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Give Thanks; He is Faithful

Give Thanks; He is Faithful

Words of Faith 4-20-17

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2017

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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1 Corinthians

[4] I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. [5] For in him you have been enriched in every way--in all your speaking and in all your knowledge-- [6] because our testimony about Christ was confirmed in you. [7] Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. [8] He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. [9] God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.

I always marvel at Paul and how he always gives thanks for the people of God. Virtually ever letter he wrote begins in a warm expression of gratitude not to, but for the people he is writing. This might have been the most difficult "thanksgiving" of all because of the problems going on in Corinth but it seems to come with great ease. Why is that?

Certainly Paul was not thankful for the abuses that were going on in the church at Corinth. He was not thankful for the immorality that had crept into church or the rude behavior being displayed in worship settings. He was not thankful for the arrogant abuses of spiritual gifts or the disruption of worship. He was not thankful for the arguments about who was the better leader-- himself or Apollos. He was not thankful for the selfishness that had crept in or that people were focused on themselves rather than being concerned about how their word or behavior might cause others to stumble.

But there was still so much to be thankful for! Even in this troubled church, Paul was able to step back and give thanks for the big stuff. He was thankful for the very grace of God that is so patient with His church. He was able to give thanks for the marvelous ways that God had enriched the lives of the Corinthian believers and the confirmation of the Gospel in their lives. He was able to thank God for the incredible outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the giving of diverse spiritual gifts among the believers. He was able to thank God for the eagerness of some for the Lord Jesus to be revealed.

Out of this spirit of thanksgiving, which is the big picture, Paul came to a tremendous sense of reassurance about God's work among the Corinthians. Though this was the most troubled church he would ever deal with, and even though some were self absorbed and even narcissistic, Paul knew that God could and would build strength in them that would last to the end!

Paul knew a long time ago that "it's not about you.” It is about God! He is faithful even when the gathering of "called out ones" is unfaithful. God is always faithful and will complete His intention to sanctify us and present us blameless on the day of Christ Jesus. God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.

Wow! What an affirmation of God-truth! God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful. I should type that out ten times just for emphasis. God is faithful! Even when those we work with are not. Even with people fail us. Even when we are disappointed. Even when we fail ourselves and those we love. Even when those we love fail us. Even when things seems crazy.

God is bigger than all of that and He is faithful. He will complete what He has started in us. He has called us into fellowship with Himself in Jesus. He did not do that haphazardly or without thought. He was very deliberate in calling you and me into fellowship with Jesus. And God is faithful.

This does not mean that Paul will not have to pointedly deal with the errors in doctrine and behavior that had gotten loose among the Corinthian believers. It just means that He could do so from a perspective of absolute faith, trust that God would indeed work out these problems and move His church toward a spotless day of glory at the coming of the Lord.

For us? We can get frustrated, too. We live in a day and time when church leaders fail us and some Christians are more likely to behave like consumers than disciples. Even in the church we may deal with people who are rude, self-absorbed, materialistic or immoral. But God is faithful. He is not done with us yet.

The answer is not to abandon the Body of Christ. The answer is not to form yet another tinier group that we think will all agree. The answer is not to form yet another mega-gathering of anonymity where everyone smiles and no one knows anyone. The answer is to trust that God know exactly what needs to be done and He will do it. He is faithful.

Father God, keep my eye upon You, always trusting in You and Your path. Help me to get my heart into You and You into my heart as never before. Help me to see the big picture like Paul did. Help me to trust You more and more-- For God, who has called me into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful. In Jesus' name.