Community Group Study Notes
Have someone in your group provide a brief, 2-minute summary of Sunday’s Teaching.
Read 1 Timothy 1:14-15. How has God shown you His “immense patience”?
Read 2 Peter 3:9 and 3:15. Why is God patient towards us? What should His patience motivate us to be and do?
How is God currently producing patience in your life? Where have you seen Him working to change your perspective towards others?
What is one action step that you can take in light of Sunday’s message and our conversation today?
Good morning Chapel family. Whether you're watching here at CrossPoint, at the Apex, at one of our campuses or watching online. So glad to be with you today to share in this celebration of our good God, and there's much to celebrate today. We're going to continue by opening up God's word and going to Galatians chapter five, where we spent the last several weeks and where we'll continue today in just a brief moment. I don't know if you've heard this piece of advice before but I grew up in church and so I heard a lot of Christian isms, okay, sometimes called Christianese. And it's almost like a secret dialect among people who have been around church for a very long time. I don't know why it happens, and certainly if you're relatively new some of these phrases or statements might seem odd. Like if someone offers to pray for you and they pray that God would put a hedge of protection around you.
I don't know anyone that is threatened by a bush. Okay, so a hedge of protection, I know what we're trying to say but isn't that just sometimes an odd thing. And if you're new, you might be thinking a hedge of protection, what is that? Or there's actually another statement that you'll hear sometimes, and it's almost as a cautionary tale, and someone will say this to you, don't pray for patience. Okay, whether you're watching at home, online, somewhere at one of our campuses or here in this room, how many of you have heard this statement before don't pray for patience? Don't be ashamed. Okay, lots of hands in the air, lots of hands watching on the other end of that camera as well, don't pray for patience. Now you should know why you're not supposed to pray for patience. Because if you do, God will send all sorts of trials to test your patience.
This is really the best we could do, don't pray for patience because if you do, God is going to reveal just how impatient you are. Is this really the best view of God that we've got? You recognize you're not as patient as you should be and so in a sincere prayer of faith you say, Lord, I want to demonstrate patience. I want to reveal the patience that you want to produce in my life, and so God would you give me patience. And on the other end of that prayer, are we to assume that God is hearing that prayer, gets a smirk on his face, looks at the heavenly host around him and says, watch this. Is this really who God is? That the only way that he's going to produce patience in you is by driving you crazy. By putting all sorts of thorny experiences in your way to frustrate you into submission, or to reveal that you really don't have it all together. Or maybe a more pertinent question would be this, is God behind all visits to the DMV?
And this matters because what we view about God, what we view about God's view of patience, this matters. This matters to us ever seeing any sort of patience rise up in your life. And I'm not going to spend time building a case for you of why patience is something you need. Okay, because you've got enough of that experience under your belt. Some of you came back to worship in person for the first time today, maybe here at one of our campuses. And so your patience or lack there of was already revealed in the amount of time that it took you to get up the door to get to church for the first time in months. Like, wow, we're running behind, come on family, let's go. And then you're exercising that impatience as you come to church to hear a message on patience. Well, we need to acclimate and maybe recalibrate our view of God certainly and our view of what God view is about patience, if we're ever going to see it happen, if we're ever going to experience this spirit produced fruit.
And so the list that Paul gives in Galatians five, as he talks about the fruit, remember the fruit singular of the spirit. And he starts to enumerate the many different flavors of the fruit, the list continues in Galatians five this way in verse 22. But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance. That's our word today, forbearance. Now, that's maybe an archaic word for some. In fact, I don't know that it's in modern vernacular very much, patience sure but forbearance, we might have expected a more modernized word here as we read the New International Version. And we might have expected that word patience but we see forbearance. And I dare say that you would have made it through this year without ever hearing the word forbearance if it weren't for terms that gained up kind of recognition during this season. Terms like mortgage forbearance, you probably would have made it through the whole year without ever hearing that word at all.
