I Chronicles 29:11 "Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty:for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all."

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Study on Endurance: Part Three

If you missed Part One or Part Two in this study, check them out before reading on!

III. Examples of Success

Paul
We have spoken of Paul already, but he is a great example to us of one who successfully suffered and endured. Remember, Paul knew he experienced persecution to keep him humble and his eyes on the Lord. He says it twice in this first verse:

2Co 12:7-10 "And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong."

Paul understood that it was only in the strength of Christ that he could stand. Paul says here that he would GLADLY GLORY IN HIS INFIRMITIES!! He knew that the only way the power of Christ could be upon him was to be humble and admit he couldn’t handle it himself. It’s ok to admit you can’t handle the pressure. None of us can in our flesh. Christ’s strength in us is made perfect only through our weakness. Many of us never realize the power of Christ through trials because we refuse to admit we are weak!

God does some pretty awesome stuff through people experiencing trials. Paul, for
example, won his jailer to Christ by his powerful testimony and thankfulness to the Lord during his trial.

We have already mentioned Job, and Jesus Christ. One modern example is the sweet missionary family, the Batistas. They have be exiled from the country they had been serving in for years. It was the country God originally called them to. Not only were they exiled, but had all of their belongings confiscated: wedding pictures, clothing, money; not given a chance to pack anything. Yet they endure.

They had experienced persecution before this; physical persecution. Yet they remained humble, and willing to serve, realizing that God wasn’t finished with them. The husband said he almost gave up mission work: it was too complicated. He would’ve been a casualty. So, what are they doing now? They quietly endure. God has now opened the door for them to work in Brazil. His hands have never left them.

How about the hundreds and thousands of national pastors all over the world, especially in China, and muslim-controlled countries, who are beaten regularly for their faith, have had their families taken away, have been tortured, and murdered for the name of Christ? They should be our heroes because they patiently accept tribulation. I am in awe of them because they act with humility, and therefore have the power of Christ in their lives! It is not them at all, but Christ in them.

The last passage I want to share with you is Hebrews 11:17-40. This was so powerful to me when I read it. I had been meditating on what God’s Word has to say about enduring, and thinking about things I had experienced in my own life. Then I read this. It was so humbling to me. Endurance is all about faith. Either you believe God will get you through, or you don't. Here are the greatest examples we will ever hear of endurance by faith, and they hadn't yet received the promise of eternal life through Christ!!

Heb 11:17-40 "By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,
Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called:
Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.
By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.
By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshiped, leaning upon the top of his staff.
By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones.
By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king's commandment.
By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter;
Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;
Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward.
By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.
Through faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them.
By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians attempting to do were drowned.
By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days.
By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.
And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gideon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthah; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:
Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,
Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.
Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:
And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:
They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;
(Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:
God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect."

These wonderful Bible examples we have are all the result of afflictions, persecutions, and mockings. Had they not endured, who could we have to look to and be encouraged by? There would be no great faithful men or women of God. Keep this scripture in mind the next time you are going through a trial. I am sure it will be as encouraging to you as it was to me.

God bless.

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