SERMONHUNT.COM

God is faithful

His name was Jeremiah and he was an Old Testament prophet that didnt have a problem talking about God or talking to God. Jeremiah never held anything back. When something was on his mind he unloaded it with no reservation. He spoke back to God like few people on record and he lived to tell about it. In Lamentations 3 he wrote some great words.

The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning.  Lamentations 3:22-23 NLT

When hope seems gone where do you turn? When life seems as though it will never be the same where do you turn? When everything is upside down where do you turn?

How do we keep hope alive within us when hope seems elusive and non-existent?

Could it be that some of us have given up? We have given up on hope and for now we have given up on God.  More than anything else today it is my prayer that God will allow us to see His faithfulness in every situation and come to believe that.

Here are three things you need to know about hope:

            We all depend on something or someone to hold us up inside.

All of us depend on something or someone to support our life and provide significance. That someone or something is your sense of hope.

When that something or someone is coming through for us, we experience a sense of peace, satisfaction, and optimism about the future.

People find hope in a lot of things. These may include sports, success, money, family, beauty, and ability just to name a few. When things are going well in the area of your hope you probably feel peaceful and optimistic. There is a downside to putting your hope into things that are fickle.

When that something or someone fails to come through for us we experience a sense of anxiety, dissatisfaction, and ultimately despair.

Hope can vanish in a heartbeat. When an athlete has a career ending injury, hope based on ability proves to be pretty empty. When a biopsy report comes back positive hope based on good health seems hopeless. When your hopes are in your vocation or job and then you lose it in a bad economy hope can easily vanish. If whatever holds you up fails to come through (thing, person or a plan) your sense of peace will disappear.

Someone once said that hope is like oxygen for the soul. You can live for weeks without food and survive days without water but without oxygen you are only minutes from death. If hope is oxygen for the soul, we cant live long without it.

Most of us don't want to own up to the things we depend on because unless our hope is fully resting in God, it is temporary and less than reliable. The instability of everything around us makes us anxious.

One night at dinner a man, who had spent many summers in Maine, fascinated his companions by telling of his experiences in a little town named Flagstaff. The town was to be flooded, as part of a large lake for which a dam was being built. In the months before it was to be flooded, all improvements and repairs in the whole town were stopped. What was the use of painting a house if it were to be covered with water in six months? Why repair anything when the whole village was to be wiped out? So, week by week, the whole town became more and more bedraggled, more gone to seed, more woebegone. Then he added by way of explanation: "Where there is no faith in the future, there is no power in the present."

What would you say if I could tell you that there is someone or something that will always come through for you in every situation?  Jeremiah reminds us of where that kind of hope comes from.

The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning.  Lamentations 3:22-23 NLT

When we are hurting, we need to have as a foundational truth in our life this fact:

God is always faithful!

We need to learn to always count on that whether circumstances are going up hill, downhill, sideways or are on rock bottom. We need to firmly ground our faith and belief system in the facts of Gods faithfulness.

Think about this: Gods character does not depend on our emotions, thoughts, or even the rapidly changing events that unfold in our lives. Apart from God everything is changeable, passing and unworthy of our hope. But God is different. He is unwavering and He longs for our trust. 

He will never let you down.

He may not do what you want Him to do when you want Him to do it or even how you want Him to do it but He will never let you down.

Gods faithfulness offers hope for every person, no matter what may be happening in your life or how impossible it may seem to be. Listen there are some situations that are overwhelming. I know of people in this church that are walking though things that seem absolutely impossible and while I don't have all the answers I know that God is an answer you can count on.

He does not always provide the answer we want but in His wisdom and sovereignty He will give us the grace and the strength to go through whatever trial we face. Wherever you are in pain and whatever pain you are in, Gods loving and tender compassion toward you will never end. Never.

