Faithlife Corporation

Attributes of the Spirit-filled Life: Faithfulness

Notes & Transcripts

In Proverbs 20:6 the Bible asks a rhetorical question: "Who can find a faithful man?" The Psalmist would probably respond, “It’s not impossible, but by golly, it’s getting harder and harder. They’re scarcer then hen’s teeth!” It is difficult to find a person who is consistently faithful. The Good News Bible translates Proverbs 20:6 this way, "Everyone talks about how loyal and faithful he is, but just try to find someone who really is."

Faithfulness hinges upon what we value as important combined with commitment. Humans have a powerful tendency to be faithful to what they think is truly important, be it a family name, spouse, friendship, employer, school, athletic team or even certain things like a make of automobile.

Here in Galatians 5:22, every modern translation renders the word that the KJV translates into "faith" as "faithfulness," "fidelity" or "good faith." In his commentary on Galatians, William Barclay writes, "This word (pistis) is common in secular Greek for trustworthiness. It is the characteristic of the man who is reliable"

This evening I want to us to look at the seventh characteristic, or fruit, of God's Spirit in our life. This is the virtue of faithfulness. As believers, we need to be cultivating the fruit of faithfulness in our lives.

Many times at a retirement party a person will receive a gold watch for their 25, 30, or 35 years of faithful service. We may look with fondness at that clunker of a car that gets us where we want to go. It may be ugly, but it is faithful. It does the job. We may pat our seven-year-old dog on his head and praise him for being such a faithful dog. In each of those instances we are referring to the person or object’s reliability—their trustworthiness to be committed to a person or task for the long-haul.

God desires that we would grow in faithfulness. It is an important characteristic of the Christian faith, and one of the Scriptural indicators that we are genuinely a Christian. Like all of the Spirit’s virtues, faithfulness is not unique to the Christian faith. It does, however, find its greatest fulfillment among those who profess Christ as Savior.


            1. why is faithfulness so important?
            2. for the Christian, being faithful is important for four reasons:
                1. we need to be faithful because God is faithful
                2. we need to be faithful because God wants us to be like Him
                3. we need to be faithful because faithfulness makes life a whole lot easier
                4. we need to be faithful because God is going to judge us according to our faithfulness


    • “For the word of the LORD is right and true; he is faithful in all he does.” (Psalm 33:4, NIV84)
            1. this is King David speaking of God
                1. David knew from personal experience that God is faithful
                2. aren't you glad that God is faithful in all that he does?
                3. there are many things I appreciate about God
            2. I am thankful for his salvific attributes:
                1. His love
                2. His grace
                3. His mercy
            3. I am thankful that God is not a capricious God
                1. you know, the kind of God who is constantly changing His mind?
                2. you’ll never hear God saying, “I love him, I love him not. I love him, I love him not.”
            4. I am thankful that God is not a procrastinating God
                1. He does say, "Well, I am going to get around to that some day."
            5. I am thankful that God is not an impulsive God
                1. you know, the kind of God who finally acts when he feels like doing something and if doesn’t feel like it, forget it
            6. I am thankful that God is not a forgetful God
                1. He is not the kind of God who says, "Wow. That completely slipped my mind"
            7. I’m obviously trying to make a point here—what I most appreciate about God is his faithfulness
                1. God is faithful to his Word, which means God is always consistent in my life
                    1. He doesn't waiver
                    2. even when I am faithless, God remains faithful to me because that is who God is
                      • "if we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself." (2 Timothy 2:13, NIV84)
            8. God is faithful which means ...
                1. ... He is consistent
                2. ... He is dependable
                3. ... He is reliable at all times


            1. the job of the Holy Spirit is to conform us into the image of the Son of God, Jesus Christ
            2. our job as believers is to cooperate with that process
                1. as we’ve just seen, one of the character traits of the Godhead is faithfulness
                2. God wants His children to grow in their faithfulness
            3. of all the people on this earth, God's people should be the people who are most dependable
                1. of all the people at your place of work, it should be the Christian that is most trustworthy, consistent and reliable
                2. of all the children and teens in our church, it should be the Christian ones who are never in trouble, who never run with the wrong crowd and who always set an example of leadership
            4. we should be faithful because it emulates the God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit


            1. life is so much easier when one is faithful
            2. I believe that many of the problems in today’s society, and maybe in your life, are the result of faithlessness
                1. maybe it’s because of faithlessness on your part or on somebody else's part
                  • /“Like a bad tooth or a lame foot is reliance on the unfaithful in times of trouble.”\ (Proverbs 25:19, NIV84)
                2. what the writer is trying to say it that an unfaithful person is a useless person
                3. when you live or work with an unfaithful person, you never know when they are going to let you down, or disappoint you, or do something they should not do
            3. unreliable people can not be trusted
                1. we all depend on faithfulness in our lives
                2. we enjoy people who are faithful to their commitments and responsibilities
                  • ILLUS. We look to the mailman to be faithful in delivering our mail. We become disappointed or frustrated if he doesn't come on time. We depend on the paperboy to get the newspaper to us and in the right place. We depend on the waitress to be faithful in taking our order and giving good service. We depend upon the repairman to be faithful in taking care of the car when it’s not running right.
            4. life just works so much better when people are faithful and when we are consistent and reliable in our own lives
            5. let me ask you, a question this evening: “Do you have people you can count on?”
                1. a more important question: “Can people count on you?”
                    1. do you have the kind of reputation among your friends, and the people you work with and the people you live with that—more times than not—you are reliable, consistent, worthy of trust, and dependable?
                2. there are few things in life that are more important than faithfulness
                    1. you may be very talented ...
                    2. you may have incredible creativity ...
                    3. you may have all kinds of education ...
                3. ... but without faithfulness, without dependability and consistency in your life, those things really amount to a whole lot


