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DEVELOPING FAITHFULNESS

(Rick Warrens Study on Character)

DEVELOPING FAITHFULNESS Proverbs 20:6, Psalm 21:1 Leadership Lifter Rick Warren Proverbs 20:6 (GN) Everyone talks about how loyal and faithful they are, but just try to find someone who really is. Lord help! Godly men are fast disappearing. Where in all the world can dependable men be found? Ps. 21:1 (LB)

I. WHY DEVELOP FAITHFULNESS?

1. ____________________________________________________________ God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son 1 Cor. 1:9 (KJV) God is faithful, He will not allow you to be tempted above that which you are able 1 Cor. 10:13 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us 1 John 1:9 Ps. 33:4 In ALL His ways!

2. ____________________________________________________________ I thank Christ Jesus our Lord that He considered me faithful, putting me into the ministry. 1 Tim. 1:12 (KJV) For this reason I am sending you Timothy who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ 1 Cor. 4:17 The things you have heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. 2 Tim. 2:2

3. ____________________________________________________________ A faithful man will be richly blessed Pr. 28:20 Like a bad tooth or a lame foot is reliance on the unfaithful in times of trouble. Pr. 25:19

4. ____________________________________________________________ I gave Hanani charge over Jerusalem: for he was a faithful man, and feared God above many. Neh. 7:2 Who, then, is the faithful and wise servant? He is the one whom his master has placed in charge of the other servants Matt. 25:45 (GN)

5. ____________________________________________________________ His master replied, `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 masters happiness. Matt. 25:21

II. CHARACTERISTICS OF A FAITHFUL PERSON 1. He/She has ____________________________________________________________ A faithful man will be richly blessed, but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished. Pr. 28:20

2. He/She cares for ____________________________________________________________, not just his/her own. I have no one like (Timothy) who takes a genuine interest in your welfare. For everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. But Timothy has proved himself he has served with me in the work of the gospel. Phil. 2:20-22

3. He/She lives a ____________________________________________________________ before the unbelieving world. they were jealous and began searching for some fault in the way Daniel was handling his affairs so that they could complain to the king about him. But they couldn't find anything to criticize He was faithful and honest, and made no mistakes. Dan. 6:4 (LB)

4. He/She ____________________________________________________________ Like clouds and wind without rain is a man who boasts of gifts he does not give. Pr. 25:14 Whoever does what he promises, no matter how much it may coast will always be secure. Ps. 15:4-5 (GN)

5. He/She ____________________________________________________________ 3

Each should use whatever spiritual gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering Gods grace in its various forms. 1 Peter 4:10

6. He/She ____________________________________________________________ If you havent been faithful in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? Lk. 16:11 On every Sunday, each of you should put aside something from what you have earned during the week and use it for the offering. The amount depends on how much the Lord has helped you to earn. 1 Cor. 16:2 (LB)

7. He/She ____________________________________________________________ (God says) I will raise up a faithful priest who will serve me and do whatever I tell him to do. 1 Sam. 2:35 (LB)

8. He/She ____________________________________________________________ commit these things to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. 2 Tim. 2:2

WHAT HAS GOD GIVEN ME? ____________________________________________________________ NOW IT IS REQUIRED THAT THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN GIVEN A TRUST MUST PROVE FAITHFUL! 1 Cor. 4:2

Homework: Discover the 4 ways you can test a persons faithfulness: (Luke 16:10-13)

