Faithfulness (Part 4)

Faithfulness faithfulness: The quality of being faithful. a. Fidelity, loyalty (to a superior or friend); trustworthiness, conscientiousness. b. Strict adherence to one's pledged word; honesty, sincerity. c. Exact correspondence to an original or fact. faithful: Of persons, their actions, etc.: Full of or characterized by faith (sense 3); believing. 3. True to one's word or professed belief, abiding by a covenant or promise. fidelity: The quality of being faithful; faithfulness, loyalty, unswerving allegiance to a person, party, bond, etc. infidel: Of persons: Unbelieving; adhering to a false religion; pagan, heathen, etc. I. This study addresses one of the most important attributes of our existence. A. We probably all know someone who has not dealt faithfully. B. We have probably all been disappointed or hurt by someone who dealt unfaithfully. C. We have all at some time or another been unfaithful to God, to our fellowman or to our own word. 1. Have you ever lied to get your way or to damage someone? made a promise that you intended to wiggle out of in order to get what you wanted? PRO 14:5; JER 42:20. 2. Have you ever taken advantage of someone who should have been able to trust you? 2SAM 11:14-15. 3. Have you ever betrayed a confidence that someone placed in you concerning his own weakness, need, secrets, etc? PRO 11:13. 4. Have you ever willfully delayed or skipped a payment that was due? PRO 3:27-28. 5. Have you ever pilfered, peculated, purloined or otherwise taken something that was not rightfully yours? EXO 20:15; TIT 2:9-10. 6. Have you ever not faithfully cared for someone or something committed to your trust? EZE 34:2-3; 1TI 5:8. 7. Have you ever gone back on a promise to men, spouse or children without just cause? 2SAM 21:1-2 ct/w PSA 15:4. 8. Have you ever made a promise to God that you reneged on because no other man knew about it? DEU 23:21-23. 9. Have you ever just gone through the motions of an assigned or accepted task, done it for show? EPH 6:5-6. 10. Have you ever been the recipient of a beneficial mistake from some business and just kept it? EZE 22:13 ct/w 2CO 8:21. 11. Have you ever plagiarized someone else's work and not given credit where it should have been given? ROM 13:7. 12. Have you ever been unfaithful to someone you care for by not correcting them in due time? PRO 27:5-6. 13. Have you given people enough reason to not want to deal with you because they can't trust you? PRO 25:19. 14. Faithful men are far less numerous than self-promoters. PRO 20:6. II. Our God is the ultimate model of faithfulness. DEU 7:9. Faithfulness 6-2-13 Page 1 A. He is a faithful Creator. 1PE 4:19. 1. He is faithful in preserving the earth and heavens He created, even though they be under the bondage of corruption. PSA 119:90-91; GEN 8:22; 2PE 3:7. 2. He is faithful in preserving the spiritual children He created. 1TH 5:23-24. a. They are preserved forever. PSA 37:28. b. Their preservation is owing to His faithfulness to His covenant, not according to the faithfulness of His children. ROM 11:27-29; 2TI 2:13. B. He is a faithful Father. 1. He was faithful to His Son. a. He honored His prayers according to His own word. PSA 34:15; JOH 11:42. b. He did not leave His soul in hell. ACT 2:27 c/w LUK 23:43. c. He did not leave His body in the grave. ACT 2:32. d. He honored His sacrifice for sinners. EPH 4:32. e. He gave Him the promised Davidic throne. ACT 2:30-32; PSA 89:30-34. f. He kept His promise to put all things under His feet. HEB 2:8. 2. He is faithful to confirm His children unto the end. 1CO 1:8-9. 3. He is faithful to limit their temptation. 1CO 10:13. 4. He is faithful to afflict them that they stray not. PSA 119:75, 67, 71. 5. He is faithful to chasten them for disobedience. HEB 12:6-7. 6. He is faithful to show mercy to His penitent children. 2PE 3:9; 1JO 1:9. C. The Son is faithful. HEB 3:1-2. 1. He always pleased the Father. JOH 8:29. 2. He fulfilled all prophecies concerning Him. LUK 24:44. 3. He did the Father's work fully. JOH 17:4. 4. He put His trust in God. HEB 2:13. 5. He was obedient unto death. PHIL 2:8. 6. He is the faithful witness. REV 1:5. 7. He is now a faithful high priest. HEB 2:17. 8. Compare Jesus Christ with the questions asked earlier! D. The Spirit is faithful. 1. The Spirit always attended Jesus Christ. LUK 1:35; MAT 3:16; HEB 9:14; 1PE 3:18. 