Perseverance I. At times in Christian experience, for various reasons, a Christian's zeal for God, His word, His house, His service and His people might wear thin or grow cold. Ministers need to consider that and act accordingly. ISA 50:4. A. In a culture where sin abounds and temptation is on every side, true love may become cold. MAT 24:12. 1. Perilous times are not defined by political or economic trouble but by rampant sin. 2TI 3:1-5. 2. An inordinate affection for the world and the flesh can choke God's word (LUK 8:14) and lure one into abandoning the faithful. 2TI 4:10. 3. It becomes very difficult to discern the inward working of the Spirit when a person lives like this. ROM 8:5; 1JO 2:15. B. Under continual oppression, people can become numb to the encouragement of God or His minister. EXO 6:9; JOB 9:16. 1. Be honest. Are the burdens and responsibilities which God has given you all that heavy? HEB 12:3-4; JER 12:5; PRO 24:10. 2. Be cautious. In times of weakness, desperate and foolish decisions are sometimes made. GEN 25:29-33; HEB 12:15-16. 3. Be considerate. Negative contributions to the house of God can be contagious. DEU 20:8; JOS 14:8. 4. Sometimes, desperate situations are needed to humble a person sufficiently to remember the Lord. PSA 78:34; DEU 8:3 c/w ISA 57:15. 5. Being faint does not exempt us from persevering in the work of God. JDG 8:4; 2SAM 23:10; REV 2:10. 6. Our weakness only magnifies our dependence upon God, Who gives strength to the weak who wait on Him. 2CO 12:9; HEB 11:34; ISA 40:29-31. 7. If you must grow faint, do so FOR God's house, not BECAUSE of it. PSA 84:2, 10. II. Unrealized expectation is a great contributor to lack of zeal. PRO 13:12. A. Do not confuse deferred hope with empty hope. The former promotes strength, the latter weakness. PSA 27:13-14 ct/w PRO 29:18. B. No Christian ought ever to say that there is no hope. 1TI 1:1. C. Our troubles may be because of our hope, not the loss of our hope. ACT 26:6-8; 28:20. D. Be cautious to not confuse God's promises with personal expectations. Much disillusionment comes from assuming fulfillment of what God has not promised. JER 14:13-16. III. God does not run the universe on our time schedule. Faith in His promises must be complemented by patience (HEB 6:10-12; 10:35-36; 12:1). Consider these examples where faith AND patience were required: A. Abraham. GEN 12:2-4. 1. Relocated five times. GEN 12:5, 10; 13:1, 18; 20:1. 2. Contended with famine. GEN 12:10. 3. Strife and family trouble. GEN 13:7-9. 4. War against the kings. GEN 14:14. 5. A weak moment. GEN 16:2, 16. Perseverance 6-11-17 Page 1 of 2 6. Twenty-five years later, the promised son is given. GEN 21:5. B. Joseph. More than twenty years elapsed (during which time life was not always pleasant) from the time of his dreams to their fulfillment. GEN 37:2; 41:46-47; 45:6. C. Caleb. He waited for more than 40 years to receive the promise of inheritance. JOS 14:7-10. D. Elijah. One of the greatest prophets of God for more than three years could only minister to a widow in a strange land while God's timetable was fulfilled. LUK 4:25-26. E. Their endurance was, like Moses', tempered by their respect to the recompense of the reward. HEB 11:26. F. If the goal for which one waits is valued highly, time is of little consequence. GEN 29:20. IV. Christian experience is often likened to agriculture. Seasons of sowing without reaping should be expected, but that doesn't mean we give up on sowing. ECC 11:4-6; PSA 126:5-6; MAR 4:26-29; GAL 6:9; JAM 5:7. V. If you have become faint in your Christian walk, do as David. 1SAM 30:6; PSA 27:14. VI. Remember, patience is a fruit of the Spirit (GAL 5:22) and thus an evidence of sonship and full salvation. ROM 8:11, 14. A. Doing well may not be recompensed until Resurrection Day. LUK 14:13-14. B. The person who continues in obedience even though he doesn't see immediate rewards shall reap everlasting life. ROM 2:6-7. Perseverance 6-11-17 Page 2 of 2
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