If you are feeling hopeless and helpless today the answer is Gods faithfulness. If you are feeling really upbeat today and successful and your hope is in something other than Gods faithfulness your happiness is temporary.  I think about this all the time when I have funerals. Funerals and age have sort of ruined me for holding on to stuff. I have had friends that have spent their lives investing in things that someday will seem so meaningless. We own nothing. It all is going to end up in someone else's hands someday.

The secret to a life of unending joy and peace involves finding someone or something that will come through 100% of the time for you. I don't think at this point that I need to tell you but we believe that that source of unending faithfulness is God.

How does God Reveal His Faithfulness?

Through His creation:

Your faithfulness extends to every generation, as enduring as the earth you created. Psalm 119:90 NLT

I am always fascinated by people that have a hard time believing that God is the Creator of everything. It takes a whole lot less faith for me to believe in a Supreme God than to believe what men guess to be the case. Science exists not because physical laws have a personality of their own, but because the Person behind them has put them in place and runs them with remarkable, observable regularity and precision. Creation is full of laws (gravity, speed of light, thermodynamics) that you can bank on. Even Gods laws of creation are faithful.

For your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom. You rule throughout all generations.

The LORD always keeps his promises; he is gracious in all he does. 14 The LORD helps the fallen 
and lifts those bent beneath their loads. 15 The eyes of all look to you in hope; you give them their food as they need it. 16 When you open your hand, you satisfy the hunger and thirst of every living thing.
 Psalm 145:13-16 NLT

He also reveals His faithfulness through His word.

Through His word:

Because Gods character is always faithful, what He says in His word is always true. This applies to both His words and actions.

This truth gives them confidence that they have eternal life, which God who does not lie promised them before the world began. Titus 1:2 NLT

And then there are these verses from Hebrews 6:

18 So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. 19This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into Gods inner sanctuary. Hebrews 6:18-19 NLT

In Gods word you find His faithfulness in His covenants, His promises and in His prophecies. He never breaks a promise or a covenant. He knows what is going to happen to our earth. He knows what is just around the corner or what the next global news story will be long before it is reported on television or the web.

The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. 
They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry. 
11 It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.
 Isaiah 55:10-11 NLT

We see Gods faithfulness through His creation.

Through His Son

I included this but I am not going to take time to teach about it because when this series is over next week we are going to look at stories from Jesus life leading up to the cross and you will see Gods faithfulness through His son. Let me just make one reference. When John was writing about the appearance of Jesus at the end of the world he describes what he saw with these words:

Then I saw heaven opened, and a white horse was standing there. Its rider was named Faithful and True. . .  Rev. 19:11 NLT

It is fascinating to me that Jesus these titles among all the titles He could have chosen to describe Himself. It is enough to know that He is Faithful and True.

Heres where God will reveal His faithfulness most often:

1.     God demonstrates His faithfulness in our weaknesses

No one demonstrates this more than the Apostle Paul. He was an incredible leader and man of God but he had a problem that never went away.

. . . even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.

8 Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. 9 Each time he said, My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness. So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 10Thats why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 NLT

You and I may not necessarily like it but God will demonstrate His faithfulness the best when we are hurting and weak. Most of us have the idea that we just have to hang in there but what I read in Paul's life is that even though it never went away he was not just barely making it. He was an overcomer. He clearly says, When I am weak, then I am strong. That is nothing more that faith in the faithfulness of God.

2.     God delivers His faithfulness in our temptations

Always remember that there is a great difference between temptation and sin. Being tempted mean you are distracted and may have desires that are unholy and wrong. It may be that you tempted to indulge in a lustful thought, to steal something, to be critical or gossip about someone. Temptation happens when all the circumstances suddenly align into an attractive opportunity. Its like a fish eyeing an big worm on a hook. Its like being on a diet and looking at a big piece of chocolate cake. Im talking death by chocolate kind of cake. You may walk around it and look at it from every side but until you stick a fork in it and take a bite you are just being tempted.

One of the biggest excuses people make for falling to temptation is a sense of uniqueness. I have a special weakness. . . No one has ever had to face that kind of temptation before.  And you know what the bible has to say about that? 