2. He only speaks that which Christ speaks. JOH 16:13; REV 19:10. 3. He quickens every predestinated son inwardly. ROM 8:30; GAL 4:6. 4. He helps us and intercedes for us. ROM 8:26-27. 5. He ever attends the preaching of the true gospel. 1PE 1:12. 6. He filled Christ's church as promised. ACT 2:1-4, 16-17. 7. He will surely quicken the body of all whom He indwells. ROM 8:11. E. Bless God for His faithfulness. LAM 3:22-23. III. Faithfulness in everyday things is vital to a good testimony. A. A ministerial candidate must have a good report of them that are without. 1TI 3:7. B. The deacons must have an honest report. ACT 6:3. C. Men in general should be able to behold our honest conversation. 1PE 2:12; 3:16. D. We should not be known as scofflaws. 1PE 2:13-16. E. We should be known as respectful and reliable servants/employees. 1PE 2:18; TIT 2:9-10. Faithfulness 6-2-13 Page 2 1. We should be doing what we ought to be doing without continual oversight. PRO 6:6-8. 2. Consider the faithfulness of the temple workers in 2KI 12:15. F. We should not give occasion for the adversary to speak reproachfully. 1TI 5:14 ct/w 2SAM 12:14. G. We should be known as considerate of others' weaknesses. 1CO 10:32. H. We should be ready to do good to all men when opportunity knocks. GAL 6:10; 3JO 1:5. I. When entrusted with a task or responsibility, we should meet or exceed expectations. PRO 25:13; MAT 5:41. J. We should be diligent in business. ROM 12:11; PRO 12:24. K. We should be hearty and zealous in the things we ought to be doing. COL 3:23; 2CO 9:2. L. Our word should be gold: something precious that everyone can count on. PSA 15:4. M. We should be good examples of family living. 1. Spouses must be faithful to one another sexually. Do you need a verse? 2. Spouses must also be faithful to their respective God-given roles and duties. a. Lack of faithful rule would disqualify a husband/father from spiritual office. 1TI 3:4-5. b. Lack of faithfulness in a wife/mother would also disqualify the husband from spiritual office. 1TI 3:11. 3. Fathers must be loving husbands, willing providers, good leaders and teachers, loving disciplinarians, protectors, etc.: all part of being faithful in that role. EPH 5:28; 1TI 5:8; EPH 6:4; HEB 12:7; MAT 24:43. 4. Mothers must be submissive mates, tender nurses, upholders of the will of the husband/father, teachers of virtue, etc.: all part of being faithful in that role. EPH 5:24; 1TH 2:7; PRO 31:11; TIT 2:3-5. 5. Both parents must be willing to sacrifice their individual interests for the greater good and well-being of the family. 6. Children must be obedient to parents, respectful, thankful, mannerly, deferential, trustworthy, etc.: all parts of being faithful in their God-given house. LUK 2:51; EPH 6:1-3 ct/w ISA 3:4, 12; PRO 30:11, 17; PSA 144:11-12. 7. Husband and Wife: Is your marriage something that reflects Christ, that your children would desire, that draws others to your light? 8. Children: a. Can you be trusted to do what is good when your parents are not watching? b. Can you be trusted to not steal or mistreat things your parents own? c. Can you be trusted to do a job promptly, diligently and cheerfully when your parents give it to you? d. Can you be trusted to not bad-mouth your parents to others when they displease you? 9. Families that strive to get these things right will be blessed, respected, successful, leaders, assets to church and community, pleasing to God. 10. Families that are disobedient or indifferent to these things will be cursed, miserable, cringe-worthy examples, “anti-gravity” homes, not trusted with other things, and likely breeding grounds of social trouble. N. All of these (and more) speak of maintaining a good name. PRO 22:1; 1SAM 18:30. 1. A man may acquire great riches by unsavory means, but at what cost? PRO 10:7. 2. Which is more valuable when your world crumbles around you: buckets of money Faithfulness 6-2-13 Page 3 or the loving favor of family, saints, friends, etc.? 3. We ought to live so as to be approved of God and men. ROM 14:18. 4. Contrast the legacies of Josiah and Stephen (2CH 35:25; ACT 8:2) with those of Jehoram and Jehoiakim. 2CH 21:20; JER 22:18-19. 