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Faithfulness Is Love's Commitment (7 of 9)
Series: Fruit of the Holy Spirit
Galatians 5:22,24-25; Hosea 4:1-12
INTRO: One of the most important qualities in all healthy relationships is "faithfulness." In a culture that emphasizes success it is difficult for the importance of this quality to be fully appreciated. And yet, when we look at the life and teaching of Jesus we don't hear ANYTHING about success, Jesus didn't say, "Well done, you successful servant" He said, "Well done, you FAITHFUL servant."
Even parables that mention elements of success the emphasis is on faithfulness and not success - such as the parable of the talents and their investment by all but one wicked servant who never invested the one talent he was given. The focus of the parable was not the doubling of the investments by the others, but their faithfulness to invest.
Yet, as Christians we live in a culture that values things like success and reputations … and faithfulness is hardly ever the focus!
ILLUS: Be more concerned with your character than with your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are. -- John Wooden former UCLA basketball coach, Marriage Partnership, Vol. 13, no. 3.
There is a great challenge for Christians living in a culture that has placed other values much higher than faithfulness … yet it is this very quality that characterizes the fullness of the Spirit in our lives! It is NOT an option in the Christian life, nor is it a value that can be minimized.
PROP. SENT: The Word of God teaches us that faithfulness IS THE characteristic of a Christian's commitment to Christ, faithfulness is love's commitment.
I. FAILURE Hosea 4:1-12
A. Challenge Hosea 4:1-2
1. Hosea found himself in a culture similar to ours today.
a. Israel was coming to the end of a very prosperous time in her history.
b. Corruption within institutions, religion, and politics was extremely high.
c. There was plenty of religion but little true worship of God. Religious leaders compromised their own morality to gain financial benefits, and compromised to gain political power. (Take heed religious leaders of America!)
d. Sexual immorality was rampant within the society of Israel, encouraged by the sensual nature of Baal worship.
e. There was wide toleration of a variety of vices, and those who spoke out against such lax morality were ridiculed and mocked.
f. The institution of marriage was in serious trouble throughout Israel, this was evidenced even within Hosea's own marriage.
2. Some things never change!
3. Faithfulness was not exactly considered an important quality; success, power, influence, tolerance, freedom … these were the emphasized qualities within the culture.
a. Hosea's call to commitment and faithfulness was largely ignored.
(1. He even named his children with the hopes that Israel would get the message from his own children' ...
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