How Great is Our God! 10. Great is Your Faithfulness
Lamentations 3: 22 - 25 How many people do you know who do exactly what they say? How many do you know who do exactly what they say every single time? How many people do you know who do exactly what they say every single time and do it with such thoroughness and perfection that you never have to worry about anything they say or do? How many people do you know who, no matter what the circumstances and no matter how they feel, will always do exactly what they say they will do every single time and do it with the same thoroughness and perfection that you never have to worry about anything they say or do because you know if they say it, they will definitely do it without fail, without change and without excuse? OK, how many people like that do you know? In the end, the question is not about reliable or very dependable people. It’s really not about people at all because no person could meet all those qualifications – it’s really about God. The only person you know who can meet every qualification is God himself. He alone is 100% faithful 100% of the time. A World of Broken Promises Men pledge peace but then make plans for war. “Is there anyone out there who is what he claims to be?” I’d like to suggest one name you can trust - Jesus Christ. John 14: 6 he said, “I am the truth.” John 18: 37 he told Pilate, “I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” 1. Defining the Key Terms The Bible contains several words for truth, the most important one being the Hebrew word “emet” - means stability, firmness or certainty - get the English word “amen.” Every time we say amen we are really saying, “It is certain” or “Yes, it is absolutely true.” Therefore, to say “God is true” is the same as saying “God is faithful.” Simple definition - God’s faithfulness means that because He is the truth, everything He says and does is certain. That means he is 100% reliable 100% of the time. He does not fail, forget, falter, change or disappoint. He says what he means and means what he says and therefore does everything he says he will do. 2. Looking at the Central Passages Exodus 34: 6 – He is “abounding in love and faithfulness.” Deuteronomy 32: 4 – He is a “a faithful God.” Psalm 89: 2 – “You established your faithfulness in heaven itself.” Psalm 89: 8 – “Your faithfulness surrounds you.” God’s faithfulness is a major theme of Psalm 89. It tells us that God’s faithfulness flows from his character, that heaven is the ultimate display of God’s faithfulness, and that he will never betray his Word under any circumstances. Numbers 23: 19 – “God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?” John 17: 3 – “The only true God” 1 Corinthians 1: 9 – “God … is faithful.” 1 Corinthians 10: 13 – “And God is faithful.” 1 John 1: 9 – “He is faithful.” 1 John 5: 20 – “… Him who is true.” These verses when taken together establish that God’s faithfulness is not some minor or secondary part of God’s character. To say that God is faithful goes to the core of who God really is. He keeps his word because if he didn’t, he wouldn’t be God! 3. Seven Facts About God’s Faithfulness A. His word is eternal. “Your word, O LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens” (Psalm 119: 89). B. God is as faithful today as he was yesterday. “Your faithfulness continues through all generations” (Psalm 119: 90). C. He is reliable in all his works. “The works of his hands are faithful and just” (Psalm 111: 7). D. He is faithful even when we are not. “If we are faithless, he will remain faithful” (2 Timothy 2: 13). E. Our salvation depends on God’s faithfulness. “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1: 6). F. Our sanctification depends on God’s faithfulness. “The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it” (1 Thessalonians 5: 24). G. Our future resurrection depends on God’s faithfulness. “We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him” (1 Thessalonians 4: 14). These verses could be multiplied in every direction because all that God does rests on his faithfulness and every blessing we receive comes because he is faithful to keep his promises to us. If God were not faithful, we could not be saved, would not dare to pray, would have no sure hope for the future and would go down to death in desperate fear wondering if God will keep his promises. But we live in faith and die in hope precisely because our God is faithful. 