DEVELOPING FAITHFULNESS Proverbs 20:6, Psalm 21:1 Leadership Lifter Rick Warren Proverbs 20:6 (Good News) Everyone talks about how loyal and faithful they are but just try to find someone who really is. It is rare to find faithful people. People who can be counted on, people who are consistent, people who are dependable. There is very little commitment today in our society. Were in a generation right now that doesnt want to commit to anything. They dont want to be committed to a business. They dont want to be committed to a church. They dont want to be committed to their marriage. We live with disposable relationships. Faithfulness is a term you dont even hear very much today. Its not a commonly used term. I thought about when you use the term faithful. About the only time its used is when you refer to your dog my old dog or my old car or my old wife. Its reserved for retirement parties. Thats really about the only time you use this word. Twenty-five years of faithful service and you give the guy a gold watch. Its not a quality thats highly valued in our society. When I talk about faithfulness, Im talking about being dependable, reliable, consistent, trustworthy. The Bible says, Everybody talks about how loyal and faithful they are but just try to find someone who really is. Its difficult, its rare to find a genuinely faithful person. When you go to Yellowstone Park, whats the big thing people want to see? Old Faithful. Yet, I went to see Old Faithful one time and theres no big deal about it. There are geysers much bigger, much more beautiful, much more colorful, powerful. Whats the big deal about Old Faithful? The only thing you can say about it is, its faithful. Thats the only thing that makes it unique is that you can count on it. Every 27 minutes its going to spout. People value faithfulness whether they talk about it or not. Psalm 21:1 (Living Bible) Lord, help. Godly men are fast disappearing. Where in all the world can dependable men be found? Write down the names of five people who know they can count on you. If I would go to these five people and ask Who can you count on? would they give me your name? You say, Im faithful. Who knows it? Who knows that youre faithful? Who knows that they can count on you? About six years ago, Glenn and I went out to lunch. He leaned across the table and grabbed my arm and said, "Rick, I just want you to know Im always going to be your friend. You can count on me. You cant buy that. You need to know who you can count on and others need to know they can count on you. Were going to talk about faithfulness. The greatest ability is dependability. A person can have all kinds of talents, incredible intellectual ability. They can be very skilled at a job. But if theyre not dependable, its worthless. Can they be counted on? Can they be valued? Today were going to look at two things: Why develop faithfulness? And then, The characteristics of a faithful person.

I. WHY DEVELOP FAITHFULNESS 1. TO BE LIKE GOD. If that were the only reason, thats enough. God is a faithful God. If ever Im going to develop Christ likeness, be like Christ, this is a characteristic Ive got to build in my life. Ive got to learn to be faithful. Three different ways that God is faithful. God is faithful by whom you were called into fellowship of His son. In other words God is faithful at saving us. 1 Cor. 10:13 God is faithful. He will not allow you to be tempted above that which you are able. Hes a faithful God. He not only saves us, He keeps us. He will never allow more on you than He puts in you to bear it up. Sometimes you put more on yourself than youre able to bear up. But God will never put more on you, He will never allow you to be tempted greater than you can bear up. When people say, I just couldnt help myself theyre lying. Because the Bible says, God is faithful. He will not allow you to be tempted above that which you are able. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us. When you do give in to that temptation that He has been faithful not to allow greater than we can handle, but you give in to it anyway, Hes faithful to forgive you if you ask forgiveness. Psalm 33:4 God is faithful in all His ways. If Im going to be like God, Ive got to learn to be faithful in all my ways. In every area of life, Ive got to demonstrate faithfulness. 2. ITS A QUALIFICATION FOR MINISTRY The Bible teaches very clearly that faithfulness is a qualification for ministry. If Im unfaithful, I have no business being in the ministry. If Im disloyal, uncommitted, if I do not keep my word, if Im not trustworthy, if I cant be counted on, then Im not qualified for ministry. 1 Timothy 1:12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord that He considered me faithful, putting me in the ministry. Paul says, the reason God put me in the ministry is He considered me to be trustworthy, faithful. Then he says to the Corinthians, For this reason Im sending you Timothy who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ. Paul says, Im in the ministry because God considered me faithful and Im sending Timothy to you because I consider him faithful. 2 Timothy 2:2 he says to Timothy The things you [Timothy] have heard of me through many witnesses, the same commit to faithful men who shall be able to teach others also. Paul says, God considered me faithful; He put me in the ministry. I consider Timothy faithful; I put him in the ministry. Now Timothy, youre to find other faithful people and youre to move them into the ministry. Faithfulness is a characteristic or qualification for ministry.

3. IT GUARANTEES GODS BLESSING ON MY LIFE This is the secret of blessing. If you want to know the secret of getting Gods blessing on your life, just be faithful. Be faithful in the little things. What counts is not what you are up in front, when youre on stage, in public. What counts is your private life. It guarantees Gods blessing on my life. A faithful man will be richly blessed. Thats a promise of God. Many times you think, Nobody sees what Im doing for the Lord. Nobody cares. Im not getting strokes. Nobody appreciates me. Nobody knows what Im doing. God does. It doesnt matter; you shouldnt live for the strokes of other people. You shouldnt live for the applause and approval of other people because the Bible says, The ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord and He pondereth all his goings. God sees everything thats going on in your life and my life and He says faithfulness produces blessing. In contrast, Proverbs 25:19 Like a bad tooth or a lame foot is reliance on the unfaithful in times of trouble. Hes saying that unfaithful people are a pain in the blessed assurance. Inconsistency produces irritation. You expect the repairman to show up at a certain time and he doesnt show. Youre ticked! You expect the paperboy to give you the paper every night and its not and youre upset. You put in an order with the waitress and it comes and its the wrong order or theres a delay. I think one way God teaches us patience is if youve ever had to be in a car pool with anybody. Waiting and delay. Maybe they dont show up. Hes saying that unfaithfulness causes problems. In fact, Id say if you look at many of the problems we have in life a lot of them have to do with this lack of dependability. When people are undependable, it causes problems. When people dont show up in your group, does that cause problems? When you dont show up, does that cause problems? It guarantees Gods blessing on my life. The opposite is true. If Im not faithful it produces problems in my life.

4. FAITHFULNESS PREPARES ME FOR LEADERSHIP ROLES Nehemiah 7:2 I gave Hannani [who was Nehemiahs brother] charge over Jerusalem for he was a faithful man [underline faithful man] and he feared God above many. He gave him a position of leadership because he had proved himself faithful. The Bible says, when it gives the qualifications of a deacon or a servant of the church He must first be proven He must have track record. Before you can be a leader, you need to demonstrate your faithfulness. Matthew 25:45 Who then is the faithful and wise servant. He is the one whom his master has placed in charge of the other servants. Both of these verses mention placed in charge or charge over. This is indication of a leadership role. Once in a while I meet somebody on the patio and the first week they come and they immediately give the impression, Im ready to take the reins. The solution has arrived for Saddleback. Have no fear, Superman is here. Im ready to assume a leadership role. I think, Wait a minute. You have no track record with us. You may have been a pastor in another church, you may have been the chairman of an elder board, you may have taught for 27 years but you dont have a track 7

record here. The Bible says to look for faithfulness. I have no right to assume any leadership role unless I have a track record. Hes saying that faithfulness prepares me for leadership.

5. FAITHFULNESS WILL BE REWARDED IN HEAVEN. There are about 5-6 different parables at least in the New Testament where faithfulness is the essential theme. Jesus said, I want you to get the message so Im going to repeat this different ways. He says it over and over again that God looks at faithfulness. God can overlook my ignorance and God can overlook my lack of talents. But what He does not overlook is what I do with what Ive got. How faithful am I with the circumstances, given my background, given my spiritual gifts, my talent, my temperament given all those things we talk about in 301 how God has SHAPED me, given those parameters, what do I do with what Ive got? The issue that God judges more than anything else in the life of a believer is faithfulness. The Bible says that we will be rewarded in heaven according to our faithfulness. Matthew 25:21 His master replied, well done good and faithful servant. Youve been faithful with a few things. I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your masters happiness. If you want a goal for life, a legitimate life purpose, make it Matthew 25:21. I want to get to the end of my life, die and the next second go into the presence of God and have Matthew 25:21 applied to me. There is no more worthy goal in life than to stand before Jesus Christ and have Him say some day, Well done, thou good and faithful servant. You did your best, you gave it your best shot. You tried. You had setbacks. You made mistakes. You embarrassed yourself. You werent perfect, but you were faithful. And thats what counts. In Matthew 25:14-27, Jesus tells this parable. Notice what He says about it. One guy went out and doubled his talent, another guy went out and doubled his talent. The guy with one talent went and buried it in a hole. The point there is, usually that the person with minimum or average talent is often the least faithful. They say, I cant do everything therefore Ill do nothing. If I cant do it spectacularly, I just wont do it. I have a philosophy: If its worth doing, its worth doing poorly. The phrase, If its worth doing, its worth doing perfectly, has caused more people to set on the sidelines than practically any other phrase. They think, if I cant do it perfectly, I just wont do it. So very few of us can do anything perfectly. There are some things I have to do thats Im not good at. Im not good at car repair, but sometimes I have to change a tire. I could say, If I cant do it perfectly, like a professional, therefore Ill never change a tire. Some things you just have to do and you do it out of faithfulness, not out of expertise. v. 28 Take the talent from him [who hadnt been faithful] and give it to the one who has ten talents. Everyone who has will be given more and he will have abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. And throw that worthless servant outside into the darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Thats strong stuff. Thats how serious God considers the element of faithfulness. He says my ministry, my life is worthless if it has not been faithful to what God has asked me to do.

