Faithful Like Jesus Christ

Text: Hebrews 3:1 – 6
Introduction:  The Hebrews writer makes a comparison and contrast between Jesus and Moses. Both were faithful. However, Jesus was worthy of greater honor than Moses. Jesus is equated with God who is the builder of all things. Scripture tells us, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made” (John 1: -3). Further, the covenant that Jesus established is more glorious than the Mosaic covenant. Moses’ work pointed forward to Christ. The tabernacle, its utensils, furnishings and its rituals all were shadows of the ministry of Jesus Christ. While Moses was faithful as a servant in God’s house, Jesus was faithful as a son over God’s house: a son is greater than a servant.

There are various types of faith. There is natural faith: this is faith that people use every day, for example, when they sit in a chair or wait on the bus. Another type of faith is saving faith: this is faith that saves us, bringing us into a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Living faith is the faith that we put in God on a daily basis; without faith, it is impossible to please God; it is the faith that we need to appropriate God’s blessings. The gift of faith is a special kind of faith that releases the supernatural power of God; it is the kind of faith that moves mountains. We can also talk about faith as beliefs: this refers to the truths that we believe in – Scripture and doctrine. Finally, there is the fruit of faith, which refers to faithfulness and is the product of saving and living faith.

Defining Faithfulness
In the Old Testament, the root word for faith or faithfulness means “to build, support, make firm, to be permanently founded, to trust, to be true, to be certain of something.” The main idea of the word is trust, firmness and certainty. In the New Testament, the word for faith (pistis) is either translated as faith or faithfulness. In the list of the fruit of the Spirit, it should be translated as faithfulness. First comes salvation (received by faith), then comes commitment to the One who saved us (faithfulness produced by faith).

In secular Greek, the word for faith is commonly used to mean “trustworthiness” – being worthy of trust; a person who can be completely trusted. Trustworthiness includes faithfulness to standards of truth and reliability in dealing with others. Trustworthy individuals are committed to truth, and truth ultimately finds its locus in the Word of God. The reliable person is one who can always be counted on to do what is right and to keep his promises. So, faithfulness includes integrity, loyalty, honesty and sincerity. The faithful person is not a perfect individual. He or she can fall short, but they will not intentionally do so. Because of their love for God and for others and because of their integrity, they will aim to be dependable.

Faithfulness Described
Faithfulness is supremely a quality of God. Deuteronomy 7:9 says, “Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations to those who love him and keep his commands.” This refers to God the Father. In relation to the faithfulness of the Son, Revelation 19:11 says, “I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True.” The classic text on the fruit of the Spirit Galatians 5:22 clearly indicates that the Holy Spirit is the source of faithfulness. So we see that the Triune God is the paragon of faithfulness.

God is faithful to His promises. The writer to the Hebrews encourages us to “hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:23).

  • If God has promised to be always with us, we are guaranteed that He will always be there regardless of how circumstances appear.
  • If God says that He will provide for us, then He will do so in the time that we most need it.
  • If God has promised to protect and vindicate us then He will do it in spite of the intensity of our opposition.
  • God is faithful to forgive. 1 John 1:9 lets us know, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” God does not excuse and tolerate sin; He is a righteous and holy God. Nevertheless, He is loving and merciful and has made provision that if we sin we have an advocate who is able to forgive and deliver us. God is faithful to calling us: “The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it” (1 Thessalonians 5:24).

Principles of Faithfulness
We prove our love to God by our faithfulness to His Word and His will. The Word of God is His inspired, authoritative and infallible Word. It is His revealed will for every believer. It has the right to tell us what to do and how to live. It is the means by which we walk in holiness. The psalmist said that he hid God’s Word in his heart so that he might not sin against Him. We must meditate on the Word of God. This means that we must invest quality time reading it, asking the Holy Spirit to make it clear to us, and reflecting on what it is saying to us.

We need to be disciplined; there can be many distractions, other things may seem more interesting. It is our responsibility to feed on the Word as much as it is our responsibility to feed our bodies. Jesus said that man must not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. Beyond meditating on the Word, we have to live it out. The Word has precepts, principles, commandments that we must obey if we are to live in a way that pleases God. If every Christian obeyed the Word, the whole counsel of God, revival will be the result. We would be assured that we are living and are faithful to the will of God.