5. It is much easier to keep a good name than it is to recover it. IV. If we would be true friends, we would be faithful friends. A. The value of being a good friend is evident from Scripture's description of the relationship between Abraham and God. JAM 2:23. B. A faithful friend will not “pile on” when you are suffering, as did Job's “friends.” JOB 6:14. C. A faithful friend will not abandon you in times of trouble. JOB 19:14, 19; MAR 14:50. D. A faithful friend loves at all times. PRO 17:17. E. A faithful friend will reprove and improve his fellow. PRO 27:5-6, 17. F. A faithful friend will accept reproof and remain a faithful friend. PSA 141:5. G. A faithful friend will not easily give up on his friend which errs against him. JOB 42:10; LUK 22:61-62 c/w JOH 21:15-17. H. A faithful friend will watch with his brother in his troubles. MAT 26:40. I. A faithful friend will share what he has learned from God. JOH 15:15. J. Scripture speaks of especially close friendships. PRO 18:24. 1. There is a friend that is as one's one soul. DEU 13:6 c/w 1SAM 18:1. 2. David later had a familiar friend who turned on him. PSA 41:9. 3. The Son of David shared this verse and fate. JOH 13:18. 4. Anyone that has a close friend should think twice before he violates his trust. We never profit when we break faith with someone that should have been able to trust us. JDG 14:15-20 c/w JDG 15:1-6. V. Jesus Christ often spoke of faithfulness in common things. A. He used an example of a faithful, protective householder to magnify vigilance in the matter of His coming. MAT 24:42-44. B. He spoke of faithfulness in present service that will yield future advancement at His coming. MAT 24:45-47; 25:21. C. He spoke of faithfulness in money matters as being important and a prerequisite to spiritual advancement. LUK 16:9-11. D. He commended those who were faithful to do what they could do, though it was but little. MAR 12:41-44; 14:8-9. E. He commended faithful exercise of, and submission to authority. LUK 7:6-9. F. He condemned unfaithfulness in protecting one's charges. JOH 10:12-13. G. He exemplified faithfulness in protecting His charges. JOH 18:7-9. H. He spoke of unfaithfulness in delegated duties without continual oversight as a prelude to severe judgment. LUK 16:1-2; MAT 21:33-41. I. He condemned unfaithfulness to aging parents. MAT 15:3-6. J. He commended faithfulness in little things as well as great things. LUK 16:10; 19:17; MAT 25:21; 5:19; 23:23. VI. Consider the importance of faithfulness in the church. A. Moses was renowned for faithfulness in God's house. NUM 12:7. B. Jesus Christ exceeds Moses in this faithfulness. HEB 3:1-6. Faithfulness 6-2-13 Page 4 1. He was completely submitted to the Father's will, even unto death. PHIL 2:8. 2. His church will never be abrogated. MAT 16:18. 3. He is ever living, ever with, ever available to His ministers and members. MAT 28:20; HEB 4:16; 7:25. 4. He faithfully remains our advocate and propitiation. 1JO 2:1-2. 5. He will faithfully return for us according to His promise. JOH 14:1-3. C. Christ's ministers are required to be faithful. 1CO 4:1-2. 1. Their faithfulness is first to Jesus Christ, Who calls them. They are His ambassadors TO the church and FOR the church. 2CO 5:20; COL 1:7. 2. They are to proclaim Jesus Christ, not themselves, Moses, philosophers, etc. 2CO 4:5; 1CO 2:1-5; 2CO 3:5-6. 3. They are to hold fast to Christ's gospel, or else! 2TI 1:13; TIT 1:9; 1CO 9:16. 4. They are to feed the church, not themselves. ACT 20:28; MAT 24:45 ct/w EZE 34:2. 5. They must be faithful in money matters. 2CO 8:20-21; 1PE 5:2. 6. Paul was faithful to the end; there was no blot on his record. 2TI 4:7. a. He could take men to record that he had been faithful as a watchman. ACT 20:26-27. b. He could declare that he had not wronged, corrupted or defrauded any man. 2CO 7:2. c. Paul's summary of his faithfulness is in the spirit of Samuel's address to Israel in his old age. 1SAM 12:3-5. d. Paul could have full expectation of the words, “...Well done, thou good and faithful servant...” (MAT 25:21). 2TI 4:8. D. Church members in general are called to be faithful in the body. 1. Saints are to hold fast to the truth of the gospel that we have professed to believe. HEB 10:23, 35 ct/w 1TI 4:1; 2TI 4:3-4. 2. Saints are to be faithful to the truth unto death. REV 2:10. 3. Saints are to be faithful to public worship and duty. HEB 10:25. a. This involves faithfulness to Christ's ordinances as delivered. 