Preaching the Gospel, Preparing a People

By Your Patience Possess Your Souls

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By Your Patience Possess Your Souls

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By Your Patience Possess Your Souls

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Prophecy speaks of trouble to come as God's Plan moves forward in the next phase of His work. Things will happen for reasons, but we may not know why. We must be patient for we will be saved by being faithful to God and trust in God to work things out.

Sermon Notes

These are the notes taken live during services as captioning for the deaf and hard of hearing. This is not a word for word transcript. For the exact wording, please consult the audio recording.

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Near the end of Christ’s physical life on earth, He described events that would happen. He gave the Olivet prophecy and described the end of the age. Matthew 24:4-5 Matthew 24:4-5 [4] And Jesus answered and said to them, Take heed that no man deceive you. [5] For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
American King James Version×
: "Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many". It would be common for people to use His own name to draw followers. Many outwardly religious organizations would use His name. They would encourage people to follow them. Next He described environmental conditions. Matthew 24:6-8 Matthew 24:6-8 [6] And you shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that you be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. [7] For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. [8] All these are the beginning of sorrows.
American King James Version×
: "And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows". Many assume that earthquakes and tsunamis are signs of the end. But Jesus explained they would be signs of the end. There would be many of these before the end. They would set the stage for worse sorrows. They are just the beginning of sorrows. Isaiah prophesied: Isaiah 2:10-12 Isaiah 2:10-12 [10] Enter into the rock, and hide you in the dust, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty. [11] The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day. [12] For the day of the LORD of hosts shall be on every one that is proud and lofty, and on every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low:
American King James Version×
, 19: “For the day of the Lord of hosts shall come upon everything proud and lofty, upon everything lifted up—and it shall be brought low… They shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, from the terror of the Lord and the glory of His majesty, when He arises to shake the earth mightily." You can think of great natural disasters. This phrase, shaking the earth mightily, sounds like that. God inspired Joel to describe the great destruction that would take place during the Day of the Lord: Joel 2:1-2 Joel 2:1-2 [1] Blow you the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD comes, for it is near at hand; [2] A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread on the mountains: a great people and a strong; there has not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations.
American King James Version×
, 11: "Blow the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in My holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble; for the day of the Lord is coming, for it is at hand. A day of darkness and gloominess … For the day of the Lord is great and very terrible; who can endure it?" These events are necessary for God’s plan to move into the next phase. These are discussed in the Olivet prophecy.

Luke 21:8-10 Luke 21:8-10 [8] And he said, Take heed that you be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draws near: go you not therefore after them. [9] But when you shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by. [10] Then said he to them, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom:
American King James Version×
This talks about the deception and the wars and disasters. Luke 21:12 Luke 21:12But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name's sake.
American King James Version×
The time is going to come when we will have to verbalize our dependence on God. Yes, I will live this way. No, I won’t do those things. We will have to stand up before people with great power and say, no, I won’t live that way. Think of Daniel and his friends and the consequences they faced. Those that live into the final years will have to do the same thing. Luke 21:13-14 Luke 21:13-14 [13] And it shall turn to you for a testimony. [14] Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what you shall answer:
American King James Version×
Don’t worry about it. These things will happen for a reason. There is a purpose for them occurring. They are coming and you will go through it so you can testify of Me. Luke 21:15-17 Luke 21:15-17 [15] For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist. [16] And you shall be betrayed both by parents, and brothers, and kinfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. [17] And you shall be hated of all men for my name's sake.
American King James Version×
This is not an option. God doesn’t say that if you look like this or have this body shape, you will be hated. No, if you follow this way of life, you will be hated. Luke 21:18 Luke 21:18But there shall not an hair of your head perish.
American King James Version×
Luke 21:19 Luke 21:19In your patience possess you your souls.
American King James Version×
Contemporary English Version: “You will be saved by being faithful to me.” An interesting perspective. The idea that by faithfulness we are saved. Luke 21:19 Luke 21:19In your patience possess you your souls.
American King James Version×
New Century Version: “By continuing to have faith you will save your lives.” We will discuss at the end of the sermon a question Christ posed: When I return, will I find faith on the earth? We have to hold onto the hope of Christ’s return and His kingdom. That is our responsibility. We have to practice this every day. What kind of patience and faith do we have in God? To what degree do we trust God? We have an important responsibility when it comes to eternal life. We can play an active role in this. Patience and faith are intertwined. Obedience can’t save us. Nothing we do on our own can save us.

Break this verse down: “By your”. It is a personal responsibility. We have to have faith and patience. We have to have a relationship with God. We can’t get into the kingdom on anyone else’s coat tail. This scripture supports that idea. It is by your doing; what you think; what you say. If we are unfortunate enough to hear Christ say, I don’t know you, whose fault is it? Ours. Individually. Not our spouse’s fault. Not our friend’s fault. Not our parent’s fault. Only we can determine to what extent we enter the kingdom of God. I grew up in Cincinnati. At the height, we had 5 congregations and 1600 people. There are not many of them left. I’m sure that same is true here. Family not here. Friends not here. Even past ministers. Why? We all have a choice. Are we going to stay committed or not? God will be sifting right up to the end. He will test whether we are willing to break one of His commands. “Patience”. It means endurance or constant. G5281 ὑπομονή hupomonē hoop-om-on-ay' From G5278; cheerful (or hopeful) endurance, constancy: - enduring, patience, patient continuance (waiting).

