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The Faithfulness of God

Believe: Living the Bible to Become Like Jesus  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  47:44
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For those of you following along in your books, you’ll know that for the past several weeks, we’ve changed the order of some of the chapters in the Believe Book...
…that we’re walking through
The reason for this is because we wanted to follow the order that is laid out in Scripture more closely than the book does...
As you know, we’ve been walking through the fruits of the Spirit to finish out this sermon series...
AS we’ve been trying to answer the question:
WHO AM I BECOMING?
With that said, this week we come to (Sermon Title: Faithfulness)
Now in the book, the majority of the chapter focuses on the Faithfulness of man toward God...
What I want to do today is focus in on: The Faithfulness of God
I think that maybe MOST of the time, when we hear the word “FAITH” within the Christian community...
we think of the Faith of the Church - the faith of Christians...
And maybe rarely do we consider the Faithfulness of God Himself...
Let’s do that today…but where do we start?
Let’s start with Abraham
Remember the Abrahamic Covenant?
Genesis 12:1–3 ESV
1 Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. 2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
So there are really 3 promises that are apart of this covenant between God and Abraham.
Land
Descendants (God will make Abraham a great nation)
Blessing (in/thru Abraham all the families of the earth shall be blessed)
Now - What is a covenant?
A covenant is a solemn promise by which 2 or more parties commit themselves to the rights and responsibilities demanded by their relationship and accept the serious consequences of breaking faith.
SLIDE:
So basically, a covenant is a picture of "relationship built on promise".

What is a Covenant?

NOW - how good, up to this point, was mankind at maintaining it’s promises to God?
Well let’s look at the evidence:
The Fall
The Flood (all the intentions of the heart of mankind was only, evil, continually)
The Tower of Babel
Not a good track record!!
And so - with this specific Covenant with Abraham, we see God take matters into His own hands...
and we see the Covenant Ceremony take place in Genesis chapter 15 (you remember?)
Genesis 15:8–11 ESV
8 But he said, “O Lord God, how am I to know that I shall possess it?” 9 He said to him, “Bring me a heifer three years old, a female goat three years old, a ram three years old, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” 10 And he brought him all these, cut them in half, and laid each half over against the other. But he did not cut the birds in half. 11 And when birds of prey came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away.
So what’s happening here? (*Explain)
Ordinarily when a servant would enter into a covenant with a lord, the servant would pass thru the dead animals as he made his promise of faithfulness.
This was a way to say - If i'm not faithful to this promise i make today, may i be torn into pieces and killed like these animals.
The servant is agreeing to take on the curse of the covenant if he does not keep his oath.
Now with this in mind...let's look at what happens here.
Genesis 15:17 ESV
17 When the sun had gone down and it was dark, behold, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces.
So instead of Abraham passing thru the dead animals...
God does!
In the form of a smoking fire pot and flaming torch,
God passes thru the blood path (the dead animals),
and as He does, He promises to bless Abraham in all the ways He has promised.
Typically the Servant would pass through the blood path...BUT God does...
OR - to view it this way - GOD points to the Son of God (Jesus) who would come to .... SERVE...as a Suffering Servant...
So God walks the blood path....
And then the ceremony ends. Abraham never walks.
This means that God promises to take the curse of the covenant upon Himself...
NOT ONLY if He fails to obey the covenant, but if Abraham does.
And then FROM HERE - throughout Scripture we see the...
the ABSOLUTE FAITHFULNESS of God...
…in the shadow of the constant UNfaithfulness of man...
And so as we walk through these points today....view them IN LIGHT of the PROMISE of God…in the Abrahamic Covenant…!
SLIDE: The Faithfulness of God: In the Awakening of His Saints

