xclose menu

A Long Obedience in the Same Direction

April 8, 2020 Pastor: Dr. Dan Nah Series: The Foundations of Endurance

Topic: Wednesday Nights Scripture: Hebrews 1:1-2

I.    Introduction

  • Illustration: Bert and Colleen – 62 Years of Faithfulness

"Bert was a faint star that rises night after night and faithfully crosses the same path in the sky, unnoticed on earth." (Randy Alcorn)

  • Key Point:  The Christian life requires endurance.

Hebrews 10:36 – For you have need of endurance.

Hebrews 12:1 - 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 run with endurance the race that is set before us,

James 5:7-8- Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient.  Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.

1 John 2:28 - And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming.

"Abiding requires a kind of staying power…To abide in the Word is to hang on tenaciously…Discipleship requires staying power. We sign up for duration. We do not graduate until heaven." (R.C. Sproul)

  • Biblical endurance is distinctly Christ-centered in nature.

More than: “Grin it and bear it”; “Grit your teeth and get through it”; “Tough it out”; “Hang in there”; “Keep a stiff upper lip.”

Hebrews 12:2 - looking 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.

II.  The Definition of Biblical Endurance

Hebrews 12:1 - let run with endurance the race that is set before us.

  • The term hupomone is used 32 times in the New Testament; the corresponding verb (hypomenein) is used 15 times in the New Testament.

ESV – “steadfastness” KJV – “patience”

NASB/NIV – “perseverance”  GNT – “determination”

"Hupomone is one of the noblest of NT words. Normally it is translated 'patience' or 'endurance, but…there is no single English word which transmits all the fullness of its meaning. It is not the patience which can sit down and bow its head and let things descend upon it and passively endure until the storm is past. . . It is the spirit which can bear things, not simply with resignation, but with blazing hope. . . the spirit which bears things because it knows that these things are leading to a goal of glory." (William Barclay)

Uses of the word “Hupomone”:

A.  Endurance and Suffering

Romans 5:3 – Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,

  • Suffering (thlipsis) – literally means to “crush or press together”. The word originally expressed sheer physical pressure upon a man.  It came to represent tribulation or trouble.

Thlipsis (tribulations) has the underlying meaning of being under pressure and was used of squeezing olives in a press in order to extract the oil and of squeezing grapes to extract the juice… In Scripture the word thlipsis is perhaps most often used of outward difficulties, but it is also used of emotional stress." (John MacArthur)

      Romans 5:4 - endurance produces character, and character produces hope.

B.   Endurance and Persecution

1 Thessalonians 1:2-3 - We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Thessalonians 1:6-7 - And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia.

2 Thessalonians 1:4 - Therefore we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions that you are enduring.

Revelation 14:12 - Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.

            C.   Endurance and Faith

James 1:2-3 - Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.

1 Peter 1:7 - the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

James 5:11 - You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.         

The Steadfastness of Job

Job 1:9-11 - Then Satan answered the LORD and said, “Does Job fear God for no reason? Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.”

The Steadfastness of Job (continued)

Job 1:20-22 - Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. And he said, “Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.

            D.  Endurance and Hope

                  Romans 5:4 – and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,

1 Thessalonians 1:2-3 - We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 15:4 - For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

            E.  Endurance and Fruitfulness

2 Peter 1:5-8 - For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

  • ineffective (argos) – “without work,” “without labor,” “doing nothing.”
  • unfruitful (akarpos) – “barren”, “without fruit”, “unprofitable”.

“I can plod.  I can persevere in any definite pursuit.  To this I owe everything.” (William Carey)

“Stop the revolution, and join the rest of the plodders.” (Kevin De Young)

Luke 8:15 - As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.     

            F.   Endurance and Joy

Colossians 1:11 - being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy.

Philippians 4:4 - Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.

Philippians 1:12-13 -  I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ.

Philippians 1:18 - What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice,

Philippians 3:1 - Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you is no trouble to me and is safe for you.

Philippians 4:10 - I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity.

Acts 16:25 - About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them,

“[Hupomone is] a root of all the goods, mother of piety, fruit that never withers, a fortress that is never taken, a harbor that knows no storms…the queen of virtues, the foundation of right actions, peace in war, calm in tempest, security in plots [which no violence of man, and no powers of the evil one, can injure]” (John Chrysostom, quoted by Alfred Plummer)

            G.  Endurance and Glory

Hebrews 12:2 – looking 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.

2 Corinthians 4:16-17 - So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,

James 1:12 - Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

Romans 8:18 - For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

O Love, that wilt not let me go,

I rest my weary soul in Thee;

I give Thee back the life I owe,

That in Thine ocean depths its flow

May richer, fuller be.


O Light, that followest all my way,

I yield my flickering torch to Thee;

My heart restores its borrowed ray,

That in Thy sunshine’s blaze its day

May brighter, fairer be.


