Faithfulness is something we see less and less in our culture. Not too long ago, a person who took a job at a company expected to work there until they retired. Companies were faithful to their employees and vice versa. But not anymore – a person who works at the same place for 30-40 years these days is the exception, not the rule.
We could point to divorce rates or the skyrocketing birthrates among single mothers as evidence that the idea of faithfulness to a spouse or a child is somehow becoming an old-fashioned notion.
We could even point to the so-called phenomenon of Church-shopping. Rather than committing to a particular body of believers, we leave if music or teaching doesn’t “meet our needs”, as though all of this were for me and not something meant to celebrate the God of the Universe.
Culturally, we understand faithlessness. But at an individual level, we understand this failure of faith as well. Which of us has always been the friend, the parent, the spouse, the child, the follower of Jesus we want to be? We’re all familiar with that sense of failure, that sense of defeat that comes when we’re not faithful.
That’s not to say we’re all a bunch of sociopaths or anything like that. We love our families, our friends. We gather here because we love God. But we are also conscious of our failures, our infidelities.
That can make series like this one hard. We talk about the Fruit of the Spirit, and it can easily turn into defeatism. I’m not patient. I’m not especially kind. I’m not gentle. I’m not faithful.
And way before I ever heard a sermon on it, I tried to be better. Who among us hasn’t tried to be better?
Today, we talk about Faithfulness. Making it to the end. Finishing well. Never giving up. Never quitting. A friendship. A marriage. A relationship. A new way of life.
Is it any surprise that in a faithless culture, quite a few of us in here are probably thinking,
I don’t need one more sermon about a person I just can’t be, no matter how hard I try. I don’t need to be reminded of my failure.
It’s this kind of failure that keeps people out of Church. Somewhere along the way, Church became a place where broken people weren’t welcomed. Where mistakes were frowned upon. Where people who fell down got left behind instead of helped up. Somehow, we decided the cross is only for good church people who are holy enough for God to love.
I’ve got good news for you: this isn’t that kind of sermon.
Today, we’re not talking about your faithfulness. Because let’s all admit something together here at the beginning:
Is any of us faithful enough to earn God’s love? Nope. No one. Not me. Not you.
Now let’s follow up with this question: Should my failure keep me from God? No! Never!
Today, we’re not talking about your faithfulness or your faithlessness. Today, we’re talking about the Spirit’s faithfulness, about God’s faithfulness.
Here’s the video featured in the sermon: