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On Being Faithful

Starting last week, we started going through the Core Values of Sonoran Community Church. You can catch up with that first initial post here. This week we’re going to think about our third Core Value which is “Faithful”. There are a lot of ways to think about the word faithful.

First, we can think about it in terms of a relationship: being faithful to our significant other. Whenever I married Amanda I declared my faithfulness to her in my marriage vows which takes the form of being emotionally, physically, and mentally faithful to her. Taking this vow meant I would be dedicated to her, I would love here even when I didn’t feel like it or if she treated me badly. I would pursue her above all other women and interests and I would do this even if she became too sick to fulfill her side of the marriage expectations and I would do all this until the day either her or I die. So faithfulness in a relationship covers the ideas of dedication and pursuit even when we don’t feel like it or feel the other one we are being faithful to isn’t upholding their side of the bargain.

A second way we can look at faithfulness is in the realm of tasks: being faithful to do a job or duty. My brother is in the US Army and whenever he joined he was sworn in and took an oath to defend and support the US Constitution again all enemies, to exhibit true faith and allegiance to the US Constitution and to obey the orders of the President and his senior officers. Faithfulness for a soldier includes loyalty and allegiance and obedience. This also entails doing these things even when he doesn’t feel like it. I grew up in an Air Force town and I can tell you that most, if not all soldiers, regardless of their rank, have many days and times they don’t feel like fulfilling this oath and obeying their senior officers. There are times they would rather take a nap than get 3 hours of sleep to get up and go on a mission or clean their duty area.

Let’s combine these ideas of faithfulness then: we have qualities of dedication, pursuit, loyalty, allegiance, and obedience even when the other person/institution/authority fails to uphold their side and even when we don’t feel like it.

Sonoran Community Church’s 2nd Core Value is Faithful and we see this as being lived out in 3 ways:

1. We faithfully give of our time, energy, and resources for the Gospel.

I want to make clear right now that we do not expect people to give their time, energy, and resources to support a pastor or authority figure, an institution, a building, or anything like that. If those things are supported then they should be supported in the pursuit of being faithful to the Gospel. A Christian should never give to simply support a personality or to support a building program so the church will get notoriety in the community or to simply do it because the pastor and church expect them to. Instead, if a Christian is faithfully pursing and obeying Jesus, then, as a member of a local community of believers, they will give to support the advance of the Gospel, not their church or denomination or their pastor and his ministry.

Whenever we speak of faithfully giving of our time, energy, and resources, we are not looking for anything more than what Jesus expected of His followers in the Gospel or what He expects of His followers now. He had an expectation that His followers would support the spread of the Gospel of the Kingdom by providing them shelter, food, and other needs. In the book of Acts, Paul constantly encourages churches to give to support other believers and the work of the Gospel. Disciples of Jesus are called in the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19 to be actively involved in the spread of the Gospel. To truly love Jesus is to truly love His Gospel.

2. We faithfully love God, His Word, and our neighbors.

Every disciple of Jesus, every community of Jesus believers should be practicing this simply as a matter of growing in Christ. Pursuit of God, dedication to learning His Word and how it applies to our lives, allegiance to Jesus and obedience to His command to love and evangelize our neighbors in our community. A community of Jesus followers (I.e. a church) who loves Jesus and is obedient to Him will be dedicated to pursuing God in private and in public. They will be dedicated to private prayer and Bible study and learning. They will be dedicated to being an active member of church community where then can participate in public instruction and discussion around the Bible, God’s Word, and in investing that into others through the work of discipleship.

3. We faithfully serve God through our witness, the community of believers, and our personal lives.

This last characteristic of being faithful works in tandem with the first two. It is an acknowledgement that we cannot be faithful disciples of Jesus only in public or only in private. A faithful disciple of Jesus is a faithful disciple in public, in the church on Sunday, and in their personal life in the day-to-day. We should be ever mindful that we are salt and light to our neighbors, coworkers, friends, and family and that as people who identify as Jesus followers, we are the first “Jesus” they will see and know.

As someone who has been a missionary in a post-Christian city, there are thousands of people who have rejected Jesus and the Bible, not because Jesus was unfaithful or because the Bible isn’t true, but because people who identified as Christians weren’t faithful and weren’t true.

There are thousands of people who have rejected Jesus and the Bible, not because Jesus was unfaithful or because the Bible isn’t true, but because people who identified as Christians weren’t faithful and weren’t true.

Is this fair? No, it isn’t. But it is a reality Jesus Himself acknowledged. We are mirroring Jesus to our culture and if what we say we are mirroring and what we are actually mirroring don’t match, people will notice and will make assumptions about Jesus because of us. So, as faithful disciples of Jesus we seek to mirror Christ faithfully both in public and in private, at home, at work, and at church.

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