Presentation on theme: "Principles of Christian Living. Lesson 11 Lesson Text—Titus 2:2 Titus 2:2 That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in."— Presentation transcript:
Principles of Christian Living
Lesson Text—Titus 2:2 Titus 2:2 That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.
Lesson Text—James 5:7-9 James 5:7-9 7 Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.
Lesson Text—James 5:7-9 8 Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. 9 Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door.
Lesson Text—James 5:10-11 James 5: Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience. 11 Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.
Focus Verse—James 5:7 James 5:7 Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.
Focus Thought We are waiting for the coming of the Lord. We need patience to live in this interval between His going away and coming again.
I. The Return of the Lord CULTURE CONNECTION Patience Pays Off In an age of instant everything—a microwave generation—it is easy to lose sight of the value and work of patience in our lives. Many people can quote Luke 21:19, “In your patience possess ye your souls,” but fewer understand it or practice its truth.
I. The Return of the Lord In the publication MarketWatch, Rex Crum observes the need for patience for investments to pay off in his article titled “Now That iPad Is Here, What to Do with Apple’s Stock?” “Looking back at what are arguably Apple’s two biggest hits of the last decade shows that even though some patience may be required, the company’s products do have a track record of paying off for investors.
I. The Return of the Lord “When Apple showed off its first iPod.... some analysts questioned just what Apple Computer... was doing getting into the music-player market. A little more than two weeks after Chief Executive Steve Jobs showed off that first iPod, Apple’s stock had risen just 28 cents a share, but within six months of the first sale, the shares had gained 25%.... The iPod took almost two years to truly pay off....
I. The Return of the Lord “But when Jobs debuted the first iPhone... the success of the iPod gave investors confidence that Apple could succeed in technological markets where it had had no prior experience.... Speculation over Apple unveiling a tablet Mac of some sort began to grow in earnest in late and boosted Apple’s stock.... By the time the iPad went on sale... Apple’s shares had climbed another 14% as the company sold more than 300,000 iPads on the first day it was on the market.”
I. The Return of the Lord Patience pays off both in fiscal and spiritual investments. If we will just trust God, we will maintain the security and integrity of our souls.
I. The Return of the Lord Contemplating the Topic Almost everyone will admit a need for more patience to deal with life’s frustrations. Today’s lesson will address our need for patience while we wait for the coming of the Lord.
I. The Return of the Lord Waiting is difficult! It is all too easy to become impatient with those around us: family members, our church family, and even God. Scriptural examples abound. Moses cried, “Return, O Lord, how long?” (Psalm 90:13). The Scriptures document well Esau’s impatience regarding the loss of both his birthright and blessing. Peter’s impatience at Christ’s arrest resulted in a foolish act of violence and a rebuke from the Master. So if we are plagued with personal impatience, we can know we are in good company.
I. The Return of the Lord Yet we must develop and display patience. In the course of His teaching regarding the last days, Jesus indicated our souls were at risk if we failed to possess patience: “In your patience possess ye your souls” (Luke 21:19). Patience is not an option. We must have it for the sake of our souls.
I. The Return of the Lord One dear saint of God was overheard in the prayer room imploring, “God, give me patience! I need it right now, Lord!” While amusing, it is serious to consider she may have actually been praying for trouble, since the verse of Scripture “tribulation worketh patience” (Romans 5:3) indicates that patience is wrought through troubles. The dear soul may have been unintentionally praying for tribulations!
I. The Return of the Lord SEARCHING THE SCRIPTURES The Return of the Lord While the word “rapture” does not appear in the Bible, the prophecies recorded in Scripture about the return of the Lord for the church are many. Since God’s Word is “for ever... settled in heaven” (Psalm 119:89), the event certainly will take place. Jesus stated, “I will come again” (John 14:3), and the New Testament is full of references to that great day.
I Thessalonians 4:16-17 “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (I Thessalonians 4:16-17).
A. The Waiting Time James exhorted the church to “be patient... unto the coming of the Lord” (James 5:7). One hundred twenty followers of Jesus gathered in an upper room in Jerusalem on Pentecost, waiting in one accord and in obedience to the command of Jesus. He stated “that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father” (Acts 1:4).
I. The Return of the Lord The Lord’s glorious church was born waiting for a promise, endured the ages waiting for a promise, and will be caught away waiting for a promise. Obedience to the commands of God coupled with patience is a powerful recipe for victory. The old saying, “Says easy but does hard,” exemplifies our time of waiting for the fulfillment of the promises of God.
