The Power of Patience
The early church in the first 3 centuries grew at an amazing rate in spite of all the reasons people had to not join. You were shunned, scorned, gossiped, jailed, killed. You could lose jobs, family, and friends and influence. By 300 ad 5-6 million (8-12% and 40% growth per decade). After Nero in 68 AD the church went underground. It wasn’t the worship services that drew them it was their lifestyle.
What especially different about them was their patience. Business, relationships, persecution, vengeance. They loved their neighbor! Widows, orphans, prisoners, abandoned babies, sick,buried the dead. During the plagues they ministered to the sick and buried the dead.
The scriptures says a lot about patience!
1. God is patient!
He rains on just and unjust. Look how patient He was with us!
Romans 15:4 For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. 5 Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus,
2. Patience is process
Romans 5:3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope.
Romans 8:25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.
James 1:3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
3. Patience works by fermentation
Fermentation is a slow transformative process. You see a bubble now and again. The wine will expand the wine skin!
4. Patience is seed in the ground
James 5:7 Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. 8 You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.
Luke 8:15 But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience.
Hebrews 6:12 that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
Hebrews 10:36 For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise:
II Corinthians 12:12 Truly the signs of an apostle were accomplished among you with all perseverance, in signs and wonders and mighty deeds.
5. Patience surrenders control
The growth of the early church was uncontrolled, unpredictable, unstoppable, and uncoordinated. There were no writings on evangelism but many on patience!
Patience confesses God is in control. I can wait. I can endure. I can be still. I can win.
Hebrews 12:1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 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 has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
II Corinthians 6:4 But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses,