So Galatians 5, 13 to 26. You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh rather serve 1 another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this 1 command. Love your neighbor as yourself.
If you de bite and devour each other, watch out or you'll be destroyed by each other. So I say, live by the spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the spirit, and the spirit what is contrary to the flesh, They are in conflict with each other so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the spirit, you are not under the law. The acts of the flesh are obvious, sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery, idolatry, and witchcraft.
Hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, and envy, drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you as I did before that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of god, but the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. Against such things, there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the spirit, let us keep in step with the spirit.
Let us not become conceited, provoking, and envying each other. Let's turn now to Genesis 22, and we're actually gonna read verses 1 to 19, rather than one's 14 there. Sometime later, god tested Abraham. He said to him, Abraham. Here I am, he replied.
Then god said, take your son. Your only son whom you love Isaac and go to the region of Moria. Sacrifice him there. As a burnt offering on a mountain that I will show you. Early the next morning, Abraham got up and loaded his donkey.
He took with him 2 of his servants and his son, Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place that god had told him about On the third day, Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. He said to his servants, stay here with the donkey, while I and the boy go over there, we will worship, and then we will come back to you. Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son, Isaac, and he carried and he himself carried the fire and the knife as the 2 of them went on together. Isaac spoke up and said to his father, Abraham, father.
Yes, my son Abraham replied, the fire in the water here, Isaac said, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering? Abraham answered god himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering my son. And the 2 of them went on together. When they reached the place that god had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son isaac and laid him on the altar on top of the wood.
Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the lord called out to him from heaven. Abraham Abraham. Here I am, he replied. Do not lay a hand on the boy, he said.
Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son. Abraham looked up and there in a thicket, he saw a ram caught by horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place, the lord will provide.
And to this day, it is said on the mountain of the lord, it will be provided. The angel of the lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time and said, I swear by myself declares the lord. That because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies and through your offspring, all nations on earth will be blessed because you have obeyed me. Then Abraham returned to his servants and they set off together for beersheba, and Abraham stayed in beersheba.
Thank you, Tom. Good evening, everyone. Let me just add my welcome. My name is Ben, and I'm a member here at Cornerstone Church. I just wanna apologize for my, husky voice.
Recently, I've gotta go got over a cold. And 2 days ago, I couldn't talk at all. So this is a this is a mass improvement on 2 days ago. But if if I cough or if I clear my throat, I'm I apologize, please bear with me. But it is great to be carrying on in this series looking at element of the fruit of the spirit.
So far we've covered love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, and goodness. And tonight, we're looking at faithfulness. So please keep the Genesis passage open in front of you, as we'll be looking at it. Have I done something with the microphone? Or is it okay?
No. It's alright. Okay. Great. Thumbs up.
Okay. But before we begin, let me just pray and ask god for his help tonight. Heavenly father, we thank you for your word, and how clearly, you speak to us through it. Please help us by your spirit to have ears to hear eyes to see and hearts to receive in Jesus' name, amen. So I wonder if you've ever noticed that when you become close to someone, whether in in friendship or marriage, you get to see how other families do life.
And and kind of what traditions they have, how how they approach certain things. They can be quite different to how your own family does things. Wonder if you've ever noticed that. I think we all have. 1 of the things I learned about Kerry, my wife's family, is that they are excellent at sending and receiving cards.
Now now don't get me wrong. My family, are are okay. It comes to sending and receiving cards. We do it at the appropriate times, like, birthdays, Christmas,, father's day, special anniversaries. But from my new vantage point, I can see that in relation to Kerry's family, the Reeds take the minimal approach, to sending and receiving cards.
When Kerry's parents visit us, you can bet your bottom dollar that we will have a thank you card, sent in the mail a few days afterwards, just saying, what a nice time they had. And even when they are on holiday, which they are now, they send us a card, to let us know how they're getting on and send their best wishes. What's really amazing is Carrie and I were on holiday, last weekend, and they had sent a letter to the place that we were on holiday. It was amazing. And that is in addition to all the normal birthdays, Christmas, plus the thank you cards, that they send without fail for the gifts that you get them for Christmas, and and birthdays and stuff.
I mean, do do you know anyone like that? Yeah. Maybe maybe you're like that. I'm I'm not like that. But I think it's really impressive and it's a really lovely way of, Carrie's parents showing us their appreciation.
But I will say this in the in the in the defense of the reads, what they may lack in their approach to sending cards They more than make up for in the content that they pack into each card. In particular, from my oldest and my dad, reading a card from them can be like reading an essay, complete with hilarious anecdotes, jokes, and even little drawings. Which is great. Because most cards, you know, you open and you you look to the right hand side, and it will say, too, Ben, it'll have a message about the occasion. If you're lucky, it's handwritten and not just the pre made message in the card.
And then it will say, love, and then whoever. When a read card comes through the door, you make yourself a cup of tea to to sit down and read it. So when Kerry and I married in these 2 great card styles merged. You can imagine the results were pretty spectacular. Kerry buys hundreds of cards tease them up when the time comes with the name and the occasion, and then she leaves them out on the side for me to to get to work.
And this epic combination worked really well for the first 2 years of our marriage, until last summer when we had no less than 8 weddings to go to. And it's really difficult for someone who is, compelled to invest time and effort into each card to have 8 wedding cards out in front of you without just repeating the same cliche message, 8 times. So apologies, to Toby, Laura Phil and Jess, I cheated and I inserted the same long quote into into each 1. But the quote is brilliant. It's from an essay by Kentucky farmer called Wendell Berry.
It's about Fidelity, which is a word, I I didn't know much before I started reading him, but it's a way of saying faithfulness. And it's great. It's it's up on the slide behind me. He says this. What marriage offers And what fidelity is meant to protect is the possibility of moments when what we have chosen and what we want, sorry, and what we desire are the same.
Such a convergence obviously cannot be continuous. No relationship can continue very long at its highest emotional pitch. But Fidelity prepares us for the return of these moments, which give us the highest joy we can know, that of union, communion, atonement in the root sense of that woman. So if anybody from this church gets married and receives a card from us, Phil and Regina, I think you're next. This is probably what you're gonna find on 1 side.
So sorry for the spoilers. But I like this quote because, what he's saying is that there will be periods of time in your marriage. When what you have chosen and what you, want are not the same. But fidelity or faithfulness is what protects your relationship during those times and prepares you for the return of the moments when what you have chosen and what you want are the same. I like to give newlyweds a good dose of reality on their wedding day and their wedding cards.
But you can see from this, that faithfulness in someone is the quality of being faithful. And though that quality of faithfulness might be in that person all the time in the background, it stretches its legs, it shows its face, and it really gets to work in those moments when you don't want to be faithful. It's a little bit like courage courage is a quality that someone has all the time, but it gets to work and and comes to the forefront in situations that are scary for that person. You wouldn't say that making yourself breakfast this morning was, scary or required courage from you. But if I picked 1 of you now to come up here and tell us about your this then, for some of you that might be a bit scarier and courage would kick in.
Or to use a football illustration, I know. I'm sorry. Manchester City have destroyed the Premier League this season, and would have won it. It had Manchester, you know, I'd not thought of them yesterday. But they're gonna win by a landslide nobody is gonna go up to their supporters at the end of the season, put a hand on their shoulder and be like, You have been so faithful to your team this season because that sounds absurd, isn't it?
There's there's their faithfulness hasn't been put to the test at all. However, go to West Brom supporters who have lost most of their games this season and are gonna get relegated. You can see from the fans who will be there on the last day, clapping their team off for the last time. There is real faithfulness, to their team. Though they don't want to support a losing team, though they would rather experience the highs of Manchester City support they're faithful to their club, and the situation has proved their faithfulness.
When it comes to being a Christian, god wants us not just to have faith in him, but to be faithful to him. We're told in James at 2 verse 19. You believe that there is 1 god. Good. Even the demons believe that.
And shudder So the demons have faith, but are they faithful? No. They believe in god yes, They understand who he is because they shudder in fear, but do they respond to him in the way that they ought to? Do they live and move and have their being in the light of who he is? No.
They have no faithfulness. So we must not kid ourselves that having faith in god equals being faithful to him. And this is why in the book of James, we are warned that faith without works is dead. That is the faith of demons, really. You understand who god is, but you do not live and move and have your being in him.
So you could also say that faith without works is unfaithfulness. There's not really a neutral standpoint with god. You're either faithful to him or if you're not, then you are unfaithful to him. But mercifully, as we as we're looking tonight, faithfulness is part of the fruit of the spirit. This is something that god wants to cultivate in us who love him so that we would be kept from merely having faith in him, but to also have an outworking of our faith, putting our faith into action, And thank god that we have Galatians 5, which shows the amazing work that his spirit is doing in us if we stay in step with him.