I. The Return of the Lord Paul described the agony of the waiting church in his epistle to the Romans: “Even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body” (Romans 8:23). Many who cook will attest to the truth of the old saying, “A watched pot never boils.” A mother noticed her young daughter anxiously watching a kettle of water on the stove for signs of boiling and wisely advised, “Get busy with something else and it will boil soon enough.”
I. The Return of the Lord While patiently waiting for the sure promise of God regarding His return, perhaps the church needs to “get busy doing something else” rather than spend our days only longing for the event. Paul encouraged the Galatians not to tire while doing their good labors for the Lord (Galatians 6:9).
I. The Return of the Lord “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not” (Galatians 6:9). The church must be busy while waiting for the Lord. His work of redemption will not be done until the last trumpet sounds, so we continue to labor in His fields.
B. Patience unto the Coming of the Lord “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31).
I. The Return of the Lord According to Isaiah, waiting on the Lord renews one’s strength. The church of the last days must be a strong body of believers, and waiting for the promise of His coming becomes a source of renewed strength for both individual believers and the assembly. Many so-called prophecy teachers have erred by setting dates for the return of Christ. Our anticipation of the event sometimes makes us vulnerable to false teaching regarding the Lord’s return.
I. The Return of the Lord This is not a new trick of Satan. Such teachers plagued the early church as well. Paul warned the church about the dangers of accepting such doctrine in II Thessalonians 2:1-3. “Now we beseech you, brethren,... that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means” (II Thessalonians 2:1-3).
I. The Return of the Lord Some have made shipwreck of living for God because of a lack of patience regarding the last days, believing the proclamations of false prophets. Jesus emphasized, “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only” (Matthew 24:36).
I. The Return of the Lord While signs of the times in our world signal the imminent coming of the Lord, we must wait patiently for His time. These signs should encourage us that His return is near and should also inspire us to work for His kingdom as never before. We race the trumpet to have one last revival, baptize another new believer in Jesus’ name, or win one last soul.
II. The Patience of Job The Patience of Job A great example of patience in loyalty to God is the story of Job. His patience in waiting for God empowered his endurance through crushing losses. The story has been a source of strength for the persecuted church throughout the ages and will provide inspiration for the church today.
A. Job an Example Job serves as an example to mankind and the spirit world, both in his day and throughout the ensuing centuries. In his day Job exemplified patience to his fellowman. His friends heard of his calamity and came to see for themselves. To this day his example inspires people who study the Bible.
A. Job an Example A spectacle to angels and demons alike, Job’s uprightness was as well known in Heaven as it was on earth. The spirit world was and still is aware of his name. His story opens on the scene of a meeting between God, angels (sons of God), and the devil.
Job 1:6, 8 “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them.... And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?” (Job 1:6, 8).
I. The Return of the Lord Job’s notable integrity caused God to boast about him. It leads us to consider the question, “Would God boast about me?” It behooves us to study the example of Job, to aspire to become one in whom God could have such confidence. Job’s example should drive us to live our lives with such sterling character that God would boast of us to others.
B. The Miseries of Job “And there was a day...” (Job 1:13). Talk about having a bad day! Many allow trivial frustrations to ruin a perfectly good day, but if we consider this fateful day in the life of Job, many of our petty problems would fall into proper perspective.
I. The Return of the Lord In the course of one day, four messengers arrived with dire news— news that would wrench happiness and contentment from Job’s grasp. It is difficult to imagine Job’s devastation as he reeled from so many consecutive blows. 1. Marauding Sabeans took Job’s cattle and murdered all but one of the herdsmen. 2. A bolt of fire shot out of the sky and set the pastures on fire, charring his wooly sheep and all but one of the shepherds.
I. The Return of the Lord 3. Bands of savage Chaldeans drove away his camels and slaughtered all but one of the servants. Wealth in Job’s day was reckoned by possessions of livestock, since land was plentiful and citizens were mostly tent dwellers. These three disastrous messages wiped out Job’s wealth, reducing his position from the “greatest [wealthiest] of all the men of the east” (Job 1:3) to the lowliest pauper.
I. The Return of the Lord 4. While Job was still trying to absorb these blows, a fourth messenger arrived with the most devastating news of all. A cruel wind whirled out of the wilderness and demolished the house where all of Job’s children were gathered, leaving no survivors. “Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, and said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:20-21).
I. The Return of the Lord On that fateful day Job lost everything that had brought him happiness, but he still had a desire to worship and bless the name of the Lord. His attitude of worship and patience resulted in a powerful statement in Job 1:22. “In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly” (Job 1:22).
