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II Thessalonians 3:1-3
THE GOD WHO IS FAITHFUL
Intro: This letter, from the pen of Paul, is written to a church that is experiencing great spiritual growth, 1:3. They are a giving, loving church that is active, growing and reaching out, 1:5.
However, this church is also a church in trouble. The Thessalonians were suffering under persecution from without and from pressure within, 1:5-6. The pagans around them wanted to see the church destroyed. The unruly members of the church, who had embraced false doctrines concerning the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ, were trying to fundamentally alter the course of the church.
Paul writes to this church to encourage the to persevere in the face of their trials. He writes to this church to address their concerns about the second coming of Jesus. False teachers had convinced many that the Day of the Lord had already come and that they had missed the Rapture of the church spoken of in Pauls first letter to this church, 2:1-12. He writes to challenge this church to deal with those in their number who refuse to walk by the Lords commands, 3:6-12.
This is a church in crisis, and the true believers in Thessalonica needed a solid word of encouragement. In the verses that form our text today, the very word they needed is given to them.
In verse 3 of our text, Paul says, the Lord is faithful That was what the people in Thessalonica needed to hear, and it is the what you and I need to hear today. I want to take these verses and preach about The Faithful God. Let me share with you a few thoughts that present themselves here. These thoughts remind us that our God is The Faithful God. I dont know about you, but I need to be reminded of that fact from time to time. Let test verses remind you about the wonder of The Faithful God.
I. HE IS FAITHFUL IN HIS PERSON
Paul writes: The Lord is faithful. The implication is that faithfulness is synonymous with the very character of God Himself.
Many other places in the Bible give us insight into the character and person of the Lord.
For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God, Deut. 4:24.
For the LORD thy God is a merciful God , Deut. 4:31.
For the LORD thy God is a jealous God among you , Deut. 6:15.
For the LORD your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward:,Deut. 10:17.
The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms , Deut. 33:27.
the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest, Josh. 1:9.
for the LORD your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn away his face from you, if ye return unto him, 2 Chr. 30:9.
Behold, God is mighty, and despiseth not any: he is mighty in strength and wisdom, Job 36:5.
God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day, Psa. 7:11.
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble, Psa. 46:1.
For God is the King of all the earth, Psa. 47:7.
Behold, God is mine helper, Psa. 54:4.
He that is our God is the God of salvation; and unto GOD the Lord belong the issues from death, Psa. 68:20.
But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another, Psa. 75:7.
for the LORD our God is holy, Psa. 99:9.
Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; yea, our God is merciful, Psa. 116:5.
He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true, John 3:33.
God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth, John 4:24.
And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work, 2 Cor. 9:8.
This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all, 1 John 1:5.
He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love, 1 John 4:8.
The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him, Nahum 1:7.
In this passage, we are told that God is faithful. The word faithful in they New Testament refers to one who is trustworthy in the transacting of His business, the execution of His commands, and the discharge of all His duties. It speaks of one Who keeps all His promises. In the Old Testament, it speaks of firmness, steadfastness, and steadiness.
This word identifies God and the Faithful One. That is why He is called the Amen, Rev. 3:14. He is firm and faithful. He says, let it be, and it is. He is the God Who never changes, Mal. 3:6; Heb. 13:8; James 1:17. He is the God Who never fails. He has always been, and will ever be, the Great I AM! He is the God Who can be counted on. Just as He is always everything he Bible says that He is, He is always faithful! That is Who He is!
I. He Is Faithful In His Person
II. HE IS FAITHFUL IN HIS PROMISES
Since God is faithful, He can be counted on the stand by His Word. Paul reminds the people in Thessalonica that God will stablish you and keep you from evil.
The word stablish has the idea of making stable, placing firmly, setting fast. It means that God will strengthen them and cause them to become constant in their lives and confirmed in their mind.
The word keep means to guard. It carries the idea of protection. It is Gods promise that He will protect them from every enemy whether they are inside or outside the church.
Because God is faithful, He can be trusted to do what He says He will do. That is the biblical testimony to the faithfulness of God.
For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us, 2 Cor. 1:20.
And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform, Rom 4:21.
God will stand by His Word! I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name, Psa. 138:2.
He is not like us humans. We make our promises and we cannot always stand behind them. God is not like us at all! What He says He will do, He will do, because He cannot lie.
God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good? Num. 23:19.
13 For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself, 14 Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee. 15 And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. 16 For men verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife. 17 Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: 18 That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: 19 Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; 20 Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec, Heb. 6:13-20.
Regardless of the realm of life, the Lord can be trusted to stand by His promises.
He will save you if you will come to Jesus, Rom. 10:9, 13; Acts 16:31.
He will keep you and take you to Heaven when this life is over, John 6:37-40, 44.
He will hear you when you call on Him, Jer. 33:3; Matt. 7:7-11.
He will meet your needs here, Matt. 6:25-34; Phil. 4:19.
He will give you grace sufficient for every trial, 2 Cor. 12:9.
He will give you His peace in the midst of every circumstance of life, Phil. 4:6-7.
He will walk with you every step of the way to glory, Heb. 13:5; Matt. 28:20.
He will keep every promise He has ever made in His Word!