So why forbearance? Or maybe the King James Version, I grew up reading the King James Version and so sometimes that's how I recite verses is in the King James, and the word there is long suffering. That's Shakespearean English, the long suffering. So what of these words and before we just recoil at maybe the stuffiness of words like long suffering, or forbearance. Before we just truncate this message to, yeah, yeah, I get it, I need to be more patient, I got it. Before we do that, we should pause and linger just a little bit longer because there's something that God wants to show us through what Paul says in the words that Paul uses that are very specific and I think forbearance is a great translation here. You know that I will often and you probably could play Jonathan Drake preaching Bingo, and anticipate that I'm going to tell you what the Greek word is. Because you know that I'm a nerd at heart or maybe just obviously, not even secretly just outwardly. And so you know that I'm going to share with you what that word is.
And that's not so that I can exercise what limited faculties I have in Greek, that are leftover from seminary 14 years ago but rather that we would dig into what the original text is saying and it would help us remember. That's why we share, that's why all of us share those things. So here's the Greek term in its original language, and you would rightly say, that is totally Greek to me. All right, that was, sorry, it was terrible, I'm going to move on. Here's the English rendering of that. Here's the word, ready? Makrothumia, makrothumia. All of us, everywhere, watching at home too even in front of your kids, I know your kids will do this with you, but everyone here say makro.
Okay, good. You're all Greek scholars now, you're actually further ahead than all of us in the first year of seminary, okay. Makrothumia. You hear, and you see if you isolate that first word makro. Well, it's the opposite of micro, small. This is the reason I'm showing this to you in print. Makro, it's big. It's long. It's vast, it's huge. And thumia is tempered or passion, or we would say it like this, long fused instead of short fused. Think of someone who's long tempered not short tempered. And so when Paul writes Galatians five, he doesn't use the word that he could have used to talk about patience that would be more pertaining to circumstances which is a different word, he uses this word, makrothumia.
Long tempered, long fused, anger is a long ways away. Now there's a Hebrew counterpart to that and I'm not going to show you that today. But the Hebrew counterpart to that literally means long nosed, which I personally take great offense at. Let me turn for my profile for the camera. All right. Long nosed, why? Because, for the Hebrew mind anger was accompanied by. That's a dangerous thing to do on a platform, breathe through your nose exclusively. Long nosed, the rapid successive intensified breathing is accompanying anger. And you've done this, you've done this with your kids, before you can even utter a word you just start to breathe. You know that breath. Now if your kids are smart they learn to straighten up while you're still breathing before you start speaking. That's just the rule of thumb that's free for all the children watching today.
But the idea for the Hebrew was the same that in our opposition to being quick to anger, the long nosed, the long tempered, the long breath, would mean slow to anger. And so with all of these things that Paul mentions love, joy, peace, now, forbearance or patience, we need to better understand the divine quality. Because this has to be different from what you and I could produce on our own. It has to be altogether different from what we could manufacture in our own lives. And so for us to understand, what is forbearance? What is that long suffering? What is that long tempered, being slow to anger? More than any other being in all of the world you know who that describes the best, God. God is slow to anger. God personifies makrothumia, more than any other being in the world. Unless you buy into this reductionistic version of the scripture that says the Old Testament God was angry and mean and the New Testament God and Jesus was friendly and kind and loved to hold sheep and babies.
If you, lest you buy into that, let's look at the record. And so I want to show you five verses from the Old Testament that reveal who this God is. 1 Exodus 34, after God gave the stone tablets to Moses, and he passed in front of Moses, God did. And he proclaimed this about himself, the Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, slow to anger. This is how God wants to be known as he introduces himself to the people of Israel. Look at Numbers 14:18, the Lord is slow to anger, abounding in love and, this is incredible, forgiving sin and rebellion. This is who God is, this is how he wants to be known among his people. And this became such a refrain for the people of Israel that they actually even wrote it into their worship songs. Psalm 86:15 says this, but you Lord are compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.
Do you hear this over and over again. Psalm 103 verse eight. The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. Like every good worship song it says it multiple times. Psalm 145 verses eight and nine, the Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. He is rich in love. The Lord is good to all, he has compassion on all he has made. When you look at this, and this is just a sampling by the way. When you look at these verses, they were originally written in Hebrew, but when they translated the Hebrew Scripture into Greek because of the Hellenization of the world, every single instance that I just showed you, makrothumia. The long tempered nature of God, that for God, anger is a long way away. And this is how God wanted to be known, but let me ask you this, Is this your view of God?