1CO 11:2. b. This involves faithfulness to Christ's minister. (1) Do you esteem your minister highly in love? 1TH 5:12-13. (2) Are you faithful in your prayer support of him? COL 4:3. (3) Are you faithful in your financial support of him? 1CO 9:14. (4) Are you faithful to follow his faith? HEB 13:7. (5) Are you faithful to obey and submit to him? HEB 13:17. (6) Are you faithful to not make him an offender for a thing of little account? ISA 29:20-21. 4. Saints are to be faithful to be kindly affectioned to one another. ROM 12:10. 5. Saints are to be faithful to love one another. ROM 13:8. 6. Saints are to be faithful to not judge one another in areas of liberty. ROM 14:13. 7. Saints are to be faithful to edify one another. ROM 14:19. 8. Saints are to be faithful to be patient and consoling of one another. ROM 15:5. 9. Saints are to be faithful to receive one another. ROM 15:7. 10. Saints are to be faithful to admonish one another. ROM 15:14. 11. Saints are to be faithful to care one for another. 1CO 12:25. 12. Saints are to be faithful to serve one another. GAL 5:13. 13. Saints are to be faithful to bear one another's burdens. GAL 6:2. Faithfulness 6-2-13 Page 5 14. Saints are to be faithful to forbear and forgive one another. COL 3:13. 15. Saints are to be faithful to comfort one another. 1TH 5:11. 16. Saints are to be faithful to exhort one another. HEB 3:13. 17. Saints are to be faithful to consider one another to provoke positively. HEB 10:24. 18. Saints are to be faithful to not speak evil of one another. JAM 4:11. 19. Saints are to be faithful to not begrudge one another. JAM 5:9. 20. Saints are to be faithful to confess faults to, and pray for one another. JAM 5:16. 21. Saints are to be faithful to have compassion of one another. 1PE 3:8. 22. Saints are to be faithful to use hospitality one to another. 1PE 4:9. 23. Saints are to be faithful to be subject to one another. 1PE 5:5. 24. Saints are to be faithful to greet one another with a kiss of charity. 1PE 5:14. 25. Saints are to be faithful to rebuke one another. LEV 19:17; LUK 17:3. VII. A study on faithfulness would be incomplete without a consideration of Abraham, whose heart God found faithful. NEH 9:8. A. Those whose faith God honors are said to be blessed with faithful Abraham. GAL 3:9. B. Abraham is considered the archetypal man of faith. GAL 3:6-7; ROM 4:11-12. C. His faith was counted for righteousness. ROM 4:3. D. Therefore, Abraham's faith is an excellent model for those who hunger after righteousness. ROM 4:20-25. E. Abraham's journey of faith had unlikely beginnings. JOS 24:2-3. 1. Out of an idolatrous family, God called only Abraham. GEN 12:1 c/w ISA 51:2. 2. Abraham's first recorded test of faith was whether God meant more to him than family concerns. 3. The lines for God's called are always thus drawn. MAT 10:34-37. 4. Abraham would be given this test again. GEN 17:18; 21:9-14; 22:1-2. 5. Let no saint be surprised if the “family or God” test crops up more than once! 6. God elaborated further on Abraham's faith in this regard in GEN 18:19. a. Abraham had faith to rule his household by command, not committee. b. The man's rule of his household includes his rule of his children and his wife. GEN 3:16 c/w EPH 5:22-24. (1) head: A person to whom others are subordinate; a chief, captain, commander, ruler, leader, principal person, head man. (2) subordinate: Of a person or body of persons: Belonging to an inferior rank, grade, class or order, and hence dependent upon the authority or power of another. (3) rule: To control, guide, direct, exercise sway or influence over (a person, his actions, life, etc.). (4) A faithful husband must avoid yielding to the pleasures and pressures of his wife where such means a sacrifice of principle. c/w GEN 16:2-3. (5) Husbands, do you dare to overrule (rule over) your wife as you ought to do? (6) Wives, do you rejoice in this doctrine or reject it? Mind that Sarah's example is a Christian woman's example. 1PE 3:5-6. c. The man who does not rule his household has inadequate faith to qualify for the ministry. 1TI 3:4-5. F. When called, Abram had no child. Yet God promised him an heir from his own bowels. Faithfulness 6-2-13 Page 6 GEN 15:1-5. 1. Abram believed God and his faith was counted unto him for righteousness. GEN 15:6. 2. The phrase, “counted unto him for righteousness” does not mean “acquired righteousness and justification from the condemnation of his sins.” One obtains faith through righteousness (2PE 1:1), NOT righteousness through faith. 