October 25, 1992
I do not at all like to do this kind of teaching from the word of God. I read somewhere that at one time
churches forbad this kind of teaching from the pulpit. They required that teaching be done verse by verse &
chapter by chapter. By having that kind of requirement on teaching the word of God, it held down a vast
amount of false doctrine.
Really, it has only been since the teaching of the word of God has departed from systematic teaching, that the false religions and doctrines have gained such a foothold. Anything can and will be promoted with verses apart from their context. This style of teaching the word of God was developed within the Plymouth Brethren movement and was called "Bible Reading." It permitted the rise of a vast amount of false doctrine which the Church even today is suffering from.
But, I am going to do it anyway for this time because of a statement which I heard the other day. It was given on a tape made at a Reconstruction Conference in England by David Chilton and has been on my mind every since. The statement was that the most important Christian Characteristic is patience. The most important thing that we can learn is patience; the most important thing we can teach our children is patience. If we fail to teach them patience, they will be very impatience and they will take privileges which are reserved for marriage alone.
There are a tremendous number of passages which refer to patience in one way or another. I have tried to take a sampling out of each group of usages, so we can get an idea of their meanings. Because of times sake, I will read most of them to you in their order of meaning.
I. The first Patience (3114) we want to look at means to be of a long spirit, not to lose heart in enduring misfortunes and troubles.
Heb 6:15, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. Abraham received the promise from God, and after 25 years of faithful patient waiting, God made good the promise.
Jam 5:8, Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. James is speaking to the first church which was suffering terrible persecution at the hands of the Jews, and it was spoken to them before the coming of the Lord in judgment against Jerusalem in 70 AD. James is urging them to remain faithful and not give up their hope in the Lord even though they were suffering great affliction, v. 10. The Lord was going to come and judge their persecutors.
A) Furthermore, this patience speaks of bearing the afflictions and injuries of others; to be mild and slow in avenging; to be long-suffering, slow to anger, slow to punish. In other words, slow to take action.
1 Cor 13:4, Charity suffereth long, and is kind.. Our love one for another is shown by our patience when they maybe mistreat us or do not act as we think they should.
1 Thes 5:14, Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the week, be patient toward all men. The next verse explains a little of what Paul means, v. 15: See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men. Patience, long-suffering, slow to anger, slow to punish when mistreated by others; and especially when mistreated for the cause of Christ.
Mat 18:26, 29, Lord, have patience with me..; It is important to note that this passage is not talking about forgiving debts of money; if someone owes you money, you have the right to collect it. V. 35 clearly tells us that we are to forgive those who offend or injure us, as the Father forgave us for Christ's sake. If we do not, then we are in danger of being turned over to the tormentors.
2 Pet 3:9, The Lord is not slack concerning his promises, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should parish, but that all should come to repentance. This is speaking specifically of God's patience toward the elect; how patient are we toward the elect? how patient are we toward fellow members of the people of God?
II. Patience (3115), patience, endurance, constancy, steadfastness, perseverance; esp as shown in bearing troubles and ills.
Col 1:10,11, That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened with all might according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfullness. Paul tells these people at Colossi that he is praying that they would have the grace of God to enable them to remain faithfully consistent to their profession of Christ in the face of every trouble and ill that comes their way. We might grow weak in the faith and get discouraged do to our circumstances, but the grace, the glorious power of God, enables us to remain patiently faithful.
Heb 6:10-12, the author of Hebrews calls on the people of God to be patient and steadfast in their work for the Lord in spite of their troubles and ills. He tells them to be patient because God will not forget their faithfulness and He will reward them according to their faithfulness. "Just be patient," he says, "God will reward you in His good time."
A) This patience also is seen in forbearance, long-suffering, slowness in avenging wrongs..
Rom 2:4, Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? God is patient; He is long-suffering and slow to avenge wrong, but He will avenge wrong. He waits to the last possible moment to judge evil, giving those involved in that evil every opportunity to repent and turn. How quick are we to get angry? How quick do we seek to get even?
Rom 9:22, 23, What if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory. Here the Lord makes a statement that the natural man is totally against. The Lord says here that He has two pre-prepared people: one for destructionand the other for mercy. He endures the evil ways of the one prepared for destruction with much long-suffering. The reason He lets them stay around and gain strength in their evil ways is so He can show His power in their destruction. He either exalts them or allows them to be exalted onto places of great worldly power in order to show the might of His own power when He casts them down to the ground. Neb. in the Book of Daniel was a good example of this: God gave into Neb's power all the world, then God made him eat grass like an ox.
Peter (1 Pet 4:2) gives the evil men of Noah's day as an example of this long-suffering of God. I think that we cannot even begin to imagine the kind of civilization which had developed before the flood.
This patience, endurance, constancy, steadfastness, perseverance & long-suffering, esp as shown in bearing troubles and ills, is identified as a fruit of the Spirit, Gal 5:22, 23, But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
III. Patience (3116), I'll throw this one in for your benefit,patiently in Acts 26:3, Paul beseeches King Agrippa to hear him patiently. I beseech you to hear me patiently!
IV. Patience (5281), In the NT, this patience refers to the characteristic of a man who remains unswerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety in spite of even the greatest trials and sufferings which come his way. Job had this patience, Jas 5:10, 11, Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience. Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.
Luke 8:15, But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience. There were four seeds sown in this parable. Only one brought forth good fruit, and that one is the only one which has patience listed with it. Therefore, the good and perfect fruit which pleases the King includes hearing the word of God, keeping it in spite of all the oppression and sufferings, and patiently waiting for our God-pleasing life to bring forth fruit.
Romans 5:1-5, patience... the characteristic of a man who is steadfast in his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety in spite of the greatest trials and sufferings. This passage in Romans tells us that shamelessness for God and the cause of Christ is not something that happens over night; rather, deliberate and steadfast loyalty to Christ in spite of trials and sufferings, is a direct result of tribulation which worketh patience. Furthermore, the love of God which is shed abroad in our hearts by the Spirit, is a result of tribulation which worketh patience. Tribulation is a necessary step in the Christian walk.
Romans 15:4, For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. (Notice the next verse, v. 5, Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: that ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.) Paul tells us that the trials and sufferings of the OT saints are recorded for our benefit, for our encouragement in our sufferings and trials. They are written down that we might have hope.
2 Cor 6:4, 5, But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings;... again we see that the word of God calls for patience in the midst of suffering and affliction, and promises reward for faithfulness, v. 10, As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things..
He 10:35, 36, Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. Again we are given the promise of a future reward if we are patient in trials.
Ja 1:3, 4, the verses we are all familiar with, Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. Note v. 4, patience has a work: patience perfects the saints of God. It is patience in the midst of the difficulties of life which will form Christ in the saints.
2 Pet 1:6, And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. We are told here that without trials and tribulations which works patience there can be no godliness.
The Lord knows where we are, Rev 2:2 & 19, The Lord knows our labour, and .. patience..
Revelation 13:10 tells us that the faith and patience of the saints realizes that the unjust men who oppress and kill will also be oppressed and killed. Rev 14:12, tells us that patience and faith keep the commandments of God in the face of certain death.
V. Patient (420), used only once, patient of ills and wrongs, forbearing wrong to oneself.
2 Tim 2:24, And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient..
VI. Patient (1933), equitable, fair, mild, gentle 1 Tim 3:3, lists patience as a qualification for a bishop. Titus 2:9; 3:2, Titus is told to teach this precept of patience to servants. Therefore, both the leaders and servants in the Christian community are to be equitable, fair, mild and gentle.
James (3:17) tells us that this gentleness, fairness and mildness is a mark that a person's wisdom is from above.
VII. Patient (5278), to persevere under misfortunes and trials to hold fast to one's faith in Christ. To cleave faithfully to the Lord.
2 Tim 2:12, If we suffer, we shall also reign with him:
James 5:11, We count them happy which endure..
There are several OT passages given within this context of cleaving faithfully to the Lord in spite of the misfortunes and trials that come our way:
Lam 3:21, This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope.. 24, The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. Jeremiah said this in the midst of God's judgment against Israel.