I said all that to say this: If it is true that were going to be rewarded in heaven according to our faithfulness, if thats the issue that God is looking at and He says it five or six different times in the parables, if the basis for my rewards in heaven is not based on my talent or my background or what I accomplished, but on faithfulness, then Id better start preparing for the final exam. How do I prepare myself for this final exam so that I can stand before God and have Him say Well done thou good and faithful servant? The Bible teaches very clearly you do it eight ways. II. CHARACTERISTICS OF A FAITHFUL PERSON the Eight things God is going to evaluate to judge your faithfulness. Im going to give you a sneak peek at the final exam. Youre going to stand before God one day and Hes going to evaluate your faithfulness. Hes going to look at eight different aspects of your life to judge your faithfulness. You ought to be highly interested in what Im about to share because this is what you will be evaluated on. 1. HE OR SHE HAS RIGHT VALUES. A faithful person knows whats important in life and what isnt important in life. A faithful person knows how to invest his or her life and how not to. A faithful person makes their life count. A faithful person knows the significant from the trivial. Proverbs 28:20 A faithful man will be richly blessed but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished. This contrasts faithfulness with a desire to get rich quick. Hes not talking about making money. The Bible teaches you to earn all you can, save all you can, give all you can. I could go through a lot of verses on that. In fact, the Bible says He who does not provide for his family is worse than an infidel. But this is talking about get rich quick schemes, if you take the context around it. It compares the consuming desire to make a buck as being the primary goal in life with faithfulness. Hes saying that what we have to realize is there is more to life than just the accumulation of things. Yet we live in a materialistic world where the soul goal of life for most people is the accumulation of things. Thats their whole purpose. The one with the most toys at the end wins, philosophy. The Bible says that like fish swimming upstream in a very materialistic world, were to live. Faithfulness is proven by our refusal to buy into the system that says the almighty buck is the number one thing in life. Faithfulness is proven by a choosing of a simplified lifestyle in order to have more time for ministry. How do you judge that? Theres no standard. Whats simple for one person may not be simple for another. But if all your time and energy is going in to making a buck, youre not being faithful. You know there are many people in the church who have the background and qualifications to be lay pastors and theyre not here this morning because Im too busy. What am I too busy for? Im too busy making a buck. Ive got myself in over my head and my expenses are so high that we have to hustle just to make ends meet and we dont have time for ministry. The Bible says thats unfaithfulness.

Thats pretty strong. Im not to judge them, but one day they will stand before Jesus Christ and Hell say Lets look at your values. Did you have time to do anything for Me or in serving others or was all your time spent in the eagerness to get rich? Luke 16:13. The reason I can be so adamant about this is because Jesus put it in black and white terms. He simply said you cant serve God and money at the same time. If money were the important value in my life, I wouldnt be a pastor. Id go out and with the background and education I have and with enough energy, Id go out and become a millionaire. Id think up some way to become a millionaire. But thats not the important value in life. What counts is lives of people. 2. A FAITHFUL PERSON CARES FOR OTHERS INTEREST, NOT JUST HIS OR HER OWN. The Bible says that the second way God is going to judge our faithfulness is our relationship to other people. Did we care about the relationships of others and not just our own relationships? A great example is Timothy. Paul says, I have no one like Timothy. How would you like that for a recommendation, on your resume The Apostle Paul said theres nobody like me? Thats a pretty good recommendation. The Apostle Paul said, I have no one like Timothy who takes a genuine interest in your welfare. For everyone looks out for his own interest and not those of Jesus Christ. But Timothy has proved himself. H e has served with me in the work of the Gospel. Philippians 2:20-22. This is an incredible verse. He says theres nobody else like Timothy. He gives him carte blanche. Thats better than being in Whos Who. Hes in Gods Whos Who. Whats the key? He takes a genuine interest in your welfare. Everyone else looks out for his own interest. God says faithfulness swims against the stream of contemporary culture. Contemporary culture says Whats in it for me? Whats my needs, my ambitions, my desires, my goals, my hurts, my values, my profit, my benefit? Its very selfish, self-centered. Whats in it for me? God says faithfulness is proven by our other-directedness and by giving our life away, by looking at others rather than concentrating on our own self. This issue (to summarize the marriage series) this is the real issue in marriage problems: I want my own way. Only by pride cometh contention. When two selfish people get together their needs and interests clash and all kinds of marriage problems are the result. When you boil it down, its an issue of selfishness. The Bible teaches that faithfulness is a choice. I can choose to change my attitude so that the focus gets off myself and whats best for me and instead say. Whats best for others? Whats best for my kids? Whats best for my wife? When you accepted a wedding ring you made a vow of faithfulness. But the truth is, you dont have to commit adultery to be unfaithful to your mate. There are lots of ways to be unfaithful. I know a lot of guys and a lot of ladies who are in love with their career. Their job is their mistress. Theyre being unfaithful because theyre thinking of themselves rather than others. When Im being unreliable, Im being unloving.

