The Many Forms of Patience
Second Timothy 2:23-26
INTRO: Good morning. Today we're going to be looking at patience, some of the various aspects of patience. Our text for this morning is 2 Timothy 2:23-26, but I do not want to start there. Instead let’s first go to the Old Testament and take a look at the example we find in Job. Although we will not read the full story now, I will suggest you read or read again this powerful book on your own.
As we go through the arguments that were made in the book of Job we will find that Job understood, there's no arguing with God, the Creator of the universe.
I. In Job 9:1-4 it says, “1. Then Job answered and said: 2. "Truly I know it is so, but how can a man be righteous before God? 3. If one wished to contend with Him, he could not answer Him one time out of a thousand. 4. God is wise in heart and mighty in strength. Who has hardened himself against Him and prospered?”[NKJV] Job well understood that we can not argue our case before God.
A. As the book progresses, Job's friends are pressing him to say that he had sinned. They tell him that there must be something he had done to cause all this disaster which came upon him. Job kept insisting, no, I'm righteous, but they persisted that he had to have sinned.
B. He got to the point in his frustration to where he insisted that not only had he not sinned, but he now wanted to argue his case before God.
1. So we find in Job 23:1-7 - “1. Then Job answered and said: 2. "Even today my complaint is bitter; my hand is listless because of my groaning. 3. Oh, that I knew where I might find Him, that I might come to His seat! 4. I would present my case before Him, and fill my mouth with arguments. 5. I would know the words which He would answer me, and understand what He would say to me. 6. Would He contend with me in His great power? No! But He would take note of me. 7. There the upright could reason with Him, and I would be delivered forever from my Judge.” Job knew better, but he became so frustrated in arguing with his friends that he said these words. Does the world around us ever drive us to frustration?
2. Job messed up there. He reached a point where he thought that he should argue, even though he said earlier, you can't argue with God. He was so certain that he had not sinned, that he did not deserve such disaster, that there had to be something wrong, and so now he wanted to argue his case before the Lord.
C. God points out later in Job 40 that Job was mistaken. In Job 40:1-2 - “ Moreover the Lord answered Job, and said: "Shall the one who contends with the Almighty correct Him? He who rebukes God, let him answer it.''”,
1. Job knows he was wrong and we find him declining to compound his error. Verses 3-4 “Then Job answered the Lord and said: "Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer You? I lay my hand over my mouth. Once I have spoken, but I will not answer; yes, twice, but I will proceed no further.''”
2. Job understood, by the time God got to this point, I'm out of my League. I'm not in a position to argue with God, but God continues to press this case. Verses 6-8ff “Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said: "Now prepare yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer Me: "Would you indeed annul My judgment? Would you condemn Me that you may be justified?” God continues and you can read that.
3. Job knows he was wrong and answers the Lord in repentance in Job 42:1-6 – “1. Then Job answered the Lord and said: 2. "I know that You can do everything, and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You. 3. You asked, 'Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge?' Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. 4. Listen, please, and let me speak; You said, 'I will question you, and you shall answer Me.' 5. "I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You. 6. Therefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.''” We see that though Job was righteous, he was not perfect. Job was definitely pressed further than most men would ever be able stand being pressed. Yet, he held on to his trust in God. Even though he thought something had gone wrong, he still trusted God.
D. Now let’s go to the New Testament and James 5:11 – “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.” Job displayed endurance, not perfection, yet He held on.
II. Endurance –
A. When we talk about endurance, we mean hardening yourself against suffering. It's the staying power to keep going until the end.
1. We in this society, are so used to immediate gratifications. Too many people quickly give up when things don't go the way they want them to go.
2. As we read through Job, we find that Job felt like giving up. He said several times that he wished he had never been born, but we see a man who continued anyway. He might have felt like it, but he never said, I'm going to take my own life. He held on.
B. In Hebrews10:36-39 it says, “36. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise: 37. "For yet a little while, And He who is coming will come and will not tarry. 38. Now the just shall live by faith; but if anyone draws back, my soul has no pleasure in him.'' 39. But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.”
1. We need endurance to gain the promise. We can't shrink back. We can't go back to the world where we came from. Life is going to get difficult at times. Things have been happening these last few years that have been quite difficult throughout this nation and sometimes in our own lives. We're going to feel like we've been given way too much. It's just too hard.
2. If we put in the effort though, then we'll gain the assurance of hope. Take a look at Hebrews 6:11 which is part of our current Bible study, “And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end,” That means we must hang on to our confidence.
3. We have to hang on to what we know to be true. The Hebrew writer says that we need to go so far as to boast of our hope. Hebrews 3:6 is about Christ as a faithful Son “... over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end.” That's endurance.
C. Hope is important in this idea of being able to endure.
1. Let’s look at Romans 15:4-5 – “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus,” The Scriptures, the comfort of them, the things that we find in there, and endurance... leads us to have hope. It's actually a cycle.
2. If we go back to Romans 5 we see that as we gain greater endurance, we gain greater hope. Romans 5:1-5 – “1. Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2. through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4. and perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
3. We start out with hope. We go through trials, which our hope helps us get through, and in the end, our hope is greater. Then with that hope comes steadfastness. In 1 Thessalonians 1:3 Paul writes to those in Thessalonica that he is – “remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father,”
D. Fortitude - When we talk about someone who endures and does so with courage, we call that fortitude.
1. Fortitude is the strength or firmness of mind which enables a person to encounter danger with coolness and courage, or to bear pain or adversity without murmuring, depression or despondency. It is passive courage, resolute endurance. Yet courage doesn't mean being without fear.
2. Take a look at the example of Moses. Exodus 2:14-15 – “Then he said, "Who made you a prince and a judge over us? Do you intend to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?'' So Moses feared and said, "Surely this thing is known!'' When Pharaoh heard of this matter, he sought to kill Moses. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh and dwelt in the land of Midian; and he sat down by a well.”
3. Moses spends 40 years in Median and because of his fear, he did not want to go back to Egypt. When God appeared to him and said, you are going to go to Egypt and free your people. Moses answer was, send somebody else, please. We read this in Exodus 4:10-13 – “10. Then Moses said to the Lord, "O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.'' 11. So the Lord said to him, "Who has made man's mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the Lord? 12. "Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.'' 13. But he said, "O my Lord, please send by the hand of whomever else You may send.''”
4. Moses didn't want to go back, but we all know he did go, and he led the children of Israel out of Egypt. He faced down Pharaoh. It was his faith in God that caused him to endure with courage...not that he didn't have fear. He had the fortitude to face those fears and so endured.
5. In Hebrews 11:27 it says, “By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible.” It was because of his faith in God, and knowing God was with him, that he was able to have the courage to face his own fears. God sees the result, not the momentary weaknesses, and that's what He's asking of us.
6. God emphasized that He would be with Moses. That's something we need to remember when we are afraid. Take a look at what the Psalmist said in Psalm 56:3-4 - “Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You. In God (I will praise His word), In God I have put my trust; I will not fear. What can flesh do to me?” God is at our side, strengthening us, encouraging us. Why should I ever fear? Psalms 27:1 says, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid”
7. God holds our hands, and so we don't need to be dismayed by whatever comes in this world. God says in Isaiah 41:10-13 – “10. Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.' 11. "Behold, all those who were incensed against you shall be ashamed and disgraced; they shall be as nothing, and those who strive with you shall perish. 12. You shall seek them and not find them, those who contended with you. Those who war against you shall be as nothing, as a nonexistent thing. 13. For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, 'Fear not, I will help you.'”
E. If we understand that, then we can understand how Paul got through all the difficulties in his life. Look at Second Corinthians 4:8-11 – “8. We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9. persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed 10. always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 11. For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus' sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.” Did Paul have hard times? Sure he did. Did he give up? No, he endured with courage. He had the fortitude that came from knowing whom he trusted.
III. Submission - I want us to take a look at something else as well, because Paul also showed submission. Submission is the idea of yielding your will to the authority of somebody else.
A. In First Peter 2:13-14 – “Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake, whether to the king as supreme, or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good.” We're to submit to those who are in government as best we can.
B. In James 4:17 – “Therefore submit to God...” He's the higher authority. “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” We yield our lives to God.
C. Jesus is our example of that. Jesus submitted His life to God's will. We read in John 5:30 – “I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of the Father who sent Me.” Jesus said this a number of times. I'm not here doing what I want. I'm here to do what the Father has sent Me to do.
1. One of the things He was sent to do was to die. Jesus knew this, and He was not looking forward to it. In John 12:27-28 Jesus says, “"Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? 'Father, save Me from this hour'? But for this purpose I came to this hour. "Father, glorify Your name.'' Then a voice came from heaven, saying, "I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.''”
2. Jesus was resigned to do what needed to be done. Resignation is another idea. It's submission, that is, the acceptance of something that's undesirable but inevitable.
D. Think about that. What good is getting angry at plants not producing when you would like them to. It's not in my power to ripen grain at my pleasure. If I got angry at those plants, it wouldn't affect the plants. It wouldn't improve the yield in any way. Therefore I have to be resigned to wait for the Earth to produce the yield in its own time. The Hebrew writer speaking of Jesus in Hebrews 5:7-9 says, “7. who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear, 8. though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. 9. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him,” ,
1. Jesus prayed to the Father for the lifting of this burden and God heard His prayers, but He had to die in order for mankind to be saved.
2. Jesus prayed it might not happen, but Jesus was resigned to do the Father's will because this had to be done. That is another aspect we should think about. You don't always have to like something to do what's right.
IV. Patience -
A. Another aspect of patience is being uncomplaining and steadfast in an activity.
1. Patience is the opposite of despondency that attitude where you say, oh, what's the use?
2. Patience keeps going on and we need that when we want to teach the gospel.
3. Look at Second Timothy 4:1-5 – “1. I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: 2. Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 3. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4. and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. 5. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” When you are teaching people you're going to run into some that don't like it, and they're not going to want to hear it.
4. What do you do in response? You don't give up, you go on with great patience and you endure the hardships.
B. Patience is also the capacity to accept or tolerate inconveniences or sufferings without getting angry or upset.
1. Again, we need that to teach. Patience is needed in teaching both the lost and the saved. By that I mean when a young Christian is growing and learning they may have some baggage that is difficult for them to overcome and may interfere with their spiritual growth.
2. Lets look at our text now Second Timothy 2:23-26 – “23. But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. 24. And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, 25. in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, 26. and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.”
3. Patience is the ability to remain kind in the face of annoying conduct.
4. One person said that insults are kind of like mud. When you get some mud on your clothes if you rush to get it off all you will do is smear it around. It's difficult to remove it. If you try dealing with insults right away, chances are all you're going to do is get quarrels, but if you wait for things to cool down, wait for that mud to dry up, it brushes right off. Wait for things to cool down, and those insults are easy to brush off.
C. Which leads us to another type of patience, which we call forbearance. Forbearance is the ability to abstain from retaliation or revenge.
1. We have Christ’s example for us as prophesied in Isaiah 53:7-9 – “7. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not his mouth. 8. He was taken from prison and from judgment, and who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgressions of My people He was stricken. 9. And they made His grave with the wicked but with the rich at His death, because He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth. 10. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.”
2. Jesus’ life was unjustly taken. He was persecuted during most of His Ministry. People were trying to lay traps for Him. People sought to kill Him numerous times. Yet, Jesus didn't retaliate. Perhaps you have sung the beautiful hymn, Ten Thousand Angles—He could have called ten thousand Angels. He didn't call the angles, He showed forbearance.
3. People can irritate you. That's just the way things are. We're told not to strike back. Paul tells the Ephesians in Ephesians 4:1-2 – “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to have a walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love,” [NKJV] The ASV says “...forbearing one another in love;”
4. Have you ever had a boss that really annoys you? The best thing to do when that happens is take some deep breaths to calm down. There are times in my life I wish I had practiced this. Take a look at Proverbs 25:15 – “By long forbearance a ruler is persuaded, and a gentle tongue breaks a bone.”
a. You can persuade somebody, even a ruler, with forbearance, by not taking revenge.
b. Take a look at Ecclesiastes 10:4 it says, “If the spirit of the ruler rises against you, do not leave your post; for conciliation pacifies great offenses.” Or in another version, do not abandon your position because composure allays great offenses.
D. Don't give up. Be calm, take some deep breaths. You can get through this. It may take awhile and you may suffer in silence for a bit.
1. Long suffering is continued patience. Often we might have patience for a little while and then we run out of it. When scripture is talking about long suffering it is talking about continual patience. It's the opposite of anger in the face of provocation.
2. That's why you find in First Corinthians 13:4 – “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;” Love suffers long. An aspect of love is that we're willing to put up with hardships, difficulties, and irritating people, because we love them.
3. Look at Paul's prayer in Colossians 1:9-12 – “9. For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10. that you may have a walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11. strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; 12. giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.” Paul's prayer was that they be strengthened so that they might have patience and attain joy.
4. It's not a one time act. It's something that continues and it's demonstrated in God's patience with us.
We're still here and sometimes we look at the world and we wonder why God's putting up with it. Kind of like when we look at the Israelites and wonder why God put up with them for all those years.
In Second Peter 3:9 – “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”
That's why God is patient. He wants us to be saved. He loves us.
God is merciful. In Psalms 86:15 – “But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, Longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth.” It takes a lot to get God mad.
God says in Exodus 34:6-7 – “And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed, "The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, "keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty... ''”
God is slow to anger, but it does not mean that God will not punish. God is willing to wait in order for people to change, but there is a limit to God's patience with each one of us.
In Romans 2:4 – “Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?”
So there is our question; What do we do with God's patience? Do we take advantage of it and say there is time enough yet? Or do we realize that this is our chance to change?
There's an opportunity here today. If there's anyone here who is not yet a child of God, there is no better time than right now to put on Christ and be baptized into His death, burial and resurrection to become a new person.
Does anyone here, as a child of God, need the prayers of their brethren on their behalf?
Perhaps you've had struggles with patience and would like prayers on your behalf for that... or for any other reason.
Why don't you come forward as we stand and sing the song selected.
Reference Sermon:Jeffery W. HamiltonPrint
© Chardon Church of Christ
All right reserved