Sunday 31st May

In His Steps – Patient

To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. 1 Peter 2:21

Today we are carrying on with our series “In his steps”. This week we are looking at patience.

Patience with His disciples

Reading: James 5:7-11

Prayer

Lord we want to thank you that we can spend time in your presence. Although we’re separated physically once again, we are together in spirit, and in our hearts we long to be together physically. We pray that you’d help us in this time together, that we may know your presence with us where we are, that we may learn from you as we follow through these notes, open our hearts and minds to what you have to say to us. As we look at patience, as we look at the passage before us, help us to know more of you and to more ably follow in your footsteps. In Jesus’ name. Amen

Patience in every aspect of daily life is something we are all having to learn at the moment. Living at home for prolonged periods of time, whether alone or with family needs patience! We need to be patient with each other & patient with ourselves.

  • Are you being more or less patient? Why?

Thomas asks, “Show us the way”. Jesus replies, “I am the way”. Philip asks, “Show us the Father”, Jesus replies, “I & the Father are One”. Jesus patiently tells Philip that in seeing Him, Jesus, he has seen the Father. Knowing Jesus means knowing the Father. To see Jesus is to see the characteristics of God, to see what God is like.

Song: Good, good Father

Consider the following:-

In Jesus, God entered an ordinary home. He grew up in ordinary family. In Jesus, God was not ashamed to do a man’s work, carpenter. He understands the work man has to do. In Jesus, God knew what it was to be tempted. We see not the serenity of God but the struggle of God. In Jesus, we see God loving. If there was no love there would be no pain. In Jesus, we see God upon a cross. He never condemned man but asked God to forgive.

People from the same family are recognised by their looks, characteristics, mannerisms, etc. My brother, Nick, looks just like our father & has, on occasions, been mistaken for him! My brother Ali & I sound like my father. (We have had a lot of amusement passing the phone from one to the other!!)

  • Do people recognise us as members of God’s family in the way we act, speak & live our lives?
  • Do people see what God is like when they see us? Why might this be?

Philip, in John 14:8, says they will be satisfied if they saw the Father. He was probably sincere in his statement but how many of us are truly satisfied? Often we want to know what’s just round the next corner & are never really satisfied. Paul had learnt to be content in any circumstance, Philippians 4:11-13. Jesus had infinite patience with His disciples. He never gave up on them. Jesus never gives up on us. Don’t give up on each other.

  • Are you content, satisfied?
  • How well do you know the people you work with, go to school with, live with, meet at church?

Song: Psalm 37

Psalm 37 is song of encouragement directed to the righteous. Like those to whom James was writing, James 5:1-6, they were suffering persecution at the hand of the wicked. They were tempted to be envious of the prosperity & well being of the wicked. They were encouraged to be still before the Lord, for God will vindicate the righteous. Psalm 37:7-8.

James gives similar advice, “Be patient”, for the “coming of the Lord”, when the wicked will be judged & the righteous delivered, “is near”.

  • How excited are you by the return of Jesus?
  • Are you frustrated because it seems to be a long time?
  • Do you live in the expectation that Jesus could return today or have you forgotten it & no longer think about His return?

Song: The Lord’s my Shepherd

It might be a good idea to get the thoughts of Philip, Simon & Jeremy about how patient, as farmers, they have been in waiting for the rains to come & the crops to grow!

It’s not easy sometimes, certainly if things aren’t going how you want them to. I think the worst thing when you talk about weather is when you’ve got grass cut and all it does is rain when you want sunshine – it’s very hard to be patient. When you’ve done it a number of years you kind of get used to doing it, and it get’s easier. Practise makes perfect, in terms of being patient. It’s not something you can do anything about, but it takes time to learn that.

Speaking to my brother, Nick a farmer, I know that he can get very frustrated by the weather! Yet he, along with other farmers, knows there is nothing he can do so has to wait patiently. I am very impatient which is probably why I chose not to become a farmer!

We cannot change the day when the Lord will return. We have to wait patiently for it by standing firm in what we believe. To have our hearts established in the Lord.

I suspect that there have been times over the past ten weeks when we have struggled to have patience with those with whom we live! We shouldn’t take our frustrations out on others. Nor should we make complaints against others as it may be us who is at fault. One day Jesus will judge us for our patience, or lack of it!

  • How often do we take out our frustrations on those we love, those who are close to us?

Throughout the Bible there are many examples of people who have endured patience in the face of suffering. The purpose of the Lord in taking us through suffering is to make us more like Him. We are to be people who follow in His steps. We are all in the same storm but our boats are all different. We are all suffering but in different ways.

  • How many people can you name from the Bible who showed patience in adversity?
  • Who in your lifetime has been an example by showing patience?
    • Possibly our parents through the war.
    • Different people today during the current crisis.
    • Sale of Maynards Green Gospel Hall & building of Horam Chapel.

The patience of Job is often quoted, though the NIV notes say it should be the perseverance of Job! Through it all Job believed that God was in control.

  • What, if any, are the differences between patience & perseverance?
  • Do we believe that God is in control of our current situation?
  • If we are going through trials & suffering does it mean that God has turned His face from us? Give a reason for your answer. Does it mean that we are not living godly lives? Why? How easy do you find it to endure trials?

Song: I will wait for you

The motive for patience is the Lord’s coming. If we didn’t believe that Jesus was going to return then we could do as we like because there would be no future after death. We are encouraged to stand firm, keep going & not give up. Suffering precedes patience, Romans 5:3. Notice where patience comes in 2 Peter 1:5-9.

  • If we didn’t suffer there would be no need for patience, do you agree with this? Why?
  • If there was no love there would be no pain, do you agree with this? Why?

We can take heart from the final sentence, “The Lord is full of compassion & mercy”. Be encouraged we may not always be patient but we know someone who is, The Lord, Jeremiah 29:11. God always has the best plans for us, be patient & they will work out.

Prayer

Lord, give us patience as we seek to follow in your footsteps. We’ve been thinking about patience and how you’re patient with us, and how we’re patiently waiting for your return, and Lord we recognise that this time we’re in is going to come to an end, whether it’s the time of corona virus or the time when we’re waiting to see you return, it’s something we have a hope in. And Lord we ask that you’ll help us now as we go into the next week in all the things we’re doing, whether it’s going to be much the same today and the days and weeks before, but Lord we continue to put our trust and faith and hope in you. Help us to continue to care for one another , continue to respond to each others needs, and continue to serve you in the way you have called us. We pray for our country at this time, and we pray for our leaders that they would have wisdom in knowing how to move things forward, and we pray for all those people blessed with the intelligence to analyse things and work out the way forward, we ask that you’d give them wisdom as they seek to guide us. Lord we look forward to a time when we can meet together in person, help us to have wisdom to know how to do this when the opportunity comes, and that we would be changed as a church – that we would be moved forward in the way that you want us to be. That we won’t be the same as we were before, but that we’d be more like you as a group of your people, as the body of Christ, as we are in this place where you have placed us in Horam. Help us and bless us we pray. In Jesus’ name. Amen

This weeks key verse is John 14:9.
Next week we will be looking at Compassion. Being aware of other peoples needs, from Matthew 9:35-38