PATIENT IN TRIBULATION
12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;
John 16:33 “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
Last week we looked at the first segment of this verse and that was what it means to be “Rejoicing in Hope“, this week is a portion that needs our attention as it brings to us that which we greatly desire and that is to be patient in tribulation.
What is Tribulation?
Tribulation: A condition of great affliction, oppression or misery; persecution; distress; vexation; disturbance of life.
It stems from the Latin word “Tribulare”, which is ‘to press, oppress, afflict’.
It is a word that brings to our minds a range of troubles and trials, temptations and turmoil.
In the text before us it is clear that they are personal; when Paul writes, he writes not only to the Church but also to the individual, because it is the individual who is afflicted above measure in these circumstances and it is the individual who receives the blessings that stem from it.
Individually you will be “rejoicing in hope”
Individually you will become “patient in tribulation”
And individually you continue “instant in prayer”
The entire chapter speaks to you as much as it does to me, it teaches you as it teaches me, it is as individual and independent as the gifts are the each and every member of the body.
Our tribulations are personal, and who are we to minimise the trials and troubles of another?
There was a story told many years ago of a support group that gathered. The leader requested all the members of the group to write on a small piece of paper the greatest single trial they were afflicted with at the time.
He passed a hat around the room and each person cast their tribulatory lot into the hat.
He shook the hat and passed it around again, instructing all to take the trouble of another and consider of it.
The natures of each person’s new trial were reflected upon and related to through their own eyes and applied to their own life.
Demand was made whether or not they would rather their new tribulation or return to their original complaint. Almost all of them took their own trouble again.
Our tribulations are personal, take great care before you judge the difficulties of another, you can only do so through their own eyes.
Tribulation is “A condition of great affliction, oppression or misery; persecution; distress; vexation; disturbance of life.” And it is personal!
What is Patience?
I am guessing it is that which most of us have a lack of!!!
Patience is; a. “The suffering or enduring (of pain, trouble or evil) with calmness and composure; the quality or capacity of so suffering or enduring”
b. “forbearance or bearing with others, their faults, limitations etc”
Jesus: “O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you?...” (Mt 17:17, Mrk 9:19, Lk 9:41)
c. “Quiet self-possessed wating for something. The quality of expecting long without rage or discontent”
Latin: Patientia: Suffering.
It is one of the prime virtues of the classical world.
It is the longsuffering endurance of trial and difficulty and it is that which comes to those who have learned to endure expected trails.
We often have the blessing of listening to or reading books of missionaries, or meeting people who have undergone incredible trials in life, and what stands out most about them is a calmness and a peace even while they endure trials far greater than our present complaints.
Patience in many ways seems to be a practised experience;
Romans 5:3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience
The proof of this verse is readily seen in first world adult/children whose greatest afflictions is measured in “likes” and whose greatest tribulation is a lukewarm latte.
Patience is “the quality of expecting long without rage or discontent”. It is a measure of endurance while suffering, it is the bearing of difficulty “with calmness and composure”
1. Patient In Trials
The man, woman or child who has come to Christ, admitted himself to be a sinner, believed that Jesus is Lord and called upon his name to save him, has wonderfully been secured for everlasting life and is now free from the condemnation of sin.
Hell has no claim on the souls of all those who have been born again.
But being now free from the fires of hell does not equate to being free from the trials of life!
The largest churches in the world today have sold a lie claiming that Christ always brings prosperity… “if you have enough faith”.
These ‘snake oil salesmen’ wilfully ignore both the words of the Bible and the example of the men of the Bible.
Patience in Tribulation = Patient in trials
12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: 13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. 14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.
Peter, who became a martyr for Christ was one of the first to be reproached and suffer affliction for the name of Christ.
Paul expresses the same idea in;
3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
We become patient through trials.
- Christ was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
- We are partakers of Christ’s sufferings
- We grow in his likeness
- Tribulation works Patience
- We draw nearer to God in our trials, for his comfort and joy.
- Our Reproach for the name of Christ is our greatest privilege and joy
14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.
Acts chapter 5 is such an eventful chapter.
One such event had seen Peter and the apostles cast into prison until an angel came and opened up the bars and doors and gates and compelled them to preach in the Temple.
They were caught again by the High Priests soldiers and again taken and questioned.
When Peter gave his defence that he is to serve God before he serves men (Acts 5:29), they were on the edge of being killed for their faith until Gamaliel came to argue for them.
Nevertheless, they were beaten and charged and then let go and verse 41 says;
41 And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
THE PERFECT END OF PATIENCE IS FULFILMENT
Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 4 But let patience have herperfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
Therefore, in complete opposition of the prosperity preaching of perverse pretenders, Christians are to expect trials, they are to expect tribulation, and to be rewarded with both patience and fulfilment through them.
2. Patient With Evil
Does that mean we always take our trials patiently? Does being patient in tribulation include how we deal with the seeing good fortune of the wicked?
