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GOD'S FAITHFULNESS

A.     Introduction:  As Christians, we are supposed to live and walk by faith.  In the past few lessons we have      been talking about what that means.
     1.     To live by faith means to live your life based on unseen realities which have been revealed to us in the                Bible. II Cor 5:7
     2.     If you are going to successfully live and walk by faith, you must get your picture of reality from the                Bible, God's word.
          a.     There are two ways to live life -- based on what you see (sense information) or based on what God                says (revelation knowledge).
          b.     Faith and sight are contrasted in II Cor 5:7 because they are opposites.  You must choose which                     one you will base your life on.
     3.     In the last lesson, we listed four key things you must know about reality (as revealed in the Bible) if                you are going to walk by faith.
          a.     Two realities exist side by side -- the seen and the unseen.  The unseen created all that we see, will                out last what we see, and can change what we see. II Cor 4:18
          b.     You are a spirit who lives in a physical body.  Through the new birth you now have the life and                     nature of God in you to make you what God wants you to be and to enable you to live as God                          wants you to live. II Cor 4:16; II Cor 5:6; I John 5:11,12; I John 2:6
          c.     Through the new birth, you became part of the unseen realm where God dwells. Col 1:13;
               Luke 17:20,21
          d.     Through the new birth, by uniting us to the life in Jesus, God has made full provision for us to live                this life and the life to come. Eph 1:3
     4.     In the last lesson, we said that true faith requires corresponding actions -- words and actions which                demonstrate what you say you believe about unseen realities.  James 2:14-22
     5.     In this lesson, we want to deal with the most vital key to living by faith, the basis of living by faith.                 a.     This entire faith lifestyle rests on God, His integrity (that fact that He can't lie) and His                               faithfulness (the fact that He will do what He said He'd do).
          b.     We want to talk about the integrity and faithfulness of  God and His word.

B.     The Bible is not an ordinary Book.  The Bible is our contact with God and the unseen realm.  Therefore, it      is vital to living by faith.
     1.     The Bible is God speaking to us, revealing Himself to us, revealing unseen, invisible realities to us.
          a.     The Living Word, the Lord Jesus, is revealed to us in and through the Bible.
          b.     If Jesus Christ were to suddenly appear to you, He would say what is in this Book.  He'd say                          nothing which contradicts this Book.
          c.     This Book is more reliable than supernatural experiences. Luke 24:25-27; II Pet 1:16-21
     2.     This Book works in us and builds the life and character of Jesus into us as we believe it and act on it.                 Heb 4:12; Acts 20:32; II Cor 3:18; I Thess 2:13
          a.     This Book feeds our inner man, our spirit, and makes us strong.  Matt 4:4; I John 2:14
          b.     We become Christ-like in this life to the degree that this Book prevails in our lives.
     4.     God works in our lives through His word.
          a.     God is a faith God.  He uses words to do things. Heb 11:3; Gen 1; Matt 8:1-17
          b.     God's word is His faith expressed.  He believes what He says.
          c.     What God says is.  Whether you see it or feel it, or not -- if God says something is so, it is so.
          d.     What God says becomes.  If what God says does not yet exist, it is as good as done once He speaks                -- so much so that you can speak of it in the past tense. Rom 4:17
               1.     God...who speaks of non-existent things that [He has foretold and promised] as if they                               [already] existed. (Amp).
               2.     And speaks of future events with as much certainty as though they were already past. (Living)
     4.     The confidence we need to live by faith, by unseen realties, comes from God's word. Rom 10:8,17
          a.     Faith comes from God's word because His word shows us God -- what He is like, what He has                     done, is doing, and will do for us (unseen realities).
          b.     All Christians have the capacity for faith because we are believers with the life of God in us.
               Rom 12:3; Mark 11:22
          c.     To live by faith (unseen realities) begins with a decision to believe what God says despite what we                see or feel. John 20:25
          d.     Faith grows as we act on God's word = express our agreement with it through word and actions.
C.     The eleventh chapter of Hebrews is sometimes called the faith hall of fame.  It lists numerous OT saints      who are commended by God for their faith.
     1.     Heb 11:1--The theme of this chapter is faith.  Faith is living by unseen realities.
     2.     As we read, we see that these people based their actions, not on what they could see and feel, but on                unseen realities revealed to them by God's word. v7,8,11,17-19,22,27
     3.     We further find that a key to their success, to their strong faith, was knowing that God is faithful.
          a.     Heb 11:11--Sarah received strength to have a baby when she was too old because she knew God                     was, is faithful.
          b.     Abraham was also fully persuaded of God's faithfulness.  Rom 4:21--Fully satisfied and assured                     that God was mighty to keep His word and to do what He had promised. (Amp)
     4.     A key to living by unseen realities revealed in the Bible is recognizing that the Bible is God speaking                to me now -- God who cannot lie, God who is faithful.
          a.     God's integrity is behind every statement in His Book.  That's why you can rely on, count on,                          what He has said even      though you have no physical proof.
          b.     Faithful means steadfast in keeping promises or fulfilling duties.  Steadfast means not subject to                     change.
          c.     God keeps his word, makes His word good -- and that characteristic never changes.
     5.     In the Bible, God reveals Himself to be faithful. Deut 7:9; I Cor 1:9; 10:13; I Thess 5:24; II Thess 3:3;
          I Pet 4:19
          a.     I Cor 1:9--God is faithful - reliable, trustworthy and [therefore] ever true to His promise, and He                     can be depended on. (Amp)
          b.     I Cor 10:13--But God is faithful to His word and to His compassionate [nature] and He [can be                     trusted]. (Amp)
     6.     He cannot lie, nor deny Himself. Titus 1:2; Heb 6:18; II Tim 2:13
          a.     If we are faithless (do not believe and remain true to Him) He remains true [faithful to His word                     and His righteous character], for He cannot deny Himself. (Amp)
          b.     If we prove unfaithful, He remains faithful; He cannot be untrue to Himself. (Bruce)
     7.     It's so important that we know God is faithful to do what He says because that is how He works in our                lives.  He gives His promise, His word, and when it is believed, He fulfills it -- brings it to pass, does it,           makes the unseen seen.

