Summary: We often hear about patience, but we will never understand it until we look at God’s patience toward us.
a. I was doing my quiet time on Monday morning when I ran across a passage that leapt off the page. It so stirred my spirit, that I felt that the Lord wanted me to preach a sermon series on the subject that the passage spoke about.
i. As I researched the subject…the subject of God’s Patience, I became troubled. I discovered most sermons on the subject of patience look at the patience we have and ignore the patience of God. This is a serious mistake, because the patience of God is closely related to both His Holiness and His Love.
1. God’s patience is what holds back His wrath from consuming all that is contrary to His holy nature.
2. God’s patience also communicates His love for us.
ii. Over these next few weeks, we will look at:
1. The demonstration of God’s patience.
2. The limits of God’s patience.
3. God’s patience as salvation
4. The reproduction of God’s patience (include examples)
So we will start to try to understand His patience by looking at HOW God has demonstrated it to people like you and I.
2. 1 Timothy 1:12-17 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service, 13 even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief; 14 and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus. 15 It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. 16 Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life. 17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen..
a. This entire passage should shake us awake. It is so rich in what it says about the patience and love of God.
b. Ask yourselves today, have you ever sinned…succumbing to a temptation and afterwards, in the grip of guilt and shame realize that you deserve punishment and even worse, that you deserve to be cast away from God for your act of rebellion?
i. Every Christian I have ever known has experienced this on more than one occasion.
ii. They have felt the power and pain of their sin and they have experienced the guilt and condemnation it deserves.
iii. And apart from the incredible patience of God, we would be swallowed up in punishment and condemnation.
iv. Paul realized this; he saw that Christ had no obligation to save him after he had persecuted the church, yet that is exactly what Christ did…forgive him and then used him in a powerful way to advance the kingdom of God.
c. Let’s examine this passage and look at what God can do with a life that He holds in the palm of His hand.
3. v12-14: I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service, 13 even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief; 14 and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus.
a. Paul is overflowing in thankfulness that Jesus Christ His Lord poured His strength into his life and “counted him as faithful” and then pressed Paul into service (diakonai) despite his background, despite his life of sin, despite the way he opposed God.
b. Paul was painfully aware of the change in direction that the grace of God brought to his life.
i. Before encountering the risen Christ on the road to Damascus (Acts 9), he lived for the sole purpose of persecuting the church out of existence. And this he did this out of his twisted commitment to God!
ii. He was truly a religious, anti-Christian fanatic. When we first meet him is when he stood by in approval of the stones being thrown at Stephen, the first Christian martyr (Acts 7--8). Here is what the book of Acts says of him: "But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off men and women and put them in prison" (Acts 8:3; see 9:1-2).
c. Does any of us here expect Saddam Hussein to become a Christian and do mission work in Saudi Arabia for Jesus? Why not? Well, nobody in the church thought that Saul of Tarsus had a chance either. He was the worst enemy the church knew of in their day.