Micah 7:7, Therefore I will look unto the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me.
Ps 33:20, Our soul waiteth for the Lord: he is our help and our shield.
Another definition under this Patient is to endure, bear bravely and calmly, 1 Pet 2:20, For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.
In Paul's description of love in 1 Cor 13, he identifies Christian love as patience: bearing all things, v. 7.
VIII. Patience in the OT (750 74a). The patient of spirit; one slow to anger
Num 14:18, the Lord is longsuffering Pro 14:29, He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding: but he that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly. Ecc 7:8, Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.
It is important to note here that this is patient in spirit.
We all know people who might have great patience in their action, but their spirit is always on the verge of being out of control. It doesn't take much at all for their spirit to be let loose. We are afraid to talk to them because we know that if we say something which they do not agree with, their spirit will evidence its lack of patience by the attitude or spirit which is behind their words.
Yes, their actions may exhibit patience, but their spirit is obviously very impatient and out of the control of the Spirit of God.
IX. Patiently (2342-296b), Wait longingly, Ps 37:7, Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.
X. Patiently (6960, 875b, 876a, stretch, then of tension of enduring, waiting: strong, strength, also strand of rope; endure, remain, await, threads, so spider's threads, web.) This patience speaks of being under tension, stretched out and hanging on only by a thread, yet enduring.
Ps. 37:34, Wait on the Lord, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it. Ps. 37:9, For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth.
Isa 40:31, But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
Lam 3:25, The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.
Lie in wait for, Ps 119:95, The wicked have waited for me to destroy me: but I will consider thy testimonies.
An amazingly consistent thread throughout God's teaching on patience is that suffering, trials and difficulties of all sizes, shapes and descriptions, including physical illnesses, are an absolute ingredient to the Christian.
Only as the child of God bears up in these amazingly difficult situations is the image of Christ formed in him. In other words, Christ cannot be formed in the child of God apart from trials.....
To make matters worse, the purpose of our redemption is that Christ would indeed be formed in us; therefore, the child of God is called to sufferings and difficulties of all kinds. This is why the unsaved person seemingly has a trouble-free life: the Lord has no need to form Christ in him. But the only way that Christ can be formed in us is through trials of all kinds which develop patience. Without patience, no person will have Christ formed in him.
We teach patience by what we do in our lives. Are we patient in our actions and spirit?
As I thought on this, there were many illustrations which came to mind.
Noah was patient for 300 years as he preached and built the ark.
Abraham was patient for 25 years (his wife wasn't) while he waited upon the Lord to fulfill His promise to him.
Joseph was patient in the midst of mistreatment by his brothers and by those who were in authority over him.
David was patient from the time he was anointed as a teenager until he was actually crowned king at the age of 30.
I think Paul was patient; he spent 3 years in training in the desert of Arabia after he was saved before he went about his life's work.
The impatient also have a long history:
Jacob was impatient as he lied and stole his brother's birthright. The Lord would have given it to him in time. Amnon was impatient as he raped his sister. His brother Absolam killed him. Shechem was impatient when he raped Dinah, Jacob's daughter. He and his total city was killed as a result. The people in 1 Sam 8 were impatient in demanding a king. The Lord had promised them a king, the problem was that they could not wait on the Lord. The people at the foot of the mountain were impatient while Moses was up receiving the law. They built a calf. Of course, the most impatient people in the world was the children of Israel as they went through the wilderness. They were very impatient and griped and complained all the way.
We live in an extremely impatient world. People want what they want right now. I remember in La a young couple just married. They borrowed to the eyeballs so they could live in a nicely furnished new house. They expected to start their life as their parents were finishing up their lives. Kids today want to start with every thing that their parents have. The problem is that the parents worked and saved for maybe 30 years to have what they have, but the kids have to have it now.
The results are many fold.
tremendous personal debt. out of wedlock pregnancy rate is horrendous divorce is rampant as kids cannot wait to get married and out of the house and have a family, so they grab anything that comes along. Our call is to be like Christ. And probably the most important ingredient in our calling is patience.