Persistence

When Jesus returns to this earth, what will He find?
This question leads us to consider current conditions in the light of eternity. What will Jesus find on earth when He returns to it? Indeed, what does He find in this present moment? Will He find faith then? Does He find faith now?

The Holy Counter-culture
Just as there was a faithful remnant in Jesus’ day, He will find and rescue His faithful ones on the His return. In the same manner, there are faithful ones serving Him today—the church Jesus is building. The Greek word for the church is ekklesia, meaning, “the called out ones.” (Strong’s NT: 1577) This term echoes the description given by Peter: the church has been “called out of darkness into His marvelous light.” Why? that we “may proclaim the praises of Him.” Thus called out of the contemporary culture, Christ-followers live in loving opposition to the norm, the present mores, and the popular spiritualities of vanity (see Ecclesiastes).

  • Where there is obscenity, we speak holiness.
  • Where there is lust, we offer love.
  • Where there is destructive falsehood, we preach the Good News.
  • Where there is selfishness, we live as servants.

We, the church, are a holy counter-culture. Our opposition to the world is a loving one. We wage spiritual warfare against powers and principalities in Jesus’ name while waging peace among people who oppose us. This is the church for which Jesus will return, not the one immersed in the things of the world, but the people who live by the laws and privileges of another Kingdom, the Kingdom of Heaven.

The Parable of the Persistence Widow
To illustrate this, Jesus told another strange story. Again, the “judge” in this story is not a man of God. He represents the current, fallen culture of self.

A widow had been done an injustice of some kind. (Remember the accusation of Jesus to the Pharisees, “You devour widow’s houses.”) She takes her case to the local judge who doesn’t care about her and has no time for or interest in her case. But she doesn’t give up. She keeps bringing her cause to the judge until she wears him down and receives justice from his office.

If a wicked judge can be worn down by persistence, how much more will our righteous God respond to our persistence in prayer? Faithfulness in prayer means never giving up. It calls for persistent asking, seeking, and knocking. It means exercising unflagging hope in the character of God: “God is good and His mercy endures forever!” Prayers are seldom answered immediately. Time and persistence in prayer are generally required by those who follow Christ. This is the kind of faith Jesus is looking for today and the kind He will rescue when He returns.

The God Who “bears long” with Us
We would prefer a God of instant gratification but such is not the case. For spiritual reasons beyond the detection of our five senses, answers to prayer most often take time and require repetition. That is why a particular type of prayer is called, intercession. In faith, we intercede into the situations before us waging spiritual warfare with unseen forces and proclaiming peace for their victims and hapless allies. In the course of time, God’s own good time, He will act “speedily” in our behalf. Answers to persistent prayers are long in coming but when they come, they strike with speed of, not light, but faith!

Scriptures:
Luke: 18:1-8

Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, saying: “There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, ‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’ And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.'” Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge said. And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”
1 Peter 2:9-11 NKJV
But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, today I will bring before Your throne petitions I have carried many times before. In these issues, I live between the prayers and the answers to the prayers. Help me dwell in this land peacefully with full confidence in You. You are faithful in all things! I will exercise my mustard-seed faith toward these issues knowing that You will one day bring about the answers. Holy Spirit, convict my lost loved ones so that they may turn to You before it is too late. You are coming soon! Help us all to be ready. I pray You will find us persistently asking, seeking, and knocking! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Song:
Only Believe

Traditional

Only believe. Only believe.
All things are possible, only believe.
Only believe. Only believe.
All things are possible, only believe.

God answers prayer. God answers prayer.
All things are possible, God answers prayer.
God answers prayer. God answers prayer.
All things are possible, God answers prayer.

Jesus is here. Jesus is here.
All things are possible. Jesus is here.
Jesus is here. Jesus is here.
All things are possible. Jesus is here.

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

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