Faithlife Sermons

We Are Faithful

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If I were to ask you “What is the most faithful verse in the Bible,” what verse might you say?
Reading: 1 Peter 5:12
1 Peter 5:12 ESV
12 By Silvanus, a faithful brother as I regard him, I have written briefly to you, exhorting and declaring that this is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it.
Picture of Paul in prison
Peter has been writing a book to a scattered group of believers, some of whom are actively suffering for their faith, and others who are about to face persecution. They must take heart to face difficult days ahead with endurance, humbly submitting to God’s will and to one another in love. He reminds them of the greatness of God’s work in them, birthing them in a living hope that has redeemed them from sin and that promises share in the future glory of Christ.
Now, as he closes his letter, Peter calls his readers to be faithful. Look at verse 12:
1 Peter 5:12 ESV
12 By Silvanus, a faithful brother as I regard him, I have written briefly to you, exhorting and declaring that this is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it.
Do you see the faithfulness that abounds throughout this verse? We have Silvanus, the faithful brother. Silvanus is a Latin form of an Aramaic name, Silas. This is the same Silas who was at the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15. In that chapter, the question of whether Gentile believers had to follow the Jewish rituals of circumcision and the like in order to be part of the church. The council agreed that God was working in and through the Gentiles in the same way as the Jews who believed, so there was no need to become Jewish in order to become Christian. They trusted Silas and Barnabas to carry word of the judgment of that council to Antioch.
Just a side note: in that day, you wouldn’t hand a letter to just anybody to deliver it - you’d make sure you trust the carrier to deliver it faithfully. What if they didn’t understand what was written, or had questions? The carrier served to deliver the letter and to explain it, so you had to really trust the guy who delivered your letters!
Silas proved himself faithful. So faithful, in fact, that Paul took Silas with him on his second missionary journey. It’s during this journey that Paul has the vision of the Macedonian man, saying “Come help us.” So Paul and Silas and the others with them went into Northern Greece, to Philippi, Thessalonica, and eventually into Athens and Corinth. The team faced threatening mobs and unjust imprisonment, sharing the gospel and starting churches in these towns. And Silas remained faithful throughout.
Picture of Philippian Jail
So when Peter writes a letter to scattered believers from Rome itself, he looks to none other than Silas (Silvanus) to deliver it. He knows that Silas is a faithful brother. That’s where that phrase “as I regard him” comes from. He’s a faithful brother with a faithful reputation.
1 Peter 5:12 ESV
12 By Silvanus, a faithful brother as I regard him, I have written briefly to you, exhorting and declaring that this is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it.
What a testimony of faithfulness! What an example to follow! Insert your name in this verse - can you be regarded as a faithful brother or a faithful sister? Wouldn’t it be an amazing thing to have others say of you when God calls you home, “He was faithful.” “She was faithful.” The only thing more incredible will be Jesus saying “Well done, good and FAITHFUL servant!”
But Silvanus isn’t the only example of faithfulness. This faithful brother with this faithful reputation has a letter in his hand, and that letter itself is a faithful message. Peter says of it, “I have written briefly to you, exhorting and declaring...” Those two words, exhorting and declaring, give to sides of the same coin. The declaring side comes from the root word for a martyr - it means to bear witness about something that you know first-hand. Peter knows this message he has written to them - he lived through the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, and he has experienced the power of God working through him as he has faithfully endured suffering and trials. He is living proof that God can take a broken sinner dead in his sins and make him “born again to a living hope.”
Flip the coin over, and the exhorting side of the coin gives a different perspective with the same faithful message. Peter is not just telling these “elect exiles” some information they should know. He’s calling them to come along side of him in faithful endurance. This word has the idea of calling one along side, or urging someone to join you in an activity. Jesus uses a form of this word when he called the Holy Spirit the “Helper” in John 14:26:
John 14:26 ESV
26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.
Peter’s faithful message is a summons, a call to come join in the work of God. God doesn’t just want an audience, he wants us to participate in the action! He doesn’t want spectators, but athletes competing in the competition. He doesn’t want fans, he wants forwards and guards, linemen and linebackers, pitchers and catchers. There’s always room on his team for you. Come join God’s team and take part in his work!
But there’s even more faithfulness in this, the most faith-full verse in the Bible. That faithful message delivered by the faithful brother with a faithful reputation is all about the faithful grace of a faithful God:
1 Peter 5:12 ESV
12 By Silvanus, a faithful brother as I regard him, I have written briefly to you, exhorting and declaring that this is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it.
God’s grace is authentic. Let that sink in. God doesn’t give out “phony grace.” His grace doesn’t wear off, wear out, or wear down. It is a faithful grace. And we know it’s faithful grace because he’s a faithful God. Jeremiah is in utter dismay over the ruin of Jerusalem. He has preached with all his might, trying to turn the hearts of his own brothers to repent, but they would not repent of their wickedness. Now, with the Temple of God and the city a pile of smoldering ash, Jeremiah grieves the book of Lamentations. Yet, in almost the exact middle verse of the middle chapter - in the middle of all the tragedy and the seemingly endless stream of tears - the prophet makes a stunning declaration:
Lamentations 3:22–23 ESV
22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; 23 they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
God is faithful, even amid the heartaches. So we have a faithful message about the faithful grace of a faithful God delivered by a faithful brother with a faithful reputation. Do you see why I say this is the most faith-full verse in the Bible? But there’s one more piece of faithfulness. Look at the very end of the verse:
1 Peter 5:12 ESV
12 By Silvanus, a faithful brother as I regard him, I have written briefly to you, exhorting and declaring that this is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it.
The final piece of faithfulness…is yours. Just as God is faithful and those who have served him before us are faithful, we must be faithful too. Stand firm in God’s faithfulness.
How do we do that? What does faithfulness look like? First,

Faithfulness Is Being Full of Faith

Makes sense, right? How can we be “Faith full” if we aren’t full of faith? We must be full of faith - we can’t be partially full of faith. We can’t have a “glass half-full” sort of faith. Listen to how the writer of Hebrews describes what our faith should look like:
Hebrews 10:19–25 ESV
19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
You can’t have that kind of faith unless you are filled up to the brim with faith. Just like a milkshake where the dome lid is full of whipped cream to the point where some sticks out of the top, or just like a child wants candy falling out of his bucket at Halloween because there’s so much candy in there, so we are to be full of faith. We cannot be faithful until we are faith-full.

Faithfulness Is Prioritizing Godliness

Donald Whitney wrote a book called “Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life.” He writes this about trying to live out the disciplines when life is busy:
Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life (More Application)
To do what God wants most, that is, to love Him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love your neighbor as you love yourself (Mark 12:29–31), can’t be done in your spare time.
We cannot give God the left-overs and claim we are faithful. Faithfulness requires every ounce of our effort and every fiber of our being. We must look through the perspective of eternity and prioritize those things which bring about godliness in us and in others. As Thomas Watson prayed, “Lord, stamp eternity on my eyeballs!” We must make godliness the sole priority, so that in everything we do, we do it for God alone and not for ourselves. As the old hymn put it, “Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.”

Faithfulness Is Enduring to the End

We cannot be faithful if we quit. What made others faithful who went before us? They finished their race. Paul says:
2 Timothy 4:7 ESV
7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
And so must we. We must endure all the way to the end. We cannot give up. We cannot surrender. We cannot quit. We must endure, for the victory has already been won - it is merely up to us to persevere until that victory is realized.
When I used to visit with Joe Northington, he always told me, “God’s still got something for me to do.” He was faithful to the end. Be faithful, church. God isn’t through with you yet.
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