D.     God has gone to great lengths to help us walk by faith, by unseen realities.  He has given us many examples      in His word which clearly show us His faithfulness to do what He says, to change the seen with the unseen.
     1.     Rom 1:20--The invisible characteristics of God are clearly seen in His creation, including His                          faithfulness to do what He promised.
          a.     Gen 8:22--The Lord said that as long as the earth lasts, there will be seed time and harvest, heat                     and cold, summer and winter, day and night.
          b.     God spoke those words over 5,000 years ago, yet not one year has gone by, not one day has ended                     where this promise did not come to pass.
          c.     We tend to attribute such things to the laws of nature.  But, who spoke the laws into existence?                      Who upholds them with the word of His power?  God!! Heb 1:3
          d.     Every time the sun comes up, every time the seasons change, they testify of God's faithfulness to                     keep His word, to fulfill His word.
     2.     Gen 9:11-17--After the great flood, God told Noah that He would never again destroy the earth by                     flood.  Has God been true to that promise?
          a.     Have men done wickedness since the time of the flood?  Certainly!!  Yet, no flood, no world wide                     destruction from God has occurred.  Your sin doesn't change God's faithfulness to His word.
          b.     Every rainbow is a physical reminder of God's faithfulness to His word.
     3.     Deut 4:26-31--God told Israel that if they worshipped false gods in the promised land, He would allow                their enemies to carry them away into captivity until they turned back to Him.
          a.     Jer 31:35-37--As Israel was about to be carried off into captivity for idol worship, God reminded                     them that the same faithfulness that keeps the sun shining by day and the moon by night would                     bring them back to the land.
          b.     After the Babylonian captivity, Israel did go back to their land under Ezra and Nehemiah, only to                     be removed again in 70 A.D.  But, God promised them they would eventually return to the land                     never to be removed.  That will happen when Jesus comes back again. Amos 9:14,15
     4.     II Sam 7:11-16--God promised David that a descendent of his would sit on the throne at Jerusalem                forever. Ps 89:3,4; 34-37
          a.     When Israel was about to be taken out of the land by King Nebuchadnezzer of Babylon, it looked                     as though that promise to David would not be fulfilled.
          b.     Jer 33:19-26--But, God spoke through the prophet Jeremiah that He would keep His promise.  Day                and night were physical proof of it.
          c.     You might say -- that promise has not been kept.  There isn't even a throne in Israel today, let                          alone a descendent of David's on it.
               1.     When Jesus comes back to earth, He will fulfill that promise, and, as a descendent of David's,                          reign in Jerusalem. Matt 1:1; Rev 20:4; 5:10
               2.     As long as the sun keeps coming up we know that God is faithful, that Jesus is coming back,                          and that He will keep His word.

