"GROWING IN THE KNOWLEDGE OF JESUS CHRIST" Bearing Up Under Trials INTRODUCTION 1. We have observed that growing in the knowledge of Jesus Christ... a. Begins with the foundation of faith (conviction and trust) b. To which we add the quality of virtue (striving for excellence) c. Manifested by increasing in knowledge (regarding God's will) d. To which we add the grace of self-control (mastering one's desires and passions) 2. In our text (2Pe 1:5-8), we note that to self-control we are to add perseverance... a. The KJV renders it patience (as does the NKJV in many places) b. The RSV has the word steadfastness [What comes to mind when you hear these words? How does this relate to self-control? Are you adding perseverance to your life as a Christian? Let's begin our study with...] I. THE DEFINITION OF PERSEVERANCE A. THE GREEK WORD IS HUPOMONE... 1. Literally, "an abiding under" 2. Strong defines the word as "a cheerful (or hopeful) endurance" 3. It implies suffering, enduring, or waiting, as a determination of the will and not simply under necessity (ISBE) B. MORE THAN JUST A PASSIVE VIRTUE... 1. In the passive sense, it would be like a ship anchored in a storm a. Under attack by the wind and waves b. Yet remaining secured to that one spot by the anchor -- This is good as far as it goes, but the word implies more! 2. In the active sense, it is like a ship sailing despite the storm a. Under attack by the same wind and waves b. But pressing on to its destination despite the obstacles -- It involves more than just a "grin and bear it" attitude! 3. Adam Clarke describes it as "bearing all trials and difficulties with an even mind, enduring in all, and persevering through all" a. Exemplified by Jesus - cf. He 12:1-2 b. Also by Paul - cf. 2Ti 3:10-11 [Perseverance is not simply bearing with trials, but "bearing up under trials." And it is a quality required of Christians...] II. THE DEMAND FOR PERSEVERANCE A. NECESSARY FOR MATURE GROWTH... 1. We must allow patience (hupomone) to develop a mature character - Ro 5:4; Jm 1:4 2. We must bear fruit with patience (hupomone) - Lk 8:15 B. NECESSARY TO ENDURE TRIALS... 1. Perseverance helped the Thessalonians to endure trials - 2 Th 1:4 2. Even as it helped Job to endure his trials - cf. Jm 5:11 C. NECESSARY FOR ETERNAL LIFE... 1. We must be patient (hupomone) in doing good to receive eternal life - Ro 2:7 2. We must have patience (hupomone) to receive the promise - He 10:36 [If we hope to grow, endure difficulties, and eventually receive the promise, we must "add" the quality of perseverance to our character! How does one do this...?] III. THE DEVELOPMENT OF PERSEVERANCE A. THE RIGHT ELEMENTS... 1. The Word of God, which provides patience (hupomone) and hope - Ro 15:4 2. A strong hope, which helps us to wait eagerly with perseverance - Ro 8:25 3. Prayer certainly helps, as Paul prayed for the Colossians - Co 1:11 4. Even tribulations themselves - Ro 5:3; Jm 1:3 a. Tribulations produce perseverance b. Perseverance prepares us for tribulation (as described before) B. THE RIGHT PERSPECTIVE... 1. Looking to Jesus - He 12:1-4 a. The key to running the race set before us! b. By considering "Him who endured such hostility", we are less likely to grumble and give up 2. Looking to the prophets of old - Jm 5:10-11 a. Their example of steadfastness should motivate us b. Consider what they patiently endured, and our excuses for lack of perseverance or failure to bear up under trial seem silly and foolish! - cf. He 11:32-38 3. Looking to each other - He 3:12-14; He 10:24-25 a. Encouragement by brethren is a powerful aid to being persistent b. Through daily exhortations and frequent assemblies, we are more likely to bear up under trials 4. Looking at life with a positive attitude - Jm 1:2-3 a. Trials in life are for my betterment! b. They mold me and make me what God would have me to be! c. Therefore rejoice and glory in tribulations - cf. Ro 5:3-5 5. Looking to the future - 2Co 4:16-18 a. Trials are short and light compared to eternal weight of glory! b. For those who persevere, glory awaits! - cf. Re 2:25-29; 3:1 c. So let the promise of future glory encourage us to persevere! [Finally, a thought or two about...] IV. THE DEMONSTRATION OF PERSEVERANCE A. REQUIRED IN "TRYING" CIRCUMSTANCES... 1. There are times when remaining active for the Lord is difficult a. E.g., during lingering suffering, illness, grief, etc. b. Many Christians make some disappointment, loss, or grief an excuse for shirking their duties to the Lord 2. But to truly demonstrate perseverance... a. We must continue to press on in doing good b. We can work for God, even if we are laid up in bed (as did one sister, who prayed for the work being done by others) B. REQUIRED IN "TEMPTING" CIRCUMSTANCES... 1. Needed when faced with earthly delights, pleasures, seductions of the world 2. Such distractions are just as dangerous as tribulation in rendering us unfruitful - cf. Lk 8:14 3. "Just as the dark clouds of trial may render us inactive, so may the dazzling brightness of temptations blind us and render
us useless." (Alexander MacLaren) CONCLUSION 1. Perseverance involves the idea of bearing up under trials and pressing on... a. In times of tribulation, it means to spurn the trials b. In times of temptation, it means to turn our backs on them -- All the while continuing to do good as the Lord directs 2. In a sense, it is an extended version of self-control... a. Self-control is a daily exercise b. Perseverance is self-control exercised today, tomorrow, the next day, and so on -- Which is why we need to "add" perseverance to self-control - cf. 2Pe 1:6 3. Are we living the Christian life with perseverance? a. May we pray that we all have "the patience of Christ" - 2Th 3:5 b. May we heed the admonition given to Timothy to "pursue...patience" - 1Ti 6:11 As we develop "the patience of Christ", we will continue to grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ!