Sunday, January 1, 2017

Being Faithful In 2017

Temple Baptist Church - 1-1-2017
Hebrews 10:19-31


A.  New Year’s Day! 

1.  In the south, it stands for collard greens, black eyed peas, and cornbread!  You gotta love the south. 

2.  Someone said the south stands for God, Grits, and Guns.  I love all three!  I love God with all my heart.  I love grits with salt and butter.  I love guns and knives so I guess that makes me a bad person in the eyes of the progressive liberal?  

B.  Another year has passed and, as I look back, I am thankful for 2016!

1.  God has blessed us in so many ways.  Let us ever be mindful of it.

2.  A tale has been told.  Our successes and our failures are “written in stone.”  Last year is “water under the bridge” that cannot be changed but can be learned from.

3.  A clean slate has been set before us. 

a)  We need forgiveness for the failures.

b)  We should be thankful for the successes.

c)  We need to be responsible to remember and correct history.

C.  I want this year’s beginning theme to be one of faithfulness.  The First Mention of the word “faithful” is found in the Book of Numbers:

Numbers 12:7  My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house.  (Keep in mind that Moses was not sinless [he did not get to cross Jordan into the Promised Land], he was faithful.  Faithful in all!  We are all imperfect and too often imperfect by choice but sinlessness is not a prerequisite for faithfulness.  I am not promoting sinfulness but am just explaining that God can use imperfect people.)

D.  As we enter the New Year (I am not all about New Year’s Resolutions but I am all about resolve), we need to have a steadfast resolve concerning what we believe and our willingness to pay the price for standing thusly.  Resolve means determination, doggedness, firmness, and tenacity.  We hear about being as tenacious as a Bull Dog.  Well, I have never owned one but we need to be tenacious!

E.  We live in an ever-changing world.  I am not speaking about the age of technology but in the realm of both morality and theology.  Things are rapidly changing in our world and our nation.

1.  People of our day are questioning their values.  A value is something that you believe in and hold dear.  I personally do not question every value that I have been taught.  I do not have to “re-invent the wheel.” Right is still right; wrong is still wrong; sin is still sin; the Bible is still the final authority!

2.  People are changing their way of thinking about the Bible, the God of the Bible, and questioning everything that they have ever believed about both.  Many are changing without knowing that they are changing because the change is subtle.  We use the phrase “getting used to the dark.”  A slow encroachment upon both the Truth and the value of such Truth.  It never ceases to amaze me when I look at the science of our day that does its best to prove that there is no God.  You only try to disprove what you fear.

2.  We that are saved know what time it is and we have read the end of the Bible but, when studying the Church Age in chapters 2-3 of the Book of the Revelation, we see the downward spiral of the churches.  Thus, in these last days, we see the Laodicean Church Age in full bloom. I am not worried about the world, though I do want them to come to know the Lord that I fell in love with so many years ago, I worry about God’s people! 

F.  In the First Mention of any subject, God will state His mind on the subject and will never vary from it.  Moses was a servant of God and was faithful “in ALL mine house.” 

1.  To see faithfulness as God sees faithfulness is to find faithfulness in everything that we do for Him.  I have often used this illustration: “If a man is faithful to his wife 364 days out of the year and is unfaithful to her on only one day a year, it he faithful?” 

2.  I don’t think that we must have the ladies answer that question, do we?  Because we live in days of unfaithfulness, we have somewhat changed the definition of the word.  So many church members have become sporadic in both attendance and service.

3.  Faithfulness is defined as being true, devoted, staunch, constant, loyal, dependable, steadfast fidelity, bound by a pledge.

G.  In the New Testament, Paul said, “Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.”  (1 Corinthians 4:2) Faithfulness is a requirement for stewards.

1 Peter 4:7-11  But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.  (8)  And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.  (9)  Use hospitality one to another without grudging.  (10)  As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.  (11)  If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

H.  As we move toward the end of time, we find the diminishing of faithfulness—especially in the spiritual realm.  “To thine on self be true” has become the slogan of the world.  Faithfulness to self alone is failure to those whom you love.  Faithfulness to self alone is a failure to those things that we should hold dear.  To the world, salvation without faithfulness expresses itself as just having religion.

I.  As we enter the New Year, we need to do so with a renewed determination: that is resolve, steadfastness, doggedness, firmness, and tenacity.  This morning, I want to look at the word “determination” for a few minutes.

1.  Determination is a statement of Character.  Spiritual or moral parameters in one’s life.  Character is what you are when no one else is around.  Proverbs 20:6  Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?  (In our day, faithfulness is a scarce commodity.  Jim Pennington used to say, “Bro. Dave, I can’t do much but I can be faithful.”  Unfaithfulness shows a lack of character.)

1 Corinthians 4:2  Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.

2.  Determination is a statement of Conviction.  A strong principle upon which one stands.  Conviction is something that is not negotiable.  1 Corinthians 16:13  Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.  (In our day, strong men and women is a scarce commodity.  Stand for nothing, fall for anything.  I know what I believe and I believe that what I know is right! Unfaithfulness shows a lack of conviction.)

2 Timothy 3:14  But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;

3.  Determination is a statement Consecration.  A dedication to something of great importance.  1 Corinthians 15:58  Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.  (In our day, commitment is a scarce commodity.  Commitment to things of eternal value.  Many things are worth living for but some are worth dying for.  Unfaithfulness shows a lack of consecration.)

2 Timothy 4:7  I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:

Conclusion:  We face another New Year!  It is hard to believe that 2017 is at hand but, if the Lord has not returned, it will also soon be gone for time waits for no man.  This morning, I am glad that I know both what and Whom I have believed.  I am not “blown about” by every fad or “wind of doctrine.”  I am well established in the “present truth” that, what I have believed is right, and it will continue to be right!

Hebrews 3:14  For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;

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