M- The Virtue of Faithfulness

///M- The Virtue of Faithfulness
M- The Virtue of Faithfulness2017-03-30T17:07:02-04:00
Study Explanation
Key Scripture
Discussion Guides
Growing Exercises
Recommended Reading

Explanation

This virtue reflects your approach to taking action to serve God, your family, your church and your fellow man.  Do you take initiative to do the right things in your life?  Are you dependable with the various tasks and obligations to which you have been entrusted?  Can others count on you?  Are you loyal to God, family and friends?  Are you more motivated by instant gratification and short term comfort than you are by a commitment to God and others?  Are you willing to work and sacrifice for ideas larger than yourself?  Do you feel a strong sense of responsibility to serve God, your family, your church and your fellow man?  Do you stick with important tasks and relationships or do you have a tendency to give up?   Are you willing to stand up for God and others when doing so is unpopular and costly?

KEY SCRIPTURES

Key Scriptures

Key Scriptures are designed to give a biblical overview of the topic in question.  They are extremely valuable for gaining an immediate general understanding of what the Bible teaches on a given subject.  Key Scriptures are the first place you should explore when starting a new subject.  They can be discussed individually, in part, or in whole.  Generic inductive Bible study questions are provided to assist you in your discussion.  Key Scriptures are also good for memorizing and reference.

God’s Faithfulness

Psalm 18:25 – To the faithful you show yourself faithful, to the blameless you show yourself blameless. NIV

Psalm 37:28 – For the LORD loves the just and will not forsake his faithful ones. NIV

Psalm 145:13 – The LORD is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made. NIV

Faithfulness

Proverbs 12:11- He who works his land will have abundant food, but he who chases fantasies lacks judgment. NIV

Romans 12:11-13 – Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. NIV

Proverbs 22:6 – Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. NIV

Deuteronomy 11:19 -Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. NIV

See also Romans 2:7

Diligence

Proverbs 27:23 – Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds. NIV

Proverbs 12:24 – Diligent hands will rule, but laziness ends in slave labor. NIV

See also Proverbs 21:5 & Ecclesiastes 11:6

Sloth

Proverbs 20:13 – Do not love sleep or you will grow poor; stay awake and you will have food to spare. NIV

Ecclesiastes 10:18 – If a man is lazy, the rafters sag; if his hands are idle, the house leaks. NIV

Ephesians 4:28 – He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need. NIV

See also Proverbs 13:15, 15:19 & Ephesians 6:4

Inductive Bible Study Questions

to be used with individual Key Scriptures

  • What is the primary point of this passage?
  • How does this passage challenge us?
  • How does this passage comfort or encourage us?
  • What does this passage teach us about God?
  • What spiritual insights are found in this passage?
  • What are the personal & spiritual implications of this text?
  • What does this passage ask or require of us?

Key Scriptures Bible Study

to be used when studying all Key Scriptures together

  • Did any of the scriptures given surprise you? Explain
  • Did any of the scriptures given confuse you? Explain
  • Did any of the scriptures given comfort or excite you?
  • How would you sum up these scriptures to another?
  • What implications do these scriptures have for our lives?
  • Which of these scriptures would you find it valuable to memorize?

DISCUSSION GUIDES

Remaining Faithful to God

M1 – Living a Quiet Life – 1 Thessalonians 4: 11-12

Key Words: Faithfulness, Humility, Spirituality, Witnesses, Quietness

  1. Does Paul’s charge to lead a quiet life and work with your hands surprise you, or would you expect something more overtly spiritual from him?
  2. How would you sum up the ethic of verse 11?
  3. When Paul says to make this our ambition is he giving us a Christian social ethic… explain?
  4. Is this ethic different from the way some Christians today strive to relate to the world?
  5. How does living a life of quiet responsibility and dependability honor God?
  6. How might a life of quiet faithfulness be a compelling witness to others?
  7. How relevant today is the charge to not be dependent on anyone?
  8. Why is this a particularly difficult challenge for many Christians in our society?
  • Approach all scripture prayerfully open
Rating: 5.0. From 1 vote.
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M2 – Faithful in Injustice – Hebrews 10: 32-34

Key Words: Faithfulness, Justice, Injustice, Trials, Hardships

  1. How does God communicate in this passage that faithfulness is important to him?
  2. List the difficulties the people in the text have endured for God.
  3. Are such realities a growing concern today?
  4. How do you think your faith would stand up against such trials?
  5. What does the writer say was the secret to their faithfulness?
  6. What does the text say about their attitude regarding the trials and injustices they faced?
  7. How important is perspective in enduring trials and injustices… explain?
  8. Do you believe that Heaven truly holds better and lasting possessions than does this world?
  9. What is the secret to us being faithful in such times?
  • Approach God’s Word with humility, honesty and teachability
Rating: 5.0. From 1 vote.
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M3 – Faithful in Leadership – 1 Timothy 4: 11-16

Key Words: Faithfulness, Spiritual Leadership, Spirituality, Witnesses, Character

  1. What can we infer from this passage about Paul’s relationship with Timothy?
  2. Does Paul’s exhortation encourage Timothy to be, to do, or both?
  3. What does it mean to set an example in speech… life… love… faith… and purity?
  4. Why is character so important for Christian leaders?
  5. Have you experienced Christian leadership that was lacking in the character outlined in this text?
  6. How does falling short in these areas damage the credibility and authority of Christian leaders?
  7. How does this text sum up the primary tasks of Christian leaders?
  8. Is this how we view Christian leadership today, or do our leaders often have other priorities?
  9. What does God require of leaders to be spiritually faithful?
  10. Is faithfulness to God’s church a priority in your life?
  11. What do you need to do in your life to be more faithful and to encourage and empower your leaders to be faithful?
  • These questions are only suggestions, allow the Holy Spirit to be your guide
Rating: 5.0. From 1 vote.
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M4 – Faithful in Suffering – Romans 5:1-5

Key Words: Faithfulness, Suffering, Hope, Faith,

  1. What two things does the text say we should hope in?
  2. How are these two hopes related?
  3. What is the connection between suffering, perseverance, character and hope?
  4. How does suffering test our faith?
  5. How does suffering impact your faith and relationship with God: dove it drive you closer or further away… explain?
  6. In what ways does perseverance lead to character?
  7. How does our reaction to hard times reveal what is truly in our hearts?
  8. How does the text respond to those who feel they do not have the strength to remain faithful in suffering?
  9. What practical help does the Holy Spirit give to those who are suffering?
  • These questions are simply a foundation for you to build upon
Rating: 5.0. From 1 vote.
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M5 – Faithful in Trails – James 1: 2-4

Key Words: Faithfulness, Trials, Security, Peace, Well-Being

  1. Honestly, what is your initial reaction to trials, problems, setbacks and failures?
  2. What is the rationale given by the passage to consider it joy when we face trails?
  3. Explain the dynamic that causes trials to ultimately lead to maturity?
  4. How would this text define maturity?
  5. How do trials develop these qualities?
  6. Respond to the statement: trials make you better or make you bitter.
  7. Respond to the statement: God doesn’t remove our problems, he empowers us to overcome them.
  8. Trails have a way of compromising our peace, security and well-being; so what does the text mean when it says we will be lacking in anything?
  • Create your own study by adding and subtracting questions as needed
Rating: 5.0. From 1 vote.
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M6 – Faithful When Wronged – Numbers 12: 1-9

Key Words: Faithfulness, Injustice, Patience, Grace, Spirituality

  1. How would you describe Aaron and Miriam’s offence against Moses?
  2. How do you typically react when people treat you this way?
  3. On what basis did the Lord rebuke Aaron and Miriam?
  4. How does the text describe Moses?
  5. How does the text record the response of Moses to this gossip against him?
  6. What does the silence of Moses infer about his response?
  7. According to the text, how does the Lord feel about those who speak against those please him?
  8. How would you describe the Christian ethic regarding those who wrong us?
  9. How does the Lord reward Moses for his faithfulness?
  • Your questions are probably better than mine
Rating: 5.0. From 1 vote.
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M7 – Faithful in Persecution – Revelation 2: 8-11

Key Words: Faithfulness, Persecution, Temptation, Promise

  1. What do we know about the church of Smyrna from this passage?
  2. How does Jesus describe himself in this passage?
  3. How does this description of Jesus imply omniscience and omnipotence, and how does that impact what he is asking the church to do?
  4. Why does Jesus say that the church of Smyrna is rich when they are physically persecuted and materially impoverished?
  5. What temptations did the Christians in Smyrna face from the world?
  6. In what specific ways was God calling them to be faithful?
  7. What assurances did Jesus give the church if they remain faithful?
  8. What temptations do Christians face today to compromise our faith?
  9. What assurances does God give us if we remain faithful?
  • Spend time with the questions prior to leading a group or coaching time
Rating: 5.0. From 1 vote.
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M8 – Faithful in Service – With Matthew 25: 14-30

Key Words: Faithfulness, Service, Self-Denial, Generosity, Wisdom, Blessing

  1. What point is Jesus making in the parable of the talents?
  2. How does God treat those who were faithful with their talents verses those who were not faithful?
  3. What talents does God give us today…in other words, what physical, relational and spiritual gifts are we responsible for?
  4. Do we ultimately possess anything?
  5. Do you view your possessions, wealth, abilities, and relationships as belonging to you or God?
  6. Describe the various ways we should respond to God’s blessings in our lives?
  7. Why is it easy to lose track of the reality that we are only stewards of what we have?
  8. What is your philosophy regarding the sum of what you own?
  • Interrogatives are keys that unlock wonderful secrets 
Rating: 5.0. From 1 vote.
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Faithful with Others

M9 – Faithful with Those in Need – Matthew 25: 31 – 46

Key Words: Faithfulness, Service, Reward, Love, Caring for the Needy,

  1. Describe the differences in how the sheep and goats approach spirituality.
  2. What does this passage teach about our responsibility to serve others?
  3. How would the goats in the passage describe themselves?
  4. Why do they believe they have a good relationship with God?
  5. Does God view our faithfulness in service to others as an indication of our commitment to him?
  6. Is our faithfulness in serving others a measure of our comprehension and application of the gospel… explain?
  7. How do we translate these various activities into today’s culture?
  8. It is impossible to respond to all of the needs around us, how do we know which ones we are meet?
  9. Does this text provide a philosophy of how we relate to others in need?
  10. How does God view the sheep, those who were faithful in loving and caring for others, verses those who were not?
  • Be like a detective who interrogates scripture 
Rating: 5.0. From 1 vote.
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M10 – Faithful in Serving Your Spouse – Ephesians 5: 21-33

Key Words: Faithfulness, Family, Marriage, Service, Self-Denial

  1. What are the marriage implications of verse 21?
  2. How are the implications of this concept different from how some people view Christian marriage?
  3. Husbands are commanded to love their wives, what does that practically look like?
  4. How does genuine love enable men to enhance their marriage and serve wives?
  5. Wives are commanded to respect their wives, what does that practically look like?
  6. How does genuine respect enable wives to enhance their marriage and serve their husbands?
  7. How does this command reflect the practical needs of each partner?
  8. What does this passage teach your practical responsibility towards your spouse?
  9. Describe the impact on a marriage when both partners genuinely seek to serve one another in these ways?
  • The insight is found in scripture; questions are simply tools to mine the ore
Rating: 5.0. From 1 vote.
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M11 – Faithful in Ministry Sacrifice – 2 Corinthians 11: 23-28

Key Words: Faithfulness, Ministry, Perseverance, Persecution, Love, Motive, Purpose

  1. What is Paul trying to communicate to the Corinthians, or why is he making this argument?
  2. List the hardships Paul willingly endured for the sake of the gospel.
  3. What does verse 28 indicate about why Paul endures all of these hardships?
  4. What does this indicate about Paul’s commitment to God?
  5. What does this communicate about Paul’s commitment to ministry?
  6. How excited would you be about serving God if you had to endure what Paul had to endure during his ministry?
  7. What was it about Paul’s perspective or attitude that enabled him to remain focused on his mission and even more passionate for God?
  8. What did Paul gain from all his labors and sacrifices?
  9. Paul remained faithful even to his death; does this remind you of anyone? (See Philippians 2: 5-11).
  10. How is Christ our model for faithfulness and Paul an inspiration?
  • Follow the lines of curiosity 
Rating: 5.0. From 1 vote.
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Diligence

M12 – Working Hard – Proverbs 10: 4-5

Key Words: Faithfulness, Diligence, Laziness, Work

  1. Contrast lazy and diligent hands. Is this passage reflective of the Protestant work ethic… explain?
  2. Does it strike you as odd that Christians in other times were particularly known for their hard work and initiative?
  3. Is this something that should be more important to Christians today… explain?
  4. Is this something the church should emphasize more?
  5. How does hard work and excellence impact the witness of Christians in the workplace?
  6. How do lazy Christians reflect on Christ?
  7. According to verse 5, how does our work ethic reflect on our family?
  8. Should we care about how our behavior reflects on those close to us?
  9. How would you sum up the teaching in this passage?
  10. On a scale of 1-10, how does your life match with ethic of this passage?
  • Group leaders may wish to consult a commentary for background information 
Rating: 5.0. From 1 vote.
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M13 – Idleness Unhealthy – 1 Timothy 5: 11-16

Key Words: Faithfulness, Diligence, Laziness, Service, Caring for the Needy

  1. What is Paul’s specific advice to widows?
  2. What temptations for widows might Paul be responding to?
  3. What consequences might Paul be trying to protect them from?
  4. What is the list of widows Paul refers to (See verses 3-10)?
  5. Why might younger widows not be placed on such a list?
  6. Why is it important for young widows to live responsibly and soberly among others in the community?
  7. What does the text say happens when people are idle?
  8. Have you ever witnessed idleness as the downfall of someone close to you?
  9. Is idleness a problem in your life?
  10. What negative impact does and has idleness have on your life?
  • Seek to connect the dots with other scriptures and Bible content 
Rating: 5.0. From 1 vote.
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M14 – The Gift of Work – Ecclesiastes: 5: 18-19

Key Words: Faithfulness, Diligence, Work, Joy, Happiness, Perspective

  1. Do you view work as a gift?
  2. What philosophy of work does the writer espouse in this passage?
  3. List the ways work can bring satisfaction in our lives?
  4. Do you feel good work necessary for the enjoyment and fulfillment of life?
  5. In what ways does honest work bring satisfaction, enrichment and enjoyment to life?
  6. Do you enjoy your work?
  7. How important are vocational choices in life?
  8. What criteria should you use to make vocational choices in life?
  9. Are there ways you can change your perspective to make your work more satisfying and enriching?
  • There are no greater tools for effective Bible study than humility, honesty, and diligence
Rating: 5.0. From 1 vote.
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M15 – Faithful Parenting– Proverbs 31:27

Key Words: Faithfulness, Parents, Work, Diligence, Children,

  1. How does this proverb describe the virtues of the noble woman?
  2. How do good moms… or dads watch over the affairs of their household?
  3. What happens to a family when one or both parents eat the bread of idleness?
  4. What happens when one or both parents are diligent in serving their family?
  5. Is there a difference between general diligence, say at work, and diligence in your household… explain?
  6. Why is family responsibility such an important aspect of being faithful to God?
  7. How do you think God views Christians who neglect their family responsibilities?
  8. How do you view those who are negligent with their families?
  9. Ultimately, what responsibilities do Christians have towards their spouse, their children and their parents?
  10. What is the fruit of the ethic described in this passage?
  • You are responsible for your level of engagement
Rating: 5.0. From 1 vote.
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M16 – Blessing and Success – Proverbs 28: 19-20

Key Words: Faithfulness, Prosperity, Success, Blessing, Diligence, Laziness

  1. Is this passage a formula for material prosperity?
  2. What do you think God intends when he uses the word ‘blessed’ in verse 20?
  3. How does God define blessing and success?
  4. How do you define blessing and success?
  5. What does this passage say is the secret to success?
  6. According to this passage, what is the secret to being unsuccessful?
  7. Describe the philosophy of those who find poverty and disaster in their lives?
  8. What do most people today believe is the secret to success?
  9. How many people today believe that success comes from luck, lying, cheating and stealing?
  10. How do these values stack up against this text? Have you found the principles of this text to be true in your own life?
  • Go beyond the obvious by avoiding “Yes” or “No” answers
Rating: 5.0. From 1 vote.
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M17 – Being a Burden – 2 Thessalonians 3: 6-13

Key Words: Faithfulness, Work, Diligence, Righteousness

  1. What does verse 6 imply Paul has been teaching the Thessalonians?
  2. Does it surprise you this was an important part of Paul’s teaching… explain?
  3. On what basis is Paul commending the Thessalonians to be diligent and not idle?
  4. What does Paul indicate is the fruit of idleness?
  5. How was Paul an example of what he taught?
  6. In verse 13 Paul mentions that as believers we should do what is right; what did Paul mean by that?
  7. Why do you suppose Paul views and responsibility and diligence as righteousness issues for Christians?
  8. What does it mean to be a burden to others?
  9. How does our responsibility or irresponsibility in such areas reflect on Christ?
  10. When is it right to receive assistance and generosity and when is it inappropriate?
  • Think before answering
Rating: 5.0. From 1 vote.
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M18 – Passing on the Family Faith – Psalm 78: 1-7

Key Words: Faithfulness, Family, Parents, Children, Discipleship

  1. According to verse 3, where did the author receive spiritual understanding and instruction?
  2. What specific things do verses 4 and 5 teach we should pass on to our children?
  3. What does verse 6 say about God’s plan for families?
  4. Do you believe the home is the most effective place for spiritual instruction… explain?
  5. What responsibility does this passage teach parents have towards their children and future generations?
  6. Why is this a service to the children?
  7. Why is this a service to our communities and world?
  8. How would you define the responsibilities parents have to their children to pass on their?
  9. Why do parents often neglect spiritual responsibilities?
  10. What are practical ways parents can teach their children about the Lord and ensure they have a solid spiritual foundation?
  • Thoughtful silence is the soil of epiphany
Rating: 5.0. From 1 vote.
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M19 – Sexual Faithfulness – 1 Corinthians 7: 2-6

Key Words: Faithfulness, Sex, Joy, Happiness, Temptation, Love, Adultery

  1. According to this passage, do married couples have sexual responsibilities towards one another?
  2. Does the presence of this topic in the Bible surprise you… explain?
  3. Does this passage imply that sex in marriage is about joy, satisfaction, or fulfillment?
  4. Why is this an important issue for Paul to address?
  5. What “temptations” do you suppose Paul is trying to avoid?
  6. What other Bible teachings about marriage impact the spirit of this passage: love… … service… unity?
  7. How does the practice of this principle strengthen marriages?
  8. How does disobedience on this issue weaken marriages?
  9. How is sexual faithfulness more than simply not committing adultery?
  •  Seek Nuance
Rating: 5.0. From 1 vote.
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Faithlessness

M20 – A Faithless Culture – Psalm 78:56-59

Key Words: Faithfulness, Faithlessness

  1. What does the text mean when it says Israel put God to the test?
  2. What specific complaints does God have against Israel in this passage?
  3. Why are such actions dangerous?
  4. Are we guilty today of violating these same complaints… explain?
  5. Do you feel that we test God today?
  6. How did God respond to Israel’s faithlessness?
  7. Is faithfulness really a big deal?
  8. Christians are under grace aren’t we… will God not forgive us?
  9. What are the ramifications of adopting an attitude of faithlessness towards God? …in our lives?  …in our families?  …in our church?  …in our community?
  • Be sure to explore all the resources for each doctrine, virtue, and practice
Rating: 5.0. From 1 vote.
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GROWING EXERCISES

  1. Do something with your children they have always wanted to do, but you have never made the time.
  1. Plan two date nights with your spouse over the next month.
  1. Commit to make your church a priority for the next month. You will attend worship every Sunday.  You will attend a weekly bible study or small group.  You will volunteer in at least one are of service.  You will tithe on your income.  You will invite at least one other person to come with you.
  1. Make a list of obligations you feel you have towards your family: spouse, children, parents, church and employer. Hone the list with your spiritual coach.  Identify the areas in which you are inconsistent or irresponsible and develop a plan to address them.
  1. Pray daily for your family, church and community for at least 15 minutes per day for two weeks.
  1. Make a list of the top five stressors in your life. Expound on your list by noting how each stressor uniquely temps you to compromise your relationship with God.
  1. Make a list of the top five most challenging people in your life. Expound on your list by noting how each one of these people uniquely temps you to compromise your relationship with God.
  1. We live in an age where many people feel they are entitled to various benefits and privileges they receive. The fact of the matter is that many people bless us because they choose to, not because they have to.  Find a tangible way to express your gratitude to your spouse, employer and parents for the blessings they provide in your life.
  1. Write a firm but loving letter to yourself from God regarding the ways you need to be more faithful in your relationship with him?
  1. Proverbs indicates that a strong work ethic and a quiet consistency should characterize a godly person. What kind of employee (or student) are you?  Are you a gossip, grumbler or complainer?  Do you complete your tasks correctly and on time?  Are you a good teammate who collaborates well and assists others?  Are you respectful of authority?  Do you show up to work on time and respect rules and boundaries?  What did your latest performance appraisal reveal?  What would your boss, co-workers or employees say about you?  In other words, examine how you fall short of the Christian work ethic of quiet consistency and competence.  Where do you struggle at work?  Resolve to improve these issues, and along with your spiritual coach, develop appropriate steps for your context.  Set specific goals you will implement over a one month period.  Discuss with your coach your success and impact of your efforts on your work environment, your boss, your coworkers and yourself.

RECOMMENDED READING

  1. Adele Ahlberg Calhoun – Spiritual Disciplines Handbook, (Readings on Service, Witness, Compassion, Justice, Stewardship)
  2. Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
  3. A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis
  4. The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonheoffer
  5. The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan
  6. Hinds Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard
  7. The Resolution for Men by Kendrick and Alcorn
  8. Every Man’s Challenge by Arterburn and Stoeker
  9. What Kid’s Need Most in a Dad by Tim Hansel
  10. The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace
  11. Church Membership by Jonathan Leeman