George Orwell (1903-1950) said, “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”[i] Orwell also reportedly said, “The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those that speak it.” Paul the Apostle describes persecution with an eternal perspective in Romans 8:18, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” He further writes in 2 Corinthians 4:17-18, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” Paul warns Timothy, “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12). Paul further explains in 2 Timothy 3:13-17, “But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
Dr. Henry Blackaby writes, “Living a godly life will not insulate you from hardship. Paul said that the more blameless your life, the more likely you will be persecuted. . . . As the world increasingly embraces sin, worldly people are becoming increasingly intolerant of godliness. Darkness cannot tolerate light; the more your life illuminates the presence of Christ, the more you should expect opposition from the forces of darkness. Your Christlike nature will be offensive to those in rebellion against Christ’s Lordship. . . . Persecution may be the best evidence that your life is like that of Christ.”[ii]
Jesus warned in John 15:18-21, “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me.” Although it is often suppressed by the news media, the persecution of Christians is proliferating throughout the world. In times like these we need endurance.
We need endurance to carry on the will of God.
Hebrews 10:36 reads, “For you have need of endurance; so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise.” Dr. Marchant A. King (1903-1985) explains, “The writer notes in his reader’s lives more of what, in chapter six, he called ‘things that accompany salvation’ showing his confidence that they are true believers. Their need, then, is for ‘patient endurance’ in their daily lives, endurance through the unexciting periods of waiting, working, and undergoing trial.
Most Christians, as they seek to do God’s will, experience these periods. By enduring, they find that God has been doing His work, conforming them to Christ, and preparing them for His promised blessing.”[iii]
In the face of suffering as a trusting obedient Christian, “Keep Calm and Carry On”. Hebrews 10:32-39 reads, “But recall the former days in which, after you were illuminated, you endured a great struggle with sufferings: partly while you were made a spectacle both by reproaches and tribulations, and partly while you became companions of those who were so treated; for you had compassion on me in my chains, and joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods, knowing that you have a better and an enduring possession for yourselves in heaven. Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise: ‘For yet a little while, And He who is coming will come and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.’ But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.” (Emphasis mine) Don Fleming, a prolific author and Bible teacher from Belmont, Queensland, Australia, comments, “The writer encourages his readers not to forsake Christ, by reminding them of what they have suffered for his sake. They have persevered through insults, violence, imprisonments and robberies, because of their confidence of a lasting reward (32-35). Endurance is essential, since there must always be some waiting time before a promise can be fulfilled. For Christians the promised reward will be at Christ’s return, when he judges between those who persevere in faith and those who turn back (36-39).”[iv]
Dr. Albert Barnes (1798-1870) explains the following about, “The promised inheritance or reward-in heaven. It is implied here that this promise will not be received unless we are patient in our trials, and the prospect of this reward should encourage us to endure them.”[v]
We need endurance to carry out the work of God.
Hebrews 12:1-2 reads, “. . . let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Luke 2:41-50 reads, “[Jesus’] parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast. When they had finished the days, as they returned, the Boy Jesus lingered behind in Jerusalem. And Joseph and His mother did not know it; but supposing Him to have been in the company, they went a day’s journey, and sought Him among their relatives and acquaintances. So when they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking Him. Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers. So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, ‘Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously.’ And He said to them, ‘Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?’ But they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them.” Later, we read in John 1:29, “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, ‘Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!’” John 10:25 reads, “Jesus answered them, ‘I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me.’” John 17:4 reads, “I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.” John 19:30 reads, “So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished!’ And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.” We need endurance to fully execute the work of God. Look to Jesus for your example and look to Jesus for your strength to do it! 2 Thessalonians 3:5 reads, “Now may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the patience of Christ.” The word translated “patience” could be translated “endurance”.
Dr. George Wells Arms (1881-?) explains, “We do not get the prize by simply making a good start in the race, but it is when we cross the tape at the end of the course.”[vi] In Philippians 3:12-14 Paul the Apostle humbly confesses, “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
Miles J. Stanford (1914-1999) shares the following in his Principles of Spiritual Growth: “We might consider some familiar names of believers whom God obviously brought to maturity and used for His glory—such as Pierson, Chapman, Tauler, Moody, Goforth, Mueller, Taylor, Watt, Trumbull, Meyer, Murray, Havergal, Guyon, Mabie, Gordon, Hyde, Mantle, McCheyne, McConkey, Deck, Paxson, Stoney, Saphir, Carmichael and Hopkins. The average for these was 15 years after they entered their life work before they began to know the Lord Jesus as their Life and ceased trying to work for Him and began allowing Him to be their All in all and do His work through them. This is not to discourage us in any way but to help us to settle down with our sights on eternity, by faith ‘apprehend[ing] that for which also … [we are] apprehended of Christ Jesus… Press[ing] toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus’ (Phil. 3:12, 14).”[vii]
At the end of his life Paul the Apostle declares, “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:6-8).
Part Two Coming Soon!
[i]Preaching the Word, gen. ed. R. Kent Hughes, Exodus: Saved for God’s Glory, Philip Graham Ryken (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books & Bibles, 2005), 659. Database © 2008 WORDsearch Corp.
[ii]Henry Blackaby, Experiencing God Day by Day: A Devotional and Journal. “Godliness and Persecution” (Nashville, TN: B&H Books, 1997), 286.
[iii]Marchant A. King, Let’s Study Hebrews 10, Guido Gardens Library, (Hebrews 10) 004.pdf (Hebrews 10:36-39) http://library.guidogardens.com/redir.asp?sessionid=K0lfa38gSrnqi6M5yn6r9xhct&login=yes .
[iv]Don Fleming, Concise Biblical Commentary, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG, 1994), 567. Database © 2007 WORDsearch Corp.
[v]Albert Barnes, Notes, Explanatory and Practical, on the Epistle to the Hebrews (New York, NY: Harper & Bros., 1850), 248.
[vi]The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Brooklyn, NY, George Wells Arms, “Restless Days Need Patience” (Hebrews 10:36), Monday, June 18, 1934, 6.
[vii]Miles J. Stanford, Principles of Spiritual Growth (Lincoln, NE: Back to the Bible, 1984), 12.