So what can we learn from scripture? Given it's essential for our lives, faithfulness, what can we learn about faithfulness from the Bible? Well, there are many examples we could look at of both faithfulness and unfaithfulness. But I've chosen Abrahamham and Isaac's story, which we read earlier, because it's 1 of the best examples, I think, of where the rubber really hits the road for faith in god. But not only that, It also shows us the wonder of god's faithfulness to us.
And to get it fully, we need to look at the story in 4 parts. So these are the 4 parts. First of all, Abraham's faith in god, Secondly, god's command to Abraham. Thirdly, Abraham's faithfulness to god, and then fourthly god's faithfulness, to Abraham. So first of all, Abraham's faith in god, what did Abraham's faith look like?
What did he know about god? Well at the beginning of the passage that we read earlier, chapter 22 verse 1, god calls Abraham by his name, and Abraham answers Here I am. He doesn't he doesn't answer, oh, who's that? Who's that? He or he he doesn't think he's going mad hearing voices either.
He knows who god is by this point. He recognizes his voice. And his reply also shows an obedience to god. He says, here I am. He doesn't hide from god or try and ignore him or run away.
He's acknowledging him, and he's anticipating god's gonna say something next. It's almost like he's replied, what can I do for you? And this is because he's already enjoyed a close relation with god up to this point in Genesis 22. He's god has revealed himself personally again and again to Abraham. And we're gonna have a quick, look a quick overview of some of the interactions they've had so far.
So in chapter 12 of Genesis, god speaks directly to Abraham, who was called Abraham then, and he calls him to leave his country and family and go to another land that Lord will show him. God promises Abraham that he'll make him into a great nation, and that all peoples on earth will be blessed through him. In chapter 13, god says to Abraham, look around from where you are to the north and south. To the east and west, all the land I will give to you and your offspring forever. I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted.
In chapter 15, god comes to Abraham, in a vision and says, do not be afraid, Abraham. I am your shield, your very great reward. And he promises, promises to him that a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir. Look up at the sky and count the stars if indeed you can count them. So shall your offspring be?
Chapter 17, god appears to Abraham again and says to him, I am god almighty, walk before me faithfully and be blameless. Then I will make my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers. You will be the father of many nations. No longer will you be called Abraham, your name will be Abraham for I've made you a father of many nations. And by this point in chapter 17, Abraham was a hundred years old.
His wife, Sarah was 90, and they had been unable to conceive their whole marriage. So trying to make sense of god's promise, that he was gonna have many descendants and the fact that his wife, Sarah was barren. Abraham had followed Sarah's suggestion to marry and sleep with her servant Hagar to bear him a son. Which she did, and his name was ishmael. But ishmael had not been the son that god was talking about.
Ishmael was the result of them taking god's promises into their own hands instead of god, trusting god, to do it himself. So in chapter 17 verse 15, god clarifies to abraham. As for Sarah, your wife, you will no longer to sorry. You're no longer to call her Sarah. Her name will be Sarah.
I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her, to which Abraham falls face down and laughs because he thinks he's way too old for that, and Sarah's never been able to conceive. It was just fair enough, right, because he's a hundred years old. So, He's got a he's got a point. But god says to him, you will call him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him, everlasting covenant for his descendants after him.
And after this meeting, Abraham and every male in his household were circumcised as god had commanded to be a sign of the covenant between god and them. And by chapter 18, got sorry, Abraham and, Abraham knows enough about god to plead for sodom. By saying this to god. He says, will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? What if there are 50 righteous people in the city?
Will you really sweep it away? And not spare the place for the sake of 50 righteous people in it, far be it from you to do such a thing, to kill the righteous with the wicked. Treating the righteous and the wicked alike, far be it from you, will not the judge of all the earth do right? I think you have to be pretty ballsy and confident that you know who god is to say to his face, far be it from you to do such a thing. And and god agrees to Abraham's request eventually to spare the city if there are 10 right righteous people found in it.
And finally, in chapter 21, Isaac is born of Sarah. He brings great joy to his parents. There's a feast held, on the day that he's weaned. Ishmael and Hagar also leave Abraham's house, making Isaac, Abraham's 1 and only son. And so all of that is the context that we come to, in chapter 22, when god calls Abraham's name once more.
So secondly, god's commands, Abraham, look down at verses 1 and 2 with me of chapter 22. Sometimes later, god tested Abraham. He said to him, Abraham. Here I am, he replied. Then god said, take your son, your only son whom you love, Isaac, and go to the region of Mariah.
