Tuesday, March 15, 2011

To Be Faithful...

Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master’ (Matthew 25:21, ESV). Jesus used these words in his parable of the talents, spoken by the master settling accounts with his servants. The master spoke these same words to two of the three servants, though their fruitfulness was different. One servant doubled his five talents, the other doubled only two; both were called faithful by their master.

Christians will differ in our giftedness. Our talents, spiritual gifts, and 'success' in bearing fruit will be very different. But all of us can be - must be - faithful. We cannot measure success in numbers or appearances, but in faithfulness.

Faithfulness is required of us by God. Paul, in discussing Christian laborers, or 'stewards,' says this:  "Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy" (1 Cor 4:2, ESV). This word 'trustworthy' is the Greek pistos, which means "faithful, trustworthy, reliable, dependable" (Verbrugge). This is what God requires of his servants.

God himself is faithful! He is called "faithful" several times in Scripture (1 Cor 1:9; 2 Cor 1:18; Heb 10:23; 2 Tim 2:13; 1 Thes 5:24; 1 Jn 1:9 to name a few). Christ is also called faithful (Heb 2:17; Rev 1:5, 3:14, 19:11). God is faithful to us. This is his character, his nature. And we are being conformed to God's nature in Christ (Rom 8:29). Through faith in Jesus we must reflect God's faithfulness, his reliability.

Though the believer must be faithful in all areas of life, here are a few specifics:

1. Faithful in devotion to Christ (2 Cor 11:2-3). Our hearts cannot be permitted to drift from pure and simple devotion to Jesus. No idols! No empty religion! No lukewarm affection!

2. Faithful in the truth (2 John 9-11). In this day where many are questioning, reinventing and abandoning Biblical, historic Christianity, we must stand firm in the doctrines of Scripture, not swerving, fudging, or blurring the lines, but speaking the truth in love.

3. Faithful in marriage (Heb 13:4). Marriage, a picture of Christ and the church, must be honored. Our eyes, hearts, words and actions must be guarded to protect and ensure faithfulness to our husband or wife.

4. Faithful in our word (James 5:12). We must glorify God by letting our 'yes be yes' and our no, no. What an honorable thing to be known as a man or woman who keeps our word!

5. Faithful on the job (Titus 2:9-10). God is glorified in the workplace by Christians who can be counted on by their boss and coworkers.

6. Faithful in the church (Heb 10:24-25). Faithful in attendance, in participation, using our gifts, discipling and encouraging one another, submitting to leadership and fellowshipping with the body.

7. Faithful in the gospel mission (Matt 28:19-20). Always praying for and looking for opportunities to share the gospel message and back it up in our deeds.

My prayer and hope is that, by the grace of God, we may be found faithful! Oh, to hear Jesus say to me on that Day: ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.

Are you faithful?

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