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3. HE OR SHE LIVES A LIFE OF INTEGRITY BEFORE THE UNBELIEVING WORLD. In other words, a mark of faithfulness is what kind of testimony do I have with unbelievers? Not what do believers think about me, but what do unbelievers think about me? Its interesting that the Bible teaches that a pastor is to be above reproach in the community, he is to have a good reputation. Not with believers, but with unbelievers. You know why. Weve seen when somebody in the ministry has a bad reputation with unbelievers and its spread out all over the newspaper, and what that does to the cause of Christ. The best example I can think of here is Daniel. Daniel 6:4 (Living Bible). This is talking about unbelievers who were peers of Daniel. He had been appointed a governor, a satrap (what they call them in Persia), and the other governors were very jealous. They were jealous and began searching for some fault in the way Daniel was handling his affairs so that they could complain to the king about him. But they couldnt find anything to criticize. He was faithful and honest and made no mistakes. How would you like to have that kind of reputation at work? They couldnt find anything to criticize about him. The guy was blemish-less, spotless. He maintained a blameless testimony. This is a practical example of faithfulness. God says when I want to look and see your faithfulness, Im going to look at not the testimony you give when its testimony time at church or in a small group, but Im going to look at, Did you do your best at work? Are you responsible for hiring people? When you hire somebody one of the main things you look for is faithfulness. Are they going to be loyal? Are they trustworthy? Can you trust them with this responsibility? We need to ask ourselves, Am I faithful in the little things at work? Most of us have a guilt pile. Its those things on your desk you know you need to get to but you keep putting off. The Bible says be faithful in the little things. Success, in my book, is simply being faithful in the little things. When youre faithful in the little things, God gives you greater responsibilities and you grow. I think what this verse is saying is that Christians should have the reputation of being the most dependable people in the market.

4. A FAITHFUL PERSON KEEPS HIS WORD, HIS PROMISES. Proverbs 25:14 Like clouds and wind without rain is a man who boasts of gifts that he does not give. The very first campaign we had for fund raising for land, the three biggest gifts did not come through. Hes saying be careful about what you promise. When He evaluates our faithfulness, Hes going to look at all the promises we made. That ought to put us in holy terror. Ill get back to you. Ill return it as soon as Im through with it . The checks in the mail . Ill do it later Ill pray for you those kind of things. As a parent, you know you often make promises in moments of weakness just to get the kids to stop pestering you. Ive learned thats fatal! Many times Ive made promises to my kids and it does not even register with me consciously. But my kids, when it comes to promises, have a mind of an elephant. They never forget. 11

