Sermons

Summary: Faithfulness is the “gluing” fruit that will preserve our faith and the other characters of the Spirit and identify God’s will so we can be dependable and trusting to God and others. It is the one fruit that we give to God, whereas the others are from the

Opening illustration: Mark Hatfield tells of touring Calcutta with Mother Teresa and visiting the so-called "House of Dying," where sick children are cared for in their last days, and the dispensary, where the poor line up by the hundreds to receive medical attention. Watching Mother Teresa minister to these people, feeding and nursing those left by others to die, Hatfield was overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the suffering she and her co-workers face daily. "How can you bear the load without being crushed by it?" he asked. Mother Teresa replied, "My dear Senator, I am not called to be successful, I am called to be faithful."

Let us look into God’s Word to see what it really means for us to be ‘Faithful’ to Him and the body of Christ. Let us turn to Hebrews 3: 1 – 6.

Introduction: Faithfulness (Psalm 119: 89-90; Matthew 17:19; 25:21; Rom. 1:17; 5:1-2; 1 Corinthians 12:9; Hebrews 11:1; 1 Thessalonians 5:24) is the “gluing” fruit that will preserve our faith and the other characters of the Spirit and identify God’s will so we can be dependable and trusting to God and others. It is the one fruit that we give to God, whereas the others are from the Spirit working in us! Faithfulness is authenticity, the power and motivation for Christian living. Because God is trustworthy with us we can be faith-worthy in Him!

Doubt, distrust and Misplaced Anger are the opposite; losing our trust and hope that God is in control! When we do this, we will lose or miss out on seeing God come through with His promises. When we are not exercising our faith, we will be consumed with doubt and distrust - the opposite of God’s call and plan for us.

Defining Faithfulness

Old Testament: In the Old Testament several words are used for faithfulness - emun, “trusting, faithfulness,” emuna, “firmness, faithfulness, fidelity,” emet, “firmness, truth, faithfulness, verity.” All of these, however, are derivatives of the verb aman, “to confirm, support, uphold,” and so, “be established, be faithful, certain, i.e. to believe in (Hiphil stem).” The root idea is firmness or certainty. Thus in the Hiphil stem, the verb means “to cause to be certain, sure” or “be certain about, be assured.”

In this sense the word in the Hiphil conjugation is the biblical word for “to believe” and shows that biblical faith is an assurance, a certainty, in contrast with modern concepts of faith as something possible, hopefully true, but not certain.

New Testament: The Greek word is pistis, translated primarily as “a form of persuasion.” It has both an active and a passive sense or use. First, in its active use, it often refers to “faith, belief, trust.” But in the passive sense, it means “faithfulness, reliability, fidelity.” It is used of the “faithfulness” of God, of Christ, and of man. In the Galatians passage the focus is on the concept of trustworthiness, trustfulness, and reliability.

What is the blueprint for ‘Faithfulness?’

1. Dedication to Faithfulness

(a) We must count the cost of faithfulness

(b) We must not look back.

© We must understand the results of failure.

Illustration: It was a stormy night in Birmingham, England, and Hudson Taylor was to speak at a meeting at the Severn Street schoolroom. His hostess assured him that nobody would attend on such a stormy night, but Taylor insisted on going. "I must go even if there is no one but the doorkeeper." Less than a dozen people showed up, but the meeting was marked with unusual spiritual power. Half of those present either became missionaries or gave their children as missionaries; and the rest were faithful supporters of the China Inland Mission for years to come.

2. Abiding in Faithfulness

(a) Attending the Services

(b) Studying the Bible

(c) Imitating the Christ

Illustration: One stormy night an elderly couple entered the lobby of a small hotel and asked for a room. The clerk said they were filled, as were all the hotels in town. "But I can’t send a fine couple like you out in the rain," he said. "Would you be willing to sleep in my room?" The couple hesitated, but the clerk insisted. The next morning when the man paid his bill, he said, "You’re the kind of man who should be managing the best hotel in the United States. Someday I’ll build you one." The clerk smiled politely. A few years later the clerk received a letter from the elderly man, recalling that stormy night and asking him to come to New York. A round-trip ticket was enclosed. When the clerk arrived, his host took him to the corner of 5th Avenue and 34th Street, where stood a magnificent new building. "That," explained the man, "is the hotel I have built for you to manage." The man was William Waldorf Astor, and the hotel was the original Waldorf-Astoria. The young clerk, George C. Boldt, became its first manager.

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