OceanSide church of Christ
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Faithfulness is a 2-Way Street
● One of the things I like most about OceanSide is that we have a lot of faithful members, and by that I don’t mean faithful according to some man’s definition, but faithful according to God’s definition.
● I consider it a privilege to assemble with these people, to fellowship with them, to learn from them and to be inspired by them.
● I won’t mention any names, but we all know who these people are, and we should all aspire to be more like them. But all of us can strive to be even more faithful in our lives – there’s always room for improvement.
So to that end, we are going to be looking at the subject of Faithfulness in this lesson.
People all seem to have their own idea of what faithfulness is:
1. Attending all church services
2. Attending Sunday services
3. Attending one Sunday service each week
4. Attending church once or twice a month
5. Attending church once or twice a year (the “Christmas and Easter people”)
6. Attend whichever church appeals to me, whichever one has the best music, the most entertaining preachers, the best youth programs, the nicest building etc.
7. Don’t need to attend church at all – just live a good, moral life (one would have to ask these people what they are using as their standard for morality)
8. Just “believe in” Jesus. They might say they believe in Jesus, but they don’t believe it’s necessary to do what Jesus commands.
9. Just believe in God (belief in Jesus is not necessary) – Followers of non-Christian religions fall into this category
10. Just read the bible once in a while or watch a religious program on TV.
11. Obey the steps in the plan of salvation, be baptized, and them I am set for life. I’m saved and nothing can change that. “Once saved always saved”
So then - what really is faithfulness? Well, rather than relying on our own opinions and speculations, let’s look at what the Bible has to say on the subject.
As we do that we will see that ► Faithfulness is a 2-Way Street
We’ll examine Man’s Faithfulness To God and God’s Faithfulness to Man
FAITH / FAITHFUL / FAITHFULLY / FAITHFULNESS à found 356 times in the King James bible – There is a lot that God wants us to know about faithfulness
We’ll start with: MAN’S FAITHFULNESS TO GOD
Many people are eager to proclaim what their beliefs are, some will even knock on your door and try to convince you that their belief system is the right one, the only one that can save you – even though their beliefs run contrary to what the bible says.
Solomon’s question “Who can find a faithful man” would indicate that back in his time (and the same is true in our time), truly faithful people were hard to find.
►Faithful (BDB) 1. Firm in adherence to the truth and to the duties of religion.
* This definition shows the level of conviction we must have in our faith – firm, steadfast, unwavering.
And it shows what we need to be faithful in: “the duties of religion”, some of which we will examine today.
2. Constant in the performance of duties or services; exact in attending to commands.
* This definition dictates the frequency of our faithfulness – CONSTANT (not just occasional) and the
quality of our faithfulness – exact, precise, correct implementation of God’s word in our lives.
►Proverbs 28:20 A faithful man will abound with blessings, But he who hastens to be rich will not go unpunished.
►Matthew 10:22 And you will be hated by all for My name's sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.
►Matthew 25:21 His lord said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your Lord.'
►Luke 16:10-12 He who is faithful in what is least, is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in what is another man's, who will give you what is your own?
►Romans 5:1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
Here are two more benefits of faith: justification and peace
►Justified: (Thayer) to declare, pronounce, one to be just, righteous, or such as he ought to be
What a wonderful thought for us to keep in mind – that if we remain faithful we are righteous in God’s eyes.
And through faithfulness, we can have peace with God. Who would not desire peace, in this ever more violent world we live in?
Summary: So hopefully by now we can see that faithfulness encompasses many things:
● Faithfulness in worship, worshipping as God wants us to
● Faithfulness in service and obedience to God
● Faithfulness to the truth of God’s word, not injecting our own viewpoints and preferences into His word
● Faithfulness with the money and material blessings God gives us
● Faithfulness in the use of our talents
● Faithfulness in our priorities, putting God first
● Faithfulness to our spouse and our children
Now let’s look at some examples of these kinds of faithfulness from the pages of Scripture
Examples of Faithfulness
Fortunately, God didn’t just leave us on our own to try and figure out what faithfulness means. It is not a subjective thing, as many would have us believe. God gives us many examples of faithful people that he was pleased with throughout the pages of his Holy Word. Let’s look at a few.
● Abraham is probably the best known example of faithfulness in the entire bible
● Anyone who is so faithful to God that he would be willing to sacrifice his only son, is surely a good example for us of obedience and faithfulness for us.
● It is a kind of faithfulness that puts God’s will first and foremost in life, up and beyond our own personal preferences and desires.
● As we celebrate Father’s Day today, what a wonderful example of a father Abraham is for us. And what a wonderful example of faithfulness Abraham was to his son Isaac. One can only imagine the impact that Abraham’s obedience must have had on Isaac’s spiritual life.
● It illustrates the importance of setting a strong Christian example for our children.
● I suppose there are doubters out there who would disagree and say that any father that would be willing to kill his own son was not a righteous man, but an evil man. But that opinion is based upon the notion that man’s top priority should be to his family.
Moses is another example of a man who remained faithful to God through many trials and tribulations, although he did disobey God when he struck the rock instead of speaking to it as God had commanded (Numbers 20:10).
● Because of his disobedience to God, he was not allowed to enter the promised land.
