Series: The Fruit of the Spirit
Teacher: Jacob Bender
Date: August 23, 2015
scriptures: 2 Timothy 2:13, Genesis 15:6, Exodus 17, Romans 4:3, Galatians 3:6, James 2:26, 2 Corinthians 8:1-7, John 13, 1 Peter 2:2-5, Mark 14:32-42, Luke 22:44, John 12:27, Galatians 5, John 18, Hebrews 13:8
Faithfulness, as Paul uses it in Galatians 5 when listing the Fruit of the Spirit, is the Greek word pistis and it means “The character of one who can be relied on.”
The hack on the “Ashley Madison” website that was released this week was a pile of evidence (30 million users of evidence) as to how much our society does not value faithfulness. How much we lack pistis. The thing that bothered me so so much, and still does, about this website and the fact that it had so many users, is this: we have grown so incredibly numb to what a covenant even means in our society, that we have millions of people literally getting on a website and strategically looking for ways to break their promise to the person who is supposed to be their closest and most valued friend in all the world, and that is literally beyond my comprehension. The fact that this sight even existed, much less gained that much traction, is absolutely devastating to me.
But one thing that we have to remember in this extreme example of where we are as a society, is that we, as Christians, are citizens of a different kingdom… and we have been trusted with the gospel… the joy news that the war is over, that a new kingdom has been established, and that everyone is invited.
What that means for the Ashley Madison hack is this: There are a LOT of hurting people right now, who need the church to be FAITHFUL to them. The reality is, that sin has a cost, and the reality is, that what is done in darkness ALWAYS eventually comes to the light… and that day has come for everyone who was a registered user of that website.
But it is crucial, now, that the church responds by demonstrating the fruit of the Spirit toward the individuals caught in the act of adultery.
We talked during the “Goodness” message, about the woman caught in the act of adultery… and how Jesus petitioned on behalf of those who were guilty. I really believe that the Holy Spirit dropped that little thought on me last week (maybe to prepare my heart for how to respond this week to this news) about what Jesus was writing in the sand. That if he wanted us to know what he was writing…. If Jesus wanted us to know what the Pharisees had to see to cause them to walk away, he would have made sure it was written in the account.
But what if the reason he left it open, was so that we could apply it to our lives? What would you need to see written in the sand, that would make you lay down your stones and walk away… that would make you realize, “I am just as guilty?”
The Ashley Madison website is a reminder to how much our society does not value faithfulness. And the hack release is all the more evidence that what we do in secret will always be brought to the light sooner or later.
But it also needs to be a reminder to the Christian community that in a world that lacks faithfulness, it needs some people who still have it. Peoples marriages are in trouble because of this (obviously, they were in trouble before they got caught) but there is something different that is happening now. Their darkest decisions are now completely in the light.
People who made big mistakes are going to need people who will stand by them, not because what they did was okay, because it is not… But because at the end of the day, we are all just as guilty.
Remember, Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane was Faithful to his friends even though they were not faithful to him. Even though they couldn’t stay awake for one hour, even though he knew that Peter would deny him three times the following day… When the guards came for Jesus, he said (John 18:8) “If you seek me, let these men go.” – He said to the guards, “You can’t take my friends… do what you will with me.” Even in his darkest hour, Jesus’ faithfulness shined so bright. He drank the whole cup of wrath for the price of our sin. All the dregs and seeds and backwash. All the adultery and failed marriages and abortions and lies. All the unfaithfulness. All the works of the flesh that we are all guilty of, sometimes on a daily basis.
Let today be an opportunity for us to be more faithful than we ever have been before.