Pause with that for just a second. Is this your view of God? What I just read, and knowing that, that's just a sampling, that's just the beginning. Is this your view of him? Do you believe that he's slow to anger? Do you believe that he is abounding in love and kindness? That he has compassion on all he has made, do you believe this? Is this your view of God or do you have a different view? Because for some maybe the question that comes up in your mind when everything is going wrong, nothing is going right, and you're grasping for answers and everything seems to be slipping through your fingers, you may ask this question, is God mad at me? And you may think that based on how life has gone he has not been slow to anger. In fact, he's been quick to anger with you.
That your image of God is not what we just read but through your experience you've actually propped up an idea of God where he's sitting there with a lightning bolt in his hand, peering over from heaven into your life, waiting, waiting for you to sin, waiting for you to stumble, waiting for you to fail, waiting to say, I told you so. And so your description of God would not be makrothumia but microthumia. God is quick to anger. That's not who, that's not the God I've experienced, you might say. That's one view. Or maybe others you would say, no, God is slow to anger. But like a sibling who's well behaved, that looks at the other sibling who's not well behaved, you know what pops up in your mind when you think about God being slow to anger, well, at least dad doesn't have to worry about me doing that. God is slow to anger because I don't make him mad. You see why this is an equally insufficient view of God.
Because what you're saying without meaning to is that you actually control the way God responds, you're actually in charge of his character. God's slow to anger because I'm giving him enough to work with. At least I'm not like this tax collector. And so in both cases and those are obviously intentionally of ends of the spectrum. But those extremes and everything that falls in between is an inadequate view of who God is, and his patience, his forbearance, his long suffering. And so until you and I align our view of God's patience with the gospel truth of it, you and I will never move close enough to God in order for him to produce that patience in us. Until you align your view with the gospel truth of who God is, you won't move close enough to God for him to change you into the person that he wants you to be. You will keep him at arm's length. See in the former example where you think God is quick to anger because you just feel like, man, he's mad at me all the time, how close do you want to be to that God? Not very.
For the person who says, God's slow to anger because I've just given him a lot to work with, I don't make him mad, I don't take him off. How much do you really need that God? You see, how close you get to him is informed by what you believe of him. And how close you get to him will determine how he can shape you. Because if you as a lump of clay are at a distance from God because that's maybe where you think it's safest, if he's quick to anger you better be keeping your distance. And here's your lump of clay and you're at a distance from God and saying, good luck God here, turn me into what you want. I'm going to stay over here though, where it's safe. Now, the clay needs to be put in the hand of the potter for him to shape you as pleases him. And that is the best place for us to be. So until we align our view of God with the gospel truth, we will never get close enough to him in order for him to produce that kind of patience specifically in us.
And in the Gospel, we see the why, W-H-Y, the why of God's forbearance. Paul records this in Romans chapter three beginning of verse 23 which is familiar. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood to be received by faith. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished. All have sinned. All have fallen short of the glory of God and all can be justified that is declared not guilty freely by his grace to the redemption that has come through Christ Jesus through the shedding of his blood the atoning sacrifice for our sin. That is how we were declared not guilty of the sin debt that we owed and that was all freely by his grace. And he did this to demonstrate his righteousness, what does that mean?
It means that God will not let sin go unpunished indefinitely. And so when the scoffer might say, well, where is this God? If he's so just, where is he? God only has to point at the cross. Because it was at the cross that Jesus as our substitute took our sin on his shoulders, our debt into his account. And he paid that debt satisfied it more than enough for you and every single person who has ever lived. He has more than satisfied the sin debt. And he did this because in times past he had left the previous sins unpunished. But why did he do that? His forbearance. His patience. He was patient with humanity.
