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Crossroads Church
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Digging Deeper

DIGGING DEEPER ABOUT FAITHFULNESS


Posted: 5/19/2013

Opening Illustration: There are more than 200 geysers in Yellowstone National Park; but there is one that stands above the rest.  This geyser is not the largest, and its waters don’t reach the greatest height, but it is by far the most popular attraction.  This geyser’s popularity is due to one thing alone – its dependability.  People will stand in long lines under a hot sun because according to a precise schedule it shoots a stream of boiling water more than 170 feet into the air.  You can practically set a watch by it.  That’s why they call it Old Faithful.  People are attracted to faithfulness.

Review From Previous Week:

  • What aspect of the Fruit of the Spirit did we study last week?
  • What are some things you learned about biblical goodness?
  • How have you lived out the aspect of goodness in your life this past week?

To Discuss:

  • What are some words you would use to describe someone who is faithful?
  • Is it worthwhile to be faithful when so many people are not dependable?  If so, why?

Leaders Note:

In each section of this lesson, there will be several Scriptures provided for you. You might want to divide these up among your class, or you can go through them as a group as you have time.  The discussion questions will be given at the end of each section, not after each passage.  Because this week’s lesson has so many passages, a visual aid is provided for you in certain parts of the lesson.  As you read the verses and discuss them, you can make a list on the board of key points from each passage.  This is optional.  Just adjust the amount you cover based on the discussion level, size of your group, and the time you have. Here is the general outline of today’s lesson:

  1. The faithfulness of God
  2. Faithfulness to God
  3. Being faithful in my:
    1. church
    2. Relationships
    3. Resources
  4. Closing

The Faithfulness of God:

Faithfulness, unfortunately, is not something we see a lot of in the world today.  Before we can even begin to look at faithfulness in our lives, we must understand its definition. The word faithfulness (Galatians 5:22) in the Greek is pistis (pe-stes). It is the same word that is translated faith, which means, “conviction of the truth; belief.”  One use of this word in the Bible refers to trustworthiness.  This is how pistis is used in Galatians 5:22.  It is used to describe the character of one who can be relied on; fidelity. As with all of the fruit of the Spirit, God is the One who most clearly demonstrates this fruit.  There is none more faithful than Him.  God can be trusted at all times, despite how things may feel or appear to us.  His faithfulness is not dependent on our faith or our works.  He is faithful to His Word, and to His      people.

Read the Scripture:

The word of the Lord is right and true; He is faithful in all He does.
(Psalm 33:4)

But You, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.
(Psalm 86:15)

The works of His hands are faithful and just; all His precepts are trustworthy.
(Psalm 111:7)

If we are faithless, He will remain faithful, for He cannot disown Himself.
(2 Timothy 2:13)

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
(1 John 1:9)

To Discuss:

  • What are the ways that these verses describe God’s faithfulness?  (Make a list)
  • Based on these verses, is God’s faithfulness dependent on anyone or anything else?
  • What are some ways that God proves His faithfulness every day?
  • Now, look at the list you made.  Do you see any characteristics of faithfulness that should also be evident in a believer’s life?  Discuss these.

Visual Aid

  • His Word is right and true
  • In all He does
  • Abounding
  • Evident in the works of His hands
  • All precepts (commands) are trustworthy
  • Not dependent on our faith in Him
  • Forgiving

Faithfulness to God

We could go on and on about the faithfulness of God.  Scripture makes it clear that we have a God Who can be trusted no matter what. Most of us know this in our heads, and would even confess our belief in God… but do our lives demonstrate trust in Him daily?  How many people trust Christ with their eternity, but fail to remain faithful to Him in the details of life?  Obedience and faith go together.  Obedience demonstrates faith.  Disobedience demonstrates a lack of faith.   In this section of the lesson, we are going to see what Scripture has to say about a believer’s faithfulness to God.  Faith in God, and faithfulness to Him, is the foundation of a believer’s life.  We cannot live a life that pleases God without faith.  Let’s see how faith in God and faithfulness to God go together.

Read the Scripture:

So then, men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and as those entrusted* with the secret things of God.  Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. (1 Corinthians 4:1-2)

*Note, the word “entrusted” in this passage is also interpreted as steward, and it means: the manager of a household or of one’s affairs.

Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.  No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs – he wants to please his commanding officer.  Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor’s crown unless he competes according to the rules.  The working farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops.  (2 Timothy 2:3-6)

You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God?  Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.   (James 4:4)

To Discuss:

  • Read 1 Corinthians 4:1-2 again and discuss the meaning of this verse.
  • What does it mean to be a steward of the secrets of God?
  • Do you think most believers see themselves this way?  Why?
  • What examples does Paul give in 2 Timothy 2 of being faithful?  Discuss how these examples display faithfulness.
  • Discuss how faithfulness to God affects our relationship to the things of the world.
  • What do you think it means to be a “friend of the world?”