            1. we will be judged according to our faithfulness
              • 2 Corinthians 5:10 “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” KJV
                1. if you are a Christian you will be judged according to your faithfulness here on this earth
                    1. the way you spent your money. . .
                    2. the way you used your time and resources . . .
                    3. the way you treated others
                2. you will be rewarded according to your faithfulness in these areas and others
            2. God is very concerned that we develop faithfulness in our lives
              • ILLUS. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus tells a parable about a man who entrusts various amounts of money to her servants and then goes on a trip. Upon his return, he finds that one of them has invested his money and made a profit. To that servant he says, "Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!" (Matthew 25:21)
            3. faithfulness is important for many reasons
                1. we need to be faithful because God is faithful
                2. we need to be faithful because it emulates the Godhead
                3. we need to be faithful because faithfulness makes life a whole lot easier
                4. we need to be faithful because God is going to judge us according to our faithfulness
            4. how can you grow in the virtue of faithfulness?
                1. how do you go about cultivating this fruit that the Spirit of God has brought into your life?
                2. at the risk of being long-winded this evening, let me suggest eight areas of your life where you need to be obedient is you’re going to develop in the area of faithfulness



            1. if you want to grow in faithfulness begin by keeping your promises
              • Proverbs 25:14 "The clouds and wind without rain is a man who boasts of gifts he does not give."
            2. perhaps you know people like this
                1. people who claim they would do all kinds of things for you but they never follow through with it
                2. they say they will be there for you, but like Proverbs 25:14 says, their word is like having a cloud form and you anticipate the sorely needed rain, only to have the cloud just roll away
            3. in the same way, there are people like that in our lives
                1. they make promises to us, but are not able to follow through on those promises
                2. to really grow in faithfulness, be careful of the kind of promises that you make and keep the ones you do
                  • ILLUS. Have you ever said: “I will call you right back and never call them back?" or "Let's get together sometime soon," and never get together? or "Hey, I will be there. I will make an appointment and I will see you at 2pm," and then not show up, or have you ever said, "When you move I will be there to help you" but never show up or "Let's get together and do ....." and you never follow through on your promise. Or the worse one of all, have you ever said: "I will pray for you" and never get around to praying for that person.
            4. how reliable is your word?
              • Ecclesiastes 5:5 says, "It is better not to vow than to make a vow and not fulfill it."
            5. to develop the fruit of faithfulness, work harder at keeping your promises


            1. if you want to grow in faithfulness you must honor your marriage
                1. in a wedding ceremony there is always an exchange of the vows and then the exchange of the rings
                  • ILLUS. In every ceremony I perform, I remind the couple about the importance of the ring. I tell them the ring is an unending circle which represents your unending commitment to each other. I remind them that it is made of precious metal which signifies the preciousness of the vows, and of the commitment, and of the promises they are making. I always remind them that from this day forward it is to be a symbol of the promises they make at the altar before God and their family and friends who are witnesses of the vows.
                2. these are not just nice words—they are words of commitment to be faithful
            2. whenever you have something in your life that is more important than your spouse you are being unfaithful in your marriage relationship
                1. whenever you put your job ...
                    1. or other people ...
                    2. or church ...
                    3. or community activities ...
                    4. or television ...
                    5. or friends ...
                    6. or even your children as being more important than your spouse ...
                2. if they have a higher priority, then you are being unfaithful in your marriage relationship
            3. the Bible says that marriage is to be the second most important relationship that we have
                1. apart from our relationship to God, it is the most important relationship we have in this life
                2. we are to invest ourselves in our marriage relationship
                  • Hebrews 13:4 "Marriage should be honored by all."
            4. part of growing in faithfulness is learning to be faithful to our spouse
                1. the word honor (which is in every wedding ceremony I’ve every done) means, to hold in respect, to value with high esteem, to take very seriously
                2. this is how we are to treat our spouse
            5. if you want to grow in faithfulness, honor your marriage
                1. make marriage a top priority of your life
                2. faithfulness to our marriage vows is a choice that we make
                3. we choose to be faithful
                    1. it is not depended upon our circumstances
                    2. it is not depended upon whether or not our partner is faithful to us or not
                4. when we make a vow to be faithful, we make it to God as well as to our partner
                    1. we fulfill that vow regardless of how our partner lives out their vow before God


