Many will say they are faithful followers of Jesus but at the same time do not believe His word completely. Faithfulness requires commitment to God’s word, not just talk. Jesus questioned whether He would find faith when He returned. Luke 18:8 “When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” It is easy to say you are faithful but when life doesn’t go as you had planned, will you still be faithful? Faithfulness is obedience to God’s word. You obey because you fear God and believe His word and you trust God to fulfil His word. Psalm 78:1 “My people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth. 2 I will open my mouth with a parable; I will utter hidden things, things from of old— 3 things we have heard and known, things our ancestors have told us. 4 We will not hide them from their descendants; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done. 5 He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our ancestors to teach their children, 6 so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. 7 Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands. 8 They would not be like their ancestors— a stubborn and rebellious generation, whose hearts were not loyal to God, whose spirits were not faithful to him.”
That stubborn and rebellious generation is still here because they follow the wrong spirit. 1 Timothy 4:1 “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.” Jude 1:17 “But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. 18 They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” 19 These are the people who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit. 20 But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.” We do not want to be part of those who follow doctrines of demons and natural instincts. The church is filled with those who do.
Instead, we want to be like Stephen who was full of faith and the Holy Spirit. Acts 6:1 “In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenistic Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. 2 So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. 3 Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them 4 and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word. 5 This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit. 8 Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed great wonders and signs among the people.” Stephen believed and was faithful to the point of death. He preached the word of God and was killed in the process. He said, Acts 7:51 “You stiff-necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. You are just like your ancestors: You always resist the Holy Spirit! 52 Was there ever a prophet your ancestors did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him— 53 you who have received the law that was given through angels but have not obeyed it. 54 When the members of the Sanhedrin heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. 55 But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God. 57 At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, 58 dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul.” Stephen’s life ended but Saul’s new life was about to begin. Paul would later say, Acts 22:19 “‘Lord,’ I replied, ‘these people know that I went from one synagogue to another to imprison and beat those who believe in you. 20 And when the blood of your martyr Stephen was shed, I stood there giving my approval and guarding the clothes of those who were killing him.”
Another man full of faith and the Holy Spirit was Barnabas. Acts 11:19 “Now those who had been scattered by the persecution that broke out when Stephen was killed traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, spreading the word only among Jews. 20 Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. 21 The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord. 22 News of this reached the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23 When he arrived and saw what the grace of God had done, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. 24 He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord. 25 Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, 26 and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.”
If we are to call ourselves Christians, we must be full of faith and the Spirit of God, otherwise we are following in our own strength and natural instincts. Here is the test of your faithfulness to make sure you are following the right spirit. Do you believe God’s word by faith, or do you believe man’s word? Yesterday I talked about a doctrine of demons called cessationism and many who call themselves Christians believe this lie. People believe this lie with all their heart even though this is nowhere to be found in scripture. Here is the test. Do you believe this or not? 1 Corinthians 12:7 “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.” Do you believe what you just read or what someone other than God is telling you?
Here is another test. God’s word is truth but here Jesus emphasizes what He is saying. John 14:12 “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” Haggai 2:12 “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” Do you believe what Jesus said or man? Some have chosen to believe that because there and more Christians more work is being done, yet there is next to no healing and demons are not being cast out. The church today is probably in the worst condition ever. I was reading in Matthew 16 where Peter said 16 “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus responds saying, “18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” The Catholics believe Peter was the Rock, but it was what Peter said that was Rock. The mess the Catholic church is in verifies they got this verse wrong. Also, there is no power.
Here is another that is the foundation of our faith. Start off asking yourself do you believe God created everything in six days? Exodus 20:11 “For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. 2 This is what the ancients were commended for. 3 By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.” Do you believe, Matthew 17:20 “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” True faith in God is powerful. Faith is believing that God can move the mountain He created. If you don’t believe that, your faith is from the wrong spirit.
You can go through scripture and test yourself. Read and believe or read and grieve the Holy Spirit. Isaiah 63:7 “I will tell of the kindnesses of the Lord, the deeds for which he is to be praised, according to all the Lord has done for us— yes, the many good things he has done for Israel, according to his compassion and many kindnesses. 8 He said, “Surely they are my people, children who will be true to me”; and so he became their Savior. 9 In all their distress he too was distressed, and the angel of his presence saved them. In his love and mercy he redeemed them; he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old. 10 Yet they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit. So he turned and became their enemy and he himself fought against them.” Psalm 78:40 “How often they rebelled against him in the wilderness and grieved him in the wasteland! 41 Again and again they put God to the test; they vexed the Holy One of Israel.” Be honest with yourself when you do this. You may find out you are not as faithful as you thought you were. You may also realize that you are not filled with the Spirit as you had been told you were.
Read the bible and believe. Romans 4:18 “Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 19 Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. 20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. 22 This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.” 23 The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, 24 but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.” Do you believe? If not, then repent and ask God to open your eyes. Psalm 119:18 “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law. 129 Your statutes are wonderful; therefore I obey them.”