236 – The Formula for Faithfulness

Notes By Mike Lorence

Three Components of Success

In the mid-1700’s it could take two weeks for a letter to travel from New York City to Philadelphia, a distance of 109 miles. Transatlantic mail could take months. By the mid-1800s mail could travel from Jefferson City, Missouri to San Francisco, California, over 2400 miles, in as little as 24 days. By 1860 the Pony Express delivered mail over 2000 miles in just less than 8 days. Then came the telegraph and other technological advances and now we can send an email anywhere in the world and it’s received in seconds. Mail delivery is just one simple example but for most of mankind’s history, it took time for anything to happen.

But over recent years our society has become a NOW generation. We want everything and we want it immediately. Right now. No waiting. Instant gratification. There’s even a commercial that states, “It’s my money and I need it NOW!” So it can be a difficult concept to understand faithfulness. What is it and how do I get it NOW?

Ephesians 1:1 (KJV) 1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:

How can we arrive at the point of truly being “faithful in Christ Jesus?” Is there a formula to help us achieve success at being faithful like those believers in Ephesus? If so, what would it be?

There are three components in our formula.

1.Commitment

2. Dedication

3. Faithfulness

Commitment

Let’s take a look at the first component in the formula – Commitment.

Commitment is the act of entrusting, or giving in trust; it is a promise or pledge to do something.

TRUST = Total Reliance Upon Spiritual Timing

Without commitment, we will accomplish nothing. Yet everyone is committed to something.

Matthew 6:33 (KJV) 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Our number one commitment should be to God.

Psalms 37:5 (KJV) 5 Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.

Proverbs 16:3 (KJV) 3 Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established.

How can you tell when someone is committed to Something? There are corresponding actions that go along with the words.

Dedication
There’s a second component to our formula for faithfulness. It’s dedication. Once you’ve committed your ways and works unto the Lord and put Him first, you have to be dedicated to staying with it. Dedication is setting yourself apart for a special purpose, devoting one’s time, energy, and effort to that purpose.

1 Samuel 1:11, 27-28 (AMP) 11 She [Hannah] made a vow, saying, “O Lord of hosts, if You will indeed look on the
affliction (suffering) of Your maidservant and remember, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life; a razor shall never touch his head.” 27 For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my  request which I asked of Him.  28 Therefore I have also dedicated him to the Lord; as long as he lives he is dedicated to the Lord.”

And they worshiped the Lord there. In these verses, we see that Hannah first committed herself to God, and then she followed through with the dedication necessary to raise her child so that his life would be in the service
of the Lord.

Romans 12:1-2 (AMP) 1 Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your
bodies [dedicating all of yourselves, set apart] as a living sacrifice, holy and wellpleasing to God, which is your rational (logical, intelligent) act of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and
acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you].

As believers, we are to commit our lives to the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 10:9), and then we are to totally dedicate ourselves. First comes the commitment then comes the dedication to carry it out. THEN comes the payoff – the transformation – maturing spiritually. It takes both
commitment and dedication to achieve. And it doesn’t happen overnight.

2 Corinthians 3:18 (AMP) 18 And we all, with unveiled face, continually seeing as in a mirror the glory of the
Lord, are progressively being transformed into His image from [one degree of] glory to [even more] glory, which comes from the Lord, [who is] the Spirit.

We will see the purpose of our dedication when we know that our lives have been purposely designed to reveal God’s glory. We are transformed. It’s a progressive process.

2 Timothy 2:15 (Darby Bible Translation) 15 Strive diligently to present thyself approved to God, a workman that has not to be ashamed, cutting in a straight line the word of truth

We are to be workmen, ones that strive or work diligently. That requires discipline and a specific lifestyle. Anyone who masters a skill or is highly proficient in any of life must be dedicated to it. You can’t be lazy and dedicated at the same time.

2 Timothy 4:15 (Weymouth New Testament) 15Habitually practise these duties, and be absorbed in them; so that your growing proficiency in them may be evident to all.

There are athletes that dedicate their lives to a particular sport. They will practice their craft for thousands of hours for an event that may only last for minutes just to win a gold medal in the Olympics. As the children of the Almighty God, should we do any less than making a freewill
decision to give ourselves completely to His will and be totally absorbed in them? When we do our proficiency will become apparent.

Faithfulness

The final component in our formula is faithfulness. It is a consistent relationship, unswerving, adherence, perseverance, whether to God, an individual, or a cause.

“The Christian walk is a way of life whereby an individual constantly endeavors to maintain fellowship with God and focuses all his energy, efforts, and abilities for God as revealed in the Bible.”

And I might add “…and as God reveals it to you by the spirit.”

Faithfulness – without it the results of commitment and dedication will never come into realization.

The Word of God has a mathematical exactness and a scientific precision to it. So we can use the mathematical formula to describe faithfulness.

FORMULA FOR FAITHFULNESS

COMMITMENT

(active ingredient)
+
(plus)
DEDICATION
(catalyst)
=
(equals)
FAITHFULNESS
(result)

Commitment is the active ingredient for without it nothing else happens. Dedication is the catalyst or what drives or provokes commitment into action and it results in faithfulness as you continue the process over and over again.

