Tuesday, December 11, 2012

S.E.R.V.E. God - P2 - Emphasize Faithfulness

Ephesians 6:21 But that you also may know about my circumstances, how I am doing, Tychicus, the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, will make everything known to you.

Yesterday I began a new blog series on the subject of serving God.  We are using the acrostic S.E.R.V.E to aid us in unfolding Paul's comments about one of his faithful ministry partners Tychicus.  We noted yesterday that a servant of God first and foremost "Seeks God first" in all things.  Isaiah 55:6 tells us: "Seek the LORD while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near."  Then of course Jesus states in Matthew 6:33 "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." Seeking the Lord first in all things regulates the motivation and vision of the servant of God.  With that review, we now move onto the second aim of a servant of God, as exemplified here in Tychicus: Emphasizing faithfulness. 

What is faithfulness?
When Tychicus is described in Ephesians 6:21 as a "faithful minister", its not that faithfulness is merely one of his many characteristics, rather it is the essence of who he is.  Faithfulness is when we exhibit faith from one moment to the next.  Think of a string of pearls, wherein each pearl is a response of faith, and the string is the obedience connecting one response of faith to the next.  We know from scripture that obedience from the heart is the chief fruit of genuine faith. (James 2) 

A Faithful servant needs to be operating in the love of God
Tychicus is called a faithful ministry both here and in Colossians 4:7.  We could say that a faithful person in the Lord is one who exhibits not only faith and obedience from faith but also love for God and His people.  Why?  Because in Ephesians 6:21 Tychicus is called "a beloved brother".  Before he is called "faithful", Tychicus is first and foremost a "beloved brother".  Like the term "faithful", belovedness is not one trait among many but rather defines the essence of the man.  If we are to be faithful people, the love of God must flow ever through us like a river through a dry river bed.  Jude 20-21 summarizes this idea best: "But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, 21keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. "

Love motivating duty leads to faithfulness
Faithfulness without the love of God is nothing more than an "exercise of going through the motions".  Faithfulness is not merely doing more and trying harder.  So many Christians and churches have crammed their schedules full of activities, thinking that doing more and trying harder will yield a faithful people.  Yet so often, people get burned out.  1 John 5:19-20 connects the love of God to love of others: "We love, because He first loved us. 20If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also."  

As you and I aim to serve God, may we seek God first, so that we can then emphasize faithfulness.