Sacrificing there is a burnt offering on a mountain that I will show you. And I mean, wow. Right? That's a that's an alarming command, isn't it? I mean, never mind us.
If you stop and you think about how that must have sounded to abraham who didn't know the ending of this story, then then that's truly terrifying, isn't it? For god to command that? I mean, we used to this story, aren't we? Because we we hear it a lot. I've heard it a hundred times.
So so when I was preparing the sermon, the words kind of washed over me at the start, but I realized that in order to understand what Christian faithfulness looks like, as well as god's faithfulness to us, then we need understand the impossibility of this command. I mean, firstly, this command is in conflict with god's very nature and who he's revealed himself to be. Due toonomy, chapter 12 says, you must not worship the lord your god in their way because in worshiping their gods, they do all kinds of the lord hates. They even burn their sons and daughters in the fire as sacrifices to their gods. So how can the lord command something he hates, which is pagan and detestable to him?
Secondly, this command is in conflict with the promises God has made about Isaac and Abraham's, descendants. If Isaac is killed, then how can he possibly be the father of many nations? How can god's promises be fulfilled? And how can he trust any of god's promises if if this promise of a son is undone. And thirdly, this command stands stands in contrast to god's commitment to Abraham, God said, do not be afraid, Abraham.
I am your shield. Your very great reward. How can someone who insists do not be afraid make such a fright or command. How could your shield and your great reward command something so destructive to you? Furthermore, if god really intended to do this, why wouldn't he be kinder about it?
Wouldn't he just say, oh, take that boy and, and kill him? Instead of reminding Abraham just how much he meant to him, he says, take your son. Your only son whom you love Isaac. I mean, doesn't doesn't that feel like he's rubbing salt in the wound a little bit? This command is truly terrifying, truly alarming.
But if the command was alarming, then I actually wanna content that Abraham's response seems even more alarming. I mean, look down at verse 3. Early the next morning, Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him 2 of his servants and his son, Isaac. When he'd cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place god had told him about.
I mean, what? Right. Early the next morning, Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. Where's the questioning or the reasoning or the arguing that he'd done at sodom? I mean, where is the far be it from you to do such a thing?
Does he really care more about 10 righteous people that he's never met in sodom than his own darling precious son? Why doesn't he say anything? Perhaps is just shell shocked, and he just needs some time to process this, to get a response ready in his mind. But take a look at verse 4. On the third day, Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance.
On the third day. So they've been traveling for 3 days to get there, and there's still no questioning to god. There's still know far be it from you. He still intends to go through with it without a words to god. I mean, have he and god lost their minds?
What is going on? Well, I think we get a clue in verse 5. Take a look. He said to his servants, stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship, and then we will come back to you.
He says to his servants, we will worship, and then we will come back to you. Doesn't say to servants, we will worship, and then I will come back to you. He says, we will come back to you. And look at verses 6 to 8. Abraham took the word for the burnt offering and placed it on his son, Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife.
As the 2 of them went on together, Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham. Father. Yes, my son, Abraham replied. The fire in the wood are here, Isaac said, But where is the lamb for the burnt offering? Abraham answered god himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.
And the 2 of them went on together. I mean, Isaac's asked the obvious question here, isn't he? He's come out with it and he said, where is the lamb for the boat offering? But I don't think that Abraham's answer to him is a white lie, like the kind that we tell children to reassure them. Like when you tell a child that a wet paper towel is stop the sting of a stinging nettle, which it won't, if you didn't know that.
I don't think he's telling a white lie here. Not arguing with god, saying to his servants, we will come back to you and telling his son god will provide the land are all indications that Abraham, though he didn't know exactly how this was gonna play out, believed that god would somehow save Isaac. Even though he didn't understand what was going on, he knew god's character, and he knew what he'd been promised. So he knew that this command somehow could not be in contradiction to those things. Hebrews, chapter 11 explains.
By faith, Abraham when god tested him offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He, who had received the promises, was about to sacrifice his 1 and only son even though god had said to him, it is through Isaac your offspring will be reckoned. Abraham reasoned that god could raise the dead. And figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from the dead. So you see Abraham was a man who interpreted events within his, within the framework of his understanding of god.
So when god said to him, it is through Isaac that your offspring would be reckoned and then sacrifice him He did not think that god was misleading him or that he'd been lied to before. Instead, he reasoned that god would raise Isaac from the dead if he had to. And this is why he didn't argue with god because he trusted in what god had said Though he might have to endure the pain of this act, he believed literally unquestioningly that god would save him. And so they arrived to this, place in verses 9 and 12, and the angel of the lord has to shout at the top of his voice to stop Abraham from doing it. Take a look at verse 9.
