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Text: Galatians 5:22-23
The Beach Boys sang a song "Be true to your school."
The traditional tune, dum-dum-de-dum, we hear at weddings is entitled "Faithful and True"
We all know what that means. It has to do with Loyalty, being trustworthy, and commitment.
Faithfulness is listed in the fruit of the Spirit, because it exactly what God is:
Psalm 100:5 For the LORD is good; His loving-kindness is everlasting And His faithfulness to all generations. (NASB)
Every time you see a rainbow, remember that God is faithful - He keeps His promises.
Every time you pick up a Bible, remember that He said, "Heaven & earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away" Matthew 24:35
Every time you gather to worship with brothers & sisters in Christ, remember that He said, "Where 2 or 3 come together in my name, there am I with them" Matthew 18:20
Every time someone answers the invitation of the Gospel, remember that He said, "I will be with you always, even to the end of the world." Matthew 28:20
When you stand on the brink of death, remember His promise,
John 14:2--3 In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.
When we yield to the will of God, follow Jesus' example, and are led by the Spirit, we will be more dependable. We will be less vulnerable to discouragement and temptation. Others will see reliability in us, trustworthiness, and a staying power through both good & bad.
1. A Definition Of Faithfulness
A technical definition is, "To follow through with a commitment regardless of difficulty." That's a good definition.
You know that there's more to it than just commitment. It is one part of the Fruit of the Spirit, so it includes love, as well as joy, peace, patience, and all the rest. Faithfulness means "I will not quit because I love you. There may be misunderstandings, there may be disappointments, there may be discouragements, but I will not quit."
If a husband says, "I really love my wife," & then he goes out & has an affair, you may call him a liar. You may call him a cheat. But most of all, you will say, "He is unfaithful." No matter how strong his arguments may be, no matter how loudly he proclaims his love for his wife, you will not believe him because his unfaithfulness negates his proclamation of love.
If someone says, "I really love the Lord," or "I really love the church," & then is unfaithful, then it's hard to believe that he really does love the Lord. Because, you see, faithfulness & love always go hand in hand. Faithfulness like love never ends. You may get discouraged. You may be disappointed. But faithfulness says, "Even though there is discouragement & disappointment, I will not let go, I will not quit. I will keep on attending & giving & serving, because God has called me to be faithful."
Listen to what the Bible says. Here are some of the scriptures that challenge us to be faithful.
1 Cor. 4:1-2 - challenges us to be faithful in stewardship. - Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy.
Ephesians 6:21 - talks about being faithful in service. - So that you also may know how I am and what I am doing, Tychicus the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord will tell you everything.
Proverbs 5:18-19 - speaks of being faithful in our marriages. - 18 Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth, 19 a lovely deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight; be intoxicated always in her love.
Romans 12:12 - says we are to be faithful in prayer. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
Colossians 1:7 - speaks of being faithful in ministry. - just as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf.
Revelation 17:14 - says we are to be faithful in following the Lord. They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful."
1 Timothy 4:6 - speaks of faithful instruction. If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed.
3 John 3 says we are to be faithful in the truth. For I rejoiced greatly when the brothers came and testified to your truth, as indeed you are walking in the truth.
2 Thess. 1:4 speaks of faithfulness even in times of persecution. Therefore we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions that you are enduring.
Revelation 2:10 says we are to be faithful unto death & then we'll receive the crown of life.
2. A Demonstration Of Faithfulness
Matt. 16:21--23 From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day. Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, "Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!" But He turned and said to Peter, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men."
Jesus called Peter "Satan" because Satan was using Peter to get Jesus to quit, to be unfaithful Throughout Jesus' ministry Satan tried to tempt Him to be unfaithful.
"Don't go to the cross. Don't die for their sins. Just quit. It's going to be too tough."
"There will be too many obstacles, too many difficulties. Just turn around & quit."
Luke 9:51 Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem,
Jesus was determined that no matter what happened, He would be faithful to the mission God had for Him to do. So "steadfastly" He goes to Jerusalem.
While Jesus hung on the cross, Satan used the people to mock Him, saying, "If you really are the Son of God, come down from the cross." Satan was saying "Quit! Come down. It's not worth it. The pain is too intense. The people don't care anyway. Just quit!"
Jesus continued to hang there in spite of the fact that "He could have called 10,000 angels. He finally said, "Father, forgive them for they don't know what they are doing." And "Into your hands I commit my spirit." That's faithfulness. That's faithfulness unto death.
3. Developing Faithfulness
An apple tree doesn't stand out in the middle of an orchard saying, "Now how do I develop apples?" An apple tree produces apples because that's what apple trees do.
As Christians, we are a branch attached to the vine who is Jesus Christ. So, we produce Spiritual fruit like the apple tree produces apples because it's the natural thing to do. John 15:4
How do we bear the fruit of the Spirit? Never allow our branch to be detached from the vine. And Never allow some disease will destroy our fruitfulness.
1. We must know that temptations will come. Just as surely as Jesus was tempted to be unfaithful, we will be tempted to be unfaithful - in our marriage, in our relationship with the Lord, & in the church. That's what Satan does. He will tempt us to be unfaithful. 1 Peter 5:8-9 - 8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.
2. We need to develop regular, positive, spiritual habits. Follow the lead of the Word of God, the Spirit of God, the Son of God and we'll produce the Fruit of the Spirit Gal. 5:22-23;
Peter listed them another way in what we call the 7 virtues. 2 Peter 1:5--7 5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge,6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.
This world is not a Christian world. This nation is not a Christian nation. We're pressured on every side to develop sinful habits, tempting us to be unfaithful in prayer, and in studying the Word of God. If we say, "Get thee behind me, Satan," we will not quit God.
3. Finally, we need to get back up when we fall or are knocked down. Simon Peter is a great example of this. Sometimes he made glaring mistakes, even denying the Lord, & he wept bitterly because of what he had done. But every time he fell down, he got back up again.
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