray my faithfulness. I will not violate my covenant or alter what my lips have uttered. Once for all, I have sworn by my holiness— and I will not lie to David— that his line will continue forever and his throne endure before me like the sun; it will be established forever like the moon, the faithful witness in the sky.” Faithfulness is found in the fact that God stuck to His promise to give a Savior through the Jews - even though they had completely violated His covenant and even started worshiping other gods. In spite of that God said, “even though you’re a bunch of unfaithful whores I’ll stick to my promise. I’ll still send a Savior - I’ll still send my Son to become a man - through your rotten and stinking line.” Faithfulness is keeping your Word even when it hurts - even when it stinks.
But faithfulness is more than that. Let’s look at Christ. He too, of course was described as faithful. Hebrews 3:1-6 Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess. He was faithful to the one who appointed him. The faithfulness of Jesus was in the fact that He fulfilled what He was called to do - to die for our sins - and He continues to be faithful to His call - to pray and intercede for His Church yet today. Faithfulness means sticking to the job and fulfilling your calling - no matter how hard it gets or how long it takes. Jesus didn’t rest - doesn’t rest - until we are HOLY and SAVED.
This is what Scriptures mean when they describe Abraham, Moses, David and other patriarchs as being faithful men of God. Abraham did what God told him to do - leaving his home country, believing in the promise - believing that God would give him a son even at 100 years old - after having waited 25 years for it. Moses continued to lead God’s people for 40 years - even when the constantly complained to him and even tried to rebel against him. He stuck to his call even though it wasn’t any fun. David is an interesting example. During the earlier part of his kingship he was unfaithful to God by committing adultery with Bathsheba and murdering Uriah. God forgave him, but told him his family life would be a wreck and the son born to him would die. David had a tremendous amount of guilt over what he did. He had to live through the death of several of his rebellious sons and knowing that one of his daughters was raped. The whole country knew what he did. Yet God wanted him to continue on as king. This is where David was faithful. He remained in his office, and he continued to rule God’s people to the best of his ability - even though he knew he’d messed up. In other words - He didn’t give up. That’s faithfulness.