Visual Aid

Faithfulness to God:

  • As servants
  • As stewards (managers) of His secrets
  • As a good soldier
  • As a winning athlete
  • As a hardworking farmer
  • As a friend

Being Tasty: Faithfulness to God will result in faithfulness in other areas of our lives.  Our faithfulness in these areas, however, must be rooted in our faithfulness to God.  Why?  Because like God’s, our faithfulness should not depend on feelings, circumstances, or the behavior of other people.  When our focus is faithfulness to God, it puts our lives into perspective.  This type of faithfulness is not possible without God’s presence and power—that is why Paul listed it as the fruit of God’s Spirit.  In this last section of the lesson, we will see how faithfulness to God overflows into other areas of our lives.  How is faithfulness displayed practically through us each day?

In My Church: We begin here because this is perhaps the most important way that a believer proves His faithfulness to God.  There seems to be the attitude today that membership, fellowship and service in a local Body of believers is optional.  This is not what Scripture teaches.  If we cannot be faithful to one another, where our hearts are unified by God’s Spirit, how can we be faithful anywhere else?  God expects His people to know, love, encourage, serve and support one another.

Read the Scripture:

A new command I give you: Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.  John 13:34-35

Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.  Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.  Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body.  And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body.  If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be?  But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.  If they were all one part, where would the body be?  As it is, there are many parts, but one body.  The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!”

1 Corinthians 12:12-21

There should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.  If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.  Now you are the Body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. (1 Corinthians 12:25-27)

From Him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.  (Ephesians 4:16)

To Discuss:

  • Discuss what these verses say about the Body of Christ.
  • What do you think it means to be faithful to the Body of Christ?
  • Where does local church involvement fit into faithfulness?
  • Based on Ephesians 4:16, how does the Body build up in love?
  • The phrase, “as each part does its work” literally means, “as each and every one does its assignment or destiny.”  What does this teach us about individual involvement and service in the church?
  • Is attendance enough, based on these verses?  Why or why not?
  • What will be the result of each part doing its work?
  • Why is it crucial for the Body of Christ to “grow and build itself up in love?”
  • What affect will this type of growth have on those outside the Body?

In My Relationships:  The second area of faithfulness we will discuss is faithfulness in our relationships.

Read the Scripture: Each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.  Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.  “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise—“so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”  Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.  Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ.  Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart.  Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free.  And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him.  (Ephesians 5:33-6:9)

To Discuss:

  1. Using this passage, discuss faithfulness in each of these relationships:
    • Husband/wife
    • Parent/child
    • Employee to employer
    • Employer to employee
  2. Why is it sometimes so hard to remain faithful in these relationships?
  3. How does faithfulness to God (discussed previously) affect faithfulness to people, especially difficult people?
  4. How does your faithfulness in relationships display the character of God?

With My Resources:

When we think of the word resources, many of us think only of money.  When it comes to faithfulness with the resources God has entrusted to us, we want to think way beyond just money…although money is a resource with which we must be faithful.

Our resources are everything that God has granted to us by His grace.  Our job, home, money, property, cars, food, computers, education, position, possessions, the list goes on and on.  If you take a moment and close your eyes and think of everything you own, down to the last pair of socks and shoes, these are your resources.  Every good thing we receive is from God.  Faithfulness to God means honoring Him with the resources He has given to us.  He gives to His people not only to meet our needs, but so that we can be a blessing to others and make His glory known throughout the earth.

Read the Scripture:

No servant can serve two masters.  Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.  You cannot serve both God and Money.  (Luke 16:13)

For by Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by Him and for Him.  (Colossians 1:16)

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.  It is the Lord Jesus you are serving.  (Col. 3:23-24)

To Discuss:

  • Do you think it is possible to serve both God and money?  Why or why not?
  • According to Colossians 1:16, for Whom were all things created?
  • If this is true, how should we view our resources?
  • Based on Colossians 3:23-24, how are we to approach everything we do?  Practically, what does this mean?
  • What are some ways that we can be faithful with the resources God has given to us individually and as a church?

Conclusion: I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever; with my mouth I will make Your faithfulness known through all generations.  I will declare that Your love stands firm forever, that You established Your faithfulness in heaven itself.  (Psalm 89:1-2)

How do we make God’s faithfulness known?  By being faithful to God in the Church, in our relationships, and with our resources.  Before you dismiss, take a few minutes to break into smaller groups and discuss how you can personally be faithful in each of these areas.  Share areas of struggle.  Pray for one another before you leave.