Thayer’s Dictionary: “[Patience] in the NT [is] the characteristic of a man who is not swerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings”. An interesting definition of godly patience. We will not swerve off our goal of the kingdom and the first resurrection, regardless of the greatest trials and sufferings. We will remain steadfast. Being constant. Patience is the character trait to endure things we don’t understand. Putting things in God’s hands. Maintaining that relationship with God. Patience is that enduring aspect of life, regardless of the trial. There are different kinds of patience. One is what we have to have when we come to a red light. Godly patience is waiting for an unspecified amount of time for the light to turn green. Patience is easy when you know the time frame. At the red light, it is at most a few seconds. But what about when we are in a trial and we can’t see the end? Patience is the feeling that we will remain constant. Some translations say, “By your faith, possess your soul.” The focus is on whether we will try to work out the problem or let God work it out. “Possess”. To procure a thing for oneself. By having that patience, we acquire something – your soul. “Soul”. Simply means life. By extension, eternal life. By patience, we acquire eternal life. We have to be patient and constant in our beliefs. Constant with our eyes fixed on the goal. Not muddied by things happening in the foreground.

Matthew Henry Commentary: “It is our duty and interest at all times, especially in perilous trying times, to secure the possession of our own souls.” We can blow our chances at eternal life by not having faith and patience and trust in God. When we don’t have those, we take things into our own hands. Oh, the persecution is great – how am I going to get through it? We worry; we fret; we get depressed. All of those take God out of the picture. Through patience in God, we secure life. So, should you lock yourself in a closet? Monkey see no evil? Why trust in God and not keep His commands? We keep the commands because we have faith in God; that He is who He says He is. Here is one definition of faith: Hebrews 11:1 Hebrews 11:1Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
American King James Version×
Some translations say faith is the assurance… If you are assured of something, what does that mean? Hopefully, your boss assures you that you will get paid on the next payday. Faith comes before possession. Once we receive that paycheck, we no longer have hope that it will come. But before we receive it, we have assurance that it will come. Faith. Faith precedes the actual receiving of what we asked for. What are we asking for? Eternal life. Forgiveness of sins. We can sin by mistake and ask God for forgiveness. We have faith that He will wipe away that sin. Faith is the evidence that we will have it before we receive it. Humans like to be able to hear and touch things. We like to know that there is a chair there before we sit down.

The question for us is how patient are we? Do we have faith and patience that Christ will return? We can’t see it; we can’t touch it; there is no date on the calendar. But we are assured of it. Do we have faith and patience that God will take care of us? Do we have faith and patience that Christ is the Head of the Church? That God sees our hearts and motives? That if we obey, God will bless us? Do we have something on the surface, or is it long standing? Do we have faith that if we honor the Sabbath, God will bless us and open the gates of heaven? Do we have faith and patience that if we tithe, God will bless us? Do we have faith and patience that if we start the day asking God for help in making our mate happy, we will be blessed with a great marriage? Do we have God in part of our life, but still keep control over here? Do we truly have faith and patience that God is going to take care of us? I submit that patience is very hard for humans to do. It is very unnatural to have faith and patience, especially when we can’t touch it. If we have to have faith in it, we are not in control of it. We can’t see how it will work out. How we get past the trial. Here is a list of character traits that do not require patience or faith.

Galatians 5:19-21 Galatians 5:19-21 [19] Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, [20] Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, jealousies, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, [21] Contentions, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
American King James Version×
New Century Version: “being sexually unfaithful, not being pure, taking part in sexual sins,20 worshiping gods, doing witchcraft, hating, making trouble, being jealous, being angry, being selfish, making people angry with each other, causing divisions among people,21 feeling envy, being drunk, having wild and wasteful parties, and doing other things like these.” On one hand, we have character traits that don’t require patience and faith in God. Galatians 5:22-23 Galatians 5:22-23 [22] But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, [23] Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
American King James Version×
Amplified Bible: “But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness, gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence). [NCV=] There is no law that says these things are wrong.” On this hand, we have character traits that are godly; that mimic God’s nature. They include persevering and being patient on God. They include the concept that God will work things out. That He will work through physical circumstances. Let’s look at a couple of examples of patience. In 1 Samuel 8, the people asked Samuel for a king. God put it in perspective; they were not rejecting Samuel, but God. God said give them what they want. Samuel told them the cons of what they were going to do; the taxes; the enlistment in armies. Saul was made king. In a short time, Saul’s lack of patience and faith in God caused him to be rejected.

