Summary: If God was not longsuffering, the bible would've ended in three chapters. No one would've been here to read it except God and the unfallen angels. Oh how He loved us so! I am alive today for one reason; "The Longsuffering of God".
Introduction: This is a subject near and dear to my heart. When I consider how much God loves me, my soul cringe within. I could be dead, but for the longsuffering of God. I have been through numerous experiences that placed my life on the verge of death. The Lord has delivered me from the mouth of the grave so many times. The train incident is forever embedded in my mind. It is nothing but God’s grace that has kept me over the years. God is truly a longsuffering God. Am I the only one that has been blessed by this great attribute? I say no; you too. God could have ended life when Adam sinned. Yes, God could have wiped man off the map in Genesis chapter 3. We would’ve had a bible with three chapters for only God to read. But because of His sovereignty, we are here. America exists, not because she is a great nation. She exists because of the longsuffering of God. By the word, longsuffering, I mean the slowness of God’s anger towards men. He is long suffering towards both: saints and sinners. Humanity occupies heaven only because God is longsuffering. Men are imprisoned in hell because they failed to accept the longsuffering heart of God. Today we see disasters everywhere. Tornadoes have become a daily norm. Violence seems to happen with no regard to law and order. The threat of disease and war are the normal fear of the day. But God is still holding back the tidal waves of doom and destruction. He does so, not because we’re good but because He is longsuffering. I ask myself frequently, why does God love me so? Why does He allow mankind to seemingly get away with so much? To that end, the Spirit gives me needed advice.
I. First, what does it means to say that God is Longsuffering?
A. God is slow to anger and restrains His temper. The ultimate expression of this truth was Calvary.
B. God’s love waits for us, even while we were living riotously. We were all pig pen dwellers. He waited until we spent all our substance on foolish living.
C. God withholds judgment that is instantly deserved. Every thought and act of sin deserves death.
D. God forgives us over and over. He is a God of another chance.
E. God’s longsuffering is restrained power by His love and Power.
F. To the saints, God defers judgment and implements chastisement.
G. The power of control which God exercises over Himself to tolerate those who rebel against Him without their immediate destruction.
II. The Reasons God is Longsuffering...
A. He holds back the mighty waves of retribution because of His elect. (Gen. 19:22) (Matt. 24:21-22)
B. God delays judgment for the preaching of His word. (II Pet. 2:5)
C. God holds back so that sinners can repent. The sinner directly benefits from the Divine delay on behalf of the Elect. (Rom. 2:4) Consider how relentless evil men are; then you will see how much God truly loves us. This is true not only of evil men but holy men are seldom holy. Yet God puts up with us too.
D. God delays His wrath to show us that His will for humanity was proliferation not extinction.
E. God withholds His wrath to teach us on earth what heaven is like through those who serve Him.
F. God reveals His heart concerning man.
G. God is longsuffering to teach us how we should be toward one another.
III. God has Historically Suffered Long with Mankind...
A. He suffered through His providential works in the world.
B. He delayed punishment with our first parents.
C. He gave the Gentiles time for repentance. (Rom. 1:29)
D. Israel was spared frequently by God. (Ps. 95:10)
IV. We must consider, the Abuse of God’s Longsuffering…
A. Man tends to misinterpret God’s Longsuffering. (Ps. 50:16-22)
B. People take encouragement from His Longsuffering. (Ecc. 8:11)
C. There is the rejection of the voice of God’s Spirit. (Gen. 6:3)
D. Those who reject the message of God’s preachers. (Rom. 10:14)
V. There is Great Danger in Abusing God’s Longsuffering…
A. God’s longsuffering will at last, be Exhausted.
B. God will finally leave men to their own devices.
C. His wrath will come without warning.
D. Once wrath is poured, the mercy door shuts.
E. Men will die without Christ.
VI. What the Experience of God’s Longsuffering teaches us?
A. It strengthens our Praise.
B. It fortifies God’s purpose within our lives.
C. It makes us better, even when we desire to be bitter.
D. It causes our pitiful lives to glorify God.
E. It permeates within us a grateful spirit.
F. It causes us to evaluate how we deal with each other.
Conclusion: Every so often, it would be a good thing to number your sins. I think that Lamentations chapter 3:22-23 says it all.