Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Faithfullness in the New Covenant

9.77 It is required in stewards that one be found faithful

Now that we have covered the source of faithfulness in the New Covenant (it is a fruit of the Spirit), we can proceed to emphasize the importance of faithfulness in the Christian walk. Without the revelation of God’s faithfulness, Christians will end up depending on their own strength. Depending on our own strength is the opposite of abiding in Christ.

But by resting in His faithfulness, we experience His resurrection power in us. When we depend on Him, we abide in Him and we bear much fruit. Without Jesus, we can do nothing.

(John 15:5)
I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.

Every believer has been committed the mysteries of God. We have been committed an understanding of this wonderful gospel of Christ. We know what Christ has accomplished on the cross that can make a difference to our family, friends and the whole world. We understand the mystery of “Christ in us” in the New Covenant.

We are stewards of the mystery of Christ. It is no small matter to be a steward of God, not when the world needs to experience the power of salvation of the gospel. As Paul says, it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.

(1 Cor 4:1-2)
Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.

Faithfulness is important in a believer, especially in a leader. Today, whatever calling God has placed in your life, He has also given the ability for you to carry it out – faithfully. Remember that it is God who WORKS IN US both to will and to do for His good pleasure (Phil 2:13).

For the purpose of God to be carried out, God depends on faithful men – mean who will yield to His power in them. One time, Paul exhorted Timothy to commit the teachings of Paul to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

(2 Tim 2:2)
And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

We thank God for faithful men throughout the centuries who had carried the message of the gospel of Christ faithfully through the generations. Today, the baton is in your hands and you can carry that message as a faithful steward of Christ.

9.76 Faithfulness is a fruit of the Spirit

We have been talking about the faithfulness of God as His nature. What happened when we received Jesus into our heart? Jesus came to live within us. Paul says, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me…”

This is the secret of Christianity. This is the mystery of the glory of God – that Christ lives in us in the New Covenant.

(Col 1:27)
To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

You are no longer your old-self trying to be faithful (yet without the ability). Now you allow the faithfulness of God in Christ to be unveiled in you and through you.

The more we depend on God’s faithfulness, the more we experience the power of faithfulness. The more we abide in Christ, the more we grow in the fruit of His nature – which includes faithfulness. In the New Covenant, faithfulness is a fruit.

(Gal 5:22)
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.

Today, we depend on the faithfulness of God working in us and through us. We do not depend on our own faithfulness which is actually depending on the flesh. When we depend on the power of His faithfulness, we walk in the Spirit and we will not fail.

9.75 He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it

Daily Rhema is back. Daily Rhema was disrupted last week as I was traveling and did not have access to the internet.

We are back on the topic of God’s faithfulness towards us. We have shared that we should put our confidence in God’s faithfulness towards us, instead of our faithfulness towards God. We should allow His faithfulness to hold us secure, instead of hanging on to Him with our faithfulness. Let us share another verse on God’s faithfulness.

(1 Cor 1:4-9)
I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus, that you were enriched in everything by Him in all utterance and all knowledge, even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you, so that you come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

The verse says:
1) Because of the grace of Christ, we have been enriched in all utterance and knowledge.
2) We come short of no gift
3) Jesus will confirm us to the end. Another version says that Jesus will keep us strong to the end.
4) Jesus will keep us blameless.

You may ask, “How can I be certain that all that God has said will come to pass? Can I be faithful to be strong to the end? Can I be faithful to be blameless to the end?”

The passage tells us the answer. It declares that, “God is faithful…” It tells us that it is through the faithfulness of God that He will bring these things to pass. We are to trust in Him and allow Him to work in us.

You may ask, “I thought that being blameless is dependent on my own faithfulness.” In fact, another verse also confirms that it is God who will preserve us to be blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus.

(1 Thes 5:23-24)
Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.

How awesome is His faithfulness. We can trust in Him and depend on Him. He who calls us is faithful, who also will do it.

9.74 If we are faithless, He remains faithful

Let us go back to this powerful verse on the faithfulness of God.

(2 Timothy 2:13-14)
If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.

This verse tells us that God’s faithfulness is not dependant on our faithfulness. It is not dependant on anything. Faithfulness is the nature and character of God. He cannot deny Himself by being unfaithful. Those who say that God is only faithful to those who are faithful to Him are saying that God can deny Himself.

Some people will ask, “Are you saying that we don’t have to be faithful to God?” Certainly not! The Bible is saying that you don’t live on the basis of your faithfulness; you live on the basis of His faithfulness. If you are hanging from the tallest building in Singapore from a rope, would you prefer to be holding on to the rope, or would you prefer for the rope to be holding you (tied to you)?

It is clear, if you are holding on to the rope with your faithfulness, you may falter. If you are held by the rope of His faithfulness, you will not fall. It is clear where we should put our faith on. It is clear what will give us security to live our Christian lives.

How great is God’s faithfulness. It reaches to the clouds where we cannot even reach.

(Psalm 36:5)
Your mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens;
Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.

The Bible tells us that we are to feed on His faithfulness, not ours.

(Psalm 37:3)
Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.

There are times when we are hard pressed. We may feel like giving up. We do not have the strength to hold on anymore, or to keep going. At that time, if we start to think about how God is faithful to carry you through, we will be refreshed and find supernatural strength to move on. Have you experienced that before?

Remember to focus on His faithfulness. Paul said, “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ…” He will hold on to you and complete His work in you.

9.73 Faithfulness under the New Covenant

We continue on the series on New Covenant living. Today, we will discuss on the important topic of “faithfulness” under the New Covenant.

So often do I hear people say, “If you are faithful to God, He will be faithful to you.” Have you heard that before? Or when someone is blessed, people say, “You are blessed because you have been faithful to God.” We hear it so often that we believe in it.

I have seen people who struggle all their lives to be faithful to God, so that God will be faithful to them. And when they are burnt out, leaders tell them, “You have to remain faithful…”

Don’t get me wrong. Faithfulness is important. I believe in faithfulness. But obviously there is something wrong with the approach above. So what is wrong? Firstly, the focus above is on man’s faithfulness to God. Secondly, we have made the “faithfulness of man” as the condition to earn God’s faithfulness in response.

For 1,500 years, Israel tried to be faithful to the covenant and requirements of God. God wanted to test their faithfulness to Him. But they failed. They were unfaithful and they broke God’s covenant.

(Ps 78:37)
For their heart was not steadfast with Him,
Nor were they faithful in His covenant.

Today, if you focus on your faithfulness to God, you will likewise fail. You will be burnt out trying to be faithful. Why? Because you are depending on your own strength.

So when Israel was faithless, God displayed His faithfulness by sending His Son Jesus to redeem mankind. When the world had nothing to offer or boast about, Jesus came down. He could have forsaken us because we deserved it, but grace came through Jesus.

The New Covenant is really about God’s faithfulness displayed through Christ. It is not so much about ours. In fact, the Bible says that even when we are faithless, He will remain faithful. This verse throws our earlier statement of, “If you are faithful to God, He will be faithful to you,” out of the window.

(2 Timothy 2:13-14)
If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.

God doesn’t want us to put our confidence in ourselves. He wants us to put our confidence in His Son. If you are blessed, it is because He has been faithful to you. Our Christianity changes when we start to look upon His faithfulness.

by Joshua Lye

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