Year after year on Yom Kippur, which was just this past Monday, the Day of Atonement. Year after year the priest would stand up and make sacrifice after sacrifice, to the point that there were so many animal sacrifices necessary to postpone the payment of sin. So many sacrifices that it was said by one historian that in Jerusalem it was as though there was a river of blood flowing away from the Temple Mount, because of how many animal sacrifices on that single day. Year after year, after year, is God mad at us? Not this year. He's not judged us this year. He's not judged us this year. He's postponed the payment. But that day of reckoning came when Jesus Christ died because sins past, sins future all met at the cross. And Jesus took all our sin on his shoulders, demonstrating that God is patient with you. He's patient with us, because he loves us.
Or maybe we could say it this way, his forbearance was for our forgiveness. God's forbearance, since that's what we're talking about today, was for our forgiveness. He delayed the judgment of sin until the fullness of time came for the son to be born of woman under the law, and to become a sacrifice for us dying for our sins and rising from the dead, he had it timed perfectly. Remember he can be at peace because there's nothing that can fault his plans. And therefore, because he is always at peace he can be perfectly patient. Because what he promises will happen and that happened and it happens. This is what God did. But that gospel truth has to be personal. It can't just be something that you and I not in agreement. Yep, that's true, it's in the good book, therefore it's true. It has to go beyond that. And until it goes beyond that we will still be waiting at a distance, because we may not come close enough to be radically changed by God, until it becomes personal gospel truth.
And by that I don't mean we alter it to our personal lives or make a Christianity that fits for us. I'm talking about when the gospel intersects with your life and you're changed. Like happened for Paul, because listen to how the Apostle Paul describes his own radical conversion with very carefully chosen words, spirit directed in First Timothy 116. But for that very reason, I was shown mercy so that in me the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his, just pause here for one second, his immense patience in me, Paul. Go back one second, in me the worst of sinners. I'm at the head of the sin line, Paul says, he displayed his immense patience with me, continue. As an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. For this reason, I was shown mercy so that in me Christ might display his immense patience. Why was God patient with Paul? Why was he patient with Paul?
Why did he show this immense patience? Remember him. He was an enemy of God. Now, he didn't know that he was, he thought he was advocating for good things, but he was trying to eradicate from the face of the earth the message of the gospel and any person who is attached to it. Imagine that, God shows immense patience to the person who is diametrically opposed to what God's will is. Literally trying to stamp out the Christian movement before it could ever leave Jerusalem. God shows immense patience to an enemy. I have trouble showing patience to people that I actually like. And judging by your action you do too. God does this for Paul, why? He wants to display his patience for those who would believe.
What do you think changed for Paul, as he stood up in town after town, city after city? If God could do it for me he can do it for you. If God could rescue me, no, no, if God would even rescue me he would do it for you. What do you think change for Paul after that? Do you think he had a change of perspective? Do you think that when he realized that his sin was deserving of God's righteous anger, but that it was diverted to Jesus instead, do you think that that changed his outlook? Do you think that changed the way he looked at the faces of people he spoke to, regardless of their background, regardless of their citizenship, regardless of what Emperor they liked better? Do you think that changed something for Paul? Would it change anything for you? And so here's kind of an idea for us today to hang on to, the patience of Christ will change your perspective, the patience of Christ will change your perspective. Or maybe I should ask you, has it?
Has it changed your perspective? Have you sat long enough in God's presence, have I sat long enough in God's presence for the weight and the costliness of my redemption to sober me to realize in great detail the immense patience that he has shown you, me? My story isn't like Damascus. I grew up in church, I grew up in this church. And I can't thank God enough for the gospel seeds that were planted in my heart at the earliest of ages by a mom and a dad who love God and love me. I can't ask for anything better. Many of you in this room or watching online taught me in children's church. And the fact that you are still listening is the grace of God. But listen, if I were to describe my life it would be this, a long, slow surrender.
