Friday, January 11, 2013

God's Faithfulness & Christian Faithfulness P1

Deuteronomy 4:31 “For the LORD your God is a compassionate God; He will not fail you nor destroy you nor forget the covenant with your fathers which He swore to them."

Defining faithfulness
What is faithfulness? Faithfulness is the track record of consistency that one person exhibits in fulfilling their commitment to another.  Dr. Charles Stanley offers a better definition: "Faithfulness for God means that in all times, in all things and in all circumstances, God is always the same." 1 Corinthians 4:1-2 offers the best definition -  "Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2In this case, moreover, it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy". That underlined word "trustworthy" is a Greek word which other English translations render "faithful".  To say that God is faithful simply refers to the fact that He is someone I can trust and rely upon no matter what.  As a faithful Christian, my aim is to be, in a progressive way, someone that God can count upon to follow through with whatever He gives to me to accomplish for Him. 

Moses - an example of faithfulness to the Lord
Certainly scripture tells us of the example of faithfulness Moses was to his generation.  Hebrews 3:5 reveals - "Now Moses was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken later." With this estimate of Moses coming from scripture itself, it benefits us to sit at his feet and learn what we can about faithfulness.  In Deuteronomy 1:9-4:31 we see Moses the man of God exhorting a new generation of Israelites to faithfulness.    As he does so, we see a consistent pattern: Focus on God's faithfulness in order to understand who your are to be as a faithful people.  Many scriptures, as well as Deuteronomy, bear out this two-fold pattern of God's faithfulness being the basis for your faithfulness and mine.  Only when we have focused on God's faithfulness, can we then understand the type of people we're to be.  Today I want us to focus on God's faithfulness, making the case as to why it is the proper foundation for the believer's faithfulness. 

Moses emphasizes God's track record of faithfulness
If you were to read the first four chapters of Deuteronomy, you would find Moses rehearsing for the new generation of Israelites the history of God's people.  Of chief interest in his opening address is the mention of God's faithfulness.  Over ten times Moses makes statements throughout those chapters of just how faithful God was to an often faithless people.  Below are some of the more noteworthy examples cited by Moses:

1. God was faithful in leading His people.  Deuteronomy 1:30-31 ‘The LORD your God who goes before you will Himself fight on your behalf, just as He did for you in Egypt before your eyes, 31and in the wilderness where you saw how the LORD your God carried you, just as a man carries his son, in all the way which you have walked until you came to this place."

2. God was faithful in providing for His people.  Deuteronomy 2:7 “For the LORD your God has blessed you in all that you have done; He has known your wanderings through this great wilderness. These forty years the LORD your God has been with you; you have not lacked a thing.”’

3. God was faithful in His people's victories. Deuteronomy 3:21-22 21“I commanded Joshua at that time, saying, ‘Your eyes have seen all that the LORD your God has done to these two kings; so the LORD shall do to all the kingdoms into which you are about to cross. 22‘Do not fear them, for the LORD your God is the one fighting for you.’

4. God was faithful to His people in prayer.  Deuteronomy 4:29 “But from there you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul."

Seeing God's faithfulness stated throughout the rest of scripture
As we look at what is to be the foundation of the believer's faithfulness, we discover that the only way we can be faithful is by noting God's faithfulness. We've done that in the immediate context of Deuteronomy, but what about the rest of scripture?  God's faithfulness is stated again and again throughout scripture, let the reader take note:

Numbers 23:19 “God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?"

1 Samuel 15:29 “Also the Glory of Israel will not lie or change His mind; for He is not a man that He should change His mind.”

1 Corinthians 10:13 "No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it."

Revelation 3:7 “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write:
He who is holy, who is true, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, and who shuts and no one opens, says this"

With the establishment of scripture's testimony concerning God's faithfulness, we will continue tomorrow looking at what we are to be as a faithful people of God. 

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