The Faithfulness of God

If God is going to remain FAITHFUL to His covenant promise to Abraham…then how does the “Awakening of His Saints” play into this?
Ephesians 2:1–3 ESV
1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
Any Christian will agree that he is a sinner...
that sin is real...
BUT - what is the REAL effect of SIN in the life of a person?
Remember back in the garden in Genesis 1 God said that the moment Adam and Eve eat of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil...
that they would SURELY die…?
Was God lying? Did they die in the garden? Answer....???
the answer is - yes they did
They DIED spiritually....
They SURELY did!
And it’s CONFIRMED here in Ephesians 2:1 that we were all DEAD in our sins...
NOW - what does that mean?
Does sin just make us GUILTY before God? - yes…but that’s not all
If sin ONLY made us GUILTY before God - then that means we would ONLY need to be - FORGIVEN
Forgiveness is ALL that we would need - correct?
But is that ALL that God does for us?
Let’s read THIS again (Eph 2)
Now, verse 4
Ephesians 2:4–6 ESV
4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
God MAKES us alive…physically?
NO - spiritually
but why?
Because we were DEAD spiritually!
Remember when Lazarus, the friend of Christ had died...
He had been in the tomb for 4 days...
He had died 4 DAYS prior to Christ showing up on the scene...
Why hadn’t he gotten up and out of that tomb long before that 4th day?
You would say - because he was physically dead!
Yes, BUT, oxygen was readily available to him…(there was oxygen in his nostrils)
His wrappings weren’t too tight...
What was the problem?
Yes, all of those things were available to him, but the problem was this:
Physically dead people don’t do physical things
They are UNABLE to do physical things
Now equate that to the SPIRITUAL...
Spiritually DEAD people don’t do Spiritual things...
indeed - they CANNOT do Spiritual things...
And so this idea that God lays forgiveness on the table, and just leaves it there for Spiritually dead people to just Spiritually embrace...
is what?
Spiritually dead people are UNABLE to do spiritual things...
THAT’S WHY the Bible teaches that God MAKES us ALIVE...
That’s why we read:
Acts 16:14 ESV
14 One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul.
Luke 24:44–45 ESV
44 Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures,
Acts 9:3–5 ESV
3 Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. 4 And falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” 5 And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.
Was Saul looking for Jesus?
Was he looking for the nearest church to attend service?
John 10:15–16 ESV
15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.
And all of it summed up in this:
John 6:44 ESV
44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.
God AWAKENS His own to the reality of who He is..!
How? He CALLS them!
1 Corinthians 1:20–24 ESV
20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. 22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
The Gospel of Christ is POWER to those who are CALLED!
…those who are AWAKENED!
Who DOES this CALLING? Who DOES this AWAKENING??
Romans 8:29–30 ESV
29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
Read this backwards?
those who will be glorified...
God had justified!
those who were justified....
God had CALLED!
those who were called...
God had predestined!
those who were predestined...
God had foreknew (He had Chosen!)
And so in thinking back to the Abrahamic Covenant…where God promised that through Abraham would come a great nation..a holy nation…a royal priesthood...
We see God’s FAITHFULNESS to that promise....in His CALLING of His saints...
In His AWAKENING of His children!
But that’s not all....
SLIDE: The Faithfulness of God: In the Suffering of His Saints

The Faithfulness of God

Isn’t is an odd thing, to think that - IN the SUFFERING of God’s people, God is shown to be FAITHFUL…?
When we look at the life of the apostle Paul, we see the suffering and persecution that he faced...
He was beaten...
shipwrecked...
stoned...
ALL in the name, and for the name of Christ...
When we look at John the Baptist…who was placed in prison…FOR BEING OBEDIENT to Christ...
and we see John send word to Jesus to ask Him if He truly is the one...
and Jesus responds by pulling from Isaiah where it says:
Isaiah 35:5 ESV
5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped;

to bring good news to the poor;1

he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,

to proclaim liberty to the captives,

and uthe opening of the prison to those who are bound;