I. The Return of the Lord But Job’s ordeal still was not over. After God’s second boast about Job (Job 2:3), Satan smote him with sore boils “from the sole of his foot unto his crown” (Job 2:7). His body racked with fever and pain from the boils, his heart broken with grief at his losses, Job found himself sitting in an ash heap, scraping his body with a potsherd in a futile attempt to find relief from the physical pain.
I. The Return of the Lord Job’s distress still had not come to an end. The remaining individual closest to him on earth, the love of his youth, the wife he should have been able to depend upon for encouragement, tempted him to denounce the God who, from her perspective, had treated Job so vilely. “Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die” (Job 2:9).
I. The Return of the Lord At the lowest point in Job’s life, his keenest, most painful trial issued from the person he loved the most. His integrity had not exempted him from one of the most horrific and blasphemous temptations. The word for “curse” (blaspheme) in Job 2:9 is barak, which curiously may also denote “bless” or “blessed.” (See Psalm 16:7; 34:1; 103:1.) In the Book of Job, all the uses of the word barak seem to connote a curse.
I. The Return of the Lord In studying the trials of Job, many forget that in one day his wife had also lost all her wealth and worse, all her children. Her close association with Job had involved her in Satan’s temptation. Bitter at God’s cruel treatment of her family and in anguish over her husband’s suffering, her patience had evaporated and her strength dissipated. She wanted the suffering to end. She knew if Job railed against God he would surely die and his misery would end.
I. The Return of the Lord On the other hand, Job’s faith wavered and he questioned God repeatedly. He wished himself dead, albeit not through cursing God. (See Job 3.) Zondervan’s Bible Commentary notes that Job did not rebuke his wife for urging him to blaspheme against God, but for speaking foolish words. He understood the reality that God is as free to send both good and trouble (even harm) as He is to give and add blessings. This understanding bolstered his patience and gave him strength to worship God.
I. The Return of the Lord But Job’s ordeal still was not over. His friends came to “comfort” him and instead increased his despondence with their accusations and misguided attempts at advice, which heightened Job’s frustration and aroused the wrath of God. “And it was so, that after the Lord had spoken these words unto Job, the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath” (Job 42:7).
I. The Return of the Lord It is important when teaching or witnessing from the Book of Job to “rightly divide the Word,” so as not to use wrongly the words of individuals who received the condemnation of the wrath of God. Recorded in Scripture as examples of useless words of man’s wisdom, those words were not helpful to Job and might be hurtful to others as well.
C. Could Not See the End His vision clouded by grief, Job could see no end to his sorrow and no good that could come out of it. “He hath fenced up my way that I cannot pass, and he hath set darkness in my paths” (Job 19:8).
I. The Return of the Lord We know God’s promise that “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28), but grief and despair and darkness may cloud our vision. In times like these, we must be careful to exercise patience and wait for God to move for us. Better to wait for Him to light our pathway than to stumble ahead on our own in darkness. Job could not see God in his situation, though he never stopped searching for Him.
I. The Return of the Lord “Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him: on the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him” (Job 23:8-9). Yet Job’s confidence in God’s care for him remained unshaken. “But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold” (Job 23:10).
I. The Return of the Lord God knows where we are in the midst of the trial. He sees us in times of grief and despair. We may not see Him or feel His presence, but His love and care for us never waver.
D. Never Charged God Foolishly Job looked at the horror of the grave and yet declared his faith. His shout of confidence still resonates within every persecuted child of God. “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him” (Job 13:15).
Job 19:25-27 “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me” (Job 19:25- 27).
I. The Return of the Lord A wretched wreck of a human, all possessions and human comforts gone, Job used the eyes of faith to see beyond the repulsive aspects of death to a glorious meeting with the Lord. Not only did Job refuse to charge God foolishly, he continued to praise Him. He trusted in the hope of life beyond the grave years before Paul penned the prophecies regarding the return of Jesus and the resurrection of the saints. Job was waiting patiently to see the Lord.
III. The Rewards of Patience The Rewards of Patience The old cliché “Good things come to those who wait” bears a nugget of truth for all who wait in faith. There is a reward for the faithful, but it takes patience to receive the “good things” God has promised.
I. The Return of the Lord The story is told of an elderly preacher who was recovering from a life-threatening illness. A visiting friend observed, “God is healing you now, but it will be a long time before you will be able to preach in your usual manner.” The preacher replied with tears, “Ah, but this time of illness has brought me closer to Him than all the years of past study and ministry put together.”