    • 1 Peter 4:10 “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in it various forms."
            1. all of us have received gifts, abilities and talents from God
                1. some of us have received some prominent kind of gifts and some of us have less prominent kind of gifts
            2. but all of us have received something from God
                1. God has made an investment in Your life
                2. God wants and expects a return on his investment
                3. He expects us to use our gifts, abilities, talents for his kingdom
            3. this is a way of demonstrating our love for God, and our faithfulness to God
            4. if you want to grow in faithfulness, begin to use your talents, not just for yourself, not just for your own personal gain, but for the work of the Lord
                1. some of you might say:
                    1. "I am not as talented as some others are."
                    2. "I can't teach the way others in this church do."
                    3. "I don't have the kind of gifts or the charismatic abilities that some of the other people have. So, I really can't do anything. I will just come and let other people do their thing."
                2. let me say this—just because you can not do the spectacular, you are not excluded from doing what you can do
                3. faithfulness does not depend on what you don't have or can't do
                4. faithfulness depends on what you do have and what you do with what God has given to you
            5. if we are going to grow in faithfulness, use your talents, gifts and abilities for God's kingdom


            1. time is something that we all have in common
            2. everyone has the same amount of time
                1. we all have 168 hours in a week
                  • Ephesians 5:15 "Be very careful, then, how you live - not as unwise, but as wise, making the most of every opportunity."
            3. just as we are going to be held accountable to God for how we use our talents, abilities, in the same way, we are going to be held accountable to God for how we use our time
            4. you and I have been given a limited amount of time here on this earth
                1. and if the Lord tarries, we will all die and stand before God
                2. He will judge us for how we spent and invested our time
                3. the best way we can invest our time is to invest it in something that will outlast us


            1. become a loyal friend
            2. a faithful person is one who is loyal, reliable in their friendships with other people
              • Proverbs 17:17 "A true friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need" [LB].
            3. real friends are the kind of people who are consistent and reliable
                1. they can be counted on in a crisis


            1. if you want to develop the fruit of faithfulness, you have to learn to manage your money according to God's way
                1. God has given you resources
                2. God has given you finances
            2. the Bible says how you handle your money is a true test of your love and devotion to God, and of your faithfulness to God
                1. what you do with God's blessing, what you do with the resources that God gives to you is a true test of your faithfulness
                  • Luke 16:11, /"Jesus said, 'If you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?
                2. God is saying, "How can I trust you with spiritual wealth and spiritual resources, spiritual blessing, if you are not even trustworthy with the earthly blessings that I put in your life?"
            3. if you can not even handle those things, how can you handle the spiritual blessings that God wants to give to you?
                1. you need to ask yourselves questions like:
                    1. “Am I being a wise manager of the money and the resources that God has given me?”
                    2. “Do I pay my bills on time? Am I a good steward in that are of my life?”
                    3. “Am I faithful in the area of tithing, of giving back to the Lord what he has blessed me with?”
            4. I believe that the way you handle your finances determines to a large extent the way that God will bless you in your life
                1. God will bless you according to how you use your finances and your resources
                2. if you give them freely away to further God’s kingdom, it opens the door for God to freely bless you
                3. but if you are stingy then it closes the door for God’s blessing in you life
                4. it is a test in our lives to see how faithful we are


            1. the key to being dependable on your job is found in the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Colossians
              • Colossians 3:23 “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;” KJV
            2. we need to recognize that while on the job you are not working for your employer, but you are working for God
                1. you are a representative of Jesus Christ
                2. you are his ambassador
                3. you are not working to please your employer, but to please God
            3. it will transform the way you do your job
                1. we are to work our jobs as unto the Lord


    • Romans 12:5 "So in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others."
            1. when you become a Christian you become a part of Christ’s Body
                1. we all belong to each other
                2. God made it so that we all need each other
            2. in other words, when you become a Christian you become a part of God's family
            3. that means that all of you need me, but it also means that I need each of you
                1. we can not live the Christian life alone
                2. so, part of growing in faithfulness is finding a local body of believers and committing ourselves to them
                3. to love them for better or for worse
                4. to be committed to them
            4. this is one of the ways that we demonstrate to the world that Jesus is alive
                1. Jesus said, "By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
                2. how can we love one another if we just free float by going from church to church, not really committing ourselves

These are the principles that if you will obey God's word, God, by his Spirit, will enable you to grow in faithfulness. If you learn to: Keep Your Promises, Honor Your Marriage, Use Your Talents, Make the Most of Your Time, Stand by Your Friends, Manage Your Money, Do Your Best at Work, Commit Yourself to a Church.

As we step out in faith in these areas, God, by his Spirit, will create faithfulness as a character trait of our lives.

I can not emphasize the importance of faithfulness in our lives. You know, the Bible tells us in the parable of the talents of how the master who went away and left his servants in charge of his kingdom. Now when the master came back, he rewarded his servants for how faithful they were. He did not reward them on their education, good intentions were but how faithful they were in being faithful to his kingdom. Well, Jesus has left us to this world. He has given us resources and talents and all kind of things so that we can invest in this world for the kingdom of God. There is a day coming when Jesus will return. The question is, "Will Jesus find us faithful in doing his work?" Being faithful in using our time, resources and our talents for the kingdom of God.

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