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Be patient and do good

Divergence  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Be patient and do good. Doing good is not a call to passivity.

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Today is the last message in the series “Divergent”. Let’s read our theme verse together.
1 Thessalonians 5:14 CSB
And we exhort you, brothers and sisters: warn those who are idle, comfort the discouraged, help the weak, be patient with everyone.
We are to warn the idle, comfort the discouraged, help the weak, and be patient with everyone. Yes, today we are going to be talking about patience. Have you ever heard this little poem:
Patience is a virtue,
Possess it if you can.
Possess it if you can.
Found seldom in a woman,
Never in a man.
Full disclosure. This subject is tough for me. In my life, patience is a virtue that I think needs constant work. Is having patience hard for you? It is for me, but even Guns and Roses understood that we need a little patience.
Perhaps God moved me to Laredo to help me work on patience because I have learned that time here moves at a different pace than it does other places I have lived. Have you noticed this? Maybe it is just me. If you have lived here all your life, you may not even be aware. Some of you know that I am attempting to learn Spanish and I thought I knew what mañana meant. I thought that it means “tomorrow morning”, but apparently I was wrong. I think it means “I’ll get to it when I get to it” because people tell me that they are coming “mañana”, but they don’t come. They may or may not show up a few days later, but you just got to be patient with them. Right?
I think God gives us children to teach us patience. You tell them the say thing day after day, but it is like they have the memory of a goldfish. Teachers need patience. Law enforcement officers need patience. Husbands need patience. Wives need patience. Students need patience. Bosses need patience. Workers need patience. Everyone needs to develop patience in their lives. For some people it is easier than others, but patience is an essential virtue of the Christian life.
What is the biblical definition of patience?

patient - μακροθυμέω - to be longsuffering.

It indicates not giving way to a short or quick temper toward those who fail, but being patient and considerate of them. The reality is that people will fail us. People will let us down. We will fail people and we will let them down. How will we react when people don’t come through for us? As followers of Jesus Christ, we are to be patient with them.
This phrase “be patient with everyone” is the summary statement for the previous three commands. Dealing with the idle, the discouraged, and the weak will take patience. These people do not always respond well to those who are trying to help them. Sometimes you will warn someone who is idle and unwilling to do what it takes to provide for themselves and their family. Rather than listening to you, they get mad at you and refuse to heed your warning. Sometimes you will try to encourage someone, but they don’t stop focusing on the negatives in their life. They are like a “Debbie Downer”. (Wha wha wha) Sometimes you will try to help someone in need, but they end up biting the hand that is trying to help them. They don’t “get better”. It might even feel like they are just using you or trying to get a handout rather than a hand up so to speak. It is for that reason, Paul said, “Be patient with everyone”.
It is for that reason, Paul said, “Be patient with everyone”.

Patience is a fruit of the Spirit. (Gal. 5:22)

Galatians 5:22 CSB
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
The person without patience retaliates.
1 Thessalonians 5:15 CSB
See to it that no one repays evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good for one another and for all.
Patience is a fruit of the Spirit which means that patience is not natural. Being self-centered and selfish is normal. Being inconsiderate is normal. Being harsh and short-tempered is normal. Not waiting on the Lord is natural. Patience is supernatural. It is something that the Holy Spirit creates in the lives of believers. It is a divergence. Having patience with those who disappoint us, frustrate us, and disregard us is evidence of the Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives.
I like the way the older translations of the Scriptures translate this word. They use the word “long-suffering” because is paints a clear picture of how a follower of Jesus reacts to the disappointing behaviors of others. You see, if you are patient, then you will suffer long. Having patience with people can be a painful and difficult experience. Maybe you have people in your family, people who may even claim to love Jesus, who are idle. They aren’t doing what they are supposed to be doing. You have warned them, but they don’t listen. It would be natural to give up on them, but it is supernatural to be longsuffering with them. Maybe you know someone who is just going through a really hard time in life. They are discouraged, maybe even depressed. You try to comfort them, but it doesn’t seem to help. They continue wallowing in their discouragement. It is natural to just let them be, but it is supernatural to be longsuffering with them. Maybe you are trying to help those in need, but they have so many needs. It is natural to get burned out on them, it is supernatural to be longsuffering with them.

The person without patience retaliates when wronged. ()

