What About MY Faithfulness?

Bible Book: John  15
Subject: Faithfulness; Dedication; Christian Living

What About MY Faithfulness

Dr. J. Mike Minnix, Editor, www.pastorlife.com

John 15:10 – 16:4

10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. 11 “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. 12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. 14 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. 17 These things I command you, that you love one another. 18 “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. 21 But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 He who hates Me hates My Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would have no sin; but now they have seen and also hated both Me and My Father. 25 But this happened that the word might be fulfilled which is written in their law, ‘They hated Me without a cause.’

16 1“These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble. 2 They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service. 3 And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me. 4 But these things I have told you, that when the time comes, you may remember that I told you of them. “And these things I did not say to you at the beginning, because I was with you.

Now this is a rather long passage, but I want you to think on it in regard to what Jesus is teaching, saying and requiring. Jesus is stating that He is faithful to those who believe in Him and that we ought to be faithful to Him. He is also pointing out that what the world did to Him they will do to us, if indeed we are totally committed to Him.

Our churches sometimes sing the old hymn, "Great Is Thy Faithfulenss," and indeed His faithfulness is never compromised toward His people. But the GREAT question must be asked: What About MY Faithfulness?"

As we begin a New Year, let us remember how faithful God has been to us. He sent His Son into this world to redeem us from our sins, to be with the believer as he or she walks through the trials and tribulations of life, and to give us the assurance of a home with Him in eternity. He has been faithful - again we must consider our faithfulness to Him?

So, I want to speak to you today on the subject, "What About MY Faithfulness?" The hymn "Great Is Thy Faithfulness" is based on the fact that God always keeps His word to us – He is continually, perpetually, everlastingly, unendingly faithful. Sadly, the same cannot be said for those of us who claim Jesus as our Savior. Yet, in the words from Christ we have read today, we observe that He called on us to be obedient, dedicated, and faithful in every way. We are called to do that regardless of the way we are treated, or the cost involved in doing so. He promised that blessings would come to us, differences would be made in the lives of others and eternal good would come to those who are faithful. So, let me speak for a moment on Great Is MY Faithfulness.

I. Faithfulness Is To Continue Resistance

Being unfaithful is sin, but it is more than that. Being unfaithful is actually resigning – stopping – quitting. Admit it, if you keep doing what God tells you to do, you will not sin. Sinning, in a way, is stopping, ceasing, interrupting our obedience. That is why it is said of Jesus that He always did what the Father told Him – Jesus never sinned. Now, I’m not so naïve as to think, feel or teach that any of us are free of committing sin, but I do think we ought to be aware of what it takes to be faithful.

Being faithful means resisting what the world tells you because you trust what Jesus tells you. The world says, “Come on, don’t you think it is okay to have a party and get drunk once in a while? Maybe take some drugs?” God tells you never to be intoxicated, or to give your mind and will over to any substance or person other than your Savior. The Lord knows that getting involved in sinful behavior harms you and others. The guy who drove down the wrong lane of an interstate highway while on drugs recently did not start out to kill six people coming the other way in a minivan – but something like that is exactly what happened - sadly such things on one level or another happen every day in America..

To be faithful means to resist the ideas of the world and the urges of your sinful nature. In other words, when it comes to your Christian walk with Christ we are to never stop trying and never try stopping!

The great boxer Muhammad Ali said:

            “Stay in college, get the knowledge,

            Stay there till you’re through.

            If they can make penicillin out of moldy bread,

            They can surely make something out of you!”

Apply that to your Christian walk. Stay in the fight and watch what God will do with your life. Yes, we fail at times, but we must get up, recommit ourselves to our Lord, and stay in the fight. Faithfulness requires resistance.

Note secondly …

II. Faithfulness Is To Continue Representing

In verse 27 of John 15, Jesus told us that we will bear witness of Him to the world. We will do this because as believers the Holy Spirit lives in us and will work through us. We know that one thing Satan wants to do more than any other thing is to silence us – to stop us from making known the joy, peace, love, and salvation we have in Christ.

Just think about this for a moment – what is one of the most frightening things for you to do as a Christian? It is usually to talk to someone about your faith, isn't it? To ask a person if he or she is a Christian is difficult. That is why a church can be full on Sunday morning, but when witness training takes place a handful show up. The devil wants you to be quite about your faith. He will silence you through intimidation.

Actually, part of faithfulness is influence. In Hebrews 10:24 the Bible tells us to “spur” each other on in our walk and dedication to Christ. Now, let me ask you a question – do you think it feels good for a horse to be spurred? You do know what a spur is, don’t you? It is a metal piece on the back of a cowboy’s boot. It is used by the cowboy to kick the side of the horse to get the horse to do what the cowboy wants it to do. When the horse feels the spur, the horse goes where it is told because the spur hurts like everything. God told us to do that to each other.

