Posts Tagged ‘endurance’


PerfeHebrews 12 What makes the course worth runningction

And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect[1]. Hebrews 11:39-40

  • teleióō; complete, mature. To complete, make perfect by reaching the intended goal.

Gods Purpose for us is Sonship by FaithWhat makes us perfect? Why did the Old Testament Heroes of faith have to wait on us to be made perfect?

Becasue they could not have Sonship until the Only Begotten Son had proven Himself to be the perfect Son! God’s purpose for our lives is to live as Sons by Faith. Faith will bring us to the perfection God has in mind for us-Sonship. In order for that to happen, we must agree to run the course God has for us, and run it not in the flesh, but by Faith in Jesus Christ and His power for life!

Faith Brings us to Perfection

Faith is essential to making us perfect! Faith is more than a belief. It is belief that expresses itself in two essential life changing components – the hope for God arising from need, and the resulting desire to demonstrate the reality of God’s Kingdom in our daily living. (Hebrews 11:1,6)

Faith in God has always been Essential

Faith Makes You PerfectGod wanted his people to realize the importance of living by faith. He outlined a life of faith in the first five books of the Bible. He gave them a way of living that He hoped would lead them to live a life of faith, and they turned it into a burdensome set of rules and laws. There was no demonstration of the supernatural reality of God’s Kingdom. Their obedience was not relationship based but a fleshly fear and tradition religious observance. There was no faith that arose from a heart-felt need for this loving and awesome invisible God. God’s Kingdom became a list of physical chores that was impossible to complete in the flesh. Their lives failed to demonstrate the invisible God who desires to walk and live among us. The Jews followed a religion as best they could in their own strength, and in so doing lost sight of the power of this awesome invisible God. The God of Awesome Power became a God of the past to the generations who followed. They grew up hearing, but no longer saw for themselves.

We have heard with our ears, O God, our fathers have told us, what work thou didst in their days, in the times of old. Psalm 44:1

A few verses from Leviticus (26:1-4) illustrate God’s heart for His people and His desire for them to understand the need for living by faith:

“You shall not make idols for yourselves or erect an image or pillar, and you shall not set up a figured stone in your land to bow down to it, for I am the LORD your God.”

1. I am the only God that can meet all your needs. I am invisible, and there is no image that can adequately express me. Your lives are the means of my expression.

“You shall keep my Sabbaths and reverence my sanctuary: I am the LORD.”

2. Simply demonstrate my reality by doing something the whole world will be in awe at: observe the Sabbath, and reverence my sanctuary as if I was really there (I AM). (Understand that most heathen places of worship were anything but reverential)

“If you walk in my statutes and observe my commandments and do them,”

3. Follow the Way, the Truth and the Life (Need for Jesus Christ)

  1. Walk in (He is the Way)
  2. Observe my (His Word is the Truth for our living)
  3. Do them (His life is to be our daily life)

Their lives were to be lived in the power of God’s Word and God’s Way. His Word contained designs for living that would do miraculous things in their health, finances and safety, far beyond their fleshly abilities. God wanted them to live in full need of His provision and power.

“Then I will give you your rains in their season, and the land shall yield its increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.” Leviticus 26:1-4

4. I Will…

  1. If the people’s faith led them to live lives in demonstration of His reality, God would do amazing things.
  2. The picture contained in the verses paint a portrait of the Garden of Eden (although tainted by sin)
  3. God would walk among His people because they were living representatives of His Kingdom.

Why did the Jews fail to see God’s desire for a relationship in His Law? Why did they turn God’s design for relationship into a religion of burdensome laws that failed to reproduce God’s life in them?

Failure of the Law

The failure was the Law. Hebrews 8:7 says it was flawed. It contained the elements of a relationship, but made no provision for a fundamental change in the heart. This was critical, because this relationship with God is not a matter of fleshly obedience. As Paul says:

For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. Romans 2:28-29

Life Changing Faith Requires a New Heart

Christ ministers a New HeartFor faith to be life-changing, there must be a provision for a changed heart. The flesh with all of its desires and corruption is too much to overcome. The power of the flesh had to be destroyed.

This was accomplished once and for all by Jesus Christ. He overcame all! He became the living power behind the “Way, Truth and Life” request of Leviticus 26:3. Instead of God waiting upon man to “walk, observe and do” before “He will”, God acted and gave us His Son as our “Way, Truth and Life.” (John 14:6)

Through the gift of the Holy Spirit, we now have the promise of a new heart, a heart that has the power to “walk, observe and do…”(from Lev 26:3). We have the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:39) and the promise that we are no longer servants of sin and the flesh (Romans 6:6-7). The power of Satan has been completely destroyed (1 John 3:8). This is why Paul can confidently assure us:

„ and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:5

„ But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, Romans 6:17

The success of our living by faith and enjoying a supernatural relationship with an invisible God depends totally upon having a new heart! The writer of Hebrews confirms this when he illustrates the power of the New Covenant in Jesus Christ:

For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. Hebrews 8:7-11

Once more Paul brings this home in Galatians.

For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. Galatians 6:15

Our works do not matter unless they come from a new heart created by the new birth of the Holy Spirit. Faith is the only means of pleasing God (Heb 11:6), for faith alone is the transformative power whereby we are declared righteous (Heb 11:7,Rom 4:3), declared justified (Rom 5:1) and declared to be God’s Son (Gal 3:26).

Ridderbos has this to say on the connection between faith and the entire Christian life:

“One can conclude nothing other than that faith is the way in which, having died and risen with Christ, life through the Spirit, putting on the new man, being renewed after the image of Christ, regeneration, in short, the new creation of God, is realized and individualized.”[2]

So it is by faith that we walk in God, observe His design and do His will. It is by faith that we have life that is overcoming and eternal. Faith is the victory that overcomes the world (1 John 5:4).

Sonship is God’s Design of Perfection for Us!

Perfection is SonshipGod is bringing all who by faith give their lives to His Son for His intended Goal and that is complete Sonship.

to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. Galatians 4:5-7

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption[i] as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. Ephesians 1:3-6

God’s design and plan for all born again believers is achieve “toga virilis” status in the Kingdom. “Toga virilis” was the ceremony whereby the father declared his boy to be a true “Son”, a man, mature, able to vote and conduct business on the father’s behalf. Indeed, the son was to be regarded as an extension of the father. The son was to be the manager and heir of the father’s estate. All that the father had was the sons. A father could even go outside the family if he did not think his boys were worthy. He could ‘adopt’ another young man and place him as the Son to manage his goods and inherit everything.

We are to be worthy heirs of all that is His, placed as Sons by His grace. Sons who will reign as Priests with the authority of Jesus Christ over the New Heaven and New Earth, which will be joined, for the desire of God dwelling with man will be realized for all eternity. Paradise will be found, for Christ has secured the “Title Deed” to the Earth (Rev 5:1-11)!

Fulfilling God’s Design to receive adoption as sons is why Hebrews 12:1 & 2 are so important. There is a great deal at stake in our completing the course. Following Christ and being conformed to His likeness as Sons is not a leisurely stroll. It is not a 50 meter dash. It is not a onetime confession you make as a youth. Attaining the Adoption and “toga virilis” status of Sonship is a life-long journey that requires endurance and a faith commitment to Jesus Christ.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfector of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2

Hebrews  is  all  about  our  Perfection  as Sons

  • Hebrews is about our Perfection as SonsFor it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. Hebrews 2:10
  • And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, Hebrews 5:9
  • (For the law made nothing perfect); but on the other hand, a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God. Hebrews 7:19
  • For the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect forever. Hebrews 7:28
  • (Which is symbolic for the present age). According to this arrangement, gifts and sacrifices are offered that cannot perfect the conscience of the worshiper, Hebrews 9:9
  • But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent ( not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) Hebrews 9:11
  • For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near. Hebrews 10:1
  • For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. Hebrews 10:14
  • Since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect. Hebrews 11:40
  • and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, Hebrews 12:23
  • Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. Hebrews 13:21

Jesus Endured the Cross and Achieved Complete Sonship

  • For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. Hebrews 2:10
  • And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, Hebrews 5:9
The Perfection of Christ as Son enables our perfection as Sons

Sonship Requires a Decision

I am not talking about children of God. You can remain a baby or a toddler if you want. Babies don’t have faith; for they are too busy feeding off their surroundings. They do not have the ability to reach up and grow in faith. Toddlers are too busy trying to avoid falling. They do not need faith because they are too focused on the obstacles round them, or the bright shiny toys.

Only those who desire the toga virilis require faith, those who want to be Sons of God, who want to reign with Him. Sons must grow up, train, and endure tests and trial before they are awarded the toga virilis. Do you want to be a Son? Then step forward by faith and start living as if you are a Son of God! Start running the Course God has for you by Faith!

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience 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 is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2

Faith gives power for SonshipFaith Provides the Power for Sonship

1. Run the Course

Therefore. Reaching back and gathering together all the heroes of faith, who by faith endured so much for promises they never obtained in this life (from chapter 11). They never knew Christ, but we have!
They are our witnesses[3]

  • does not mean spectators, but those who have born witness to the truth,

2. Run[4] with endurance[5].

  • Run with both passive endurance and active persistence.
  • Bear up under, patience, endurance as to things or circumstances. This is in contrast to makrothumía, long-suffering or endurance toward people. Hupomoné is associated with hope (patience of hope-1 Thess. 1:3) and refers to that quality of character which does not allow one to surrender to circumstances or succumb under trial.

3. Lay aside fleshly encumbrances[6]

  • A tumor, mass, magnitude, weight, burden, impediment
  • Lay aside swollen pride, dependence upon the flesh. These are fleshly things which tend to trip us up from living by faith!

4. Lay aside sin[7]

  • Sin of self reliance, not wanting God’s design in your life
  • Guilt that accompanies your sin

5. Run the Course that God Assigns You.

  • The specific word for a race (dromos) is not used, the general term for an athletic contest (agon) being chosen. The words “set before us” (prokeimai) give one the idea that a certain type of race is placed before the Christian.
  • The idea in the word prokeimai is that of something lying before you. It is like a road that stretches out before one’s gaze[8].

Sonship requires Determined Choices

So we must consider the course before us, and determine to run it, no matter the cost. We must realize this is a marathon, and trials will be great. There can be no turning back. There can be no excuses. Remember all those who testified before to the worthwhile pursuit of this course. But also remember the one who is our ultimate example…Jesus Christ!

Running the Course with Faith Produces SonshipLook to Jesus Daily
There is No Faith for Sonship Without Jesus Christ

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 is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2

1. Looking[9] unto Jesus

  • Fix your mind intently upon Jesus.
  • The word “looking” is aphorao “to turn the eyes away from other things and fix them on something.” The word also means “to turn one’s mind to a certain thing.”[10]
  • Let this mind be in you (Phil 2:5)
  • Be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Rom 12:2)

2. The author and perfector of our faith[11]

  • (No “our”). He is the author and the completeness of faith.
  • This means that Jesus is the one who initiates (and completes) faith in the souls of men.
  • In the context faith is treated as a way of life. The author summons a “cloud of witnesses” whose lives testify to the reward of the life of faith. Jesus stands as the chief witness for it was He who blazed the trail and gave us the ideal model of “the faith[12]

Nazi Prisoners go crazy without purposeAn Illustration from a Nazi Concentration Camp

In a Nazi concentration camp in Hungary during the Second World War prisoners were forced to do nauseating work in a sewage plant. But it was work; and something was accomplished. Then the plant was destroyed by allied bombers. So the Nazi officers arranged for the prisoners to shovel sand into carts and drag it to the other end of the plant and dump it. The next day they ordered them to shovel it back into the carts and bring it to where they started. And so it went for days.

Finally one old man began crying uncontrollably; the guards hauled him away. Another screamed until he was beaten into silence. Then a young man who had survived three years in the camp darted away from the group. The guards shouted for him to stop as he ran toward the electrified fence. The other prisoners cried out, but it was too late; there was a blinding flash and a terrible sizzling noise as smoke puffed from his smoldering flesh. In the days that followed, dozens of the prisoners went mad and ran from their work only to be shot by guards or electrocuted by the fence (Charles Colson, Kingdoms in Conflict, p. 68).

You can run the course that you want, but you will drop out, go crazy or kill yourself without running for the purpose God has for you! Why don’t you lay your course at the cross and die to what you want and have planned, and tell God that you want to run for Sonship, by Faith in the power of His Son, Jesus Christ!


