Christian perseverance is a huge, pivotal, theological aspect of one's faith. Do you realize how important perseverance is? Do you hear of or come across many people who have claimed to be a Christian at one point and now they've abandoned God? Or even those who claim to be a Christian currently but if you examine their life, the evidence is untraceable? The passion has evaporated, the diligence has been smothered and the unseen has become irrelevant.
So let's talk. Your last day is the most important. We should want to finish well. Rather than live short-sighted lives, we should look forward to heaven and to set your hope on the grace that will be brought to us. We ought to continue with our obligations to God, the church, your family, kids, etc.
One way to look at your life is like that of a race.
2 Timothy 4:6–8] For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
You can run six miles, 12 miles, or 22.6 miles in a marathon, but if you don't cross the finish line, there’s no crown.
Jesus warns that his disciples will be threatened by persecution and says in these verses:
Matthew 10:22b But the one who endures to the end will be saved.
Revelation 2:10b Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.
James 1:12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
Hebrews 3:13-14 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called "today," that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.
Colossians 1:21–23 And you, who once were estranged and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death in order to present you holy and blameless and irreproachable before him, provided that you continue in the faith stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel.
How are you doing in your race?
Are you confident that you will finish well?
Persevere in Scripture.
You cannot persevere in life without persevering in Scripture. Check out these verses:
John 17:17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.
1 Peter 2:2-3 Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation — if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.
John 8:31-32 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Charles Spurgeon, “The Bible that is falling apart usually belongs to the person whose life is not.”
So how is your time in Scripture?
Staying in Scripture keeps you growing in Christ-likeness, humility, courage, etc. Read and pray through the Scriptures – repent, memorize, meditate on them. Be in a group with others discussing Scriptures. If you don’t hear God’s voice, you’ll start listening to culture and fools. And you will lean towards becoming unfaithful.
We need to persevere against and through the ways of the world (culture). Here's many lists culture says to us:
Culture says you’re supposed to eat turkey for Thanksgiving but clearly lasagna or pizza would suffice
Culture says don’t worry about sin, it's not serious
Culture says coveting our neighbors stuff is ambition
Culture says killing an unborn child is a choice
Culture says sexual perversion is an alternative lifestyle
Culture says neglecting the poor and needy is self preservation
Culture says pornography and profanity is the freedom of choice
Culture says exploiting the poor is the lottery
Culture says neglecting the discipline of children is building their self-esteem
Culture will also try to keep you busy – distracted: You need a new car, better home, new clothes, a new TV show that you have to check out, more books, more music, sports to watch, a new phone because the one you got three months ago is fossilizing, and you have to tell others what you’re doing in the online social community as well as view all the stuff others are up to.
Christians also need to persevere through scoffing.
2 Peter 3:3-7 Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.
People will make fun of you, dislike you, disown you – perhaps family, friends, professors, supervisors, neighbors, etc. Do you really believe that (virgin birth, resurrection, God created all, forgive your enemy)?
How are you handling people scoffing at you? I see comedians make fun of Christians. Who’s getting to you?
We need to stand up for what we believe in. Our convictions will hopefully remain strong and intact – don’t diminish your love for Jesus and your faithfulness.
When have you faced scoffers in your life – been made fun of/laughed at/etc. and persevered well?
Christians also need to persevere through persecution.
1 Cor 4:11-13 To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; when we are slandered, we answer kindly. Up to this moment we have become the scum of the earth, the refuse of the world.
2 Timothy 3:12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted
Romans 8:16-18 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
Do you want to share in Christ’s glory? I do. I want to persevere so I may share in Christ’s glory.
You can utilize the trials in your life by helping others who have gone through something similar.
You can persevere to the end because God loves you. His love secures your relationship with Him. His love motivates us to persevere. You don’t have to persevere, you get to.
We need to persevere by doing the will of God.
Matthew 7:21 Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
2 Timothy 2:12 if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us.
Keeping the faith is a lifelong task. You can't give up at the halfway mark and expect the crown of righteousness.
Is there in you, a seriousness about following God? Are you chasing Him? A genuine desire to submit and humbly walk with God. All of us should be growing. We should actively be seeking Him. There is always more to learn about Christ.
If you say, “yes, my mind is set on him,” how does this work out in your life? How is your mind being transformed and your heart being stirred up for the things of God?
On a day to day basis, what are you doing to set your mind on the things above? If the answer is "Nothing" you may need to question what you are looking towards or chasing after?
Holiness is living a life in obedience, submission to God. Holiness is the effect, godliness is the cause. Holiness came as the man Jesus Christ. Get to know a person names Jesus. Seek to live a life by the Holy Spirit, to live like Jesus. How? Godliness; which means “to worship well.” We need to recognize our idols, destroy them, overcome them, and learn to worship God.
Live with a confidence. Does anyone here plan on failing? Do you think you’ll fail again? How do you respond to failures? Do you learn and grow from them? Repent of them? Allow yourself to be pruned?
I pray for a guarded faith, more passion to follow Him, more and stronger Biblical convictions, more repentance, to remove blindness.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.