Faithfulness is living out our allegiance to Jesus as our Lord. Barnabas was filled with the Holy Spirit and he was filled with faith. He encouraged the church in Antioch to be faithful and the city saw that they belonged to Jesus!
“…[Barnabas] exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose.”
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
Hi Kids! Over the summer we’re learning about the FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT. What are the Fruit of the Spirit!? When we put our faith in Jesus, we receive an amazing gift from Jesus in the form of the Holy Spirit. As the Holy Spirit leads us, we grow and start to bear fruit! It’s a way of saying that we become more like Jesus. Galatians 5:22-23 says: “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control”
The last few weeks we spoke about love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, and goodness. Today we’re going to speak about what faithfulness is!
We’re going to use a papaya to represent faithfulness because when you cut a papaya in half it makes a star shape. The star reminds us of God’s faithfulness to us in sending his son. God promised that he would send a king, and he answered that promise in Jesus. God is 100% dependable and true to his word. He is faithful!
[For the older kids you can read Deuteronomy 7:9]
Faithfulness is a Fruit
So, God is faithful which means that we can always count on him! But, if faithfulness is a fruit of the Spirit, it means that it’s something that God produces in us as well when we choose to follow him. We can also be faithful to God! Faith is when we put our trust in Jesus, faithfulness is when we continue to put our faith in him. We are full of faith!
The First People Called Christians
There’s a great story in Acts about believers in Antioch, who were one of the earliest communities who put their faith in Jesus:
Recount the story from Acts 11:19-26
Some things to emphasize:
- scattered because of the persecution (v 19): the early believers were being persecuted for their faith. Being truly faithful means following Jesus, even when it’s difficult.
- spoke to the Hellenists also, preaching the Lord Jesus (v 20): these men had decided to go to the Greek-speaking people and share the good news that Jesus died for them.
- turned to the Lord (v 21): another way of saying that those people put their faith in Jesus.
- they sent Barnabas (v 22): Barnabas was likely chosen because he had shown himself to be faithful. The leaders in Jerusalem knew that they could trust Barnabas with an important task.
- he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord (v 23): Barnabas’s message to the people was to remain faithful. He wanted them to keep on believing and following Jesus.
- full of the Holy Spirit and of faith (v 24): being full of the Holy Spirit goes along with being full of faith.
- in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians (v 26): The word ‘Christian’ means ‘belonging to Christ’. If the believers weren’t faithful, the town would not have known that they belonged to Jesus.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for your great faithfulness and that we can count on you. Thank you for giving us your Holy Spirit to help us to be true to your word in the way we live our lives.
- How did the people in Antioch hear the good news about Jesus?
- Who sent Barnabas to them?
- What did Barnabas say to them?
- What does it mean to be faithful?
- How does the star in the papaya remind us of God’s faithfulness?
Image Credit: Plantae selectae quarum imagines ad exemplaria naturalia Londini, in hortis curiosorum nutrita – Biodiversity Heritage Library