2 Timothy 4:15 (Weymouth New Testament) 15Habitually practise these duties, and be absorbed in them; so that your growing proficiency in them may be evident to all.

It’s a day by day, moment by moment decision. This formula becomes more powerful the more it is used. Faithfulness builds more commitment which requires more dedication which in turn builds more faithfulness

2 Corinthians 15:58 (KJV) 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.

We are to be steadfast and unmoveable – FAITHFUL – always abounding so that our labor isn’t in vain. If we don’t stay faithful we won’t see the outcome we desire – to expand our proficiency and be progressively “transformed into His image from [one degree of] glory to [even more] glory.”

FORMULA FOR PROFICIENCY

FAITHFULNESS
(constant)
X
(times)
TIME
(variable)
=
(equals)
PROFICIENCY
(outcome)

Faithfulness is constant because it never changes. How long or how much time one is willing to continue is the variable. If the Olympic athlete was only faithful for one week how proficient would they be? One weeks’ worth. How about it they did it over many years? For the believer, faithfulness over many years is the accumulation of successful moment-by-moment fellowship with our Heavenly Father.

A Deeper Look at Faithfulness

Let’s delve into the Word to take a deeper look at what it has to say about faithfulness.

Matthew 24:45-46 (KJV) 45 Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? 46 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.

Notice it doesn’t say that the lord comes and finds him faithfully waiting but what? DOING.

Faithfulness is ACTION. It’s not biding your time until something happens.

1 Corinthians 1:9 (KJV) 9God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ
our Lord.

Psalms 119:138 (KJV) 138 Thy testimonies that thou hast commanded are righteous and very faithful.

Our God is faithful. We have His nature so we can be faithful too. And His Word is faithful.

James 1:22-25 (KJV) 22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. 23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:

24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.
25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.
We can’t just be hearers of God’s Word but doers. It requires action. Otherwise we are only deceiving ourselves.

Luke 8:11-15 (KJV) 11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 12 Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.
13 They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.
14 And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to
perfection. 15 But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.

These verses illustrate what I’ve been teaching. 

• Verse 12 are those who never make a commitment and therefore they never even get started on the salvation available to them.

• Verse 13 are those who initially commit but are not dedicated so they don’t’ really take root.

• Verse 14 are those who are committed and dedicated but don’t maintain their faithfulness so although there are some results it never really ripens into what it could be.

• However verse 15 illustrates perfectly the formula for faithfulness.
− Heard the word – commitment
− Keep it – dedication
− Bring forth fruit with patience – faithfulness over time brings forth the full fruit of their labors.

What an absolutely wonderful example Jesus is teaching his disciples on faithfulness.

Galatians 6:9 (KJV) 9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint
not.

I’ve heard someone once quote this verse a little differently. “And let us not be weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall faint if we reap not.”

That’s what many believers do. They give up BEFORE they see the harvest or reap the results! Let’s not do that but stay faithful to reap all the rewards God has in store for us.

A Duties as Faithful Ministers

Being faithful also has its duties or expectations.

1 Corinthians 4:1-2 (KJV) 1 Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries [mystery] of God. 2 Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.

We are to be stewards of the mystery of God. It takes faithfulness to accomplish it. Why would God entrust His mystery to anyone who was unfaithful or untrustworthy? He doesn’t. We have a wonderful and awesome responsibility.

2 Timothy 2:2 (KJV) 2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.

And what we have been given we COMMIT to faithful men and women and they are to teach other faithful men and women. It’s a beautiful cycle of regeneration that God has provided. The link is faithfulness. Those called faithful in the Word.

• God
• Abraham
• Timothy
• Onesimus
• Jesus Christ
• Moses
• Tychicus
• Silvanus
• God’s Word
• Paul
• Epaphras

People who are to be faithful.

  Saints in Christ Jesus
• Stewards of the mystery
• Bishops, their wives, and children
• Servants and believing bosses

Proverbs 20:6 (KJV) 6 Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?
We started out looking at Paul’s writing to the faithful in Christ Jesus who was in Ephesus. I would want him to be able to write to the same thing to me – the faithful in Christ Jesus in Round Lake Beach, Illinois. I don’t want to be hard to find. There is a wonderful poem written by Thomas Chisholm in 1923 and it was set to music as a hymn by William Runyan. Its words still ring true today. The hymn is Great Is Thy Faithfulness. It was inspired by the words in Lamentations 3:22-23. The hymn came to prominence when it was popularized by George Beverly Shea during the Billy Graham’s Crusades.

The hymn’s words still ring true today.

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee,
Thou changest not, Thy compassions they fail not,
As Thou hast been, Thou forever wilt be.
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!

Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!
Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon, and stars in their courses above;
Join with all nature in manifold witness,
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy, and love.
Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today, and bright hope for tomorrow
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside.

Until the next time we get together, may God bless you abundantly. 

Agape, 

Steve Jaynes 

The Announcer: Maurice Coleman 

Intro and Outro Music: Pamela LoVerme Janovyak, Her version of “Be Thou My Vision” from her CD Behold 

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