1 Samuel 15:11 1 Samuel 15:11It repents me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following me, and has not performed my commandments. And it grieved Samuel; and he cried to the LORD all night.
American King James Version×
, 17-19 Saul justified his actions. Yes, that is a great plan, God, but we can modify it. We can bring back some of the best. Saul usurped God. Let’s see how David was anointed king. 1 Samuel 16:1 1 Samuel 16:1And the LORD said to Samuel, How long will you mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? fill your horn with oil, and go, I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite: for I have provided me a king among his sons.
American King James Version×
, 13 What do you think was going on in David’s mind at this time? He was the youngest of a slew of brothers. The prophet Samuel just came and anointed him king. Did he wonder why his older brothers weren’t chosen? Did he wonder about Saul? Saul was king. He was anointed king, but he had no army, no command, and no respect among the Israelites. David had patience and faith that God would work this out. David had an issue; I am king, but there is another man in my chair. What did he do about it? Nothing. He didn’t try to solve it on his own. He came up through the ranks. He was put over various duties for Saul. All through this, David knew he was anointed king. David didn’t think, we have two kings. He had faith that God would work it out. 1 Samuel 18:12 1 Samuel 18:12And Saul was afraid of David, because the LORD was with him, and was departed from Saul.
American King James Version×
, 14 Throughout all these years that David waited on God, God worked with him. Jump to the end of the story, to Saul’s death. If you do the math, it was seven years later. David waited patiently. He didn’t rush it or try to solve the problem himself.

1 Samuel 31:3-6 1 Samuel 31:3-6 [3] And the battle went sore against Saul, and the archers hit him; and he was sore wounded of the archers. [4] Then said Saul to his armor bearer, Draw your sword, and thrust me through therewith; lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and abuse me. But his armor bearer would not; for he was sore afraid. Therefore Saul took a sword, and fell on it. [5] And when his armor bearer saw that Saul was dead, he fell likewise on his sword, and died with him. [6] So Saul died, and his three sons, and his armor bearer, and all his men, that same day together.
American King James Version×
God remedied the situation. Saul was killed. In the subsequent chapters, David took his place as king. David waited seven years for God to work things out. It is a tremendous example for us. We want things now. We like microwaves. We want to know how God will get us through these trials. How long would you have waited if you had been anointed king? A couple of years? Sometimes, we think, God is waiting for me to work this out. That is wrong thinking. Job problems. Interpersonal problems. What do we do? We have to maintain our relationship with God and let God work things out. David waited seven years, and God worked things out perfectly. Remember when Jezebel slaughtered prophets of the Lord. 1 Kings 18: How long halt you between two opinions. Elijah was saying, where is your faith? Do you trust God? Are you really patient about His plan? Elijah offered a contest. He let the followers of Baal pray all morning. They would see which god would consume their sacrifice. About noon, Elijah mocked them. “I think your god is asleep! Dance!” At evening, Elijah dumped water over his sacrifice. The wood, the rocks, the altar were soaked. It is important to note that there was a tremendous drought at that time. It had been three years since there had been rain. Elijah took large amounts of water.

1 Kings 18:38 1 Kings 18:38Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.
American King James Version×
God consumed all of it. Not just the sacrifice, but the wood and the stones and the water in the trench. It was a true miracle from God. But even after this miracle, Elijah wound up running. He ran 90 miles. Queen Jezebel wanted to kill him. It was like running from here to Salina. An angel fed him, and he went another forty days. 1 Kings 19:9-10 1 Kings 19:9-10 [9] And he came thither to a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and he said to him, What do you here, Elijah? [10] And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and slain your prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.
American King James Version×
, 12-14, 18 What are you doing here? Elijah said I’ve done what you said, and now they want to kill me. I’ve lost my faith. God makes him witness significant events. Vs. 13 – Elijah rambled the same story. I was doing your work, but I’ve lost my faith. They want to kill me. That is why I’m here, hiding in this cave. Elijah failed to have patience and keep the proper focus on the kingdom. Vs. 18 -- I have 7000 who have not bowed the knee to Baal. Elijah ran for days, thinking he had to solve that problem. Elijah needed to be like David and let God work things out. Here is the parable of the persistent widow. It is interesting that Luke front-loaded the parable with the purpose. That is unusual. Luke 18:1 Luke 18:1And he spoke a parable to them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;
American King James Version×
The purpose of this parable was that they would always pray and maintain a right relationship with God. Persistence and patience is the key. Do what the widow did and always go back to God. The widow was persistent in prayer. She put things in God’s hand. Praying and faith helps us keep God as our focus. That helps us avoid relying on ourselves. God is the focus. We are never to stop seeking His guidance.

Luke 18:8 Luke 18:8I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man comes, shall he find faith on the earth?
American King James Version×
One interesting aspect of this parable is that it is front-loaded with an admonishment about prayer. At the end, there is this about faith. Having that right relationship with God is connected with faith. When He returns, will He find people trusting in themselves? Or will they have religions with lots of exceptions? Or will they endure and persevere and let God work things out? Patience and trust is completely unnatural for humans. God is testing to see to what degree we will trust Him. That is the million dollar question here. When Christ returns, will He find faith in you? Make it personal. Pray for help staying focused on the kingdom. I have no idea how this will work out, but help me stay focused. Ask God to help us relax and more deeply trust Him. Let’s grow a deep faith and trust in God. Through faith and perseverance, we will realize that there is a great eternal life waiting for us off in the distance.