Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The Longsuffering of God

Temple Baptist Church - 7-11-2018
2 Peter 3:9-15


A.  I as watch the sinfulness and rejection of God in this present evil world, I stand amazed at the longsuffering of God.  In this third chapter of 2 Peter, God speaks of the end of all things as we know them.  God is just; God is holy; but, God is good; God is love; and God is longsuffering.

B.  There are three words in the Bible that show this: mercy, forbearance, and longsuffering.

C.  To understand God’s longsuffering in these last days, it is important to go back to the First Mention of God’s mercy, forbearance, and longsuffering with mankind’s sinfulness.

1 Peter 3:20  Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.

D.  The Flood came 1,656 years after the creation of Adam.  I verified this number personally by adding the numbers in Genesis, chapter 5. 

1.  For 969 years before the Flood, God prophesied its coming.  The birth and life of Methuselah was the prophecy of the judgement of God.  Dr. Henry Morris said it may mean, “When he diesjudgment.” Others say: “When he is dead, it shall be sent.  I also calculated the date of Methuselah’s birth and death.  Methuselah died the year of the Flood.  Almost 1,000 years of longsuffering.

2.  Noah, a preacher of righteousness, preached for 120 years (Genesis 6:3) before the Flood and until the actual event.  After 120 years of preaching and building, the Ark was finished, and God commanded Noah to load the Ark, bring his family, and come into the Ark in Genesis 7:1.  12o years more of longsuffering.

3.  In Genesis 7:3, it is recorded that God kept the Ark’s door open for an additional 7 days in the which any person on earth could have repented and entered.  7 more days of additional longsuffering.

E.  Notice the rapidly diminishing number of years and days (969 years, 120 years, 7 days) as the judgement of God approached.  Peter said, “Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God,” in 2 Peter 3:12.

F.  Noah’s day is a story of man’s sinfulness, God’s messenger, God’s universal invitation, and God’s additional longsuffering before He shut the door of the Ark.  Now, we see the meaning of our verses for tonight.

1.  The Mercy of God.  Mercy is, to be simply put, not getting what one deserves.  God does not want mankind to get what they deserve!  We all deserve hell, but God has prepared a place called heaven.

Exodus 34:5-6  And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD.  (6)  And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,

Lamentations 3:22-23  It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.  (23)  They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.  (The mercy of God is the foundation for the forbearance of God.)

2.  The Forbearance of God.  Fore-bear.  To make up one’s mind in advance to put up with something.  Forbearance is the most basic form of patience and is usually thought of as an action—a relatively short-term restraint or act of tolerance. It is directed toward another person, group of people, or set of immediate circumstances, resulting from some wrong (or perceived wrong) having been committed against us.  Forbearance, in the human sense, may be shown with a truly loving heart or it can also be shown with much grumbling and little in the way of a loving motivation.  Throughout each generation of mankind, God has—because of His great love—put up with man’s rebellion and sinfulness.

Romans 2:4  Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?

Romans 3:25  Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;  (God has mercy upon us and, in forbearance, God puts up with us!  The mercy and forbearance of God are the foundations for the longsuffering of God.)

3.  The Longsuffering of God.  Longsuffering is like unto mercy and forbearance in its meaning and application. The chief difference is that longsuffering, as suggested by the word itself, is a type of forbearance which is not just exercised in the immediate moment of an experience. Rather, it is a character quality developed and exercised over the long-term course of many similar experiences.

1.  God is longsuffering in His Forgiveness.  In verse 9, we see that He is not willing that “any” should perish.  No predestination to hell.

Ezekiel 33:11  Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?

2.  God is longsuffering in His Salvation.  In verse 9, we see that He wants “all” to be saved.  No election of a few to salvation.  An open invitation.

1 Timothy 2:1-3  I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;  (2)  For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.  (3)  For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;

Conclusion:   Thus, we see God’s longsuffering in Noah’s day ended with the judgement of this evil world.  Today, we see God’s longsuffering with the wicked but—one day—it will end with the judgement of this present evil world.  He loves sinners and has provided the Lamb of God to take away their sin.  To reject God’s offer of forgiveness and salvation is to suffer eternal punishment in hell.

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