Monday, December 30, 2013

The Call to Perseverance

Heb. 12:1-3

As we enter 2014 - Christian's greatest need(s)?????  One = Perseverance - 'cause slipping away happens.
Note:  the fastest growing religious segment in recent polls = unaffiliated - falling away, turning away, slipping away.

Definition:  to Persevere (v) = to persist/continue ... in a state or undertaking IN SPITE OF  opposition, discouragement, etc.  Means to stick with a commitment - w/bulldog tenacity.

Synonym:  to keep on, at, after, to endure, stand firm, stand fast, to be solid, firm, stalwart, determined, constant

Bible words/phrases include:  "continue" in prayer, Word, teaching, faith
"hold to" truth
"stay upon/wait upon" the Lord
"be patient" in suffering, in affliction
"bear with, bear under"
"patient endurance" - Rev. 13:10

Jesus to disciples:  Matt. 10:22 stand firm - Matt. 24:9-13 -  John 8:31-32
Paul to Timothy - 2 Tim. 2:3, 4:1-5
Book of Hebrews - Heb. 3:12-14, 10:36, 12:1 - encourage others
Peter - 2 Pet. 1:5-8
Commendations of Revelation:  Rev. 2:2, 3, 19  and the promise:  Rev. 2:24-26 - hold on to what you have
Summary:  John 5:10-11 - those who persevere are blessed

Additional note:  Perseverance doesn't mean will never fall/fail - we're humans and we fail/come short - never stop, look back, slide back.
Perseverance means always get up, come back, repent, return
Examples:  Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Job, David, Solomon, Elijah, Jeremiah, Peter

It becomes evident that as Christians, we are Called to Persevere:

#1.  In the faith 
in life??  But, life plus "in the faith" - 1 Tim. 4:15-16 - doctrine and practice.  This is the call that Paul, Peter, Jesus, etc. makes.

#2.  At all times (in all circumstances, situations)
        A)  in face of adversity/difficulty, persecution, etc.
        B)  in face of blessings/prosperity!! - Examples:  Solomon, us
It may be that more people fall away from the faith because so blessed
The biggest danger is not turning away.  The biggest danger is drifting away.  Heb. 2:1
Quote by Samuel Wilkes, 18th. Century Christian:  "A Christian never falls asleep in the fire, or in the water, but grows drowsy in the sunshine"

#3.  By choice  (We must decide/choose to persevere)
On one hand, perseverance is a gift - 1 Cor. 1:8  2 Cor. 1:21 - cannot persevere without God's grace
However, perseverance is a gift that must be chosen!!  (accepted)
Perseverance is to be 1) chosen  2) practiced  3) developed

How???  Here's a list from Book of Hebrews 
Heb. 2:1 - pay (more careful) attention
Heb. 3:1 - fix your thoughts on Jesus
Heb. 3:7-8 - do not harden your heart
Heb. 3:12 - see to it, encourage one another
Heb. 4:1 - be careful
Heb. 4:14 - hold firmly (to the faith you profess)
Heb. 4:16 - approach the throne (of grace with confidence)
Heb. 6:1 - leave elementary things .... go on to maturity .. (grow up)
Heb. 6:11 - show diligence to the end , don't become lazy, imitate the true saints before you
Heb. 10:19-22 - draw near (to God), consider how (to spur one another onward), do not give up meeting together!!  Encourage one another
Heb. 12:1 - throw off every weight ... and sin which entangles, run .. with perseverance "the race set before you", fix your eyes on Jesus... and consider Him
Heb. 12:7 - endure hardship as discipline
Heb. 12:12 - strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees "man up" or "Christian up"
Heb. 12:14 - make every effort
Heb. 12:15 - see to it!!!
Heb. 13.9 - don't be carried away
Heb. 13:15 - constantly offer sacrifice of praise
Heb. 13:16 - do good ... and share
Heb. 13:22 - "bear with my word of exhortation"

#4.  in light of Eternity 
Perseverance is not just about today and tomorrow, but forever!!!! - we are called to make a difference for Eternity.
1 Tim. 4:15-16

Heb. 10:35-39

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