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Summary: God ran out of patience with sinful humanity, and sent the Flood. He ran out of patience with Sodom and Gomorrah and sent fire and brimstone. Jews waited patiently for the Messiah, as we wait for His return, but do we have to be patient about everything?

Isaiah 35: 1-10

Matthew 11: 2-11

James 5: 7-10

Sermon: Patience: a virtue, and fruit of the Holy Spirit

In one of the episodes of 'The Simpsons',

Homer goes into a Hamburger place.

The sign outside says 'Fast Food',

but on the counter a sign says: 'Orders served in 2 minutes'.

He shouts: '2 minutes! I thought this was a Fast Food place;

I want my hamburger NOW!'

…..................................................................................................

God used the prophet Isaiah to pass on warnings

that His patience had run out,

and that He would no longer tolerate their sinning and taking Him for granted,

and through the prophet He passed on His message

that Israel would be conquered by the Assyrian Empire,

who God would use as a tool to punish His wayward people.

But Isaiah was also used by God to pass on a message

describing the joy that would be experienced by the redeemed, the saved, God's people, the citizens or inhabitants of His kingdom

at some time in the future, once the people had taken

and learned from their chastisement.

Isaiah 35 was written around 800 years BC,

so the Israelites or Jews would have to be patient, very patient,

for nearly 20 generations, before the prophecies came to pass.

Isaiah was used to give a prophecy about what things would be like

when the Messiah came,

and the gospels record how Jesus fulfilled these prophecies,

after he came into this world through Mary,

on the first Christmas Day,

when The Word became flesh and dwelt amongst us..

Jesus gave strength to the weak.

He encouraged the discouraged.

He opened the eyes of the blind

(Bartimaeus - physically)

(Nicodemus - spiritually).

Jesus made the deaf able to hear.

He made the lame leap for joy.

He made the dumb able to speak.

…...................................................................................................................

But no matter how wonderful these prophesied activities were,

Jesus would surpass them,

because in addition to the things Isaiah was inspired to prophesy,

he walked on water in Mark 6

and turned water into wine in John 2;

he healed lepers, such as the ten in Luke 17,

of whom only one came back to say “Thanks”;

demoniacs such as the boy in Luke 9 who kept having fits;

and crippled people such as the women

who had not been able to stand up straight for 18 years, in Luke 13,

and he even raised three people from the dead:

Jairus' daughter in Luke 8,

the widow of Nain's son in Luke 7,

and Lazarus, the brother or Martha and Mary in John 11.

…..........................................................................................................

In Matthew 11 John the Baptist's words are recorded.

He was the one whom God gave the authority to confirm Jesus' Messiahship.

He was the one who made the authoritative statement

that Jesus had fulfilled the prophecies in the Torah

regarding the Messiah's ability to preach and heal and set up God's kingdom, and therefore should be honoured and obeyed.

He was the one who said to the Jews:

Your patience has been rewarded;

the time spoken of by Isaiah, and other prophets of old, is NOW.

….......................................................................................................

In his Letter James makes the point

that just as the Jews had to wait 800 years

for the prophecy of Isaiah to be fulfilled,

so Christians from his generation onwards,

up to and including our own,

have to be patient as we await prophecies about the 2nd Coming of Jesus

to be fulfilled.

We are in the dispensation or time period of grace

which is situated between the dispensation of Law

and the dispensation of the Glorious Return.

How long will this dispensation last?

God knows and I mean that literally,

for no one else does; even Jesus said He didn’t.

We need to be patient

as Christians have been for nearly 2000 years.

…...................................................................................................

Patience is listed in Galatians as one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit,

along with love, joy, peace and five other virtues,

and many people in the Bible have shown that they possessed that fruit.

…......................................................................................................

For example, Noah must have been given the gift of patience.

We know that he took a long time building his Ark

in the middle of the desert,

probably being mocked by those around him for doing such a foolish thing,

but Noah was prepared to do that because it was God’s will

and the Flood did come to pass when God had ordained it to happen.

….....................................................................................................

Joseph must have possessed the gift of patience,

because he certainly was patient in prison in Egypt.

We do not know how long he was incarcerated

as a result of Potiphar’s wife’s lies,

but when the appointed time came,

Joseph was released and appointed Prime Minister

in charge of Egypt’s food supplies.

…...........................................................................................................

Job was patient in his suffering.

We do not know how long he suffered from boils and depression,

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