13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13 ESV

100% of the time you can overcome temptation. Not because you are strong but because God is faithful to provide a way to escape and endurance for the test.

3.     God displays His faithfulness if we sin

I do not have the time to get very far into this one today but I want you to know that if you fall and find yourself estranged from God because of a sin you are not without hope. While I do not embrace a doctrine of sinning every day in word, thought and deed I believe that every one of us is capable of being in need of the words we find in 1 John.

But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. 1 John 9 NLT I don't know who needs to hear that today but there it is. God will be faithful to forgive you and to cleanse you from all wickedness. That means not only will you be forgiven but He will deliver you from future wallowing in the muck and mire of sin.

How should we respond to Gods faithfulness?

Put your past behind you today: No matter what it might be. Is there a skeleton in your closet that you hope no one ever finds out about? Have you blown it? Just admit it and confess it to God and move into a life of faithfulness based on the power and promises of God. The only one holding on to your past if you have repented of if it is you so let it go.

Bring your present problems, pain and failures to Jesus today: Jesus invites you today to lay it down and to pick up His ways and make them your ways.

28 Then Jesus said, Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light. Matthew 11:28-30 NLT

Place your hope for the future in the One that will never let you down

Do you remember the verses we started with today?  The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning.  Lamentations 3:22-23 NLT I want you to look at those words and study them for a moment and then let me give you the rest of the context.

Let me go back to chapter 3 of Lamentations and read a bit of the rest of the story for you:

I'm the man who has seen trouble, trouble coming from the lash of God's anger. He took me by the hand and walked me into pitch-black darkness. Yes, he's given me the back of his hand over and over and over again.

4-6He turned me into a scarecrow of skin and bones, then broke the bones. He hemmed me in, ganged up on me, poured on the trouble and hard times. He locked me up in deep darkness, 
like a corpse nailed inside a coffin.

7-9He shuts me in so I'll never get out, manacles my hands, shackles my feet. Even when I cry out and plead for help, he locks up my prayers and throws away the key. He sets up blockades with quarried limestone. He's got me cornered.

10-12He's a prowling bear tracking me down, a lion in hiding ready to pounce. He knocked me from the path and ripped me to pieces. When he finished, there was nothing left of me. He took out his bow and arrows and used me for target practice.

13-15He shot me in the stomach with arrows from his quiver. Everyone took me for a joke, made me the butt of their mocking ballads. He forced rotten, stinking food down my throat, bloated me with vile drinks.

16-18He ground my face into the gravel. He pounded me into the mud. I gave up on life altogether. 
I've forgotten what the good life is like. I said to myself, "This is it. I'm finished. God is a lost cause."

19-21I'll never forget the trouble, the utter lostness, the taste of ashes, the poison I've swallowed.
I remember it all oh, how well I remember the feeling of hitting the bottom.

 

But there's one other thing I remember, and remembering, I keep a grip on hope: God's loyal love couldn't have run out, his merciful love couldn't have dried up. They're created new every morning. How great your faithfulness! I'm sticking with God (I say it over and over). 
He's all I've got left.  Lamentations 3:1-24, The Message.

 

The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning.  Lamentations 3:22-23 NLT

 

Every other basis for hope will let you down. Only in Christ do we find the secret to a life of unending joy and peace, because He is the only one who will come through for us 100 percent of the time in every situation forever and ever.

 

Prayer

 

Hope shines brightest when the hour is darkest.
Hope motivates when discouragement comes.
Hope energizes when the body is tired.
Hope sweetens while bitterness bites.
Hope sings when all melodies are gone.
Hope believes when evidence is eliminated.
Hope listens for answers when no one is talking.
Hope climbs over obstacles when no one is helping.
Hope endures hardship when no on is caring.
Hope smiles confidently when no one is laughing.
Hope reaches for answers when no one is asking.
Hope presses toward victory when no one is encouraging.
Hope dares to give when no one is sharing.
Hope brings the victory when no one is winning.
- John Maxwell from Think on These Things