Because, I cannot remember a time in my life that I did not know Jesus loves you. That's very different from saying I've always been a Christian because that's categorically not true. But I don't remember a time that I didn't know that truth. But Christ showed me immense patience. Because while I thought I could present to you as a kid, as a teenager, a shiny exterior that would make you say, aren't you proud of your son. Inside was full of dead men's bones. And Jesus never let go of me. When I thought I could live with one foot over here and one foot over here, he never gave up on me. And it took me some time to see that. And I know that I have not exhausted, nor will I on this life, the full measure of his immense patience with me, but I have started to figure some of it out. Have you sat long enough with the weight and the costliness of your redemption for it to sober you to God's patience to you? When we get there the commands we read in the scripture actually become possible.
Like this one in James chapter one. My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this. Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. Can you guess what word in the Greek language that is? It's the verb form of makrothumia. Because human anger, does not produce the righteousness that God desires. You see, on its own that's impossible, though, a great word for us today. Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, or type or tweet, slow to become angry, the applicability of God's word is incredible. But you see that's impossible. It's impossible unless you become attached to the one who is slow to become angry. Or this one in 1 Thessalonians five, be patient with everyone. Can it be more universal. There is no asterisk, there are no exemption clauses, be patient with everyone.
Why? Because, you have been shown immense patience. So how do we prevent this from becoming just like a virtue checklist? I'm talking about the fruit of the spirit, how do we prevent this from becoming like a virtue checklist that just tests our moral fiber or fortitude? It's not that at all. It's a mirror. Galatians five is a mirror. Do you look like your father? This is the paternity test. Are you really in his family? This is the mirror. And so for us to come face to face with the mirror of his word, yes, generally but specifically here. This is what the spirit produces because this is who God is and this is what Jesus perfectly demonstrated. So is that present? Not perfectly. And as Pastor Jerry reminded us a few weeks ago, we have to submit to this, we have to cooperate with this. But is this present? Has your perspective been changed by the God of the gospel?
Or maybe this, do other people experience the immense patience of Jesus in you at work? When your boss passes you over, or a co-worker steals the credit or your employee flakes out. At school, with your teacher who forgot to upload the online assignment. With your student who is trying to juggle this the best they can, and may or may not be getting support from home. At restaurants. Remember when we used to do restaurant. Remember, nothing. Or maybe, okay, drive throughs. I mean it sounds so small when you start to list things, but you do recognize if it's not present in the small things why would it be present in the bigger things. We'll just turn it on when it counts, or is this the life of the spirit that he wants to produce in you. At home with your spouse, with your kids. What opportunities are we missing if we interrupt the production of this spirit fruit, called forbearance? And we interrupt it by being quick to become angry. Quick to defend our rights, quick to vindicate ourselves and vilify others if necessary. Quick to speak, slow to listen.
We interrupt the production that the spirit wants in our lives. But what opportunities do we miss? Do you realize the impact that this would have on our mission statement. You know the mission statement, we put it everywhere that we can. It's on every wall in very large font. We exist, so that every man, every woman, and every child would have repeated, what's that word?
Opportunities to hear and see the gospel, repeated opportunities, not one, not just two repeated opportunities. And you know what, while we work for the repeated opportunity, because we can only influence the opportunity, we can't control the response that's the spirit's work too. So we work towards the repeated opportunity. And one day those repeated opportunities will culminate in a final opportunity, we just don't know what day that is. And our whole mission is built upon assumes, God is patient with humanity. Because as long as we have another opportunity it means that his patience has extended so that more could hear, so that more could see, so that more might respond. Do you catch that? You know when Peter was writing the Apostle, Peter was writing there were people who were skeptical like, okay, where is this God? You say that Jesus is coming back to set up his earthly kingdom, where is this God?
And Peter towards the end of his life he warns in 2 Peter three verse three he says, in the last days scoffers will come scoffing. It's what they do, scoffers will come scoffing and following their own evil desires, they will say, where's this coming he promised? Ever since our ancestors died everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation. Okay, Where is he? Well, if he's real, why don't he just come right now? Everything's going on since it... And he was writing this by the way, 30,35 years after Jesus ascended back to the Father. And He says, there's going to be people because they already are here, who are going to be skeptical, where is this coming? Where is this Jesus? If he just splits the sky open right now, we'd believe, why don't he just do that? Did he forget? Is he late? Did his watch die? What's happening?