4. Applying the Truth to Life Since this is a vast topic, let’s focus on 5 specific areas of application. A. When you are discouraged, remember God’s faithfulness. Remember the story of David and Goliath. When Saul asked David why he thought he could slay the giant, the young boy replied with a story about God’s faithfulness. He recalled God’s faithfulness during his days as a shepherd and that faithfulness gave him courage to believe God would deliver once again. “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” David simply believed from the past to the future on the basis of God’s unchanging character. He knew God could deliver him in this situation because he had done it so many times in the past. Remember how God has answered your prayers. Reflect on his mighty deeds. Consider who it is who fights for you. Then pick up 5 smooth stones and get ready to defeat the giant. B. When you doubt your salvation, remember God’s faithfulness. Many Christians secretly doubt their salvation because they do not feel like they are good enough Christians to get into heaven. But getting to heaven has nothing to do with being “good enough” since none of us ever qualifies. John 10: 28 Jesus said “I give them eternal life.” 1 John 5: 13 we are told that “you may know that you have eternal life.” God wants you to know that you are saved. The Bible doesn’t say “that you may hope you have eternal life” or “that you may wish you have eternal life.” No! The Bible says you can know you are going to heaven. “God not only keeps his promises, he also keeps his people.” If you know Jesus Christ, you are certain of going to heaven. Remember God’s faithfulness. Consider his promises. Contemplate the Cross. Gaze upon the dying form of the Son of God. Think of all he did for you. Then recall the moment that you trusted Christ as Saviour. Let the facts of the gospel be your strength and then rest your weary soul upon the Rock of Ages. C. When you are tempted to sin, remember God’s faithfulness. Here are 2 wonderful verses to remember in the moment of temptation: “But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one” (2 Thessalonians 3: 3). “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (1 Corinthians 10: 13). Here God’s faithfulness is tied directly into the temptations of life that trouble you. Just as Jesus had to endure temptation, so will we. But just as he resisted and triumphed, so may we. There are always more than enough warnings and more than enough ways of escape if only we will take them. D. When you have made a mess of your life, remember God’s faithfulness. 1 John 1: 9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” “He is faithful.” Those 3 words guarantee God’s forgiveness to his erring children. Have you made a mess of your life? Would you be ashamed for others to know everything you have said, done and thought in the last 7 days? Or the last 3 months? Or the last 5 years? Who among us dares to say, “I don’t need God’s forgiveness?” If you know yourself at all, you know how much you sin and how desperately you stand in need of God’s mercy. But will it be there when you need it? Thank God the answer is yes. But what if you have sinned too much? What if God says, “I’ve had it with you?” The truth is, as long as your heart is tender and open before the Lord, you can always be forgiven. A broken and contrite heart, O Lord, you will not despise. Think about your life. Now think about God’s faithfulness. Then bring your faults and failures and foolish ways to the Lord. Ask for his forgiveness. Then believe that you have received it. As Jesus said to the woman caught in adultery, go and sin no more. E. When you feel unequal to your tasks, remember God’s faithfulness. Hebrews 10: 23 “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” What wonderful words these are. All of us will face moments sooner or later when we simply cannot find the strength to go on. Perhaps we feel overwhelmed by circumstances or perhaps life begins to tumble in around us. What do you do then? As Christians, we are still shy of pain and struggle. Do we get less of it because we love our Father? I think not. But I am so glad to know how much he loves us, and that when I’m falling, he’s been waiting, prepared, with his arms open wide. “Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart” (Proverbs 3: 3). Whose Side Are You On? Let me end this sermon where I began. How many people do you know who always do exactly what they say? No matter how many qualifiers you put on those words, the answer is always the same. Only God is always faithful. Jesus Christ is truly the name you can trust. He is the answer to the question: Is there anyone who is what he claims to be? Ponder again the words of Jesus: “I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me” (John 18:37). Whose side are you on? Sometimes people ask me how I have the strength to keep believing in the midst of a world filled with pain and suffering. If you find yourself weak in faith, look to the cross. See the bloody form of the Son of God. Gaze upon the empty tomb. Read again those ancient accounts of Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Consider what the Lord your God has done for you. Think what this means. If God can raise the dead - and he can - and if Jesus is alive - and he is - then why are you worried about anything at all? Have you ever accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour and trusted him as your Lord? That’s the single most important decision you could ever make. If you’ve never done it, I urge you to bow your head, pray to God, open your heart and invite Jesus Christ to rule and reign in your life. I’m asking you to trust the most trustworthy person in the universe. May God help you to do it and to make your peace with him right now. Amen.