[1] teleióō; contracted teleió, fut. teleiósō, from téleios <G5046>, complete, mature. To complete, make perfect by reaching the intended goal. Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 1373.

[2] Herman Ridderbos, Paul: An Outline of his Theology, trans. John R. de Witt (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans, 1975), 233.

[3] Witnesses (μαρτύρων) does not mean spectators, but those who have born witness to the truth, as those enumerated in ch. 11. Yet the idea of spectators is implied, and is really the principal idea. The writer’s picture is that of an arena in which the Christians whom he addresses are contending in a race, while the vast host of the heroes of faith who, after having born witness to the truth, have entered into their heavenly rests watches the contest from the encircling tiers of the arena, compassing and overhanging it like a cloud, filled with lively interest and sympathy, and lending heavenly aid. Marvin R. Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament, (New York: Scribners, 1887), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, under: “Hebrews Chapter 12”.

[4] Ὑπομονὴ includes both passive endurance and active persistence. Marvin R. Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament, (New York: Scribners, 1887), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, under: “Hebrews Chapter 12”.

[5] hupomoné; fem. noun from hupoménō <G5278>, to persevere, remain under. A bearing up under, patience, endurance as to things or circumstances. This is in contrast to makrothumía <G3115>, long-suffering or endurance toward people. Hupomoné is associated with hope (1 Thess. 1:3) and refers to that quality of character which does not allow one to surrender to circumstances or succumb under trial. Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, under: “ὑπομονή”.

[6] A tumor, mass, magnitude, weight, burden, impediment. Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, under: “ogkos”.

[7] Sin, missing the true end and scope of our lives, which is God. An offense in relation to God with emphasis on guilt. Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 130.

[8] Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies – Volume 2: Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1973), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 214.

[9] aphoráō; contracted aphoró, fut. apópsomai, from apó <G575> an intens., and horáō <G3708>, to look. To look away steadfastly or intently toward a distant object. Metaphorically, to behold in the mind, to fix the mind upon (Phil. 2:23; Heb. 12:2).Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “áphorao”.

[10] Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies – Volume 2: Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1973), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 214.

[11]Christ is the archegon, the chief leader of this faith in that He “furnished the perfect development, the supreme example of faith, and in virtue of this He is the leader of the whole believing host of all time.” He is also the finisher of the faith spoken of in these chapters. The word is teleioo which means “to carry through completely, to finish, to make perfect or complete.”Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies – Volume 2: Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1973), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 214.

[12] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “árchegos”.


[i] Barclays has this to say about Roman Adoption process…

“We must understand how serious and complicated a step Roman adoption was that we really under stand the depth of meaning in this passage. Roman adoption was always rendered more serious and more difficult by the Roman patria potestas. This was the father’s power over his family; it was the power of absolute disposal and control, and in the early days was actually the power of life and death. In regard to his father, a Roman son never came of age. No matter how old he was, he was still under the patria potestas, in the absolute possession and under the absolute control, of his father. Obviously this made adoption into another family a very difficult and serious step. In adoption a person had to pass from one patria potestas to another.

There were two steps. The first was known as mancipatio, and was carried out by a symbolic sale, in which copper and scales were symbolically used. Three times the symbolism of sale was carried out. Twice the father symbolically sold his son, and twice he bought him back; but the third time he did not buy him back and thus the patria potestas was held to be broken. There followed a ceremony called vindicatio. The adopting father went to the praetor, one of the Roman magistrates, and presented a legal case for the transference of the person to be adopted into his patria potestas. When all this was completed, the adoption was complete. Clearly this was a serious and an impressive step.

But it is the consequences of adoption which are most significant for the picture that is in Paul’s mind. There were four main ones. (i) The adopted person lost all rights in his old family and gained all the rights of a legitimate son in his new family. In the most binding legal way, he got a new father. (ii) It followed that he became heir to his new father’s estate. Even if other sons were afterwards born, it did not affect his rights. He was inalienably co-heir with them. (iii) In law, the old life of the adopted person was completely wiped out; for instance, all debts were cancelled. He was regarded as a new person entering into a new life with which the past had nothing to do. (iv) In the eyes of the law he was absolutely the son of his new father. Roman history provides an outstanding case of how completely this was held to be true. The Emperor Claudius adopted Nero in order that he might succeed him on the throne; they were not in any sense blood relations. Claudius already had a daughter, Octavia.

To cement the alliance Nero wished to marry her. Nero and Octavia were in no sense blood relations; yet, in the eyes of the law, they were brother and sister; and before they could marry, the Roman senate had to pass special legislation.

That is what Paul is thinking of. He uses still another picture from Roman adoption. He says that God’s spirit witnesses with our spirit that we really are his children. The adoption ceremony was carried out in the presence of seven witnesses. Now, suppose the adopting father died and there was some dispute about the right of the adopted son to inherit, one or more of the seven witnesses stepped forward and swore that the adoption was genuine. Thus the right of the adopted person was guaranteed and he entered into his inheritance. So, Paul is saying, it is the Holy Spirit himself who is the witness to our adoption into the family of God.

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Parable of the Oppressed Widow

1 And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. 2 He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. 3 And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ 4 For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’ ” 6 And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. 7 And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? 8 I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” Luke 18:1-8

This parable teaches us five things which are to be an integral part of our Christian walk:

  1. Always pray
  2. Never give up
  3. Pray earnestly for God’s Justice in the world
  4. God will give justice when His people cry day and night.
  5. Praying for justice for the oppressed takes great faith.

What is the connection between Justice and Faith?

Justice is not an easy thing to seek. It seems the closer we get involved with people and neighbors, the more injustices we see. Parents who neglect and even abuse their children. People who are oppressed with addictions. Politicians who seek to line their own pockets and the pockets of their contributors rather than benefit the people. Preachers who bend the truth of God rather than alienate big givers. Manufacturer’s who take advantage of cheap labor, even children in foreign countries. I could go on and on. Most of us have experienced injustice ourselves.

It can be a false accusation, a stinging insult, a theft of something precious, an abusive public official, an inconsiderate neighbor. We even experience injustice within our families, with abuse, mistreatment, mishandling of money, fighting over inheritance.

The is injustice aplenty in this world. People right now are imprisoned, or being forced to work as slaves, or forced to serve as child soldiers, and many are being murdered simply because of their faith in Jesus Christ.

Justice and Faith are Vitally Connected

In Revelations we find a strange situation. Previous martyrs are crying out to God to avenge their deaths. They desire to see His justice on earth. Instead of rushing to see their satisfaction, God tells them to be patient, and to know that several more will die.

9 When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. 10 They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” 11 Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been. Revelation 6:9-11

God told them that there were going to be more martyrs. The number was not yet complete. He told them to rest a little while longer.

That is not what we want to hear. We want the injustice to stop. We want the murdering to stop. We want the abuse, the slavery the torture to stop! But God says to REST a little longer!

The connection between justice and faith is that while we long for justice, while we plead day and night for justice, we must NEVER lose faith that God is in control, that God knows exactly what is going on. We must have faith that God cares deeply about the injustices in this world. But God has a plan and that plan will be accomplished in His time!

The Importance of Faith

Revelations reveals further that God has a plan, and we must patiently endure and be faithful to Him, regardless of the circumstances.

If anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity he will go. If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword he will be killed. This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of the saints. Revelation 13:10

Good Samaritan’s must plead and come to the aid of the oppressed, but we must never, never, never lose faith that God is in control! We must be patient and faithful as we wait for His throne to complete His work!

Who is an Intercessor?

The picture of an intercessor is found in Rom 8:26:

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. Romans 8:26

  • An intercessor helps – sunantilambanō, made up of sun, “together with,” anti “over against,” and lambanō, “to take.”

The word speaks of the action of a person coming to another’s aid by taking hold over against that person, of the load he is carrying. The person helping does not take the entire load, but helps the other person in his endeavor.

So, the Holy Spirit who indwells us comes to our aid in our spiritual problems and difficulties, not by taking over our responsibility and giving us an automatic deliverance without any effort on our part, but by taking hold of us, giving us His peace and power and help to allow us to work out our problems and overcome our difficulties.

The word “infirmities is astheneia, “want of strength, weakness.” It is the same word used for the sick people that Jesus healed.[1]

  • An intercessor pleads (huperentugchanō)

 

It is a picturesque word of rescue by one who ‘happens on’ one who is in trouble, and ‘in his behalf’ pleads on behalf of his needs, because he does not know how to express or is too weak to cry out for help.

Are you an Intercessor?

You may say no, but I know you have been an intercessor before. You have had a sick child before, or a sick friend or loved one. You came beside them, comforted them. You cried unto God for their healing.

You may have even done something like what Joyce Moore did in Thailand, throw yourself over someone who was being beaten.

Do not say you can not be an intercessor. An intercessor is simply someone who sees someone weak, in trouble, oppressed, and you come along side them, take some of the load and pray to God or plead with a Doctor, or an authority, on their behalf.

Why is it important that we all be intercessors?

Our eyes will be opened to see God’s power and His role in bringing His Justice to this world!

Let’s see how this worked in David’s life as we read from his Psalms:

  • Ps 69:1-3 – He is in dire straits. He is weary of crying out, he is to the point of giving up on God.
  • Ps 70:1-6 – He needs God quickly, the troubles are still great, but he is exalting God
  • Ps 71:1-5 – He has taken refuge inGod, his deliverer. He is confident of God’s power.
  • Ps 72:1-4, 12-14 – He desires God’s justice to reign in the land. He has a heart sensitive to the needs of the poor and oppressed.

The best intercessors are those who have experienced the deliverance of God in their life! Always keep your focus on the power of Christ to change lives, to deliver the lost.

You may have a child in the bondage of sin, you may have a loved one in the bondage of sin, don’t make excuses for your cold heart, get a vision of them crying out in Hell for all eternity, crying out for you, think about that til your cold heart is melted and you are on your knees crying out to God for their souls.

When Jesus comes back will he find faith in the earth?

He will if we take being intercessors seriously!

Why should we be concerned for Justice in the World?

  • Your heart for Justice reveals your heart for God!

Consider what Micah wrote:

6 “With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? 7 Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?” 8 He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly (righteousness) with your God? Micah 6:6-8

Jeremiah reveals that there are three things that God delights in, and if we are to boast in anything, it is in that we understand God’s nature.

23 Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, 24 but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.” Jeremiah 9:23-24

God DELIGHTS IN Justice

  • Deuteronomy 10:17-19 – For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe. 18 He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing. 19 Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.
  • Deuteronomy 16:19-20 – You shall not pervert justice. You shall not show partiality, and you shall not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and subverts the cause of the righteous. 20 Justice, and only justice, you shall follow, that you may live and inherit the land that the Lord your God is giving you.
  • Deuteronomy 27:19 ‘Cursed be anyone who perverts the justice due to the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’
  • Deuteronomy 32:4 – “The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he.
  • Psalms 33:5 – He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord.

We are Commanded to Seek Justice, to Intercede on behalf of the weak and oppressed

  • 3 Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. 4 Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” Psalms 82:3-4
  • 5 Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God, 6 who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, who keeps faith forever; 7 who executes justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets the prisoners free; 8 the Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous. Psalms 146:5-8
  • 16 Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, 17 learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause. Isaiah 1:16-17
  • 32 And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets— 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, Hebrews 11:32-33

The Good Samaritan did three things that demonstrated the nature of God.

  1. He showed mercy on his wounded enemy.
  2. He demonstrated his own personal righteousness by stopping to offer help regardless of the cost or the consequences.
  3. He used his time and possessions to restore justice to his enemy.

Now think about what Jesus did for you…

  1. He showed mercy on you, wounded and dying from sin, his enemy.
  2. He demonstrated His righteousness by doing whatever it took, regardless of the cost, knowin it would take his total humiliation and horrible death.
  3. He used his time and His total self to restore justice to his enemies.