Proverbs 20:25 It is a trap to dedicate something rashly and only later consider your vow. I did a whole sermon on this verse one time Its Easier To Get In Than Get Out. Its easier to get in debt than to get out of debt thats making a promise to pay. Its easier to get into a relationship than out of a relationship. Its easier to fill up your schedule than it is to fulfill your schedule. The Bible is saying that faithfulness is a matter of if you say it, you do it. You keep your promises. The number one cause of resentment are unfulfilled promises. Psalm 15:4-5 Whoever does what he promises no mater how much it may cost will always be secure. The King James Version says Whoever sweareth to his own hurt. Have you ever made a promise and then thought, I really dont want to do this, but you do it anyway. God says that counts. Thats faithfulness. God is looking for all the times that weve stated something and then did it. We need to ask ourselves, What promises do I need to keep? Promises to spend more time with the kids. Promises to spend more time with my husband/wife. Take a vacation. Promises to repair the faucet. Whatever. By the way, when youre dependable, you dont say things like Cross my heart, hope to die, stick a needle in my eye. Or I promise on a stack of Bibles. Jesus said, Let your yea, be yea and your nea be nea. A Christian ought to be able to just say, Yes, Ill do it, or No, I wont. You would not believe the excuses weve had from people on Sunday morning who at the last minute didnt want to do a Sunday School class or be an usher or greeter or whatever. Weve had people call from Las Vegas and said, We wont be in church today because weve decided to spend another day in Las Vegas. Theyd call at the last minute. Thats not faithfulness. Whoever does what he promises no matter how much it may cost will always be secure. If you want to have strong self-esteem, the key is to keep your word. Youll be a man/woman of your word.

5. HE OR SHE DEVELOPS AND USES HIS SPIRITUAL GIFTS. Theres a tremendous emphasis on this in the Bible, using the gifts and the talents God has given you natural talents Hes given you, spiritual gifts, abilities, a basic heart motivation all those things we talk about in 301. God has made an investment in your life and He expects a return on it. 1 Peter 4:10 Each should use whatever spiritual gift he has received to serve others faithfully, administering Gods grace in its various forms. Notice it says if you dont use your spiritual gift (to serve others), if Im not using the spiritual gifts God has given me, people are getting cheated. If youre not using the spiritual gifts God has given you, people are getting cheated. Just because we cant do the spectacular doesnt excuse us from doing nothing. Faithfulness is based on what we do with what we have. Im not responsible to sing like Rick Muchow I cant. God wants us to develop and use our gifts. I think that many people in our church should be very frightened by this verse. Theyre sitting in the bleachers, in the pews. Theyre pew warmers. One day theyre going to have to stand before a Holy God and God is going to say, What did you do with what you were given? I warmed the pew! God says were to faithfully administer use, develop. I realize Im preaching to the choir today. You dont need this verse. Its the people who arent here that need this verse. Keep on doing what youre doing. How do you develop, how do you administer your gifts? For one thing, you keep getting trained.

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We are going into the summer months, which are notorious for being the season for unfaithfulness. There will be many times youll be tempted to say, Lets dont do this. Lets cancel the group. Lets dont go to SALT this month. Its summertime. We need to take a vacation. You do need to take a vacation, but the Bible says that God is going to judge us on our faithfulness and if training is there lets be faithful to it.

6. A FAITHFUL PERSON MANAGES HIS MONEY WELL When you get to heaven, one of the things that God is going to look at to determine the reward that youre given and the future responsibilities is how youve handled your finances. The Bible is very clear about that. How you handle your money is a test of faithfulness. Luke 16:11 If you havent been faithful in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches. God is saying that the way that you handle your finances, your worldly wealth, affects what God is able to do in your life. It says God is not going to trust me with spiritual blessings if Im not being faithful to do what Hes told me to do with financial blessings. God has made money the acid test of faithfulness. We spend all our lives trying to make it, save it, accumulate it, spend it. So much of our life revolves around it, God says that how we handle our money is a test of faithfulness. If we havent been faithful handling worldly wealth, who is going to trust us with true riches. I need to ask myself, Do I pay my bills on time? Do I live within my budget? Am I consistent in tithing? How does my giving compare with my spending? How does my spending compare with my saving? God says Im going to be accountable for this in heaven. 1 Corinthians 16:2 On every Sunday each of you should put aside something of which youve earned during the week and use it for an offering. The amount depends on how much the Lord has helped you to earn. Hes talking about giving consistently, faithfully, regularly. Circle every. I want to make a point here. I understand that all of our lay pastors are tithers, but I want to challenge you to take your tithe and divide it up so that you give it weekly rather than biweekly or monthly. This was something God has convicted me of just in the last year. It says, on every Sunday. You say you only get paid once a month so you give once a month. I understand. But I figured out how much I made and I give it weekly, because God says to. Because its an evidence of faithfulness. Its not that Im not going to give any more or give any less, its just simply a weekly reminder that says I do it every week. The first day of every week I give the first part of my money to the Lord. Its a test of faithfulness. I received an airmail letter from Austria. It was from one of our members. They were giving their weekly offering, even though they were spending three weeks in Europe. That is faithfulness. It said theyd thought it out. I dont know if I would have remembered to take my offering envelopes with me on vacation. But that took some planning. They pulled out their three envelopes from their three Sundays they were going to be gone and paid extra postage to send it from Austria to the United States. That says loads. They could have given it all up front or all when they got back. And it would have been the exact same amount. But what they said was, Lord, even when were on vacation we put You first. Thats faithfulness.