O Cross, that liftest up my head,

I dare not ask to fly from Thee;

I lay in dust life’s glory dead,

And from the ground there blossoms red

Life that shall endless be


“not with dumb resignation, but with holy joy; not only with the absence of murmur, but with a song of praise." (George Matheson) 

            The Faithful Plodding of Biblical Endurance:

  • Biblical Endurance is not flashy (non-spectacular).

James 5:10 - As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.

“Faithful and useful servants of God in the Old Testament had to endure suffering patiently. In fact, often the higher the status of the prophet in the Old Testament, the more intense his suffering. Most endured tremendous hardships. It is easier to expect this in someone else’s life than it is our own.

James does not refer to merely suffering and patience in general, but the suffering and the patience specifically brought about for those who walk deeply with God. God greatly used such faithful servants; He still can with us as well. Much of what we have in the Bible is due to the prophets’ steadfast endurance. They are examples of not only how God can use someone, but also the faithful endurance required for God to work as He wills.” (Greg Harris, The Cup and the Glory)

  • Biblical Endurance looks like Taking the Next Step (Or: “Doing the Next Thing”)

“Do it immediately;

Do it with prayer;

Do it reliantly,

casting all care;

Do it with reverence,

Tracing His Hand,

Who placed it before thee with

Earnest command.

Stayed on Omnipotence,

Safe 'neath His wing,

Leave all resultings,

DO THE NEXT THING.” (Old Saxon poem)

“In a culture obsessed with celebrity and novelty, emotional highs and experiences, we’ve forgotten that real life is mostly lived in the daily mundane. It’s not lived on mountaintops and it’s not impressive enough to be a Facebook status. It’s a series of uncelebrated steps, of hidden habits. This week you’ll do a hundred unspectacular things: brush your teeth, eat food, wash dishes, do laundry, answer the phone, pay bills, gas up your car, wash your hands, make your bed, etc.

You’ll do the next thing. And then, after that, you’ll do the next thing.

One little (seemingly insignificant) moment at a time.” (Colleen Chao)

Ordinary has to be one of the loneliest words in our vocabulary today.  Who wants a bumper sticker that announces to the neighborhood, ‘My child is an ordinary student at Bubbling Brook Elementary”?  Who wants to be that ordinary person who lives in an ordinary town, is a member of an ordinary church, has ordinary friends, and works an ordinary job?...our restless impatience with the ordinary is not just the influence of our culture, but the influence of unsound views of Christian discipleship that have shaped that culture over generations.” (“The Ordinary Christian Life” by Michael Horton)

III. The Foundations of Endurance

      A.  The Patience (Perseverance) of God

“As with so many commands of Scripture, “persevere” is more than something God says; it is something he does. It is one of the many aspects of his character. The reason it is of great worth is that it is one of the chief ways God has revealed himself to us. Scripture consistently points to God’s perseverance and forbearance with his people.” (Ed Welch)

2 Peter 3:9 - The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

  • Patient (makrothumeo) – “to be long-suffering”, to be “long in patience.”
  • Definition: “The patience of God is that excellency of His nature in which He bears with man’s sin without immediately avenging Himself.”

“…we would define the Divine patience as that power of control which God exercises over Himself, causing Him to bear with the wicked and forbear so long in punishing them. . . Men that are great in the world are quick in passion, and are not so ready to forgive an injury, or bear with an offender, as one of a meaner rank…God is slow to anger because [He is] great in power.  He has no less power over Himself than over His creatures.”  (Stephen Charnock)

Exodus 34:6 - The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness,

Jeremiah 3:12 - “‘Return, faithless Israel, declares the LORD. I will not look on you in anger, for I am merciful, declares the LORD; I will not be angry forever.

Isaiah 65:2-3 - I spread out my hands all the day to a rebellious people, who walk in a way that is not good, following their own devices; a people who provoke me to my face continually, sacrificing in gardens and making offerings on bricks;

“Longsuffering is that which keeps him from coming.  He is bearing with men.  Not yet the thunderbolt!  Not yet the riven heavens and the reeling earth!  Not yet the great white throne, and the day of judgment; for he is very pitiful, and beareth long with men! . . . he is very patient, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.”  (C.H. Spurgeon)

How wondrous is God’s patience with the world today.  On every side people are sinning with a high hand.  The Divine law is trampled underfoot and God Himself openly despised.  It is truly amazing that He does not instantly strike dead those who so brazenly defy Him…Why does not the righteous wrath of Heaven make an end of such abominations?  Only one answer is possible:  because God bears with ‘much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction.’” (A.W. Pink)

1 Timothy 1:16 - But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.

Ephesians 5:1 - Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.

            James 5:8 - You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.

More in The Foundations of Endurance

April 29, 2020

The Person and The Power of the Holy Spirit

April 22, 2020

The Preservation of God

April 15, 2020

The Patience of God