the never ending story,

February 12, 2016

crown of thorns

Like Patience, this is a tough lesson to learn, and only those who have suffered or been persecuted know the joy of learning this lesson and knowing that it will only truly end when we join our Savior in Heaven.

 

We have an interesting statement in 2 Thessalonians 3:5 regarding endurance as a Christ-like quality that God wants to develop in our lives as a part of our spiritual growth. “Now may the Lord direct your hearts toward the love of God and the endurance of Christ.” There are three possible ways to take this passage grammatically and actually all three may apply, but it is the third one that is probably best and important to our study.

 

In this prayer, Paul prayed that either (1) they might wait patiently for the coming Savior as translated by the KJV, “into the patient waiting for Christ” (objective genitive), or (2) that they might have the kind of endurance that Christ gives, an endurance that comes from relationship with Him (subjective genitive), or (3) that they might experience the kind of endurance that belongs to Christ or that was demonstrated in His sufferings on earth and that He is demonstrating even now as He waits for His enemies to be made a footstool for His feet (Heb. 12:2; 10:13, either a possessive or attributive genitive). All three are true biblically and perhaps all are intended. This would then be what is sometimse called a plenary construction where the author intends more that one idea to be understood. Number three, however, was probably Paul’s intention. While a too rigid exegesis is to be avoided, it may, perhaps, be permissible to paraphrase: “the Lord teach and enable you to love as God loves, and to be patient as Christ is patient.”95 Thus again, maturity in Christ-likeness is the objective.

 

Similarly, Luke 8:11 and James 1:2-4 relate endurance to the issue of spiritual growth and maturity. In Luke 8:11 Jesus said, “But as for the seed that landed on the good soil, these are the ones who, after hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bring forth fruit with steadfast endurance ( hupomone). Because of the hostile pressures mentioned in the previous soils (vss. 12-14), bearing fruit takes time and requires growth which here describes a steadfast endurance, just as it does for the farmer.

 

The relationship of suffering, endurance, and hope in the growth and maturity of Christians is also seen in Romans 5:3-4: “Not only this, but we also rejoice in sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance; and endurance, character; and character, hope.”

Endurance of Trials and Tribulations

 

Naturally, our words for “endurance,” hupomone and hupomeno, are often used in connection with trials or tribulation, but never in the sense of mere resignation or a ‘grin and bear it’ attitude. Other biblical qualities or purposes are always associated with their use somewhere in the context. (a) They are often used in connection with God’s use of trials as tools for our growth and maturity. “Not only this, but we also rejoice in sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance ( hupomone); and endurance ( hupomone), character; and character, hope” (Rom. 5:3-4). “My brothers and sisters, consider it nothing but joy when you fall into all sorts of trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect effect, so that you will be perfect and complete, not deficient in anything” (Jam. 1:2-4 see also Heb. 12:7). (b) Hupomone or endurance under affliction is also a means of establishing the reality of Christ in a Christian’s life or of attesting to the character of one’s walk with the Savior (cf. 1 Thess. 1:4; 2 Cor. 6:4; Jam. 1:12).

Endurance of Hope

 

Our words for endurance, hupomone and hupomeno, are often used in connection with hope. In the New Testament, hope may look at the activity, hoping, or at the object or content of one’s hope, the things hoped for. It is the Christian’s hope, his confident expectation in what God is doing as a sovereign God and will do, that is one of the means to his endurance under affliction or trial. As will be stressed later, endurance is related to heavenly treasures, rewards, and the eternal future, especially to the return of the Lord and the glories that will follow. In 1 Thessalonians, which has such a strong emphasis on the return of the Lord (it is referred to in every chapter), Paul praises the Thessalonians for their “endurance of hope.” As translated by the NIV, this means “their endurance inspired by hope,” their hope in the return of the Savior (cf. 1 Thess. 1:3 with verse 10). In keeping with this focus on the return of Christ and the blessings it will bring, James reminds us that those who endure trials will receive the crown of life (Jam. 1:12).

Endurance and Patience of Joy

 

Endurance ( hupomone and hupomeno) and patience ( makrothumia and makrothumeo) are both used in connection with joy because the believer’s endurance under trials or patience with others should never be a matter of a grim resignation to a situation or a person who might try our patience. You know, the ‘grin and bear it’ routine where underneath the grin is a sigh of impatience. Rather, because both are to be motivated by hope in the Person, purposes, promises, and principles of God as found in His Word, biblical endurance and patience is to be encapsulated with joy (see Rom. 5:2-5; 12:12; Col. 1:11-12; Heb. 12:2).

 

Romans 5:2-4 …through whom we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of God’s glory. 5:3 Not only this, but we also rejoice in sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance; 5:4 and endurance, character; and character, hope.

 

Romans 12:12 Rejoice in hope, endure in suffering, persist in prayer.

 

Steadfast hope, the confident expectation of what God is and will do, gives the capacity to endure with joy. Again, the Lord Jesus is our example and the perfect illustration of one whose endurance was connected with joy and the purposes and promises of God.

 

Hebrews 12:1b-2a …and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross,… (NASB)

 

As a fruit of being filled with the knowledge of God in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, Paul also links endurance and patience to a joyful spirit of thanksgiving.

 

Colossians 1:11-12 …bearing fruit in every good deed, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might for the display of all patience and steadfastness (endurance), with joy giving thanks to the Father who has qualified you to share in the saints’ inheritance in the light.

 

While it is debatable whether “with joy” should be connected with “steadfastness (endurance) and patience” (KJV, ASV, RSV, NEB) or with “giving thanks” (NIV, NET, NASB), the element of joy as a quality important to endurance and patience is evident in this passage. If the first construction, “steadfastness with joy,” is correct, joy is seen as the necessary element that is needed with endurance and patience. If “with thanksgiving” is correct, the passage is stressing that endurance and patience should be accompanied by “joyfully,” not begrudgingly, giving thanks to the Father. Paul quickly goes on to describe the kind of things for which we should be thankful. “Who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. For He delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins (Col. 1:12-14). Our ability to endure and be patient is directly related to responding to our new life in Christ rather than on the transitory trials of life.

 

Colossians 1:11 is part of Paul’s prayer in verses 9-14 where he prays for the fruitful growth of the Colossians. He prays first that the Colossians might be filled with the knowledge of God’s will. The goal of such knowledge is for a worthy walk, one that is consistent with who the believer is in Christ (verses 9-10). This is then followed in verses 11-14 with what should be the results, the fruit of such knowledge in all spiritual wisdom and understanding: (1) bearing fruit in every good work, (2) growing continually in the knowledge of God, (3) being strengthened with all power…for the display of all patience and endurance, and (4) with joy giving thanks to the Father…. Two important principles might be noted here. First, patience and endurance are the result of growth, of maturing in God’s truth as a believer learns who he is in Christ, complete and blessed with every spiritual blessing (Col. 2:10; Eph. 1:3), why he is here as an ambassador of Christ, and where he is going as one who is only a sojourner on his way to eternal glories and rewards. Second, patience or longsuffering and endurance always require the habitual influx of God’s strength because nothing less than God’s supernatural strength is needed to transform impatient sinners into persevering and patient saints. Finally, as already stressed, patience and endurance need that marvelous, life-changing attitude of joy or it becomes mere resignation. “The endurance and longsuffering of some saints is a kind of sour resignation to God’s will, their patience sticking out all over them. In reality, exultation, not resignation, is the fitting companion of these virtues (cf. Phil 1:29).”96

Endurance and the Images of Expended Effort

 

As we study the New Testament, we also find that our words for endurance ( hupomone and hupomeno) are used in connection with the images of the Christian life as a race to be run, as an object to pursue, and a battle to be fought (see Heb. 12:1; 1 Tim. 6:11-12). Without endurance by staying focused on the Lord Jesus, we could never run the race God has laid out for us here on this earth. Therefore, endurance is a quality that needs to be pursued with great endeavor.

 

1 Timothy 6:11-12 But you, as a person dedicated to God, keep away from all that. Instead pursue righteousness, godliness, faithfulness, love, endurance, and gentleness. Compete well for the faith (fight the good fight) and lay hold of that eternal life you were called for and made your good confession for in the presence of many witnesses.

Endurance and the Patience of Love

 

Significantly, both of our main word groups for endurance ( hupomone and hupomeno) and patience ( makrothumia and makrothumeo) are used in connection with Christian love (1 Cor. 13:4, 7; 2 Tim. 2:10). Love remains steadfast or endures in the face of unpleasant circumstances and difficult people. Love is patient (1 Cor. 13:4) and endures all things (1 Cor. 13:7). Love ( agape), which is the product of the filling of the Spirit (Gal. 5:23), gives the capacity to remain steadfast for the sake of others. Thus, Paul could say, “So I endure all things for the sake of those chosen by God, that they too may obtain salvation in Christ Jesus and its eternal glory” (2 Tim. 2:10). First Corinthians 13—the great chapter on Christian agape or love—gives us a description of the nature of love in verses 4-7 with its Christ-like qualities. These qualities, though certainly the product of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23),97 also give us a description of Christ Himself. For the church at Corinth, which was so full of division and party strife, these qualities of verses 4-7 provided a solution to their many problems as well as in the church today. Interestingly, the very first quality stated is “love is patient” ( makrothumei, a gnomic present tense of a general and timeless truth). In other words, love never retaliates or seeks to get even. Where that occurs, love will be absent. Love keeps the lid on over the long haul.

God bless and thank you for also being patient when I do a series on a topic. Remember only Heaven is eternal, a sermon isn’t.

God bless from scumlikeuschurch@gmail.com

Pray for Daniel, his extended family is falling apart

For Roxanne, cervical cancer at 29

Bruce E. he never thought he’d be divorced the first time, now it’s number 2.

Olivia is doing fantastic and thanks everyone for their prayers.

 

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