E.     Abraham is held up to us as an example of faith -- one who lived by unseen realities.
     1.     One of the things that helped Abraham live by faith is that He knew God's faithfulness -- God will do                what He says. Rom 4:21
     2.     As we study Abraham's life, we see that God bent over backwards to let Abraham know He is faithful.
          a.     God revealed Himself to Abraham and gave him His word over and over again. Gen 12:1-3;
               13:14-17; 15:1-21; 17:1-22; 18:9,10          
          b.     Gen 15:17,18--When God entered into covenant with Abraham, only He passed through the rows                     of sacrificed animals indicating an unconditional promise on God's part and the fact that                               fulfillment of the promise was dependent on Him alone.
          c.     God changed Abraham's name to Father of Many Nations so Abraham could continually think                     about and confess God's promise. Gen 17:5
          d.     God not only promised Abraham a son, a land, a nation, and a Savior, He swore by Himself to do                     it. Heb 6:13-18; Gen 12:1-3; 13:15,16; 15:4-7; 22:16-18
     3.     How did God do in regard to Abraham?  Was He faithful to His word?
          a.     God fulfilled every promise Abraham needed in his life during his life time -- Isaac, provision,                     land, wealth. Gen 24:1,35; 21:3: 13:2
          b.     Jesus came from Abraham's line as promised. Gen 12:3; 17:19; Gal 3:16; Matt 1:1; Gal 4:4
          c.     God promised Abraham descendents more in number than the stars and sand.  That promise is                     being fulfilled even as we speak. Gen 15:5; Gal 3:29
          d.     When Jesus comes back to earth, God will fulfill His promise that Abraham's descendents will                     live in the promised land again -- never to be removed. Gen 13:15; Amos 9:14,15
     4.     Abraham left the earth many centuries ago and stepped into the unseen realm.
          a.     He didn't cease to exist or become less real when his body died.
          b.     He's in heaven with the Lord, looking forward to the day when he will come back to earth with                     Jesus to live in the promised land once more.
          c.     Right now, he is a part of a great cloud of witnesses, OT saints who lived by faith, rooting us on in                our faith walk.  Not seen doesn't mean not real. Heb 12:1

F.     Conclusion:  The basis of faith is God's word -- the integrity of God and His faithfulness to keep His word.
     1.     God has gone to great lengths to make His faithfulness known to us through His word.  Now, we must                avail ourselves of His word.  We must take time to study and meditate on it.
     2.     Think about how we respond to the word of a doctor or a lawyer or a banker.
          a.     We don't question it.  We take it at face value.  We act on it.
          b.     But, they can lie.  They can make a mistake.  They can fail to keep their word.
     3.     God can do none of those things, yet we struggle to believe His word when we don't have physical                (seen) evidence.  We have to get beyond that point.
          a.     What God says is whether you see or feel it or not.  If God says something is so, it is so.
          b.     What God says becomes.  If what God says does not yet exist, it is as good as done once He                          speaks, so much so that He (and you) can speak of it in the past tense.
     4.     Say this to yourself over and over until the reality of it dawns on you.
          a.     The Bible is God speaking to me now.  God cannot lie.
          b.     God will make His word good in me because He is faithful.
          c.     I am what God says I am.  I have what God says I have.  I can do what God says I can do.
     5.     The sun came up today.  The sun set tonight.  That is physical, visible proof of God's faithfulness to                keep His word.  God will make His word good in my life.
          a.     You have to reach a bottom line in Christianity if you are going to effectively walk by faith --  I                     choose to believe what God says no matter what I see or feel, no matter what my experience is or                     has been.
          b.     Then,  you must hold fast to what God says about unseen realities because He is faithful.
          c.     Heb 10:23--So let us seize and hold fast and retain without wavering the hope we cherish and                          confess, and our acknowledgment of it, for He who promised is reliable (sure) and faithful to His                     word. (Amp)