Wednesday, November 02, 2005

10.29.05 Sermon Summary: Patience Of The Saints

Patience is not highly valued in success-oriented Western culture. And Christian' culture often has trouble expressing the Biblical virtue of patience, because the drive to save souls means the sooner the better. But the Bible places a high value on patience. After all "The fruit of the spirit is...patience" (Gal 5:22); "Love is patient" (1 Cor. 13:4); and "Here is the patience of the saints..." (Rev. 14:12).

So what does it mean to manifest the fruit of patience as a Christian who realizes he or she is living in the end times? In his letter the Apostle James shows us that Biblical patience looks like a farmer waiting to harvest his crop (Jam. 5:7). If the farmer takes off the crop too early or too late he will not have a harvest, so he must work along with natural processes to experience success.

Patience is primarily a matter of timing and is specifically the ability to work with God's timing. This applies to His timing for the second coming (2 Pet. 2:8,9) and to the process by which the Holy Spirit works in the human heart. The major symptom of impatience according to James (5:9) is complaining about other Christians.

Two aspects of Biblical patience
(based on two Greek words)--holding back and enduring --must be combined in order to truly manifest the fruit of the Spirit. Most of us tend to fall into one of two traps: Either we fail to hold back and angrily jump the gun (i.e. impatience) or we fail to endure and give up (i.e. fatalism). The later is very often confused with patience but really has no Scriptural basis. (The fatalist doesn't bother to harvest; because if it's God will, the grain will find its own way into the barn.)

In the final analysis, "patience of the saints" is actually patience with the saints. We will all have some rough edges before Christ returns, and if in the mean time we are to be His body we must minister patience to one another. And if you feel your patience isn't all it should be, don't get discouraged; because God is patient with you. The Holy Spirit is still working on you and is patiently waiting for you to ask for help.

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