There are times when we see the prosperity of the wicked and wonder how it could be?
12 Righteous art thou, O Lord, when I plead with thee: yet let me talk with thee of thy judgments: Wherefore doth the way of the wicked prosper? wherefore are all they happy that deal very treacherously?
Jeremiah suffered for 40 odd years preaching the word of God, and not a single person is identified as converted to the Lord.
Yes, he was a Prophet of God, but he was also a man who suffered tribulation and cried for the sake of Christ (Weeping Prophet), he questioned the prosperity of the wicked.
He became Patient In Tribulation
Job identified the same curiosity regarding the prosperity of the wicked!
Wherefore do the wicked live, Become old, yea, are mighty in power? 8 Their seed is established in their sight with them, And their offspring before their eyes. 9 Their houses are safe from fear, Neither is the rod of God upon them.
The Psalmist had seen most explicitly.
For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. 4 For there are no bands in their death: but their strength is firm. 5 They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men. 6 Therefore pride compasseth them about as a chain; violence covereth them as a garment. 7 Their eyes stand out with fatness: they have more than heart could wish. 8 They are corrupt, and speak wickedly concerning oppression: they speak loftily. 9 They set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue walketh through the earth. 10 Therefore his people return hither: and waters of a full cup are wrung out to them. 11 And they say, How doth God know? and is there knowledge in the most High? 12 Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches. 13 Verily I have cleansed my heartin vain, and washed my hands in innocency. 14 For all the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning.
We know it will be this way right to the very end, keep your finger here but turn forward to Daniel 11:35
36 And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done.
It’s one of the “great untils”.
untill the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done.
The wickedness of those from the highest offices down will do according to their will, even AGAINST the God of gods (who suffers evil most), Until that that is determined shall be done
There is an end coming for the wicked in which they will no longer prosper.
You still have your finger in Psalm 73, turn back there;
16 When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me; 17 Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end. 18 Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction. 19 How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terrors. 20 As a dream when one awaketh; so, O Lord, when thou awakest, thou shalt despise their image.
21 Thus my heart was grieved, and I was pricked in my reins. 22 So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before thee
7 Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: Fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, Because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.
Knowing this, we can be Patient Against Evil, and learn to Be Patient in Tribulation
3. Patient Through Purpose
How often tribulations bring to our minds the first profound question found in the mouth of the child, “Why?”.
Within this question is the greatest presumption of all. So natural, it comes to our minds voluntarily, even often without thought “why is this happening to me?”
Even the most devout atheist, who believes the world is created without purpose and all that is therein has no real meaning, even they need to actively supress the question when it comes to their minds, because the question “WHY” presupposes a purpose.
There is indeed a purpose to all our sufferings, there is a reason we go through what we go through, we know it instinctively and most often than not, the lack of an answer grieves us.
The lack of a true answer does one of two things, it either intensifies our sufferings, or it seeks a false comfort to sedate them.
But to those who love God, there is a purpose and a way to be “Patient in Tribulation”!
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
We can therefore be patient in tribulation.
There is a purpose for our sufferings that we might be ignorant of, and yet we should even “count it all joy”
Turn to James 5
Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience. 11 Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.
See Job 42:10-13
Only those who know Christ and are known OF Christ, can have hope through their tribulations;
4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
4. Patient For the Promise
There are members of this congregation who suffer more than others and who’s patience is imposed upon them and who long more than most for the promise given them in the scriptures.
They long for the appearing of Christ.
Brother Kest and I were talking of his wife Trish before she went to be with the Lord.
Her eyesight became so poor near the end of her life.
O how well she sees now!
Trish had a syndrome that would deteriorate over time at varying degrees of rapidity.
At first it affected her extremities, Hands and Feet, then legs and arms until her body was overcome.
She went to the Lord two years ago now, from memory it was the first week of January.
The Lord blessed the family with one last Christmas and New Year at home, before she went home to her PROMISE.
We are Patient in Tribulation because we are Patient For the Promise
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: 7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
We spoke last week of “Rejoicing in Hope”, and that is indeed the title of this short series within a series.
It is a hope that is certain.
And in the scriptures it is one we are reminded to Patiently await…because while we are going through tribulations, we often forget;
32 But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions; 33 Partly, whilst ye were made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, whilst ye became companions of them that were so used. 34 For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance. 35 Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. 36 For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. 37 For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.
3 Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord cmay have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you: 2 And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith. 3 But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil. 4 And we have confidence in the Lord touching you, that ye both do and will do the things which we command you. 5 And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ.
11 And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: 12 That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises. 13 For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself, 14 Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee. 15 And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.
7 Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and zlatter rain. 8 Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.
12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.
It is in these passages that we can see with clarity that being patient in tribulation should be an expectation to all those who know the Lord.
Do you know him? Are you known of him?
- Admit you are a sinner
- Believe that Jesus Christ is Lord
- Call upon his name to save you.