A. Latter End of Job Greater Than the Beginning Scripture records the fact that God rewarded Job at the conclusion of his trial. God is always a “rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6). In the New Testament Jesus promised the disciples rewards “now in this time... and in the world to come eternal life” (Mark 10:30).
I. The Return of the Lord “And the Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before” (Job 42:10). Job’s experience reveals the importance of forgiveness in that God did not give him victory until after Job prayed for his friends. Perhaps many Christians live without God’s blessings because they are unwilling to forgive those who have offended them. It is possible they are still in the valley because God is waiting for them to forgive someone. It pays to examine our attitudes toward others.
I. The Return of the Lord Scripture records the sheer numbers of the rewards God gave to Job. A comparison of the before-and- after totals comes from Job 1:3 and Job 42:12. The catch phrase in the business world of profit and loss is, “What’s the ‘bottom line?” The “bottom line” with Job was a 100 percent increase for his patience—twice as much as before!
I. The Return of the Lord “After this lived Job an hundred and forty years, and saw his sons, and his sons’ sons, even four generations. So Job died, being old and full of days” (Job 42:16-17). After Job’s trial God rewarded him with a quality of life that allowed him to see four generations of his children. Job did not die in the test of his patience and trust; he died in peace, “old and full of days” (Job 42:17).
I. The Return of the Lord While sitting in the ash heap, Job could not have imagined such a beautiful end to his life on earth. Likewise, Joseph probably could not envision how the promised family reunion would come about while he sat forgotten in an Egyptian prison. Shivering in the chill of the cave, running for his life from King Saul, David probably could not see the day when he would sit upon the throne of Israel.
I. The Return of the Lord Blind and helpless in Damascus, Saul of Tarsus probably could not conceive of his becoming the apostle Paul, author of a significant portion of the New Testament. All of these heroes of faith received rewards for their patience during their dark days. God seems to specialize in transforming both situations and individuals. It is exciting for the child of God to look forward with eagerness to see what God has in store for us. We need to exercise patience to wait on God, both for the rewards in this life and in the life to come.
B. Our Latter End Greater Than Anything in This Life The lives of God’s children seem to be a series of mountaintop experiences followed by times spent in the valley, but the promises of God regarding the joy of Heaven should be incentive enough to strengthen our patience. Whatever hurtful things may come to us in this life we soon will forget on the inside of Heaven’s gates.
Hebrews 12:1 “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him” (I Corinthians 2:9).
I. The Return of the Lord Many have speculated about what Heaven will be like. Heaven, the reward of the faithful who have patiently endured until the end, will be glorious and joyful. We cannot imagine the beauty and joy we will share. Viewed from the perspective of Heaven, the rugged mountains we had to climb in this life will appear as mere bumps in the road to glory.
I. The Return of the Lord The cost of things we gave up to please God and the lifestyles we changed to separate ourselves from a lost world will appear as a miniscule price to pay for the eternal ages with Him, enjoying the glories of Heaven with the family of God. It is always a good time to consecrate our lives to the Lord, but with signs of the approaching last days it is vital to “make [our] calling and election sure” (II Peter 1:10). Eternity is soon to become very personal for every one of us, and our response to God’s call today can change our eternity.
I. The Return of the Lord Internalizing the Message While we wait for the Lord to come, we must live our lives with patience, knowing that the wait will be worth it. The experiences of Job and other examples from God’s Word serve as reminders to us. We should always try to live our lives in such a way that God could boast about us as He boasted about Job. Although circumstances of life may sometimes seem overwhelming, we can wait on God and claim the victory—and the rewards that follow.
I. The Return of the Lord The rewards Job received were great, but the reward of Heaven is greater still. “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1). In the field of athletics there are many types of races ranging from short sprints to marathons. However, we cannot count as a victory any unfinished race.
I. The Return of the Lord Likewise, Paul spoke of races that span a lifetime. Some are short, and we wonder why the individual was taken at such a young age. Others are of great length, with individuals living to be a ripe old age. We cannot choose the length of the race; that is up to God. Our race is unique, different from those of our brothers and sisters in Christ, and we cannot see what is ahead on the track.
I. The Return of the Lord But we can “run with patience the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1). God will grant us strength to keep running if we do not give up. We must maintain patience until we cross the finish line. Paul said, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course” (II Timothy 4:7). Like Paul, we must finish our course. Let us run it with patience.