1 Thessalonians 1:2-3
2 We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. 3 We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul gives thanks to God that faith has produced work and love has produced labor and hope has produced endurance.
How Do You Keep On Going? When things are really hard.
What is the relationship between endurance and hope. Our text is verse 3 and in particular the phrase, “endurance of hope.” I take this to mean that hope produces endurance, or that endurance is the fruit of hope.
The question I want to ask is this: How do you keep on going on a road of obedience to Christ?
Now lets look at a great old testament example of someone that wanted to give up.
Jeremiah is a prophet…
he declares messages in t he name of God..
Israel has turned away from God..
Jeremiah’s message was a turn or burn message..
“get saved or microwaved”
nobody liked his message..
Then Jeremiah prays to God…
he says something like this: Are you there God? Do you see what is going on in our Nation? Why do the wicked prosper? Why do the faithful struggle?
God’s response to Jeremiah’s complaint? Endure it.
jeremiah 12New International Version (NIV)
You are always righteous, Lord,
when I bring a case before you.
Yet I would speak with you about your justice:
Why does the way of the wicked prosper?
Why do all the faithless live at ease?
You have planted them, and they have taken root;
they grow and bear fruit.
You are always on their lips
but far from their hearts.
Yet you know me, Lord;
you see me and test my thoughts about you.
Drag them off like sheep to be butchered!
Set them apart for the day of slaughter!
How long will the land lie parched
and the grass in every field be withered?
Because those who live in it are wicked,
the animals and birds have perished.
Moreover, the people are saying,
“He will not see what happens to us.”
Jeremiah 12:5New International Version (NIV)
“If you have raced with men on foot
and they have worn you out,
how can you compete with horses?
If you stumble[a] in safe country,
how will you manage in the thickets by[b] the Jordan?
Basically I get this : Jeremiah i don’t need you to understand, I need you to endure.
He doesn’t say I’m gonna make it better.
He basically says “its gonna get a lot worse.
He saying there is more for you to do!
Jeremiah is ready to quit.. God is saying there is more to do…
today you may see all the evil around us and be tempted to give up….
I believe that God would tell you “there is more for you to do…
God is with you and has strength for you to endure..
we must have endurance.
We celebrate people that overcome and have endurance though hardship
one of my favorite stories..
I love the story of Lous Zamperini: WWII
no food and minimal supplies, the men survived for 47 days and drifted 2,000 miles before being rescued/captured by the Japanese.
then spent two years in as a POW and tortured..
We love stories like these… we celebrate stories like this … but we do not want to live it out..
How do we endure in a world that seems to be so bad and evil seems to be getting worse..
in 2 Timothy 4
Paul is at the end of his life. This is the one of the last things he ever wrote.
He is in Prison and about to be executed.
Lessons that we can learn from Paul about endurance …
2 Timothy 4New International Version (NIV)
4 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2 Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.
some of us might think: thank God i’m not a preacher…
the word preach means to proclaim…
so this is for all of us! Proclaim the Word!
We are all ministers..
it is our job to make him known..
at school, at work.. …in our homes…
make him known…Preach the word.
have you ever been unprepared?
I was unprepared to be a parent…
They send you home from the hospital with a living human baby with no instruction manual..
you just have figure it out..
it is not fun to be unprepared
Paul writes to Timothy to be prepared, because he has gone through about everything..
He has faced it.
They tried so hard to kill him, shut him up, or to keep him in jail.
He says you have to be prepared for anything…
God is preparing you in this life for what He has for you…on this earth and in His Kingdom
David was a shepard in the pasture and God took what David learned in the pasture and used it in the palace.
God used Peter who was a FisherMan and turned him into a a fisher of men..
God can use every experience that you have for His glory..
God doesn’t waste what your going through right now. ..
He is preparing you..
My point is that maybe the things you are having to endure now are preparing you for where God will have you tomorrow.
He’s also pruning you!
As Christians we have to endure times of pruning..
Cutting away of things in our life.
pruning is to increase production of fruit.
but Pruning hurts.
Pruning involves cutting off branches of your life that don’t produce fruit.
It’s part of the sanctification process.
John 15:2New International Version (NIV)
2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful.
whatever your going through.. it’s for your good,,, IF you love God.
It is a promise..
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose.
I believe Every season in your life is preparation for the next!
2 Timothy 4:3-4
3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.
that is for them! This is people that don’t know Jesus.
the world is gonna be bad… people are not gonna know what bathroom to use anymore.. men will ‘marry” men.,, women will get married women,, and some of the churches are gonna be ok with it..
SIDENOTE: Gay marriage does not really exist. We can not define what God designed. Marriage is a covenant relationship that was invented by God. So although two men or two women say the are “married” they really are not.
they will turn their ears away from the truth! …
we’ve seen this everywhere in our culture…
verse 5 is for us…
5 But you, keep your head (don’t worry, or be afraid) in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.
What is God saying to His church?
yes the world is sinful, our culture is ungodly
He says.. endure, keep your head.
maybe we’ve been trying to escape what God wants us to endure.
The world is falling apart.. Because of sin. It will continue to do so.
I believe The reason God wants you to endure and walk through it is because He is preparing you for the next season in your life … or for His kingdom.
Paul tells Timothy: “Gods not coming to the rescue every time you have a problem…
you are gonna have to learn to ENDURE
man up …woman up.. put on your big boy pants and deal with it
God is telling us: He is not coming to the rescue every time we have a problem…..
I believe He wants us to endure!
Lastly, Remember how a marathon works
2 Timothy 4:6
6 For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
Historians say that Paul was boiled to death in a pot of hot oil and then beheaded… Roman Emperor Nero..
This is how he finished his the race…
Life is not a Sprint,to the finish line .. its a Marathon…
People that run marathons know its a long way to the finish line.
a marathon is 26 miles
you don’t just show up at a marathon and run it..
remember Forrest Gump: “for not particular reason I just started running”
its not the way it works
you have to train for a marathon…
training builds endurance…
endurance requires: Resistance…
Resistance is your friend..
I haven’t been to the gym too many times and seen someone pushing up an empty bar..
The weight, the resistance is what builds you..
whatever weight your carrying today I want you to look at in a new way…
That resistance in your life…,,, is making you stronger not weaker!
everyday that we endure it … we are getting stronger.
Paul had a thorn in the flesh… we don’t know what it was…
many scholars believe it was a problem with His eyes
There are several times in the new testament that suggest that Paul had poor eyesight..
whatever it was..
he prayed 3 times.. for God to take it away…
God answers: My Grace is Sufficient For You..
He tells Paul Endure it buddy. Remember you big boy pants!
Paul tells Timothy that “you gotta have some fight in you..”
7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race
We live in a culture that if the going gets tough we go home..
Probably none of us will ever have to endure the things that Paul did.. but lets look at a few..
Acts 14:19English Standard Version (ESV)
Paul Stoned at Lystra
19 But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having persuaded the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead.
1 Corinthians 4:12
12 We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it;
2 Corinthians 11:25English Standard Version (ESV)
25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea;
Paul is saying to Timothy .. and us…its not okay.. to quit..
I read an article about someone who was being interviewed after a marathon…
the reporter asked them .. “what kept you going”
He said ..”remember why you started”
Remenber why you started the race to begin with..
Remember why you got married.
Remember why you started your career
Remember why you started a family
Remember why you started following Jesus.
finish the race… God is with you…
Pastor Robert Bullock
Trinity Baptist Church
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