PERSEVERANCE – 30 June 2007

(Spoken at The Negev Conference in Beer Sheva; the theme was “Revival in The Negev”, Isaiah 44:3)

For us living in the Negev Desert of Israel, it may be easier to understand the words spoken by the prophets to a dry and thirsty land as also having relevance to dry and thirsty souls – spiritually dry and thirsty people.  The New Testament addresses the heart of things and personalizes God’s word to His people or to nature as a parable.  His Word is meant first and foremost for usWhat is the condition of our ‘soil’, of our ‘land’, of our ‘heart’?

We can have many questions and doubts, but these questions and doubts should be different now as believers than they were before we believed in the truth of who God is and of His Word.  John the Baptizer, although he knew he had been called to prepare the way for Him who was greater than him (Jn 1:15), and that by baptizing Yeshua God would reveal Yeshua as Messiah and Son of God to Israel (Jn 1:31, 34); despite all this, John had questions and doubts regarding whether or not Yeshua really was Him whom they were waiting for (Mt 11:2).  For us who have been born again, this question of the greatest born of woman (Mt 11:11) should not be our question any more!    

There are many times we pray to our Father in Heaven according to His will:  for example, ‘O God, save more people!’  And God’s answer is different than what we had meant or expected:  for example, He allows war to break out resulting in refugees who are in need of Christian ministry to show His grace and mercies and to bring many to place their hope and trust in Jesus who alone has overcome this world of tribulation! (Jn 16:33)  God sees our need and responds as He sees fit.  God perseveres!

Jn 15:1-14   RevivalAbide (Remain) in Jesus! 
    God is not calling us merely to be able to “stick it out” to the end, but to be sanctified, conformed to His image.  Nor is He calling us to persevere with only our own lifetime in view, but rather until the coming of the Lord.

2Pt 1:2-9   Perseverance is continuing through to the end in face of time, circumstances, suffering. 
                  Perseverance requires VISION, whether of God or not 
                   –in your (our) perseverance GODLINESS 
                      –those who lack these things is blind or shortsighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins 
                        –seeking God’s face 
                        –repentance from sin 

Heb 5:14   Solid food for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish both good and evil

Lk 11:5-10   Persistence in believing PRAYER 
                      –Revival does not happen overnight.  It takes time, patience, work. 
                      –Despite disappointment, frustration, discouragement 
                      –“Faith hold on and keeps on going in the face of trial and apparent failure.” (Chris Field)

Heb 11:3   –Without FAITH it is impossible to please God. 
                  –Yeshua asks if He will find [the] faith when He comes back at the end.

Heb 10:35-36   Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has great reward.  For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.  

1Thes 5:23-24   And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Faithful is He who calls you, who also will do it.

James 5:7-11   Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord.  See how the farmer waits      for  the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain.  You also be patient.  Establish your  hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.   Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned.  Behold, the Judge is standing at the door!  My brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience.  Indeed we count them blessed who endure.  You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end of the Lord – that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.

Heb 6:9-12   …we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

Rev 2:25-26   Hold fast what you have till I come.  And he who overcomes, and keeps my works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations.

Phlpn 1:3-6   I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the very first day until now, being confident of this very thing:  that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