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The Bible says Im going to be judged. Many people wonder, How come my prayers arent being answered? How come Gods not blessing my life? How come this situation? If you havent been faithful in handling worldly wealth, whos going to trust you with true riches. 7. HE OR SHE OBEYS GODS COMMANDS 1 Samuel 2:35 god says I will raise up a faithful priest to serve me and do whatever I tell him to do Circle do whatever I tell him to do. God defines faithfulness as obedience to the commands of Christ. So Gods going to look. Anytime youre encouraging people in your small group to obey the commands of Christ, you are helping them store up rewards. Anytime theres somebody in your group that needs to be baptized and you encourage them, youre helping them store up rewards in heaven. Anytime you encourage someone to memorize a Scripture, any commands of Scripture, youre helping them store up rewards in heaven.

8. HE OR SHE PASSES ON TO OTHERS WHAT HE OR SHE LEARNS The Bible says Commit these things to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. Its a transferring process of multiplication. Paul says, I gave it to you, Timothy. Youre to give it to faithful men and the faithful men are to give it to others and on and on. None of us would be here today if there hadnt been faithful men and women in the last 2000 years of the church. Were here today because some faithful men and women took time to write down the Scriptures. And others preserved the Scriptures, and others translated the Scriptures. Were here because of the testimony of faithful people. If God teaches you a spiritual truth and youre learning a spiritual truth, its your duty to pass it on to others. What has God given me? Everything. Your family, your ministry, this church, resources, the fact that youre in America, your career. 1 Corinthians 4:2 Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. I am to be faithful with whatever God has given me. If hes given me a family, Im to be faithful to that. If Hes given me a job, Im to be faithful to that. If Hes given me finances, Im to be faithful with that. If Hes given me a ministry, Im to be faithful with that. The Bible says Be instant in season and out of season. Always be ready to give an answer for the hope that lies within you. Always be ready to serve, to give. How do I become faithful? Galatians 5:22-23 The fruit of the Spirit is faithfulness. Its one of the nine fruits. When the Holy Spirit lives in my life, I will demonstrate faithfulness. How do you know when youre filled with the Spirit? What is the test? Some kind of emotional experience? Not necessarily. You can have an emotional experience and not be filled with the Spirit. What is the test? The fruit is the test. How do I demonstrate that Im filled with the Spirit? That Im faithful. When Im faithful to the responsibilities that God has given me, it is indication that Im filled with the Holy Spirit. Homework: Luke 16:10-13. In those verses you can discover the four ways you can test a person's faithfulness. 14

Prayer: Father, we want to be faithful people because You are a faithful God. Youve been faithful to save us. Youve been faithful to forgive us. Youre faithful to help us overcome temptation. The Scripture says Youre faithful in all Your ways toward us. Thessalonians says even when were unfaithful, Youre faithful because You cannot deny Yourself. Help us, as leaders at Saddleback, as ministers of the Gospel, to be faithful in the ministry that Youve given to us. When we feel like giving up, to not give up. And when we feel tired and discouraged to be faithful in season and out of season. And to be responsible for all Youve given us. Father, it is our desire to be able to stand before You and one day have You say, Well done thou good and faithful servant. You were faithful with a few things, now I will give you many responsibilities. Come and share your masters happiness. When we see the smile on Your face, it will be worth it all. May we be loyal, dependable, consistent, trustworthy people. In Jesus name, Amen.

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