Faithlife Sermons

Faithfulness of Christ

Trustworthy Sayings of Paul  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Introduction

As Jaison said on Monday, we were hoping to go through the “trustworthy sayings” of Paul.
Now, trustworthy sayings are basically words of wisdom, aren’t they? They are words that reflect reality and teach us how to live.
Not fluffy words to feel good.
And the saying I want to focus on this morning comes from .
Not manipulative words to exploit people into doing things.
Let me read it out:
“The saying is trustworthy, for:
If we have died with him, we will also live with him;
If we endure, we will also reign with him;
If we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us; 13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself.
If we deny him, he also will deny us;
If we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself.”
Trustworthy sayings are words that reflect the reality of life.
This little poem is all about God’s faithfulness.
And being inspired by Jaison, I’ve also tried to summarise what God’s faithfulness teaches us into 4 C’s:
Confidence
Courage
Caution
Character
So the first C is “confidence.”

1. Confidence

Have a listen to the first line of the poem:
The first line of the poem goes like this:
“If we have died with him, we will also live with him.
If the first is true—that we have died with Jesus—then the second is also true—that we will also live with him beyond death.
The first is a past thing that guarantees the future thing.
This image of dying and living is familiar, isn’t it? It’s the image of baptism.
So—if you would remember this—as you got dunked into the water, you identified with being buried with Jesus, trusting that the death he died was your death.
And just as Jesus was resurrected from the dead, we also confidently look forward to a resurrection from the dead.
It’s confidence in eternal life.
And in Paul’s day, baptism was how you were welcomed into the Christian faith.
You were baptised in
You were “baptised” into the faith of Christ.
And you were “baptised” into the confidence of eternal life in God’s restored kingdom.
The Christian message is not a “do’s and don’t’s” message, is it?
It’s a message of confidence.
And the confidence in this:
You have confidence to life with Jesus, if you have died with him.
“If we have died with him, we will also live with him.”
Pause.
Yet, even as we have this confidence, we live in a fallen world.
And from time to time, we all need encouragement.
The second line is about “courage.”

2. Courage

It says,
“If we endure, we will also reign with him.”
Here is an encouragement to endure, and if we do, we will reign with Jesus.
This second line follows the first, and it’s pretty straightforward.
The Christian message is about suffering before glory, isn’t it?
Even though we have confidence and certainty in our hope, there is an encouragement to remain or to not move from our hope.
That’s what it means to endure—“to remain” or “to not move from.”
What it’s saying is that even though we have confidence and certainty in our hope, there is a call to remain or to not move from our hope, just as Jesus did.
And the perfect example of this is Jesus:
But what did Jesus endure?
Elsewhere in Hebrews, it says that:
“Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame.
Now he is seated in the place of honour beside God’s throne.”
When Christ came into the world, he faced all kinds of trials and temptations, but because of the hope held out for him, it enabled him to remain obedient to God, even to the point of death on a cross.
What it’s saying is that even though we have confidence and certainty in our hope, there is a call to remain or to not move from our hope.
It is set in the future.
Yet, even now, Christ—who has been resurrected—is reigning.
And we are encouraged to do the same.
We do not have it yet.
And that hope—which we heard on Monday—is that “Christ came into the world to save sinners.”
And so, he is a model of courage and endurance for us.
And so, from time to time, we need encouragement to remember where we are headed.
And if we need to be encouraged to endure, it means it’s not going to be easy.
The Christian faith is not a “been there, done that” sort of faith, is it?
And so, the Christian faith is not a “been there, done that” sort of faith.
We are encouraged to hold onto our hope even in the midst of trials, temptations, and even in the midst of our very own sin that we need to repent from.
And that hope—which we heard on Monday—is that “Christ came into the world to save sinners.”
“Christ came into the world to save sinners.”
And so, the word we receive here is a word of encouragement.
And so, the word we receive here is a word of encouragement.
And so the call for courage is clear:
And so, the call for courage is clear:
“If we endure, we will also reign with him.”
Pause.
ds
The third line is about “caution,”

3. Caution

It says,
ss
“If we deny him, he also will deny us.”
Wisdom without warnings, is no wisdom at all, is it?
And the wisdom of the Christian message is that Christ will be the judge of everyone.
On Monday, Jaison shared that “Christ came into the world to save sinners.”
Jesus said that:
“Everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven,
And so, to reject Jesus, is to reject the salvation and peace with God that he brings.
But whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.”
The news of Jesus holds hope and warning hand in hand.
The Christian faith is not a “feel good” faith, is it?
There is a real caution and a real warning for everyone.
And not only for us, but the caution is for all people.
Warnings exists for all people.
And so, the caution agains the danger is clear:
“If we deny him, he also will deny us.”
Pause.
The last line is about “character.”

4. Character

It says,
“If we are faithless, he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself.”
What it’s saying is that God’s character is not like our character.
And I think this last line comes at the end of this poem, because all the other three things (that we’ve heard about) are true only because God’s faithfulness is true.
The confidence we have; the encouragement that spurs us on; and the caution against being denied—these all hold true, because God is faithful to what he has said and done.
God’s character is not like our character.
We cannot affect the faithfulness of God, even by our faithlessness.
God doesn’t change, even though we do.
God is constant, where we are not.
And we cannot affect the faithfulness of God, even when we are faithless.
And so, another way of putting this poem…
These things are true because they rely on the character/nature/faithfulness of God.
God can be trusted that we will live with Christ, if we have died with him.
God can be trusted that we will reign with Christ, with if we endure.
The confidence we have; the encouragement that spurs us on; and the caution against being denied—these all hold true, because God is faithful to what he has said and done.
God can be trusted that Christ will deny us, if we deny him.
God remains trustworthy, even when we are not—because he is trustworthy.
God is constant. We are not.
So, we can count on God’s character that:
“If we have died with him, we will also live with him;
If we endure, we will also reign with him;
If we deny him, he also will deny us;
If we are faithless, he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself.”
Pause.
So, as my surprise 5th “C”

Conclusion

These words are a trustworthy saying because it reflects reality and it teaches us how to live.
And so, whether you are at—
whether you need confidence;
or whether you need courage;
or whether you need heed the caution—
I pray that we might be edified by considering the faithful character of God this morning.
So how about I pray to that end?
Heavenly Father,
We thank you that you remain faithful, because you are faithful.
We pray that, whether we need confidence or courage or caution, we might be edified by considering your faithfulness to us through what you have done in your Son.
Amen.
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