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LONGSUFFERING

Victor M. Eskew

 

INTRODUCTION

 

A.      The Christian is a conglomeration of many qualities.

 

B.      These qualities are also qualities that God possesses.  Therefore, when we manifest them, we are showing ourselves to be like God.

 

C.      One of the qualities of a Christian is longsuffering.  Let’s take a look at this Christian attribute.

 

I.                   DEFINITION

 

A.      Longsuffering is part of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23).

 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance:  against such there is no law.

 

B.      Definition

1.       Some like to define the word by flip-flopping the two terms.  Thus, it means to suffer long.

2.       The Greek word is a combination of two words:  macros (long) and thumos (temper).  Thus, a literal rendering of the word would be “to be long tempered” as opposed to “short tempered.

3.       It is translated with three other English words.

a.       Patience (Matt. 18:26)

 

The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.

 

b.       Bear long (Luke 18:7)

 

And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry night and day unto him, though he bear long with them.

 

c.        Patiently endure (Heb. 6:15)

 

And so, after he had patiently endured, he received the promise.

 

4.       The word is often employed with wrongs that a Christian suffers.  One who is longsuffering is slow to anger, slow to avenge, and slow to punish.

 

II.                GOD IS LONGSUFFERING

 

A.      Exodus 34:6

 

And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth.

 

B.      There are numerous examples of God’s longsuffering.

1.       In the days of Noah (I Pet. 3:20)

 

Which sometimes were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God, waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.

 

a.       The ark took many years to build.

b.       During that time, Noah was “a preacher of righteousness” (II Pet. 2:5).

c.        During that time, God was bearing with the people.

 

2.       The Parable of the Two Debtors (Matt. 18:26-27)

 

The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.  Then the Lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him and forgave the debt.

 

3.       Saul of Tarsus (I Tim. 1:16)

 

Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.

 

C.      The longsuffering of God has one primary focus, the salvation of the souls of men.

1.       Romans 2:4

 

Or despiseth thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance.

 

2.       II Peter 3:9

 

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

 

3.       II Peter 3:15a

 

And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation…

 

III.             CHRISTIANS ARE TO BE LONSUFFERING

 

A.      We have already seen that longsuffering is part of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23).

 

B.      Paul associated longsuffering with love in I Corinthians 13:4.

 

Charity suffereth long, and is kind…

 

C.      In Colossians 3:12, Paul says that it is something that God’s children are to put on.

 

Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering.

 

D.     It can be developed because Paul manifested it in his life.

1.       In II Corinthians 6:4, Paul lists things that he had done that prove he and his companions were ministers of God.  In verse 6, he writes:  By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned.

2.       II Timothy 3:10

 

But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, lonsuffering, charity, patience.

 

IV.              THE APPLICATION OF LONGSUFFERING

 

A.      Trivial

1.       When someone cuts us off in traffic.

2.       When a line at the grocery store moves slowly.

3.       When the rain knocks out the satellite reception on the TV.

 

B.      Trenches

1.       Home

a.       Your wife seems to be constantly nagging you.

b.       Your husband comes home from work upset.

c.        Your child wakes up in the morning on the wrong side of the bed.

2.       Work

a.       A co-worker is not pulling his/her weight.

b.       A boss is on edge and constantly watching you.

3.       School

a.       A teacher has not been fair in his/her grading.

b.       You are blamed for something you did not do.

 

C.      Training

1.       You do not seem to be growing in your faith and knowledge as quickly as you should be.

2.       You take on a spiritual task and fail.

3.       You seek answers and direction from others, but they are not helpful.

 

D.     Transgressions

1.       Another trespasses against you, but you do not retaliate.

2.       You become the object of attacks by your enemies.

 

E.      Trials

1.       Problem after problem seems to come upon you.

2.       The pain of your affliction is deep and constant.

3.       There seems to be no answers to your suffering.

 

F.      Timing

1.       The Lord does not answer your prayers as you desire.

2.       The success that you seek is not present regardless of how hard you work and how good you are.

3.       The Lord does not return to take His saints home.

 

V.                 HOW TO DEVELOP LONGSUFFERING

 

A.      Be intentional

1.       To mean to do something

2.       Today, I will be longsuffering

3.       James 1:22

 

But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

 

B.      Keep things in perspective.  In other words, think (Prov. 4:23).

 

Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.

 

C.      Win the small battles.

 

D.     Master your feelings, your tongue, and your behavior.

1.       Proverbs 21:23

 

Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.

 

2.       I Corinthians 9:27

 

But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection…

 

E.      Trust God’s providence (Rom. 8:28).

 

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are called according to his purpose.

 

 

 

F.      Look to the end (Heb. 12:2)

 

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down on the right hand of the throne of God.

 

G.     Pray (Prov. 55:22)

 

Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee:  he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.

 

CONCLUSION

 

A.      Our growth as Christians is a life-long process.  What we seek to do is grow, that is, get better day by day.  Each day, therefore, we work on becoming more longsuffering.

 

B.      We mentioned that God is longsuffering.  But, there comes a time when His longsuffering comes to an end.

1.       Peter noted that God’s longsuffering waited in the days of Noah (I Pet. 3:20).  But, it came to an end (Gen. 7:11-12).

 

In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broke up, and the windows of heaven were opened.  And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights.

 

2.       God’s longsuffering is being experienced by man right now.  One day, it will come to an end (II Pet. 3:9-11).

1.       The Patience (II Pet. 3:9a).

 

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward…

 

2.       The Purpose (II Pet. 3:9b)

 

…not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

 

3.       The Promise (II Pet. 3:10)

 

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

 

4.       The Preparation (II Pet. 3:11)

 

Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness?