Home Media Sermons by Pastor Nicki Coertze Non-series Sermons by Year 2020 Sermons . Enduring Saints - Enduring in Hope (Part 1)

. Enduring Saints - Enduring in Hope (Part 1)

ENDURING SAINTS - ENDURING IN HOPE (PART 1)


Many of you missed my first sermon of the year. We looked at Enduring Hope. We found that hope is our only anchor and our only anchor is hope. We saw this in Hebrews 6:19-20 (ESV) “19 We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain. Two weeks ago, we looked at the Enduring Word, as all Scripture is God breathed. Last week we looked at Enduring Joy. Because our rejoicing is in God, and God endures therefore joy will endure as we joy in what God joys in. Paul says: “rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice.”

For today and maybe another one or two more I want to look at Enduring Saints.

If there is one thing that is often commanded in Scripture, it is to endure. If there is one thing that is greatly lacking in the church, it is endurance. Christianity has become like a sporting event. You for example have 30 people on the rugby field, enduring for 80 minutes, desperately in need of rest been told by 45000 spectators desperately in need of exercise on how to play the game and how to endure. We live in an entertainment driven society who do not want to put their shoulder to the wheel, but who want to be entertained.

Logos will not grow unless we become an enduring people.

Let’s turn to 1 Thessalonians 1:3-6 (ESV) 3 remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 4 For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, 5 because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. 6 And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit,…”

Paul is telling us as Christians, and I believe especially those who are young in the race, that faith, hope and love are not just some emotional issues. No, he wants us to know that faith produces work, that love produces labour and hope produces endurance or steadfastness. Paul is not talking about faith in self or simple love for others with responding labour, he has something much deeper in mind.

Do you realise that faith, love and hope are linked to every member of the Trinity? Let me show you how we can link it to the Trinity.

a) The Relationship to God the Son

 

When Paul uses the term “in our Lord Jesus Christ” Paul is describing specific spiritual effects of being in a relationship with the living Person, Jesus Christ. Faith and love and hope which are “in our Lord Jesus Christ” give rise to a specific kind of work and labour and endurance that count for eternity because they come from Christ and honour Christ. If you are a born again child of God, you are in Jesus Christ and faith, love and hope are part of the parcel and therefor work, labour and endurance are part of the same parcel.

b) The Relationship to God the Father

 

Notice the relationship to God the Father. At the beginning of verse 3 it is to God the Father that Paul gives thanks for the faith and love and hope that the Thessalonians have in Christ Jesus.  So evidently God the Father has been instrumental in producing this faith and love and hope, since he gets thanked for it.

In verse 4 the connection with God the Father is even more specific. 1 Thessalonians 1:4 (ESV) 4 For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you,..”

I believe that what Paul is saying here is this, that faith that produces work, love that produces labour and hope that produces endurance are all a sign of being loved by God and chosen by God.

c) The Relationship to God the Holy Spirit

 

Verse 5 makes the connection clear. 5 because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction.” So, the change in these people’s lives is not only evidence that they are chosen by God the Father, as verse 4 says; it is also evidence that the Holy Spirit was powerfully at work within them.

Verse 6 spells out the evidence of this just like verse 3 did: 1 Thessalonians 1:6 (ESV) 6 And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit,”

The affliction was not taken away when they became born again. But affliction didn’t destroy the joy of their faith and this is evidence that the gospel had come with Holy Spirit power and not just in word.

So, faith and love and hope of verse 3 that produce works, labour and endurance are not simple psychological principles that happen to work and make people more productive, but they are profound theological realities. They come from a relationship with the living Lord, Jesus Christ. They are the result and evidence of being chosen by God the Father. And they are the work of the Holy Spirit through the preaching of the gospel.

I would have loved to unpack all three of these truths this morning namely ‘work from faith’, ‘labour from love’ and ‘endurance from hope’ but for time sake and to keep with our theme I am going to simply focus on The Enduring Saint – Enduring in Hope.

Point 1. Endurance of hope.

Verse 3 is clear that endurance is the fruit of hope. In a sense we can say that the reason a Christian endures in works produced by faith, and the reason a Christian endures in labour produced by love is because his endurance is produced by hope. Endurance comes from hope and hope produces endurance.

The question we need to ask this morning, is how are we going to stay on the path of endurance with regards to issues like work produced by faith and labour produced by love? In short, how are we going to endure in ministry, in our walk with the Lord, in faithfulness to the church that God has called us to? How are we going to endure year after year until the Lord call us home?

There is a reward for endurance, and you don’t want to miss it. Look at the 7 churches of Asia Minor. These were churches that experienced challenges on all levels. I did a whole series on this which you can study on our website:

http://logoscc.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&id=108&Itemid=158

Something that is interesting is that each one of these churches, despite their circumstances and issues that they were facing are called to endure or to conquer and keep on conquering to the end. Look at the eternal reward that God promises to those who endure.

Ephesus – “To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.”

Smyrna – “The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.”

Pergamum – “To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.”

Thyatira – 26 The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations.”

Sardis – 5The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life.”

Philadelphia – 12 The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name.”

Laodicea – 21The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.”

In all 7 these churches there are those who lost the plot, there are those who gave up, there are those who did not receive commendations from God, but condemnation, but in each church there are those who stick to the plan, who labour without fail, who serve wholeheartedly and who endure to the end and are more than conquerors. The Greek word here for conquerer is: “528 nika,w nikao {nik-ah'-o} Meaning: 1) to conquer 1a) to carry off the victory, come off victorious 1a1) of Christ, victorious over all His foes 1a2) of Christians, that hold fast their faith even unto death against the power of their foes, and temptations and persecutions 1a3) maintain one's cause

 

Let’s expand on the question we asked earlier in the light of these 7 churches. How do you keep going month after month for years or even decades when there are emotional and relational and spiritual and financial obstacles, and when the normal human encouragements evaporate, and you feel forgotten? What does it take to hang in there when the glamour is gone, when the limelight has dimmed? Often the limelight and enthusiasm in ministry move from ministry to ministry in the local church. As the limelight moves and focuses on a ministry, it looks bright and exciting, and so the ministry picks up people. There is a sense of thrill and joy and camaraderie and power. But then the limelight moves on. A friend of mine from the USA said to me a while ago that it seems that his church needs another building programme, so that his people can have something to be excited about, something to rally and unite around.

It should not be like this as works are produced by faith, labour is produced by love and endurance is produced by hope and not programmes or simply your or my ministry.

Point 2. The Need for Endurance

The problem in all ministries is that ministries flourish when it is in the limelight, when it produces some excitement. Is this God’s intention or our weakness? I believe God’s intention is for endurance, whatever the ministry, whatever the cost.

Absolutely indispensable in the ongoing life of the church of God is the power to keep going month after month, year after year, even decade after decade in the path of obedience. And for many of us that will mean long-haul endurance in a particular ministry in spite of emotional and relational and spiritual and financial obstacles, even when the encouragements of the limelight and the attention and the glory and the admiration are gone, and we feel like the joys of life are passing us by.

Notice what Paul says again in verse 3: 3 remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labour of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.”

 

Paul does not highlight the success of any particular ministry. He does not have the shopping mall mentality where the latest newest shopping mall, attracts the feet until a new improved and better one comes along.

 

Sadly, we do not live in a generation that puts a high premium on endurance in relationships or jobs or in ministry. And we are very much children of our age. If we follow Scripture here, we will be swimming against the tide or going against the flow. So be it! This is a call for the endurance of the saints.

Revelation 13:10 (ESV) 10 If anyone is to be taken captive, to captivity he goes; if anyone is to be slain with the sword, with the sword must he be slain. Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.”

Revelation 14:12 (ESV) 12 Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.”

Point 3. The relationship between endurance and salvation.

Let us probe the connection between hope and endurance by asking 6 very crucial and practical questions about the relation between endurance and salvation.

  1. Are Christians supposed to endure in the path of obedience in order to inherit the blessings of heaven?
  2. or are Christians supposed to endure because the blessings of heaven are certainly and infallibly theirs?
  3. Is endurance in the path of obedience to Christ a condition we must meet in order to obtain the inheritance of salvation;
  4. or is the inheritance of salvation already a guaranteed gift so that our confidence in it is what enables us to endure?
  5. Is the message of the gospel, ‘You must endure to the end in order to be saved’;
  6. or is the message of the gospel, ‘You shall endure to the end because you are saved’?

The biblical answer to all six of these questions is a resounding YES! You must endure to the end in order to be saved. And you will endure precisely because you are saved. Salvation is both the reward of endurance, and the free gift of grace. We endure in order to inherit the blessings of heaven, because we are sure that the blessings of heaven are certainly ours.

Now, the length of this sermon is not going to allow us to complete it without rushing through the information. I want to challenge you to come back next week when we see the outworking of these question by looking at God’s part in your endurance and your part in your endurance. We will see how Scripture challenges us to endure in order to achieve something while we endure because of what God has done. Do not miss this. It is critical for this sermon.

Both angles will challenge us, and both angles will encourage us to endure because of the endurance produced by hope in Christ Jesus our Lord. In a sense it is like Paul saying: ‘Show me your faith and I will tell you what works you do’ and ‘James saying, show me your works and I will you how much faith you have.”

Amen.

Soli Deo Gloria

Logos Community Church 26 January 2020.