THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date – 10-3-10
LESSON TITLE: “FOR IF THESE THINGS ARE YOURS AND ABOUND: PERSEVERANCE”
In God’s Word we read, “Praise the Lord, Praise the Lord, O my soul” (Ps. 146:1). How blessed we are this day to assemble before His mighty throne and to “Praise the Lord! I hope you are willing to do your part this day as we are gathered to Praise Him together!
Thanks for joining us this morning for God’s Living Word. Let me remind us again this day of the privilege we will have together to Praise our God in song, through prayer, as well as in the study of His Word. What a privilege it is to be a Child of the King!
So, as we begin our offering to God on this first day of the week, will you bow with me before His throne in prayer!
What better way to Praise God, than by worshipping Him in song. So at this time let’s join together in our first hymn of the day, its name, “Is Thy Heart Right With God?”
(SONG # 1)
We started out this morning with the words of David, as he exclaimed, “Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD, O my soul,” Psalm 146:1. In verse two, we continue to read, “While I live I will praise the LORD; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.” Oh, what a wondrous opportunity we have in this life to be Children of God and to Praise and Worship His Holy Name!
However, I would like to confirm as well, just who must praise God or what must show forth His glory? Continue reading with me from the Psalmist, but over in chapter 148. There it says, “Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD from the heavens; Praise Him in the heights! Praise Him, all His angels; Praise Him, all His hosts! Praise Him, sun and moon; Praise Him, all you stars of light! Praise Him, you heavens of heavens, and you waters above the heavens,” verses 1-4! Now we are beginning to see the many things in this life which are to Praise, or show forth praise to God.
On down in the same Psalm, David talks of further things which must Praise God. He mentions the earth, its seasons and its elements. He also specifies that all creatures “great and small,” must praise God. But we might ask WHY?
Well, the same text answers the question. In verse 5, we learn that God created all things and established His Law! Down in verse 14, he talks of God’s love and care on those whom He loves. You see, our God is a God who is worthy of Praise, honor and glory, because He has done, is doing and has promised to do so much for us. Yes, our God is worthy to be praised!
So I ask us all to consider this day just how much are we Praising God? Have you joined in with all of God’s creation to show forth His glory and magnificence? Have you truly shown your God how much you love Him, by proving just how Praise worthy He Is? May I exhort us all to Praise the Lord God of all!
As far as our topic of the day, this morning we will continue our series on entitled, “For If These Things Are Yours and Abound.” Our specific lesson of the day is, “Perseverance.” So please stay with us this morning and after our next song together, I will return with this study from God’s Word. But for now let’s join together in our second song of the morning. The name of this hymn, “Jesus Calls Us.”
(SONG # 2)
By Ray Sullins
In 2 Peter chapter 1 and verse 5 beginning the Bible says, “But also for this very reason giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance.”
Today, we would like to look at the word “perseverance” as we again consider another important factor that is really a part of what a Christian would do and should do every day if they are to abound in what God has commanded. In fact, the text also uses the idea here of being fruitful for God. We normally would think of the idea of being fruitful of maybe going out and converting someone or bringing them to Christ. Well this says that if we want to be fruitful in godly characteristics, if we want to show forth fruit in being one who perseveres. The word “patience” is actually used in the King James Version, but many of the more modern translations use the word “perseverance” because most likely from the Greek word it meant a bit more than the idea of being patient with something. We know what the idea of patience means and the willingness to be able to wait on something or wait for something to happen or to be accomplished. Sometimes, as we even read in scripture, we might have to patiently wait for the coming of the Lord. Well that might be for a long time. So therefore we learn to be patient as we wait.
Well this idea of perseverance is a bit deeper. To understand it, first of all we might look at the concept of the verb “persevere” which means “to persist in or to remain constant to a purpose, idea or task.” So we have immediately this concept that you are persistent in it and that you are one who remains constant, so you are one who remains diligent in continuing in it but you are also constant in it and you are not going to stop until you accomplish that task whether it is again a task and idea or even something that you faced. It even says that you are going to be one who is persistent or who remains again constant even in the face of obstacles and discouragement. Now to persevere, wow! To say, “Man, I’m going to hang in there no matter what!” What a beautiful idea!
What about the noun form “perseverance?” Well that idea means, “steady persistence in adhering to a course of action, belief or purpose.” There it is again, to be steady, to be constant, to be persistent and not giving up, but hanging in there and making sure that you’re going to see it through to the end, but also adhering to something. In other words, it’s as if you grabbed hold of something, you grabbed hold of what God wants and you’re going to hang on with all of your might and you’re going to head toward the direction that God has set which is the cross which is Christ. Therefore you’re going to achieve it no matter it takes, no matter what comes, no matter what fiery darts head your way or no matter what obstacles are there. You will be strong and endure. So when we think about perseverance, yes we see the idea of being patient and knowing that we’re not sure what time or when we’ll achieve it. We see the idea of being able to endure and to go on and on and on and on and work toward that goal no matter how long it takes. But we see that added element of not only a steady persistence, but a willingness to grab hold of it and never let it go. Oh if those who love God could do such with His Word.
I see so many who claim to love God and who claim to grab His Word and then I look at their lives and I see what they say and they do and I see how they worship and what they claim God wants of them in their worship and I look to that which we cleave to and I find no example or command of it. Then I wonder how are they really persevering in the things of God? They’re persevering in something or continuing in something. They’ve grabbed hold of something, but it’s of man. It’s of doctrines of men not of God! Because let me assure you of something. In the idea of perseverance, as we see here, this specific belief, past idea or purpose, once we’ve grabbed hold of it we’re not going to let it go. We’re not going to let it be inundated by things that are different or contrary. Once we have grabbed hold of it, it’s ours until the end. So once we’ve grabbed hold of what? The Word of God! I don’t need man to tell me. I don’t need man to show me. I don’t need to follow what they want. I’ve grabbed hold and will not let go. I will persist and be steadfast and steady in what God has asked of me no matter what comes.
Do you think we need to persevere? Yes! And so when the writer here, Peter, says, “Add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control…” that we might control ourselves, our words and actions, but then also “perseverance.” Add to that “self-control perseverance.” That ability that now you know you’ve got it! You’ve got a hold of it. Do it and fulfill it until the goal is accomplished. Can you imagine being an athlete or being someone who maybe spent years and years to become a doctor or maybe spent extra years to become this or that, a surgeon or something, and then all of a sudden after you had finished everything and you’ve completed all of the work and maybe you’ve got one hour of a practicum left, one hour that you’ve got to go in and you say, “Forget it. I’m not going. I’m not going to fulfill it. I don’t care. I know I’ve spent 8 or 12 years in doing this and I’ve done everything up to this point, and all I’ve got to do is finish one hour and then I am a surgeon and I am going to be able to start the profession I have trained for. No I am not going to do it.” Well you see it sounds just as silly today for someone who would grab hold of that which is perfect, God’s Word, and then somehow let go even with one hand or somehow lay it down for a moment and hear what someone else might say. Brethren, let’s persevere. Let’s grab hold of that which is fruitful, which will help us to abound and as Peter even said, “Which will also make us those individuals which will receive the eternal reward.”
When we look at perseverance in other places in the Bible we find a lot of neat ideas. For instance there in Romans chapter 5 we see that perseverance is actually looked at from a more negative standpoint as they were told there that they would suffer. In fact in verse 3 they were told that “the tribulations were coming” and then they were told that “in tribulation they should understand that that tribulation would produce (guess what) perseverance.”
When we suffer, or when things and trials come our way and we’re holding on to the perfect law of liberty and God is in our hearts, we need nothing else. We just hold on. It’s kind of like when you get on one of those rides at an amusement park or the fair and you get on and you are closing your eyes and you are gritting your teeth and you’re saying, “Man, I hope this thing is over quick.” Well you see the fact is we are going to grab and hold on and grit our teeth and we’re going to make sure it is done God’s way, even when it is rough, even when it seems like we can’t go on, even when we want to give up we are still going to do it God’s way. So you see there we have a beautiful idea that comes out of tribulation. It gives us the desire to persevere because we turn more to God and find greater help with our God.
On the other hand, we see an example in Romans chapter 8. This example is tied directly to the idea of hope. We know that hope certainly is one of the greatest things that we demonstrate in the life of our Christian existence and it is because of the fact that we hope for not only things of this life of a spiritual and physical nature that God provides, but we have an eternal hope, the hope of the judgment and the hope of heaven and the hope of the mansion that is provided for us in heaven and on and on and on we could go. Well guess what it says is essential that we might have in Romans chapter 8 and verse 25 if we are to be those who have a hope. It says we must persevere. We must be those who eagerly wait with it or for it with perseverance. Eagerly awaiting for what? The hope of God! There’s that patience. I don’t know when it is coming. There’s that endurance. I’m going to stick with it until the end. And here is that perseverance. I’m going to be steadfast and I’m going to face the trials and temptations and I’m going to make it through the end and receive the reward. I didn’t do all of this not to get the gold. I didn’t do all of this not to get the trophy. I’m going to do what God has said to get the reward. So what a beautiful idea that perseverance is in each of our lives.
I’d like to now take just a few moments to see some good examples in the Bible of those who persevere. One example that we will look at and we have to actually begin in James, but then it is going to take us back to the Old Testament. James here is helping us to see one of the greatest men who ever lived especially within his day. He was a great faithful man of God, the man Job. There in verse 11 it speaks of Job, again James chapter 5. The Bible says, “Indeed we count them blessed who endure, you have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord, that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.” Well we can go back to the book of Job and we can see how true that is as Job in Job chapter 1 loses everything. He is wealthy and he is blessed with family and possessions and animals. There’s nothing more of a physical nature that Job could have wanted. But Satan comes to God and he says, “You know the only reason he is faithful is because you put a hedge around him and you blessed him so much. If you do something against him or allow something to be done, he will turn on you.” So Satan begins to do it and he causes Job to lose everything in one day and still there in chapter 1 and verse 21, it says that Job tears his clothes and he comes before the Lord and he says, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb and naked I shall return. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away.” Perseverance! He endured. He was patient, but he was willing to keep holding on even though the road was rough. And he even had some tougher times throughout the text there that we see, but what did he keep doing? He kept holding on and eventually got back on track. Repented and set his life right, and because of his spirit and attitude and his ultimate repentance, guess what happened. God blessed him even more than he had before.
Another example that we find there is of the apostles in the book of, or rather in the New Testament book specifically there in 2 Colossians and chapter 2. There it speaks of the fact of the apostles being willing in their wonders and works, talking about the miracles, when they were going around and preaching and by these miracles confirming the Word of God. It says they did so, guess what, with perseverance. It says they put up with a lot and folks were mad at them and the Thessalonians were wanting to kill Paul and on and on and on, but they kept enduring and they kept with patience taking whatever came and holding on until they were completed. And again perseverance made them having a more godly characteristic.
We also find the example of Paul himself as Paul told Timothy how he should live and what he should do as he tried to help this young evangelist know what would make him successful in his service for God. Notice what it said there in 2 Timothy chapter 3 but in verse 10. “But you have carefully followed my doctrine. You have followed my manner of life, my purpose, my faith, my longsuffering, my love and my perseverance.” He says, “Timothy, you have seen in all of these things I do and you have followed and obeyed them and even perseverance.” You’ve been steadfast and you’ve endured and you’ve hung on and you’ve been doing the work that is before you. Oh how beautiful these examples teach us this lesson that we need to have of perseverance, that we need to have and hold on to that we might be again what our God commands. This is a commandment of God that we persevere. And not just a day or a few days and not just a few weeks or months or years until the end. “Faithful until death,” Revelation 2:10. If we want the crown we persevere until the very end.
We’ll conclude our discussion this morning in the book of Ephesians because again here within this discussion that Paul has to the Ephesians church of the armor of God, he lays out well what not only a soldier of God wears in order to defend and also to take the gospel to the world, but he then lays out some things necessary for the soldier to have, some characteristics, if you will, if they will be successful with the armor. Guess what some of those things are. Verse 18 of that text says, “Prayer.” Prayer is one of those things that are essential if one is to be a good soldier and an effective soldier. But the other thing mentioned there, he says, “Being watchful to this end with all perseverance.” He says a good soldier not only knows what to do and believes and hears the commander and speaks with the commander through prayer, but he holds on to the command and he accomplishes it no matter what, including death.
Is that how we persevere? Are we willing to give that much to God? Are we that committed in being those who are fruitful and abounding in the characteristics of Christ? Well we have to be if we are to be what God wants and we have to not only be patient. We have to not only endure as God has said, but we must persevere to the end. And the great wonder is if we will do so then Heaven will be ours and all those who believe and obey as well.
(SONG # 3 - “It Is Well With My Soul!”)
What a blessing it has been to join together in the things of God this morning. Thank you for doing your part in making all these things to be according to His Will. As always, we invite you back every Lord’s Day morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this offering for God!
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Are you practicing the lessons of patience and endurance in your life? God has commanded us to persevere! So, the question is, will we respond to this challenge of our Creator?