Our view of the Good Samaritan is hopefully going to produce the following changes in us:

  1. As Christ Followers, we must get close enough to people to see their needs, even those who we would not normally get close to. Our focus determines how we regard our time and possessions. We invest them in showing God’s mercy to the weak and needy. Our focus and investment reveals our heart of mercy.
  2. As Christ followers, we have a responsibility to watch out and protect those who are weak, hurting and sick. Our heart for the sick reveals our heart for our Savior. We invest our time and possessions in bringing righteousness to the weak and needy. If we are righteous before God, we can offer righteousness to the sick and weak and diseased.
  3. As Christ Followers, when we get close enough to people to see their needs, we will also discover the injustices in this world. We share God’s desire to see His justice upon all people. We invest our time and possessions in seeking justice for the weak and oppressed and enslaved. Our focus and investment reveals whether we are intercessors for justice.

Why Does the World need Intercessors?

29 Even common people oppress the poor, rob the needy, and deprive foreigners of justice. 30 “I looked for someone who might rebuild the wall of righteousness that guards the land. I searched for someone to stand in the gap in the wall so I wouldn’t have to destroy the land, but I found no one. 31 So now I will pour out my fury on them, consuming them with the fire of my anger. I will heap on their heads the full penalty for all their sins. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken!” Ezekiel 22:29-31

God despises those who oppress the weak, and rob the land of justice. People who suffer oppression have three forces affecting their state of mind, robbing them of their ability to see God and His power. God seeks people who will stand in the gap and take up the cause of the oppressed, and cry out for justice.

There are three harsh realities faced by oppressed people such as these.

1.  First reality is a state of helplessness.

Gary Haugen, founder of a group called International Justice Mission, or IJM, surveyed seventy religious organizations that operate relief and development programs.

Every single agency polled said that throughout the course of their work around the world they encountered “serious situations of abuse … *including+ forced labor, sex trafficking, corrupt seizure of land, and corruption in the public justice system.”[2] Unfortunately, when aid workers tried to confront the injustices they saw, they received little to no help from local authorities. David drew this observation:

The absence of an effective public justice system blocks every step the poor take to change their social condition. For example, the staff of a renowned aid and relief agency reported to IJM that coercive labor was undermining its efforts in Southeast Asia to enroll kids in school. Young children were being forced to roll cigarettes for seventy to eighty hours per week or to weave carpets in makeshift factories. Though these practices are illegal throughout the region, the guardians of the law look the other way. If they refuse to stop the slave owners, to whom can the children turn for help?[3]

Talk about a state of helplessness! Just imagine if that were your child. Suppose your eight-year-old daughter was denied enrollment in your neighborhood elementary school and was then forced by threat of violence to roll cigarettes for ten to twelve hours a day. And then suppose that when you as the parent rushed to the police chief to register your complaint and demand your child’s freedom and insist that she be allowed her rightful education, rather than jumping into a squad car to go arrest the perpetrator of this injustice, he simply shrugged his shoulders and walked away.

Would you feel helpless?

2.  Second reality is the state of hopelessness.

Joyce and David Moore could have simply been another tourist in Thailand, gone home, and wiped the injustice of that country out of their minds. After all, the situation was hopeless. What could they do?

With Jesus Christ we are never hopeless. They sold everything they had and moved to Thailand. We support Joyce and David as they do what they can to bring the Hope of the Gospel of Christ to boys and girls who were hopeless.

Are they stopping the injustice, the slavery, the abuse? Not totally. But they are making a difference. They aren’t closing their eyes, they are interceding on behalf of the hopeless.

What are you doing? Who has the hope of heaven because of your intercession?

Jesus Christ descended from heaven to earth in order to bring hope to the hopeless, regardless which continent they call home. And I, like you, would feel utterly and completely hopeless if I were staring at the prospect of either starving my entire family or selling one child into slavery. I would feel hopeless upon selling that child as I considered her prospects for the future: What do you suppose becomes of a twelve- or fourteen-year-old virgin who begins prostituting herself lest she face beatings and even death?

These are seemingly hopeless situations.

3.  Third reality is a state of fear.

In 1993, a Pastor Keith Grimes (head of TTT, Teaching Teachers to Teach) visited Kalingalinga, Zambia, and he heard about its great pride: its singing boys. He auditioned scores of them to form a choir to tour the United States. He called it the Zambian Acappella Boys Choir (ZABC).

The choir generated huge donations. One ministry budget statement that CT obtained reveals that the choir in one year brought in $1 million.

The rosy promises made to the choirboys before they left home turned into a nightmare for them in America. For nineteen months, the boys were made to sing four to seven concerts a day. If they were tired or sick, they would be threatened. When not singing, they were made to dig a swimming pool hole at the headquarters by hand. They were housed in a trailer. If they complained about anything, their “boss” would cut off the gas so they could not cook. Denied any medical care, several of the boys became seriously ill. When they were much later rescued and given check-ups, three of the boys proved to have positive tuberculosis.

Pastor Grimes told parents that American donations would fund the construction of local schools. Moreover, their boys would receive cash stipends that they could send back home. While on tour, his staff would provide tutoring for the boys, and upon their return to Zambia, they would be the first students in a newly built schoolhouse.

The boys kept singing in the hope that some of the funds collected were being sent home to ease the poverty of their families. After more than a year of bad treatment, the boys realized that no money had been sent home to their families. They began to resist their “boss” who quickly moved to deport the three oldest boys.

His crime unraveled when the U.S. Department of Immigration officials began to question the boys and discovered what had happened. At first, it was hard for officials to believe that a choir had been caught up in human trafficking and exploitation.

After direct conversations with Pastor Grimes, it seemed the case would be dismissed because there were no signs of shackles or bruises on the boys’ bodies. And because lawful contracts had been signed, even though none of the people who signed them had a clue what those contracts said.

A constant state of fear is all that these boys knew. Fear of being abused if they misbehaved. Fear of being sent back to Zambia penniless if they happened to fall ill. Fear of the temper of a man named “Pastor.” Fear for their families back home. And to think that these fear-stricken boys were ushered from church to church, day after day after day, forced to sing about God’s grace and love and peace—does that idea make anyone else sick?

GOD’S EXPECTATION FOR HOW VULNERABLE PEOPLE CAN BE PROTECTED

Psalm 82:3-4 – “Enough! You’ve corrupted justice long enough, you’ve let the wicked get away with murder. You’re here to defend the defenseless, to make sure that underdogs get a fair break; Your job is to stand up for the powerless, and prosecute all those who exploit them” (MSG).