● There is a lesson for us in this. They who are not obedient to God’s will, will not enter the promised land of heaven.
►David - David wasn’t a perfect man, but he was one that God called “a man after His own heart”. We get some insight into David’s heart through his own words that are recorded in 2nd Samuel 22:22-25 ► “For I have kept the ways of the Lord, And have not wickedly departed from my God. For all His judgments were before me; And as for His statutes, I did not depart from them. I was also blameless before Him, And I kept myself from my iniquity. Therefore the Lord has recompensed me according to my righteousness, According to my cleanness in His eyes.
► Elijah Sometimes our faithfulness will make us feel separate and apart from the word at large. Sometimes it will cause us to lose friends or even family members). Elijah knew this feeling all too well. Listen to his words that he spoke to God in 1st Kings 19:10 ►So he said, "I have been very zealous for the Lord God of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life."
► Job - As Christians we are a blessed people, but that does not mean that we will never experience pain, suffering or difficulty. During those times we must hold fast to our faith, and not blame God for our circumstances. There is no better example of this than Job. ►In Job 2:9-10 we read: Then his wife said to him, "Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!" But he said to her, "You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?" In all this Job did not sin with his lips.
We must understand that suffering can also be a blessing –
● it can cause us to cultivate godly characteristics, that we might not be able to develop in other ways.
● it can cause us to develop more patience and understanding.
● it may cause us to be more sympathetic towards other’s suffering
► Daniel - Whenever I read the story of Daniel in the lions den, I can’t help thinking in my mind “That’s the kind of man I want to be”. Recall that king Darius had recently signed a royal statute that stated that whoever petitioned any god or man except the king for thirty days, would be cast into the den of lions ► Daniel 6:10 - Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days.
We should all strive to have that kind of steadfast conviction to God, with complete confidence in God’s protection.
Examples of Unfaithfulness
On the other side of the coin, there are many, many examples of unfaithful people in the old testament. We will just look at a few of the more prominent ones.
►The Half-tribe of Manasseh 1st Chronicles 5:23-26 So the children of the half-tribe of Manasseh dwelt in the land. ... They were mighty men of valor, famous men, and heads of their fathers' houses. Sounds like they were pretty good guys, right? Let’s keep reading.. And they were unfaithful to the God of their fathers, and played the harlot after the gods of the peoples of the land, whom God had destroyed before them. So the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul king of Assyria. He carried the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh into captivity.
►King Ahaz - 2nd Chronicles 28:19 For the Lord brought Judah low because of Ahaz king of Israel, for he had encouraged moral decline in Judah and had been continually unfaithful to the Lord...
► And of course we read in many places in the Old Testament of the unfaithfulness of the Israelites, as they turned to idol worship. Ezekiel mentions it in his book - Ezekiel 20:27 says "Therefore, son of man, speak to the house of Israel, and say to them, 'Thus says the Lord God: "In this too your fathers have blasphemed Me, by being unfaithful to Me.
All of these people have one thing in common, they chose their own way, and in doing so rebelled against God. And as we have seen it did not end well for any of them. There is a lesson in this for humanity today – Simply Stated - IT WILL NOT END WELL FOR THOSE WHO REBEL AGAINST GOD.
► GOD’S FAITHFULNESS TO MAN
The Old Testament is full of demonstrations of God faithfulness to his people when they were faithful to Him – sending manna to feed the Israelites, providing rain for their crops, giving them victory over their pagan enemies.
Let’s take a look at some of the statements the inspired writers of the bible had to say about God’s faithfulness.
► Deuteronomy 7:8-9 but because the Lord loves you, and because He would keep the oath which He swore to your fathers, the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Therefore know that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments;
► Psalm 119:89-90 Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven. Your faithfulness endures to all generations; You established the earth, and it abides.
► Titus 1:2 in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began,
► Hebrews 10:23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.
► 2nd Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
► 1st John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
God’s faithfulness also applies to his willingness to forgive our sins when we truly repent. He will always honor this promise. But notice again that it is conditional - “If we confess our sins”.
► God’s faithfulness to us depends on our faithfulness to God.
► Man’s faithfulness sometimes falters, but God’s never does.
► God will be faithful to both the righteous and the unrighteous - his promises to both will be kept:
Righteous è Reward (Matt 25:34 - Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come, you
blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world’.
Unrighteous è Punishment (Matt 25:41 - Then He will also say to those on the left hand, 'Depart from Me,
you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels:
So the big question you have to ask yourself is this: ► Which group will you be in ?
You may have heard something in the lesson this morning that caused you to reflect on your own personal faithfulness. As you reflected, you may have realized that you’ve not been as faithful to God or to his church as you should be. If that is the case, we invite you to come forward as we sign the invitation song and repent of that unfaithfulness and ask for the prayers of the congregation, that you might renew and recharge your faithfulness. We would be honored to go to God in prayer on your behalf and to encourage you in any way that we can.
Or perhaps you’ve realized that the only way you can honestly call yourself a faithful Christian is to have obeyed the Gospel plan of salvation contained in the bible. That is to n hear the word of God n to believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God n to repent of your sins n to confess the name of Jesus publicly n to be immersed in baptism for the remission of your sins n and to start leading a faithful life.
If you would like to begin that spiritual journey today, we invite you to come forward as we stand and sing.