I. He Is Faithful In His Person
II. He Is Faithful In His Promises
III. HE IS FAITHFUL IN HIS PERFORMANCE
We do not have a record of how the Lord honored His promises to the church in Thessalonica. But, we can have the confidence that He did. After all, just as surely as God is love, God is faithful!
The Bible has much to say about the faithfulness of God. Let me share a few passages with you.
His faithfulness is unlimited, thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds, Psa. 36:5.
His faithfulness is unfailing, Nevertheless my lovingkindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail, Psa. 89:33.
His faithfulness is a glimpse into His character, Thus saith the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel, and his Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nation abhorreth, to a servant of rulers, Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of the LORD that is faithful, and the Holy One of Israel, and he shall choose thee, Isa. 49:7.
His faithfulness is abounding, 22 It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness, Lam. 3:22-23.
His is faithful to help His people, There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it, 1 Cor. 10:13.
He is faithful to those He saves, 23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it, 1 Thes. 5:23-24.
He is a faithful High Priest, Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people, Heb. 2:17.
He is faithful to all His promises to those saved by His grace, Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for He is faithful that promised Heb. 10:23.
He is faith in His forgiveness of sin, If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness, 1 John 1:9.
What does this mean for us? It is simply a reminder that, regardless of what happens in life, God is faithful! Here is what I mean:
Friends will fail, but God is faithful - Ill. David and Ahithophel, 2 Sam. 15-17; Psa. 41:9. Ill. Jesus and Judas, John 13:8; John 6:70. (Ill. Psa. 142:4) (Ill. 2 Tim. 4:16-17)
Family will fail, but God is faithful - Ill. John 9:1-38 (Especially vv. 18-23)
Funds will fail, but God is faithful - Ill. The Widow of Zarephath - 1 Kings 17. Ill. The feeding of the 5,000. Ill. Luke 12:32
Feelings will fail, but God is faithful - Ill. 2 Tim. 2:12; Phil. 1:6
Faith will fail, but God is faithful - (Ill. I am not implying that faith in God is ever misplaced. I am saying that, often, our faith is overwhelmed by our doubts. In spite of that, God is faithful.) Ill. 2 Tim. 2:13 (Ill. Acts 23:11; Acts 27:23-24) Ill. Regardless of how life plays out, we have the confidence that our God is faithful and that He will stand by us even when our faith is weak, John 10:28-29; Heb. 7:25; Rom. 8:28-30!
What can you say to this, but hallelujah!
Conc: Roger Simms, hitchhiking his way home, would never forget the date--May 7. His heavy suitcase made Roger tired. He was anxious to take off his army uniform once and for all. Flashing the hitchhiking sign to the oncoming car, he lost hope when he saw it was a black, sleek, new Cadillac. To his surprise the car stopped. The passenger door opened. He ran toward the car, tossed his suitcase in the back, and thanked the handsome, well-dressed man as he slid into the front seat.
Going home for keeps?
Sure am, Roger responded.
Well, you're in luck if you're going to Chicago.
Not quite that far. Do you live in Chicago?
I have a business there. My name is Hanover.
After talking about many things, Roger, a Christian, felt a compulsion to witness to this fifty-ish, apparently successful businessman about Christ. But he kept putting it off, till he realized he was just thirty minutes from his home. It was now or never.
So, Roger cleared his throat, Mr. Hanover, I would like to talk to you about something very important. He then proceeded to explain the way of salvation, ultimately asking Mr. Hanover if he would like to receive Christ as his Savior.
To Roger's astonishment the Cadillac pulled over to the side of the road. Roger thought he was going to be ejected from the car. But the businessman bowed his head and received Christ, then thanked Roger. This is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me.
Five years went by, Roger married, had a two-year-old boy, and a business of his own. Packing his suitcase for a business trip to Chicago, he found the small, white business card Hanover had given him five years before. In Chicago he looked up Hanover Enterprises. A receptionist told him it was impossible to see Mr. Hanover, but he could see Mrs. Hanover.
A little confused as to what was going on, he was ushered into a lovely office and found himself facing a keen-eyed woman in her fifties.
She extended her hand. You knew my husband?
Roger told how her husband had given him a ride when hitchhiking home after the war.
Can you tell me when that was?
It was May 7, five years ago, the day I was discharged from the army.
Anything special about that day?
Roger hesitated. Should he mention giving his witness? Since he had come so far, he might as well take the plunge.
Mrs. Hanover, I explained the gospel. He pulled over to the side of the road and wept against the steering wheel. He gave his life to Christ that day.
Explosive sobs shook her body. Getting a grip on herself, she sobbed, I had prayed for my husband's salvation for years. I believed God would save him.
And, said Roger, Where is your husband, Mrs. Hanover?
He's dead, she wept, struggling with words. He was in a a car crash after he let you out of the car. He never got home. You see--I thought God had not kept His promise.
Sobbing uncontrollably, she added, I stopped living for God five years ago because I thought He had not kept His word!
Even in that extreme case, God was faithful. He will be faithful to us too! Rest in Him. Trust Him. Serve Him. Believe Him. He is Who He claims to be, and He will do all that He has promised to do. He is The Faithful God!