1 Thessalonians 5:14–15 CSB
And we exhort you, brothers and sisters: warn those who are idle, comfort the discouraged, help the weak, be patient with everyone. See to it that no one repays evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good for one another and for all.
The person without patience retaliates when wronged. I have heard people try to justify or excuse their lack of patience by saying, “Well, that is just the way I am”. We live in a society that isn’t interested in doing good for everyone. We live in a society that is addicted to outrage. If you don’t believe me just turn on the 24-hour news networks for a little bit. Go on social media and read the hatred and vitriol that is consuming so many people. They have even tried to excuse their hatred, anger, and lack of patience by inventing the term “triggered”. They say, “You triggered me. Therefore, I have an excuse to lose my temper.” You did, said, or represent something I don’t like; therefore, I am allowed to do whatever I want to shut you up.
I joke with Karen. I tell her that I am going on Twitter to see what I am supposed to be outraged about today. Here is the reality and it really needs to be said. If wearing a particular hat causes you to lose your temper, let me suggest that the problem may be in you. If talking about moral issues causes you to type in all caps, let me suggest that the problem may be in you. If you find yourself reposting memes that are full of hate and spite, let me suggest that the problem may be in you. The crazy thing to me is that many of the people losing their minds are the people who claim to be the most tolerant. Many people, who claim the name of Christ publically, are not demonstrating a spirit of longsuffering.
Church, these behaviors should not be true of us. We can’t excuse our lack of patience. We have to confess our failure as sin and go to the person we lost it with seeking their forgiveness. You must pray and ask God to develop the fruit of patience in your life and not get discouraged by your failures. Habits are hard to break, but with God all things are possible. You may be naturally disposed towards losing your temper, but God excels at taking our weaknesses and making them strengths. God will show himself strong in your weakness if you go to him in humility.
The reality is that impatience is a form of unbelief. It happens when we try to do things on our own and do not wait on God. We overcome the temptation to be impatient with the promises of God.

Overcome the temptation to be impatient with the promises of God.

Here is one of those promises. Isaiah 30:18,
Isaiah 30:15 CSB
For the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, has said: “You will be delivered by returning and resting; your strength will lie in quiet confidence. But you are not willing.”
Isaiah 30:18 CSB
Therefore the Lord is waiting to show you mercy, and is rising up to show you compassion, for the Lord is a just God. All who wait patiently for him are happy.
Isaiah 30:18 CSB
Therefore the Lord is waiting to show you mercy, and is rising up to show you compassion, for the Lord is a just God. All who wait patiently for him are happy.
God promises that if you patiently wait on him he will bless you. Be patient and do good.
, “See to it that no one repays evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good for one another and for all.

Followers of Jesus pursue what is good for everyone. ()

This is the law of love. This is the command of Christ. This is patience in action. Patience in action is working toward what is good for us and for other people. The direction and habit of your life as a believer is to do good for all. This is not easy.
Matthew 5:43–44 CSB
“You have heard that it was said, Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
The Pharisees and Sadducees in Jesus day had a common saying. They taught that loving your neighbor meant that if the person wasn’t your neighbor it was okay to hate them. Remember, Jesus was asked, “Well, who is my neighbor?” The Pharisee wanted to justify himself. Jesus told him the story of the Good Samaritan. Samaritans were people the Jews hated because they didn’t consider them their neighbors. They were half-Jewish and half-Greek. They worshipped in a different place. They were justified in not liking them and would have to put up a trigger warning when talking about them.
Jesus, intensifying and fulfilling the Law, gave a new understanding for the biblical command. The duty and obligation to do good is not just for people we like, but also, for people who don’t like us and maybe we don’t like. We are to do good for everyone. Look at what James said,
James 4:17 CSB
So it is sin to know the good and yet not do it.
If it is in your power to do good and you don’t do it; you are sinning. Doing good is not simply abstaining from evil. Doing good is a positive action. Doing good is patience in action. Doing good is actively engaging the people around us by seeking to warn them, encourage them, and helping them. This is our responsibility as believers.
Do you realize how much of a force for good that Christianity has been in the world? I am not naive. I know that Christians have failed in many ways. Some of our collective moral failures have come to light recently and I am thankful for the exposure. It is forcing us to deal with the skeletons in our closet. Christians are not perfect because we are flawed human beings with a sin nature. However, Christianity has done much good in the world and continues to do much good in the world. In the After the Message video this week, I am going to talk about a book which talks about this very subject. I would encourage you to check out my YouTube Channel to view the video. Just search for my name and you should find it. Listen to all of the good that Christianity has done in our world.
Christianity elevates sexual morality.
Christianity elevates women to a place of dignity and freedom.
Christianity is responsible for many charitable organizations.
Christianity founded hospitals and health care.
Christianity created a positive work ethic and economic freedom.
Christianity advanced the work of science.
Christianity established liberty and justice for all.
Christianity worked to abolish slavery.
Christianity put its stamp on art, architecture, music, and literature.
The positive and good influence of Christianity is massive. Christianity has changed the world!
Doing good for everyone is not passivity. God is patient and he is love. He is good, but he is not passive. Everyday, God intervenes into the affairs of men. We are to be patient, not passive. We are to not repay with evil the evil done to us. We always do what is good. Doing what is good is a call to intervention, but if people will not respond to the good, we are patient with them.
This is not to say that we approve of what they are doing. This is saying that we are patient with them. We are longsuffering with them because we need to be in a place where we continually shine the light of the gospel into their lives. Never burn your bridges with someone. Always leave room for that person to be in relationship with you, so that you may have the opportunity to bring the gospel into their lives.
Do you realize that most opportunities to do good take place as we are living the routines of our lives? Sure, we can make dedicated events and put ourselves purposefully in situations to do good, but most of the opportunities to do good will happen as we are just going about our lives. Sometimes, I think we only think of the big things and the heroic things. We shouldn’t wait for a building to catch on fire to do good. We will have the opportunities to do good all around us. We will have opportunities to tell someone of the dangers of the path they are on in life. We will see people heading toward a cliff and will be able to tell them of the dangers they are facing.
We will have opportunities to give encouragement to people who are discouraged. A kind word or a thoughtful deed can really help someone who is struggling. So much in life is just down-right disappointing and discouraging. Encouragement is what keeps us all going.
We will have opportunities to help those in need. The needs will vary and how we can help them will very, but we need to open our eyes and see those in need around us. See people the way that Jesus saw people.
Sometimes we have opportunities to do good, but we look at those times as interruptions rather than divine appointments. God brings interruptions into our lives to give us opportunities to do good. Be patient and do good.
According to a traditional Hebrew story, Abraham was sitting outside his tent one evening when he saw an old man, weary from age and journey, coming toward him. Abraham rushed out, greeted him, and then invited him into his tent. There he washed the old man's feet and gave him food and drink.
The old man immediately began eating without saying any prayer or blessing. So Abraham asked him, "Don't you worship God?"
The old traveler replied, "I worship fire only and reverence no other god."
When he heard this, Abraham became incensed, grabbed the old man by the shoulders, and threw him out his his tent into the cold night air.
When the old man had departed, God called to his friend Abraham and asked where the stranger was. Abraham replied, "I forced him out because he did not worship you."
God answered, "I have suffered him these eighty years although he dishonors me. Could you not endure him one night?"
Be patient, longsuffering, and do good.
Pray.
Father God, for many of us, having a spirit of patience is hard. Some of us are even afraid to pray for you to develop patience inside of us because we are afraid of what that means. We know we are to be longsuffering because you are longsuffering. Father, thank you for opportunities to do good in our families, community, and country. Give us strength so that we do not grow weary in doing good. We thank you for the Holy Spirit’s indwelling inside of us that produces the fruit of our faith. We thank you for being longsuffering with us. I ask you now to draw people to yourself by the power of the Holy Spirit. You have promised that your word will never return void. In Jesus’ name I pray,
With our heads bowed and eyes closed in meditation before God, I need to talk to those of you who are here today and you are in a place where your sin has caught up to you. You’re in the storm because of what you did. You have gotten yourself into massive trouble. Your sin is catching up with you. You feel the pressure and weight of life, but you don’t know what to do. You may have even tried to change, but you can’t do it. You can’t be good on your own. It is in your very nature. Your nature causes you to rebel against God. Your sin separates you from God. The good news is that God loves you so much that he sent his son Jesus into the world. Jesus, who is God, took on flesh and became the perfect sacrifice for our sins. Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Jesus died for the forgiveness of your sins. On the third day, Jesus raised from the dead to prove that everything he claimed was true. The Bible says,
Before we close, I need to talk to those of you who are here today and you are in a place where your sin has caught up to you. You’re in the storm because of what you did. You have gotten yourself into massive trouble. Your sin is catching up with you. You may have even tried to change, but you can’t do it. You can’t be good on your own. It is in your very nature. Your nature causes you to rebel against God. Your sin separates you from God. The good news is that God loves you so much that he sent his son Jesus into the world. Jesus, who is God, took on flesh and became the perfect sacrifice for our sins. Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Jesus died for the forgiveness of your sins. On the third day, Jesus raised from the dead to prove that everything he claimed was true. The Bible says,
Romans 10:9–10 CSB
If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation.
he heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation.
9 If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation.
When you call on the name of Jesus, he will hear your prayer, forgive you of your sin, and make you new. Will you call on his name this morning and receive the forgiveness he offers. The burden and pressure you feel will be taken away and you will find peace with God. He wants to be your Emmanuel; your “God with Us.” Will you let him in your life and save you? If you have never accepted the gift of salvation that God offers you confess Jesus by praying this prayer with me,
When you call on the name of Jesus, he will hear your prayer, forgive you of your sin, and make you new. Will you call on his name this morning and receive the forgiveness he offers. He wants to be your Emmanuel; your “God with Us.” Will you let him in your life and save you?
Please bow your heads and close your eyes. Confess Jesus by praying this prayer with me,
“Heavenly Father, forgive me for my sins, make me new. I ask Jesus to be my Savior and to be the Lord of my life, first in every way. My life is not my own, I give it to you. Thank you for new life. In Jesus’ name, I pray.”
If you prayed that prayer, I want you to do two things. First, on your connection card, check the box that says you want more information about becoming a follower of Jesus Christ. In just a moment, we are going to stand to sing. Some of the deacons are going to be in the the back of the worship center. If you prayed to receive Christ, I want you to slip out of your row and come and go talk to them. We want to meet you and pray for you. Also, we have some information that will help you understand more about your new life in Christ.
Close
As we stand and sing together, respond to the Holy Spirit’s call on your life.
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