Faithfulness that never quits.

Be Faithful Unto Death

by Pastor Jim Feeney, Ph.D.

Summary:  "Be faithful!" Jesus places great value on faithfulness. In fact, it is one of the factors that will be evaluated at the judgment seat of Christ. The bible gives us principles concerning being faithful that will enable us to receive Jesus' high praise as we stand before Him on that day.

Matthew 25:21 tells us that when we stand before the judgment seat of Christ, Jesus will declare to His followers: “Well done, good and faithful servant!”

•• “Good and faithful — of all the possible words Jesus could use, He will choose “good” and “faithful" to describe those on whom His favor rests.
• This shows how important it is to God that we be faithful. How long faithful? Unto death! Jesus told the church in Smyrna, "Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life" (Revelation 2:10, KJV).

• Let’s get a sense of that word’s meaning in various biblical contexts showing people living and acting faithfully.

Deuteronomy 11:13-15  So if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you today ... [14] then I will send rain ... so that you may gather in your grain, new wine and oil. [15] ... you will eat and be satisfied.

•• A faithful person does not try to get God to rubber-stamp our agenda. Rather, a faithful person learns the Lord’s commands and obeys them.
“Well done, good and faithful OBEY-ers!

2 Chronicles 31:11-12a  Hezekiah gave orders to prepare storerooms in the temple of the LORD, and this was done. [12a] Then they faithfully brought in the contributions, tithes, and dedicated gifts.

•• I am thankful for faithful givers in South Valley Church. [Explanatory note: in our church, other than for occasional special or missions offerings, we do not "pass the plate." Rather, we place a receptacle in the back for the members' tithes and offerings. God impresses upon the people to give faithfully, without ongoing pressure from the pulpit.]
• We taught our children to tithe, even on small allowances. God in turn has blessed them financially. They continue to be faithful in tithes and offerings today, as young adults.

“Well done, good and faithful TITHERS!

2 Chronicles 34:12a  The men did the work faithfully [repairing the temple in King Josiah’s day].

•• New Testament “temple” work is not all preaching and witnessing.
• Sometimes it’s faithfully showing up for work parties.

• Or faithfully working the nursery.

• Or, as Pastor Tom Ware did, faithfully doing worship ministry for 15 years until Pastor Dave Barton merged with us and took over that ministry.

“Well done, good and faithful WORKERS!

Nehemiah 9:7-8  [8] You found [Abram’s] heart faithful to you, and you made a covenant with him to give to his descendants the land...

•• Faithfulness is not bored compliance with requirements.
• Faithfulness springs from a godly heart attitude.

• Faithfulness reflects a heart where God is #1.

“Well done, you of a sincerely faithful HEART!

Proverbs 20:6  Many a man claims to have unfailing love, but a faithful man who can find?

•• Faithfulness is demonstrated in shoe leather, not just in the words of our mouths.
• Two ladies visited our church in New York for the first time and gushed: “Wow! This is what we’ve been praying for. Give us some church literature to hand out.” And we never saw them again! As the saying goes, "Talk is cheap."

“Well done, you faithful DOERS of my will, not you mere talkers about it!”

Jeremiah 23:28  ... let the one who has my word speak it faithfully.

•• Opportunity to witness? — Speak the Word!

•• Chance to teach a class, a Sunday School? — Say "yes" to the opportunity to be faithful in speaking God's Word!
• In Alaska, I and others taught evening bible classes in Palmer, Talkeetna, Big Lake, Seward, Soldotna, Anchor Point, and elsewhere. We had the Word. Faithfulness demanded that we speak it; it left us no option.

“Well done, faithful SPEAKERS of my WORD!

Ezekiel 48:11   This [allotment of land] will be for the consecrated priests, the Zadokites, who were faithful in serving me and did not go astray as the Levites did when the Israelites went astray.

•• Faithfulness keeps serving God through every circumstance, even when those around you fall.
• Faithfulness would be you continuing to serve God if all three of us pastors of this church fell away.

“Well done, you who faithfully KEEP SERVING [the Lord]!”

Matthew 25:21  His [returning] master replied, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things...”

•• Faithfulness doesn’t care how many or how big the assigned tasks are, but rather how diligently and honorably we do them.
• Sunday School teacher is as important as pulpit preacher.

• Cuing the songs to the projector is as honorable as leading them.

• You having perhaps one or two or three assignments from God is as important as my having ten or twenty as the lead pastor (but also the fulltime opportunity to do them).

“Well done, faithful DOERS of a FEW things.”

1 Timothy 1:12  I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service.

•• Pastor Dick: ”I’d rather have a faithful man than a gifted but unfaithful one.”
God will give us the spiritual gifts needed for His work. We must give Him our faithfulness.

“Well done, you faithful ones whom I can TRUST to use in my service!

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

•• Faithfulness reaches out to others with God’s grace.
• Gifted in prophecy? Be faithful to wait on it, to use it to bless others.

Gifts of healing? Seek God, to be ready and faithful to minister to those in need of His touch.

• Be faithful to minister and to serve in whatever capacity God has gifted you.

“Well done, you who faithfully USE the GIFTS and grace that I give you.”

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©2005, James H. Feeney. Copyright statement.