3. Abram had already exercised faith years previously when he left Ur of the Chaldees. HEB 11:8. a. Did Abraham obtain righteousness and eternal justification back then and later lose it, to regain it in GEN 15? b. If GEN 15:4-6 proves that Abraham obtained righteousness and eternal justification because of his faith, how is that his earlier faith did not then produce the same? The factors are the same: God spoke; Abraham believed; Abraham acted accordingly. c. HEB 10:38 (et.al.) teaches, “the JUST shall live by faith.” Abraham had been living by faith at least as far back as GEN 12, and so was then a just man. 4. The phrase, “Abraham believed God and it was counted unto him for righteousness” is also expressed: a. “....reckoned...for righteousness” (ROM 4:9). b. “....accounted...for righteousness” (GAL 3:6). c. “....imputed...for righteousness” (ROM 4:22; JAM 2:23). 5. If it is true that such wording is setting forth a condition which Abraham fulfilled in order to obtain righteousness and life, it must be noted: a. That wording clearly refers to three different events in Abraham's life: (1) when he received the promise of an innumerable seed. GEN 15:6. (2) when, years later, he conceived Isaac. ROM 4:19-22. (3) when he much later offered up Isaac. JAM 2:21-23. b. That expression may even apply to the time when he at the beginning came out of Ur of the Chaldees by faith. HEB 11:8 c/w GAL 3:6-8 c/w GEN 12:3. c. Does this therefore mean that Abraham acquired righteousness three or four times? No! 6. Also, if the phrase “counted unto him for righteousness” is setting forth a condition to obtain righteousness (and eternal life), then it must likewise be doing so in PSA 106:30-31. 7. When something is a “counter,” as when faith is “counted” for righteousness, it is only a token. a. For example, if you had a huge mortgage that you could never pay off but someone out of sheer love and mercy paid it off for you and sent you a receipt for it, that receipt would be counted as debt already paid: not by you but by another for you. You are now right with the bank which has no more claim on you. The receipt is not the payment; it is the proof of payment. b. So too is a sinner's faith. It is a proof, an evidence or witness that a person's sin debt unto God has been satisfied and that he is righteous. HEB 11:1, 4. c. Further, our faith is not what produces the new birth and everlasting life. It is the effect and evidence of the new birth and everlasting life. JOH 5:24; 1JO 5:1, 4. Faithfulness 6-2-13 Page 7 d. When Abraham believed God, he manifested that God had made him righteous and given him a new inward nature capable of true belief. 8. Abraham's faith took a short recess while waiting for God to fulfill His promise of a seed. GEN 16. a. This is why faith must be teamed with patience. HEB 6:12. b. Yet God honored His promise of a seed to Abraham (GEN 17) by way of Isaac, for the unbelief of man thwarts not the faithfulness of God. ROM 3:3-4; 2TI 2:13. c. If it were seemingly impossible for Abraham and Sarah to have a child when he was 75 or 86, it was utterly impossible when he was 99! ROM 4:17-21 c/w HEB 11:11. (1) This is the mark of genuine faith which is counted for righteousness: taking God at His word and acting upon it when the efforts seem unreasonable or futile and everything in you says, “No.” JAM 2:21-22. (2) God specializes in working the impossible. MAR 10:26-27. G. Abraham's faith is essentially N.T. faith in God, His Christ, His promises and heavenly things. 1. He believed the declarations of the Word as being those of Jehovah. GEN 15:1-6 c/w JOH 1:1, 14; 14:1. 2. What God preached to Abraham, and what Abraham believed, was the gospel! GAL 3:8. 3. He believed that God would justify men through faith. GAL 3:8. 4. He rejoiced in Christ and had no confidence in the flesh. JOH 8:56 c/w PHIL 3:3. 5. He reckoned his inheritance to be by virtue of God's power and promise, not by the law. GAL 3:17-18. 6. He understood God's promised inheritance to be heavenly, not earthly. ACT 7:5 c/w HEB 11:9-10, 15-16. 7. His hope was in the power of God to resurrect the dead. HEB 11:17-19 c/w ACT 24:14-15; 26:6-8. 8. In other words, the religion/faith of Abraham was Christianity! 9. Those who have THAT kind of faith show themselves to be just and are blessed with faithful Abraham, their faith likewise being counted for righteousness. GAL 3:9 c/w ROM 4:23-25. 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