Defend the defenseless; make sure underdogs get a fair break; stand up for the powerless; prosecute all those who exploit them—these are the expectations that God has of his followers, the church of Jesus Christ: defend, stand up for, prosecute. Sounds like a pretty tall order to me. Does it to you?

Even very small steps can lead to very big progress where slavery and injustice are concerned. We can start small. We just must start. Will you ask God for ONE person you can be an intercessor for?


[1]Wuest’s Word Studies – Volume 1: Word Studies in the Greek New Testament.

[2] A.David Batstone, Not for Sale: The Return of the Global Slave Trade and How We Can Fight It. HarperCollins 2007, p. 84.

[3] Ibid.


While at Baptist Bible College it was common to have conversations with a friend about some gal that had captured their heart and now they were considering asker her to marry them. My standard reply was to imagine falling into a dark bottomless pit and all the way down you could see the words flashing in neon “Forever and Ever and Ever” It was a not so subtle reference to the bottomless pit that Satan will be cast into one day.

There would be an occasional chuckle, or nervous laugh, but the truth was in our minds that marriage was a serious undertaking that impacted the rest of your life. In 1870 a wife would be lucky if her husband lived past the time the youngest child left home. In 1911 the average marriage lasted 28 years. By 1967 that average had reached 42 years. Paul Harvey got to the point that he wouldn’t even mention your anniversary unless it was 60 and most of the time 70 years of marriage.

Now 70 years of marriage would seem like an eternity to most folks. But with medical care advancing, if a couple stays together, it is no big deal anymore to see at least their 50th anniversary. We have at least three folks in our church that have been married over 60 years.

What this means is that you have an opportunity to build a real history with each other. Now with digital cameras, you might be able to remember it all.

History as A Timeline

With our American brains we see time as a line with various dates and events marked on it. It is a linear view of history. Time is the determiner of when things happen. We got married on a certain day. We had children on such and such a date, we bought this house on a certain date, we sold and bought another house, etc. The kids went to this school at such and such a date, graduated from High School, College etc. Everything fits on the timeline of our life.

Biblical View of Time and History

To understand how marriages have the opportunity to enjoy “Sacred History” it would be helpful to understand a Biblical view of History.

This is where an understanding of ancient Jewish view of History comes into play. The ancient Hebrew perception of time was not abstract like our modern view; instead, it was connected to the idea of specific events, and because of this event specific orientation the people of Israel “found the idea of a time without a particular event quite inconceivable” [Von Rad, v. 2, page 100]. So, for the ancient Jews the concept of “time” was understood only in relation to particular events: There is a time of giving birth (Mic. 5:2), a time for animals to be gathered together (Gen. 29:7), a time when kings go forth to battle (II Sam. 11:1). The tree yields its fruit ‘in its time’ (Ps. 1:3), and God gives his creatures food ‘in due time’ (Ps. 104: 27); that is to say, every event has its definite place in the time-order; the event is inconceivable without its time… [Von Rad, v. 2, page 100].

Psalm 31:15 which reads, “My times are in thy hands” [KJV,RSV]. The Jews of David’s time did not think of time like we do, they viewed life as being made of many times, or a series of times.

Biblical Jews See God as the Lord of History

Specifically, the Jews saw time as a series of specific events initiated by God. Time did not exist as an independent reality, but existed only in relation to divinely initiated events. I will use my wife to illustrate how the Jews viewed history.

My wife views our history not by dates but by whom she was pregnant with at the time. I’ll mention a particular event and say when did that happen and she’ll say – well it had to be so and so year because she was pregnant with Tonya or somebody else. If it happened when she wasn’t pregnant with any one, she can’t remember it or can’t recall the year. Her concept of time is totally event related.

All of their festivals and observances celebrated a Redemptive Act of God. The exact time was not important, but their celebration and identifying with what God did was important.

I believe in heaven that time will cease to exist. We will simply live in events in happenings. We’ll be able to participate in the crossing of the Red Sea. We’ll be able to watch as Jesus feeds the multiture. We’ll watch as Peter walks and then falls into the Sea. We’ll watch as Jesus rescue him. It won’t be a movie, it will be the real thing. Time will cease to exist, and we will be totally event oriented. It will be totally about seeing how God has redeemed us and mde us trophies of His grace.

God’s Relationship with Israel

Karl Barth (a famous theologian) was challenged by an atheist to prove the existence of God. His reply was quite simple – the Jew. For over 4000 years the Jews have kept a separate identity while all the other races of man came and went. Yet the Jewish people with their worship of Yahweh has continued on in spite of losing their land, being persecuted in countless ways down through the centuries. Still, the Jews continue on, worshiping and following the same Yahweh that revealed himself to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

This relationship that God has with the Jewish people is nothing short of miraculous. The Old Testament reads like a Sacred History of His love for these people. That relationship has gone through so many phases it is nothing short of a miracle that God still call them “My People.”

Exodus 6:7 (ESV) I will take you to be my people, and I will be your God, and you shall know that I am the Lord your God, who has brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.

God calls them “My People” because He shows His redemptive Power and Love to the entire world through His relationship with them. The good, the bad, the ugly shows to all the world that there is a God who has the power to save you if you come to Him.

Joshua 4:23-24 (NIV) For the LORD your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over. The LORD your God did to the Jordan just what he had done to the Red Sea when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over. He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the LORD is powerful and so that you might always fear the LORD your God.”

Nehemiah’s Prayer (1:9):

Remember the word that you commanded your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the peoples, but if you return to me and keep my commandments and do them, though your dispersed be under the farthest skies, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place that I have chosen, to make my name dwell there.’

God’s History with His People is SACRED, because His Name Dwells With Them

Time after time He showed his steadfast love. He showed how He would persevere. God’s relationship with Israel has gone through various stages:

  • Times of joy and celebration
    • Deliverance from Egypt, victory at Jericho, Esther, David, Solomon
  • Seasons of frustration and anger
    • The judges, King Saul, the Jews in the wilderness
  • Times of infidelity and apostasy
    • The golden calf, the Split of the Northern and Southern Kingdom, King Ahab Jezebel
  • Times when God seemingly abandoned them
    • The Holocaust
    • Other times of persecution
  • Seasons of silence
    • After Joseph’s death until Moses
    • The period between Malachi and Matthew

God’s relationship with Israel mirrors the relationship between husband and wife

Marriage CAN be a Sacred Journey

Marriage: A long journey that two people take—and a sacred one.

Sacred –  dedicated or set apart for the service or worship of God.

Marriage is the journey of two stumbling sinners falling toward God and each other and all the while experiencing events and experiences that can demonstrate the redemption of God to a lost and dying world. You simply have to see God as Lord of your History. You dedicate your TIMES to show forth God to a dying world!

We all have a history of ‘times’ with our spouse. There were moments of labor and delivery, struggles to conceive, financial pressures, financial success, problems failures, struggles, joy. What makes that History Sacred is whether or not we see God as Lord of our History, and devote our marriages exclusively to show the steadfast and persevering love of our Heavenly Father. The events of your life, good and bad, become a testimony to God’s working in your marriage.

With God the exact dates are not important, but the fact that you acknowledge Him as the Lord of your Marrige History is! Think to the darkest moment of your marriage – God was there. Think of the greatest moment of your marriage – God was there. Every high and every low demonstrates the redemptive Love of God. Our marriage is meant to reflect the Sacred History the Jews have had with God.

God called a young man and told him to marry a prostitute. So Hosea went and found Gomer. It wasn’t long before she left him to return to her lovers.

Hosea 1:2 (NLT) When the Lord first began speaking to Israel through Hosea, he said to him, “Go and marry a prostitute, so that some of her children will be conceived in prostitution. This will illustrate how Israel has acted like a prostitute by turning against the Lord and worshiping other gods.”

You have heard the story. She leaves him, has chilren by her lovers, comes back, leaves, finally she comes back because her lovers have lost interest in her. Hosea says she will no more play the harlot. God points out the picture between marriage and His relationship with Israel:

Hosea 2:14-16 (NLT) “But then I will win her back once again. I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her there. I will return her vineyards to her and transform the Valley of Trouble into a gateway of hope. She will give herself to me there, as she did long ago when she was young, when I freed her from her captivity in Egypt. When that day comes,” says the Lord, “you will call me ‘my husband’ instead of ‘my master.’

Marriage is not always good, not always bad – sometimes it just is.

“Marriage is a long walk two people take together. Sometimes the terrain is very interesting, sometimes very dull. At time the walk is arduous for both or for one. Sometimes the conversation is lively, at other times, not much to say. The travelers do not know where they are going, nor exactly when they will arrive.”

Marriage must become good with living with routines.

To have a good marriage takes time. Working through problems, enjoying special occasions, coming together in times of setbacks. You must decide to see God in the routine of your marriage just as much as you do in the mountain top experiences. The same thing that will keep your marriage together through “sickness and health, for richer, for poorer, for better, for worse, in sadness and in joy, is the same thing that will keep you growing as Believer in Jesus Christ. It is a little thing we call perseverance.

The Spiritual Discipline of Perseverance

Perseverance is “steady persistence in adhering to a course of action, a belief, or a purpose; steadfastness.” Perseverance is different from endurance. Endurance can indicate “putting up with,” “bearing up under,” or merely “tolerating” a demanding circumstance, implying a definite passive quality. Perseverance or prokarteresis suggest more than mere toleration of a circumstance because they have definite proactive characteristics. It means “to be earnest or strong toward; to be constantly diligent; to adhere closely to; to continue instant in; to be steadfast with a person or thing.” The Greek verb proskartereo (Strong’s #4342) is most frequently translated into English as continue in.” Its closest English synonym is “persistent.” Both contain a strong sense of continuous persistence toward achieving some activity.

This quality must be rediscovered in our marriages if we are to commit to seeing the History of our Marriage as: “Sacred”. Some experts say it takes 9 to 14 years for a couple to “create and form its being” (Oliver, Conjugal Spirituality, p 33) Becoming One in your marriage takes time. The problem in America and with such a high divorce rate is that we have become a nation of quitters:

  • Job
  • Marriage
  • Family
  • Political party
  • Church
  • Faith (1 Tim 4:1)

A young lady named Marti finally got married. Before marriage she brough all this luggage of failed dating relationships and failed family relationships. After the first year of marriage Marti and her husband were experiencing some hard times, complete with the fights and frustrations that often accompany adversity in a marriage. After one bad fight, Marti prepared herself for what she thought was inevitable: her husband would leave her, just like all the others before. Her husband was a Christian fimly committed to the idea of Covenant Marriage. While she was sulking in the other room, he came into her ans said these simple words: “I will never leave you.” I will stay with you and we will work through this problem.

The Necessity of Perseverance

Luke 8:11-15
Jesus told the parable of the different soils and how the seed reacts. The thing which determined whether you had a good crop is persevering:

“This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.” (NIV)

James 1:4

James 1:2-4 (HCSB)Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.
James 1:2-4 (NIV) Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Our maturity with God is directly related to our perseverance, the way we stay active and seeking Him, even though we can’t see Him through the tears. Too many people quit God, quit the Church because of some little hurt, or because the feelings are not their. Faith in God is not about Feelings. Enjoying your Sacred History together will involve time when the feeling just aren’t there.

Romans 2:6-8

God “will give to each person according to what he has done.” To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.(NIV)

Perseverance through trials and difficulties creates beauty and meaning for your life. God will grant you glory and honor. If you are self-seeking in your marriage, and reject the truth of God’s Word, you will gain God’s wrath and anger.

  • “You have to be happy in the moment” can’t sustain a relationship
  • When couples go through normal downturns, Satan starts to whisper “you married the wrong one”

Preachers have played into Satan’s plan by bending the truth to fit the circumstances of the day. We make excuses for the Truth and open back doors of excuses and denial. Like the Christian pastor who wanted me to leave the word sublission out of my sermon to the couple i was marrying because “We ignore that Scripture in our church. We don’t see it as relevant”

Pulpits across America must stop excusing the Truth of God’s Word! We must preach the truth and the truth is that God hates divorce.

I believe the wrath of God may be upon America not necessarily because we have taken God out of the schools. God didn’t call the schools of America to preach the truth. God called His preachers and pastors and church leaders to proclaim His truth. He calls every Christian couple to be witnesses of the Gospel. That witness is the Love and Forgiveness of Jesus Christ as shown in a Marriage that is Life Long, because God’s Love is Life Long!

Preachers have stopped preaching the truth that God Hates Divorce. We excuse it, we tolerate it, we find more and more ways to make it OK. We’ve even have Divorced Pastors leading churches. If there is any wrath upon America it is because the church has become self-seeking and has rejected the truth of God’s Word.

To Reject the Truth is to Risk Gods Anger

Persistence makes no sense unless we have a keen sense of eternity. What is the focus of your heart? Is your focus on living a life that is preparation for Eternity? Perhaps God is using your difficult marriage to prepare you for your Eternity! So you have had a rough couple of years, even decades, what is that when compared with how you will spend ETERNITY?

The Bible doesn’t mention rewards for those Christians who are the happiest of have felt the least pain or experienced the least sorrow!

Priority of Sacred History is Eternal Priority.

2 Thess 3:5 May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christs perseverance.

Sacred History means being persistent in doing good! Marriage goes through many seasons. Sometimes you simply have to get through it. This is merely a season, and it is foolish to quit perservering during a time when any marriage would have to adapt.

Reject Self-Seeking Behavior

If there is no heaven, divorce makes sense. But if there is heaven and God and Judgment, does the cost of divorce (God’s wrath and anger) justify the jeopardizing your future?

Divorce is a failure of love, forgiveness, patience and at the very least a failure in judgment in choosing a difficult partner in the first place. But we must realize we are all failures at some point.

According to Matthew 5:28, I and virtually every other man must be considered an adulterer. One lustfull look and Boom! we have fallen. One angry outburst “You Fool!” and I’m in danger of hell fire. (Matt 5:22). While Jesus is certainly a picture of God’s Holiness and High standards, He is also a picture of Mercy and Forgiveness.

  • He forgave the woman taken in adultery, even though she deserved to be stoned(John 8:11)
  • He told his disciples that if anyone puts their hand to the plow and then turns back, is not worth of the Kingdom of God (Luke 9:62).
  • Yet he forgave each of His disciples for running away, and especially forgave Peter who even denied knowing Him.)Mark 14:66-72)

If you have gone through the pain and heartache of divorce, you serve no one other than the devil by fixating on something that can not be undone. The Scriptures says humble yourself in the sight of God and He will lift you up. The is no exception clause for God grace against divorced people.

If you are in a difficult marriage, I exhort you as Jesus would to hang in there. Do more than hang, do all you can to follow Jesus commands for relationships. Most of those are contained in his sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5, 6, 7. Divorce is not the same as denying Jesus or leaving your faith, but it is a dangerous decision spiritually. However, Even God’s word has allowed that there may be conditions in which it is a right choice.

  • Matthew 19:9 records the exception for infidelity.
  • 1 Corinthians 7:15 reveals the situation when an  unbelieving spouse abandons a believer.

Be AWARE of the ‘times’ of marriage that rock a couple’s intimacy

  • New born babies
  • Potty training
  • Toddlers
  • School Activities
  • Strains at Work
  • Debt and Stress
  • Empty Nesters
  • Dealing with Sick Inlaws
  • Dealing with sickness later in life

To evaluate your marriage at that point is foolish and short-sighted. By quitting or looking elsewhere you will block God from the Sacred History of Redemption that He is building in your marriage. When we leave someone, don’t pretend there won’t be spiritual consequences. God is angry when we abuse his children.

SEE THE NEED FOR A SACRED HISTORY

In these “muddied” versions of Psalm 2. I have changed the nations and Kings to read Husbands and Wives. Instead of seeking your own way, God warns us to submit to God’s royal Son (or kiss the Son in KJV) lest He becomes angry. Our persevering in our marriage is SO important to God!

Psalms 2:1-3 (NLT) Why are you husbands and wives so angry? Why do you waste your time with selfish plans? You prepare for battle; you plot together against the Lord and against his anointed one. “Let us break their chains,” you cry, “and free ourselves from slavery to God.” But the one who rules in heaven laughs. The Lord scoffs at you. Then in anger he rebukes you, terrifying you with his fierce fury.
Psalms 2:10-12 (NLT) Now then, you husbands, act wisely! Be warned, you wives! Serve the Lord with reverent fear, and rejoice with trembling. Submit to God’s royal Son, or he will become angry, and you will be destroyed in the midst of all your activities— for his anger flares up in an instant. But what joy for all who take refuge in him!

Consider the Sacred History of Joseph

Consider Joseph and his response to his wicked brothers. As you consider it, imagine he was responding to a difficult spouse:

In Genesis 50:20 Joseph tells his brothers that they intended harm to him when they sold him into slavery. He also told them that God was active in all this “in order that” (i.e. to the intended and accomplished end) good might come to him.

Family solidarity takes hard work, much imagination and constant self-criticism on the part of all the members of the sacred circle. A successful marriage is not one in which two people, beautifully matched, find each other and get along happily ever after because of this initial matching. It is, instead, a system by means of which persons who are sinful and contentious are so caught by a dream bigger than themselves that they work throughout the years, in spite of repeated disappointment, to make the dream come true.—Elton Trueblood

What if the Spouse Wants Out?

We can’t see the consequences of our divorce. We can’t predict the chaos, the confusion, the hurt and the effect upon our children and their marriages. Marriage can produce tensions and hurts so intense that reconciliation would take more energy than either partner could possess in ten lifetimes. In many cases God can provide the energy; in some cases people are just not willing to accept it, or to do what God says is needed to do. Divorce is an easy alternative. Sometimes we have divorced forced upon us. Even so, our maturity before God must be considered and become our driving motivation. Even when we are sinned against, we can grow through the experience by the grace of God.

The message of Eternity and Pleasing God and bringing glory to God is this: We draw closer to God by honoring the history of our marriage, even when our spouse leaves and divorces us. God can use this to draw us closer into His heart.

The Whole Point of Having a Sacred History is “THAT MY NAME MAY DWELL THERE”

If you want God’s Name to dwell in the History of your marriage, then you would be wise to follow these steps:

1.Realize that God has a purpose for your “Times”
2.Thank God for all the “times”, even those when you thought He forgot you or left you.
3.Ask Him to bring healing to your heart for the “times” when you were hurt or disturbed by what God seemed to allow in your life.
4.Dedicate your remaining ‘times’ to show forth God’s Remptive Love to those around you.
5.Tell your spouse you are committed to building a Sacred History with them for the rest of your life.