Summary: This is the third in a series focusing on the need for God’s people to learn the importance of bearing up under opposition and trials so that God’s Kingdom might be established in us and in the world.
How To Run The Race (Pt. III)
Sermon – August 7th 2005
I have already mentioned the fact that we are going to face trials, times of testing etc.
However for most people we want to be delivered from the circumstances that we are in. the difficulty can be in trying to discern what God might want to do in us and through us.
(Brief review of Pt. 2)
1. Benefits of Perseverance –
Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.
2. Blessings of Perseverance –
As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered.
4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
5 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, 6 so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I) Endurance –
4 through endurance…we might have hope.
5 May the God who gives endurance…give you a spirit of unity….
As we are going through this series you should be seeing that the benefits of perseverance are many and varied.
We have already seen that we must persevere so that we will not grow weary and lose heart.
We also saw last week how the perseverance of others serves as an encouragement to us (Jesus, Moses) and how our perseverance can benefit others.
Here we see that perseverance (endurance) helps build hope.
3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
No, we do not rejoice FOR our suffering but we should rejoice in them, knowing that God will produce good things in us.
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade-kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that your faith-of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire-may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
Going through trials and difficult circumstances is to our faith as a furnace is to gold.
The purity of our faith cannot be brought out without the trials – that is where the quality of our faith is tested.
If we do not persevere through whatever our circumstance then our faith is like an unrefined lump of gold – full of impurities.
Endurance (perseverance) lies at the heart of a healthy Christians walk.
What’s more, this endurance we have as children of God is not merely the result of our own efforts; rather it is a supernatural infusion from on high.
That does not mean it is devoid of our effort though.
In the movie Chariots of Fire, young Harold Abrahams, a champion sprinter, had just suffered his first-ever defeat. After the race he sat alone, pouting in the bleachers. When his girlfriend tried to encourage him, he bellowed,
“If I can’t win, I won’t run!”
To which she wisely replied, “If you don’t run, you can’t win.”
Abrahams went on to win the 1924 Olympic Gold Medal in the hundred-meter run.
You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.
As we persevere the Lord will give us endurance.
II) Encouragement –
…so that through…the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
5 May the God who gives…encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus…
As the Holy Spirit ministers the word to our lives we are built up and encouraged so that we might have hope – a confident expectation of something to be received.