When they reached the place, god had told them about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son, Isaac, and laid him on the altar on top of the wood. Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the lord called out to him from heaven. Abraham.
Abraham. Here I am, he replied. Do not lay a hand on the boy, he said. Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear god because you have not withheld from me, your, your son, your only son.
And few, right? This, this is how god was able to command this. Without compromising his character or his promises, because he never meant it to actually happen. He merely meant it as a means to draw out faithfulness from Abraham's faith. You see, god was not able to say merely from Abraham's faith Now I know that you fear the lord.
It took faithfulness, his faith in action to demonstrate this. James chapter 2, says, was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered, his son, Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. Faith is incomplete without faithfulness. And so at this point, I want to draw some lessons, for us from Abraham's faithfulness.
So if you take notes or you just try to remember a part of the sermon, then I've got 3 applications for us. The first 1 is this. Faithfulness is obeying god even when you don't want to. Faithfulness is obeying god even when you don't want to. There's no doubt is there that Abraham didn't want to kill.
Isaac. And though we might not be killed to sacrifice someone close to us, we are all called to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice. We we heard that in this morning, sermon, didn't we? And it's not a mindless religious obedience we have in god, but it's the appropriate and informed response in view of his mercy. But living but being a living sacrifice will mean giving things up that are difficult to give up.
Means saying no to the desires in us that are sinful. What is it that you know god wants to change in your life? What is it that you do that you know you shouldn't? What is it that you don't do that you know you should? Are you hiding anything because you know you'll have to change if you admit it?
We need to obey god even when we don't want to. That's the first thing. Secondly, we need to interpret events within the framework of our understanding of god. So Abraham was faced with a situation that on the surface didn't make any sense at all, but he used his understanding of god to trust him and to be faithful to his command. So when we find ourselves in difficult situations in this life, we can't let ourselves fall into the trap of thinking that god has abandoned us or that the world has a better solution.
We need to trust god and be faithful to him even when it is not clear why. And thirdly, in order to do this, we have to have a good theology. Abraham was able to reason that god would raise Isaac from the dead precisely because he knew that god was able to raise Isaac from the dead. We can't be faithful to god in difficult times if we don't know what he's like, what his promises are. So someone who thinks god's only job is to bless them in this life with health and prosperity, is gonna turn away from him when things become difficult.
But someone who understands that in this life will have many troubles, but to take heart because Jesus has overcome the world, That person will persevere. So how do those 3 applications fit into your life? Do you obey god even when you don't want to? Do you interpret events in your life by your understanding of god? And thirdly, do you have a good theology?
In order to be faithful to god, we will need those 3 things as Abraham had. I said earlier that god did not mean for the sacrifice to actually happen, but he merely meant it to draw out faithfulness from Abraham's faith. That was part of god's purposes for Abraham. The other part was to demonstrate his own faithfulness to Abraham. And this is the fourth section.
God's faithfulness to Abraham. Look at verses 13 and 14. Abraham looked up and there in the thicket, he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over to and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place, the lord will provide.
And to this day, it is said on the mountain of the lord, it will be provided. God provides a Ram in Isaac's place, which is sacrificed instead as a burnt offering. And in doing so, God saves Isaac's life and maintains his word that Abraham's descendants will be reckon through him. And Abraham called the place that this happened, the lord will provide. And it will stand to him as a reminder for the rest of his days that the lord saves is trustworthy and provides.
But as wonderful as this provision was for Abraham. It was merely a picture of god's greater faithfulness to the world through Jesus Christ. The parallels are just so clear. What why does god say to Abraham take your son, your only son whom you love. Why not just say take Isaac?
It's because it's a foreshadow of Jesus Christ, who is god's only son. In Matthew chapter 3, Jesus is ties, and a voice from heaven says, this is my son whom I love. With him, I am well pleased. And in verse 6 here, it says Abraham took the word for the burnt offering and placed it on his son, Isaac. So Isaac carries the word for his own sacrifice up the hill.
And in the gospels, we see Jesus carrying the cross up the hill to the place where he was crucified. And in verse 13 here, Abraham looks up and he sees a ram in the thicket. But There was no ram for Jesus in the thicket. In the garden of guest ceremony, Jesus looked up and prayed, if it is possible, may this cut be taken from me? But there was no other way.
