Today’s message will be on the third descriptor in 2 Corinthians 6:4By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned,
Longsuffering is a Bible term for what we would call patience in our modern vernacular, but it is more specific than that, the definition of longsuffering is, having or showing patience despite troubles, especially those caused by other people. We can see that longsuffering literally means to suffer for a long time, to endure affliction brought on by others such as those enemies of the faith that war against the saints and the Churches of God.
Another thing to consider is the word suffer, which means to allow or permit, this can offer further understanding of what it means to longsuffer, that we are allowing others to treat us poorly and to cause us to suffer and we are not fighting back against it. There is a time to fight, but there are also many instances when we should not resist, when we are called to take persecution with patience and to permit ourselves to be mistreated.
As saints of the Most High God we are called to approve ourselves as ministers of the gospel by enduring tribulation and persecution for Christ’s sake(2 Corinthians 6:4). While today in the United States most of the trouble we might endure for Christ is surely a light affliction, wecan see the swelling tide of antichrist sentiment increasing with alarming speed. We must begin, if we haven’t already, to prepare ourselves spiritually for the suffering that may come sooner than expected.
1 John 3:13 Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.
Matthew 24:9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake.
Matthew 24:33 So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.
God already warned us that in the last days we would suffer long for our faith and allegiance to Jesus Christ, and we must not ignore the instruction from God to watch for the signs of His coming and allow ourselves to be taken unawares and allow our families and churches to suffer a shipwreck of faith due to a lack of spiritual preparedness.
It is our duty as Christians to be like Jesus in that when He was reviled, He reviled not again(1 Peter 2:23), and in matters of being rudely shamed and made a mockery of we are commanded to turn the other cheek(Matt. 5:39). We are also commanded to take up our cross daily and follow Christ(Luke 9:23), meaning we have crucified our flesh and consider ourselves dead to the flesh.
Romans 6:6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The Apostle Paul said, I die daily(1 Cor. 15:31), it is a matter of continual acknowledgment of the fact that we are citizens of Heaven(Eph. 2:19, Phil 3:20), that our bodies are not our own (1 Cor. 6:19-20)and that our purpose as Bible believing Christians is to be fully submitted to the Holy Spirit and the will of God our Father and trust in His goodness and love for us that we can never be separated from.
Matthew 5:10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
This does not mean that we don’t stand for the Word of God and righteousness and speak the truth of Jesus Christ into our culture.
2 Timothy 4:1 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;
2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.
It does mean, however, that we should be prepared and willing to humble ourselves and suffer shame, poverty, imprisonment, or whatever may come as a result of standing on the Word of God, even unto death.
2 Timothy 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.
The Christians of the first few centuries A.D. were all too familiar with the cost of being a Christian, which often resulted in beatings, torture and death at the hands of the Jews (Matt. 10:17, 23:34, Acts 14:19)and later, the Romans(Acts 25:21), yet they boldly loved not their lives even unto death and brought great glory to God through their martyrdom and their blood cries out their love for Jesus Christ even to this day.
Matthew 23:34 Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city:
35 That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.
Knowing what the scriptures teach about the trajectory of history that God has revealed, we must be fervent in prayer, saturated in God’s Word, and discern the signs of the times as our world slides further from God into an antichrist agenda.
2 Timothy 3:1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,
7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
8 Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.
9 But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as their's also was.
10 But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience,
11 Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me.
12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.
These are surely hard sayings that we must consider now while we enjoy the blessing of God’s restraining hand that is still holding back the unrighteousness that is a swelling wall ready to break forth.
Isaiah 30:13 Therefore this iniquity shall be to you as a breach ready to fall, swelling out in a high wall, whose breaking cometh suddenly at an instant.