Let me make you aware of something today – my job is not to make you feel good. Many churches have feel-good services. A spur does not feel good, but it does help get us going in the right direction.

Years ago I was in unbelievably bad condition. I was always a thin person as a child and young adult, but college and sitting at a desk studying to preach caused me to gain weight – not to mention all the people who invited me to lunch and dinners and who insisted that I try everything they cooked and baked. Well, after a few years I as about 220 pounds, when my natural weight would have been around 160. I was at an evangelism conference when a preacher said something about preachers being in bad physical shape. A preacher with me elbowed me – and he did it with a grin. My first thought was to tell him to mind his own business. But, God convicted me and spurred me, and I started exercising and changed my eating habits. I lost down to around 154 pounds, ran up to 35 miles a week, and had a resting heartbeat of around 54 beats a minute. About twenty years after losing that weight, I learned that I had a 90% heart blockage, which my doctor told me was an old blockage that had been in my heart for years. In other words, if I had not accepted the spur, in all likelihood I would have died at around 50 years of age. God had work for me to do and so He used someone to spur me into action. I’m so glad he did – I am thankful for that elbow in my side – that spur that God used.

Listen to me, God is always spurring you. He will use His word, experiences, thoughts, and other people to spur you to do the right thing. Yes, and He wants you to spur others on as well. That’s what we are told in Hebrews – “spur one another on…”. When you see a Christian behaving in a way that is not best – not right – spur them on by saying a kind word. Yes, they may resent it, but always remember that people often have to be mad before they become sad and then follow God to become glad!

Also, we see that ….

III. Faithfulness Is to Continue Remembering

Jesus spoke these words to us – the words in our text today – so that we can remember what we are to do and how easy it is to do the wrong thing. We can remember all that He taught us because Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would remind us of all that He taught.

Dear Christian, stay close to God. Stay in God’s Word. Remain faithful in church. Keep on praying daily. God will remind you of all He has said. This will encourage you, lift you, help you, guide you, and spur you on.

When trouble comes to you as a Christian, never ask why. Remember that Jesus told you that people would hurt you, say terrible things about you and cause you all kinds of sorrow. Don’t be surprised by hardships.

A song recorded by The Shirelles some years ago contained the words:

“Mamma said there would be days like this

Mamma said, Mamma said.

Mamma said there would be days like this,

There’ll be days like this my mamma said.”

Well, I can tell you something better than that. God said there would be days like this. Days when living as a Christian seems harder and more difficult. If you will remain faithful, you must remember that Jesus told you to do so, even on days like this!

Furthermore, note that …

IV. Faithfulness Is To Continue Relying

How do we go on when it seems that everything nailed down is coming loose in our lives? We do so by relying on His power, His Word, His Spirit and His presence.

Paul kept going. Even when John Mark left him on the first missionary journey, Paul kept going. When he was stoned nearly to death – in fact, his fellow workers thought he was dead – he got up and kept going. When Demas left him, he kept going. When he was beaten and illegally thrown in jail, he kept going, singing and winning souls. How did he do that? He kept relying on the infilling and fullness of the Holy Spirit in His life. He relied on Jesus! He relied on the promises of God, even when he could not see how it could all work out.

Those who remain faithful to the end, are those who rely upon the Lord. You can't go forward for God depending on how you feel, how you are treated, or what changes are taking place in the world. You rely upon your Savior.

Now, one more thing …

V. Faithfulness Is To Continue Regardless

Someday a person may think they are doing God a favor by killing you. Really! That is what they did to Jesus. They scourged Him, made Him carry His own cross and nailed Him to it. They thought they were doing God a favor. They mocked Him, railed against Him, and spat on Him – they thought they were doing God a favor doing those things. Yet, through it all, Jesus remained faithful. He could have called angels to rescue Him, but He completed His mission, and aren’t you glad! Your salvation and mine depends on His faithfulness. Now He is depending on my faithfulness and yours.

People may not treat you as they should or could, but you can be faithful. Your Savior did, the early Christians did – even when it killed them – and so can you.

Conclusion

I was watching a report on football recently and they were showing a game from the past. It was about 10 degrees above zero and you could see the breath of every fan and player in the air. The camera zeroed in on two or three male fans who were shirtless. Yes, they were standing in freezing weather without a shirt on their backs. They were doing that to cheer on and spur forward the team they favored. You know what I thought? I’d like to have those men saved and in my church. I have a feeling that to do God’s will, nothing would stop them. Wouldn’t it be something if we had Christians so committed to Christ that no problem, no pain, no hardship, no enemy and no personal discomfort could keep them from serving God faithfully.

God is faithful to you. The question is, are we faithful to Him? I can say of my Lord, “Great is Thy faithfulness!” Oh, that I might say, “Great is MY faithfulness to Him.”

Now is time for us to recommit our lives to our Lord. He went to the cross for us, let us take up the cross for Him. May we stop looking for the church and Christian life to please us and start asking how we can please Him.