And Peter says, don't buy into that. Because, this is not a delay this is a demonstration. He continues in verse nine of that same chapter. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. And then verse 15. Bear in mind that our Lord's patience means salvation. Just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He says, God's patience means your salvation. He is patient with you. He is not slow. He is patient. He is not indifferent to what goes on here. He is slow to anger. God, don't you see? Don't you care? I see. I care. He is not detached from our pain. He knows it firsthand, because he came in the flesh, so really important truth for us to understand about God's patience is God's patience is not passivity. His patience is not passivity. He is not killing time. He is extending the window of opportunity, because he's patient.
Do you get that? He is patient. And more than anything else we need to remember this, Jesus is proof that God is patient. Jesus is the proof of God's patience. So some of you may be walked in today or tuned in, or watching or listening and this has not been your view of God. Patient, slow to anger, abounding in love. And I need you to know and hear clearly, Jesus is the proof that God is patient. Because as the Apostle Peter said, he is not slow in keeping his promises but he's patient with you. Not wanting you to continue on the path of self destruction but for you to find repentance, to give you time. He wants and he has given you time. And where we as human beings use free time to squander it on ourselves, he wants you to hear clearly, it's time to turn to him. That's why he's giving you time not so you could do whatever you wanted. Not so you could live like hell and maybe cash in that life insurance with Jesus at the very, very bitter end.
That's not what he wants for you, because you don't know when that day comes. He wants you to use this time today if you hear his voice, today is the day of your salvation. He loves you. That's why he's giving you time. That's why he gave you this time in this moment in time to hear it. But if you're here and you're a follower of Christ you need to remember this too. I need to remember this too, that Jesus is the proof of God's patience. And when Jesus is seen clearly in your life, when his life shines brightly through yours other people can see just how patient he really is. In this letter that we've been looking at, the letter to the Galatians. Earlier in chapter two, Paul wrote this in Galatians 2:20. He says, I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live but Christ lives in me.
No longer I, I'm not the master. I can't be that. I'm terrible at that. No longer I but Christ. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me, is no longer I, But Christ. When his life shines brightly through yours other people will see the beautiful, immense, long suffering, forbearing patience of God, let them see his immense patience. Let the world see his immense patience, and then you like the Apostle Paul could say, again, in 1 Timothy one, what we looked at earlier. Verse 16. But for that very reason, you could make this personal, but for that very reason, I was shown mercy, so that in me the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus, might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.
That can be your resolution. So don't pray for patience because he just might produce it in you. Let's bow together for a word of prayer. With your heads bowed and your eyes closed before we leave today, here in this room or watching online, if you feel like this message was specifically for you, like God was speaking directly to you. That's not anything that I could take credit for or possibly even know, all of the ways that God has connected the dots in your heart and your mind. But that's because God who is patient loves you and wants to draw you to himself. And so, in just a moment we're going to dismiss and I want to give you some action steps because if you recognize that your greatest need today is Jesus, that above all else, you need him. That you're ready to receive the gift of salvation that he promised through Jesus Christ.
And that you recognize his patience was for this specific purpose to draw you to himself. That's the first matter of importance. And so if you're here in this room then I want to direct you to come by the Fireside Room when we dismiss, there'll be some prayer partners and some pastors that are there who would love to take a minute to pray with you, to give you something to take home. They would explain what it means to follow Jesus, give you a Bible if you don't have one for your own, that just be our gift to you. You're not signing up for anything, you're not joining a mailing list, you're not going to be spammed. We want to help you on your journey. If you're watching online, you can go to thechapel.com/knowingjesus to let us know the very same thing. Or you can talk to someone right now on the phone, 716-631-2636.
So Father, would you do what only you can do, and that is produce in us your children, the kind of patience that the world needs to see. The immense patience you've shown us in Christ. Change our perspective to the people around us. Change our perspective to those that differ from us. Change our perspective to how we treat and speak to people, so that we would build bridges for more repeated opportunities that men, women, boys and girls might see and hear, and ultimately Lord, respond to the Gospel. The Gospel that has so radically changed us. We love you, Christ. And it's in your precious name we pray, Amen.