CHRISTIANS MUST BE FAITHFUL
The great challenge for Christians is to stay faithful to God in daily living. In Revelation 2:10 we read, "Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life." These words provide motivation for godly living in every age or time. It is a great encouragement to hear the Lord say "Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life."
Stephen understood the importance of faithfulness to God. He was faithful in his proclamation of God's word. He likewise remained faithful as he was stoned for his faith. Paul is another example of one that stayed faithful. He wrote, "For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing." (2 Timothy 4:6-8)
Faithfulness begins with gospel obedience: Jesus extended His great invitation to everyone. He said, "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28) Jesus sent out His apostles, saying, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. ”He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. (Mark 16:15-16) Those that would be saved must obey the gospel. In Hebrews 5:9 we are told that Christ is, "the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him." Those that are faithful to God (1) Have faith in Christ, (2) Repent of sins, (3) Confess Christ as Lord, and (4) Obey the Lord in baptism. Those that obey the gospel are Christians.
Faithfulness continues with daily Christian living: As important as becoming a Christian is that is not enough without daily Christian living. Those that are faithful to Christ live Christ lived, think like Christ thought, talk like Christ talked and Walk like Christ walked. Paul said, "For me to live is Christ." (Philippians 1:21) Christians must spend their lives living for Jesus. Your days should be used in serving God and serving your fellow man. Faithfulness means that we find ways to make our life what Christ would have it be.
Faithfulness involves growth in God's word: The Bible is God's inspired road map from earth to heaven. Jesus said, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God." (Matthew 4:4) It is the "sincere milk of the word" that produces Christian growth. The righteous will delight in the Law of the Lord and mediate in it day and night. (Psalm 1:2) It is through our Bible study that we (1) Learn about God, (2) Observe the greatness of God, (3) Become familiar with God's grace and mercy, (4) Learn how to become a Christian and how to worship. The teachings of the Bible meets our every need. "Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee." (Psalm 119:11) Read the Bible daily; mediate upon the Lord's great truth; and allow that truth to become a part of you as you live for Christ.
Faithfulness means that we pray to the Father in heaven: In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus said, "In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be your name." (Matthew 6:9) Prayer is the great privilege of Christians. God is near enough to hear the prayers of the faithful and strong enough to answer those prayers. The Bible command was simple, "Pray without ceasing." (1 Thessalonians 5:17) Prayer is a time of communication with God. Because prayer is our connection with God we should "Continuing instant in prayer." (Romans 12:12) Prayer avails only if we are obedient to God. Proverbs 28:9 says, "One who turns away his ear from hearing the law, Even his prayer is an abomination."
Faithfulness necessitates service to God and to others: Faithful Christians seek opportunities to serve God by serving others. When you serve the least of mankind you are serving the Lord. (Matthew 25:40) Opportunities come to do good and we must use those opportunities to honor God. (Galatians 6:10) Pure religion, faithful Christianity involves services to widows and orphans. (James 1:27) Even "a cup of cold water" or other small deeds of service are remembered by the Lord. (Matthew 10:42) The greatest service that you can render to anyone is to tell them how to be saved by Christ and in Christ.
Faithfulness is anchored by true worship: Christians should look upon worship as a privilege and a blessing. Communion is a part of true worship on each Lord's Day. (1 Corinthians 11, Acts 20:7) Christian must not only worship but we must be sure that we engage in true worship. "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." (John 4:24) The faithful will never willfully forsake the assembly of the saints. (Hebrews 10:25) Christians gain strength and encouragement from worshipping with other godly people. Never fail to be among those that gather to praise and to serve God in Christian worship, true worship, each Sunday.
Will you appreciate Jesus enough that you will receive Him as your Lord and Savior NOW? To become a Christian you must hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus (John 8:24), repent of sins (Acts 17:30), confess Christ as Lord (Acts 8:37), and be baptized to be saved. (1 Peter 3:21). After your baptism will you follow Jesus faithfully so that He can lead you home to heaven? (Revelation 2:10)
By Charles Box, Walnut Street Church of Christ, P.O. Box 551, Greenville, Alabama 36037 USA.