John was in prison, and asked if Jesus was truly the One…the Messiah...
and Jesus begins to quote these things....except...
He leaves off the part about the prison being opened for those who are bound.
So He answers John the Baptist - saying, Yes, I AM the one, and yet you’re going to be beheaded in prison...
for obeying Me.
AND IN the Suffering of the Saints....God IS Faithful
See, when SIN collides with Truth…Sin seeks to destroy truth!
And so IF THAT’S TRUE...
then WHAT will happen if a Christian lives a life - IN CHRIST?
what will happen?
SUFFERING will happen!
We look at Paul’s life…John the Baptist’s life…and we see this:
Galatians 2:20 ESV
20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
The life Paul lived, was one in which Christ LIVED through Him...
How did the world treat Christ???
Do you see how IN and THROUGH Gospel Suffering, we SEE the Faithfulness of God...
that as we make our way through the CHAIN of REDEMPTION…from Romans 8
SLIDE: Romans 8
Romans 8:29–30 ESV
29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
That as God advances us through this chain…He’s (v29) CONFORMING US to the image of His Son...
WHO SUFFERED and Died…!
In our Gospel Suffering (suffering for Christ) that we see the Faithfulness of God!
But that’s not all...
SLIDE: The Faithfulness of God: In the Perseverance of His Saints

The Faithfulness of God

This title might seem strange to some...
that God is faithful in OUR perseverance....but that’s precisely what the Bible teaches...
First let’s look at OUR side of this.... The Perseverance of the Saints:
The Bible makes it clear that we MUST endure to the end...
That there’s a fight ahead of us...
and that we MUST endure to the end...
Mark 13:13 ESV
13 And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.
2 Timothy 2:12 ESV
12 if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us;
1 Corinthians 15:1–2 ESV
1 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.
Hebrews 3:14 ESV
14 For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.
Do you see - pretty clear that we, as Christians MUST ENDURE....we MUST persevere!
Sounds daunting doesn’t it?
We see the direction this world is heading in:
We’re not naive
We see this culture trying to suffocate the truth of Christ...
We see this world trying to kill Christianity (literally)
WILL WE endure??
NOW - Biblically, the question is already ANSWERED!
We WILL endure because God WILL KEEP US!
If you are a Christian in here today, you WILL wake up a Christian tomorrow morning because GOD is ACTIVELY keeping you!
Jude 24 ESV
24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy,
Philippians 1:6 ESV
6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
Jeremiah 32:40 ESV
40 I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me.
1 Corinthians 1:8–9 ESV
8 who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
2 Timothy 4:18 ESV
18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
And so we see that Biblically, for Christians, where the Bible says WE MUST ENDURE....
…we should know that WE WILL ENDURE…because God is our endurance!
Now, how does this ASSURANCE change us…??
We’ve seen that...
SLIDE: The Faithfulness of God is displayed in His Awakening of His Saints
…and this should cause GRATEFULNESS to rise in our hearts...
it should draw us ever closer to God and His mission...
We’ve all be GRATEFUL at one time or another...
Doesn’t Gratefulness ...
draw us closer to that person?
cause us to want to respond?
What else?
SLIDE: The Faithfulness of God in the Suffering of His Saints...
should cause HUMILITY to rise up in our hearts...
WHY?
What did the apostles says in Acts 5
Acts 5:40–41 ESV
40 and when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. 41 Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name.
The apostles get beaten for the sake of Christ, and then REJOICE that they were counted worthy to SUFFER…for the name of Christ!
They felt HUMBLED…They VIEWED suffering as a PRIZE…a REWARD!
You ever get honored with an award that you weren’t expecting??
It’s a humbling feeling!
These guys felt HUMBLED....and they would have only felt that way if they viewed SUFFERING as almost an UNDESERVED gift!
They left that council - Bloodied....rejoicing that they we ABLE to GET BEATEN for Christ’s sake!
God’s faithfulness in our SUFFERING should cause HUMILITY to rise in US!
What else?
SLIDE: The Faithfulness of God: In the Perseverance of His Saints
should cause BOLDNESS to rise up in our hearts...
If we know the outcome of this whole thing…what is there to FEAR?
*Trey Basketball (lack of confidence = lack of knowledge)
*LeBron James (does he lack confidence on the court? no - why? - Confidence)
he has nothing to fear - in that sense
If we KNOW God will be for us - UNTIL the end....KEEPING us....
Whom shall we fear?
What shall we fear?
Today we’ve seen the Faithfulness of God:
in the Awakening of His Saints
in the Suffering of His Saints
in the Perseverance of His Saints
To God be the glory forever…amen!
Let’s pray
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