There was no other Ram. So he prayed, yet not my will be done, but yours. And why was there no lamb for Jesus? Because Jesus himself was the lamb. And I think we should feel the impossibility of Abraham having to go through with the sacrifice of his son.
I think we should feel it. We should feel the pain the tearing sorrow of picking up that knife and, and through tears and love, looking at his darling son and, and having to bring that knife down. I think we should feel that pain because though Abraham was spared this suffering, god was not spared. Here is Jesus god's only beloved son, who he has known and treasured for all eternity sent as a sacrifice for us since. The spotless righteous lamb of god dies in our place as the ram died in the place of Isaac.
But why would he do this? I mean, why would Jesus go through with this for people as undeserving as us? I mean, you might be able to see why god sped isaac because he was just a boy, but me. Why would he do that for a filthy sinner like me? John 3 16 says, for god so loved the world, that he gave his 1 and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
He gave his 1 and only son because he loves us because he loves us and he wants to spend eternity with us. And the cross, understanding the cost of it, what it means should put beyond doubt the faithfulness that god has for us. Romans chapter 8 says He who did not spare his own son, but gave him up for all of us. How will he not also along with him graciously give us all things? It is the god who does not spare even his own son that caused the writer of lamentations to say because of the lord's great love, we are not consumed.
For his compassions never fail. They are new every morning. Great is your faithfulness. And my last point, faithfulness is a fruit of the spirit. Galatians 5 makes it clear that we are by nature unfaithful, to god and to each other.
We let each other down. We disappoint each other. We mess up. And we sin constantly. But god is cultivating faithfulness in us, and he's, to be more like him.
He's cultivating faithful sorry, faithfulness in us to be more like him, and this is encouraging for 2 reasons. First of all, it means it means god knows about our unfaithfulness, and he's doing something about it, which means we're not discounted when we are, when we're unfaithful and we fall into sin, Roman's chapter 3 says, what if some were unfaithful? Will their unfaithfulness nullify god's faithfulness? Not at all. God's faithfulness is not dependent on our faithfulness to him.
1 John says, if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. So god remains faithful to us, even though we are unfaithful to him. And secondly, this is also encouraging because it means he's making us more faithful to him and also to each other. As we keep in step with the spirit, he is day by day, making us, more faithful. But as with the other fruits to spirit, we don't just sit on the sofa waiting to be made a more faithful person.
We must also take responsibility and work the fruit So remember my 3 applications from earlier. Faithfulness is obeying god even when you don't want to. So I'll ask you again. What is it that you know God wants to change in your life? What do you do that?
You know you shouldn't? What don't you do that? You know you should? Are you hiding anything because you know you'll have to change if you admit it? Let's face those things.
We need to obey god even when we don't want to. Secondly, we need to interpret events within the framework of our understanding of god. We will find ourselves in difficult situations in this life. And what are we gonna do? Are we gonna think that god has abandoned us or that the world has a better solution?
Or are we gonna trust god and be faithful to him even when we can't understand why, and it makes no sense to us? And thirdly, in order to do this, we have to have a good theology. We can't be faithful to god in difficult times if we don't know what he's like. What his promises are. So do you know what god is like?
Do you know what his promises are for you? Do you know his word? Be honest with yourself with that. And if you don't as much as you should, then make sure you are coming to church. Make sure you are in a home group and and commit to it.
Come to the prayer meeting and bring petitions before the lord. Join fight club or sister's act or something. And slowly, but surely, as you sit under god's word, you're in, and you're in fellowship with the church. You will find that your understanding and your love of god will grow. But in addition to these 3 applications, remember that the lamb was slain in your place.
Remember god's faithfulness shown to you in Jesus Christ, and let that be an example, to follow and to praise god for. Interestingly, Abraham only named the place after, the act. And perhaps if he had sacrificed Isaac there, then he would have named the place sorrow and death. But instead, he named it the lord will provide. This is true of Abraham, and it is true of us.
So have you got faith in god? Is your faith made complete by your actions? Let's thank god for his faithfulness to us in the lord Jesus, and let's pray for faithfulness to him. Let me pray. Heavenly father.
We thank you for your word. Which shows us your great faithfulness to us in the lord Jesus. Thank you for sending him to us, even though he was your 1 and only beloved son. Thank you for the cross, where the lamb was crucified in our place so that our sins may be forgiven. And that we may be with you for eternity.
Please help us by your spirit to learn these lessons from Abraham to obey you in all situations and to trust you through knowing who you are. Please forgive us, father when we have, been unfaithful and help us to have confidence in your great faithfulness towards us in Jesus' name, amen.