Faithfulness includes suffering for Christ. The Christians to whom the letter of Hebrews was addressed were dealing with intense persecution. It is sad that if a little rain falls it prevents some persons from coming to church. Is that the level of our commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord who gave everything for our salvation? In some churches, suffering is a bad word. Christians are to prosper; any type of suffering indicates that they are outside the will of God. What rubbish! The Bible indicates that we will suffer because of our faith in Jesus Christ. The enemy is not going to sit back and watch as we live for God. He will do whatever he can to destroy our faith and cripple our effectiveness. In the western church, the average Christian is not prepared to suffer for Christ and further, they are not prepared to die for Him. They want a comfortable Christianity, where God blesses them with everything that they want; surrender becomes conditional, preaching becomes motivational, and the brutality of the cross is minimized. Is it any wonder that Christianity for the most part is anemic in the western church? We are still called to take up the cross of suffering and follow Jesus.

Faithfulness involves keeping your vows/commitments. Ecclesiastes 5:5 says, “It is better not to vow than to make a vow and not fulfill it.” The man in Psalm 15 pays his debts and keeps his word. In the past, and with some individuals today, a man’s word was his bond. Today too many people have a problem with commitment and remaining faithful to what they have promised. The broken marriages, broken families, broken churches, broken lives are all testimony of this. Faithfulness produces loyalty. The word loyal means giving or showing firm and constant support or allegiance to a person or institution. We will be loyal to God, to friends, employers, church. Loyalty does not mean excusing wrong doing; we will support what is right; loyalty does not make you a yes person. Also, we will be loyal whether we are being watched or not. In the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14 – 30), two of the servants were faithful and loyal. These were commended and rewarded. However, the third servant was unfaithful and was severely punished for his unfaithfulness.

Faithfulness and consistency are connected. God wants us to finish what we start. We are rapidly approaching 2014 and by the end of the year many people will make resolutions. They will do so with good intentions. Some of those people will keep their resolutions, but there will be some who will fail to follow through with them. Faithful Christians are consistent in the various areas of their life: in church attendance, in keeping promises, in giving, in ministry, in work. This doesn’t mean that they get stuck in a situation and don’t respond to change. It does mean that they will fulfill their season in a particular area until God shifts them to something else.

Faithfulness must be seen in our stewardship. A steward is someone who manages the affairs or property of another. We are God’s stewards and are managers of His ministry and resources. The apostle Paul told the church at Corinth, “Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful” (1 Corinthians 4:2). We must give our time, talents and possessions to the Lord. Giving our time to the Lord involves consecrating our entire day to Him. It means that we will spend quality time in His presence and that we will carefully manage our time so that it is not wasted. It also means that we will be balanced in the use of our time: we will ensure that we make time for God, for our family, for work, for rest and recreation. We also must use our talents for God, the natural and spiritual abilities and gifts that He has given to us. We must find that place of ministry (inside and outside of the church) and serve God faithfully. Our possessions refer to everything that we have. We must give freely and generously of our money. Our home can be used for hospitality or hosting a cell group. We can use our car to be a blessing. Whatever resources we have are to be well managed and used for God’s glory. All of these things (time, talents and possessions) we have because of God and must be used to glorify Him.

Faithfulness Illustrated
Joseph preferred to go to prison rather than be unfaithful to his master, Potiphar. His faithfulness led to his promotion in Potiphar’s house, in the prison and in the palace. Moses demonstrated his faithfulness by his obedience to God. He refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter (Hebrews 11:24), that is, he chose to go God’s way rather than enjoy the privileges of royalty. He chose to be mistreated along with God’s people and he left Egypt not fearing the king’s anger. David had mighty men who supported him and fought with him (2 Samuel 23:8-39); these men willingly risked their lives to protect the king from physical harm.

Daniel was faithful to God even at the risk of his life. He continued to pray to his God even when it was made illegal to pray to any other person than the king. He was faithful to God and to his country. He had such an excellent spirit that his enemies could not find any fault in his work. Instead they had to challenge him (ironically) on his faithfulness to God. It is a great thing when people can only try to fault you on your commitment to Jesus, because they can find no other flaws in your character, lifestyle and work.

God delivered Daniel because of his faithfulness.  In King Josiah’s time, the foremen were so faithful that they were not required to give an account (2 Kings 22:7). They worked with honesty and integrity. The apostle Paul was faithful. He said, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day-and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:7-8).

One of the fundamental problems in the church is that we are not faithful. Often, we are not faithful to God, not faithful to our spouse and family and not faithful to the church. The church limps along because people are not faithful; they are not doing what they’re supposed to be doing. I want to challenge you to live your life in such a way that God will not have to say “throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness.” Rather, live your life in such a way that God will say, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”

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