Patience and Endurance: Colossians 1:9-12

Part 1,

 

And Part two

 

And, lastly, the manuscript:

 

  Turn with me, please, to Colossians 1:9 and hold your finger there for a moment while I tell you about a legendary explorer named Ernest Henry Shackleton
Shackelton’s Antarctic Expedition:
>He had explored the Antarctic twice before, but wanted to transverse the Continent over land by way of the South Pole
>His plan was to sail through the Weddell Sea on one side, cross over the frozen tundra, and sail away from Antarctica through the Ross Sea, and on to New Zealand. Once again, they are on opposite sides of the continent. It would be a journey of 3,900 miles. To give you an idea how arduous this is, imagine crossing all of Europe by dog sled team, but all the countries are floating icebergs instead of fixed land masses. Oh yeah, and it stays dark for 6 months straight. And the temperature rarely rises above 10 degrees below zero.
>To fund his expedition he relied mostly on private donors, many of which were working class. There were wealthy patrons of course, and the British government did kick in some as well. Shackleton showed the uncanny ability to inspire the Spirit of adventure, and with it, generosity.
>He was unorthodox in many ways. His recruitment method is legend, with over 5000 applicants. He joined in with every grueling activity on the boat, leading by example. He even made the scientists and ranking officers participate in ships duties usually left for the grunts.
>And everything went great! Until the expedition began. World War 1 got into full gear, and the donation money began to dry up. This omen did not bode well…

Colossians 1: 9 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives,
10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God,
11being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience,
12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.
13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,
14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Paul is writing from prison. He was never a pastor of the Church at Colassae. In fact, he probably never even visited the church. We are told that in Colossians 2:1, and there is no mention of him ever being there. In the first verses Paul says that Epaphras planted the church, before coming to visit Paul in prison in Rome. This is a letter of encouragement to a new church, and to tell them he is praying for them.

Paul’s purpose in writing was to refute Gnostic doctrines that had gotten into the church. He wanted to reinforce Epaphras’ preaching that Jesus is preeminent. The supremacy of Jesus, as the flesh and blood manifestation of God was under attack, and Paul wished to bolster their faith.

Paul was never the leader of their church, but he was leading them. See there is a difference between a “leader” and leading. A leader is someone who has a title of a position. Leadership is what you are doing when you inspire others to follow. A leader can coerce abeyance, but people want to follow leadership. Personally, I would rather be leading, than be a “leader”. Every Christian is called to be leading others to Christ. That means living and speaking and inspiring so others see Jesus.

I’ve met with James, Roger. They have filled me in on a little bit of the history of your church. I’ve got to tell you, I’m impressed that this church has been able to survive so long without a pastor. Praise God, what a miracle. How you’ve managed is a testament to your willingness to stay committed. That’s called patience and perseverance.

Read again verse 9 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives,

This church does not have a pastor. There is not one hear in possession of a formal title or head leadership position. But it is not leaderless, either. And that does not have to keep it from leading. As I said before, this church is composed of members of the body of Christ, and meant to be leading its community, its neighbors, co-workers, the culture, and on and on.

I asked James and Roger to share with me some of the struggles and felt needs of the church. I met Madeline as well. I think what I took away is that there isn’t a unifying vision for this church. Its hard to stay involved with an institution that doesn’t know what its purpose is. Yet, here you all are. Coming every Sunday to join with the fellowship and worship God together. So, in that you have found a purpose, even without a titled leader.

One day you will have a pastor. One day God will bring you someone who is a leading leader, a person with a title that also inspires you to follow. I hope that your next pastor has some of the qualities of Shackelton.

>They set sail from South Georgia Island on the beautiful spring day of December 5th, but by mid-January the ship was trapped in sea ice. Remember that in the southern hemisphere the seasons are flip-flopped. Early winter set in and the vessel was at the mercy of the sea ice floe. On February 24th, Shackelford realized they were stuck til spring so he order the abandonment of the ship’s routine and her conversion to a winter station.
> They camped all that time until 8 months later with the arrival of Spring 1915. As the sea ice began to break up it applied pressure to the ship. In October of that year the haul was punctured and it sank the next month. All the men made it to the lifeboats, and they were forced to camp on sea ice for the next 5 months. Finally on April 9th, 2016 they were able to safely land on Elephant Island. This was the first time in 497 days that any of them had stood on solid land.
>Miraculously no one died, and no one mutineed.

Please read again with me 10-12

Verse 10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God,
11being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience,
12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.

Paul admonished his readers to live a life worthy of the Lord and please Him. This is a bumper sticker for the entire Christian life. What does it mean to be a Christian? Well, Jesus said Deny yourself, Take up your cross, and follow after me. Paul summarizes by saying “live a life worthy and please God”. Being like Jesus means living leadership. When he called the first disciples he did not say, “If you follow me I promise you wealth, ease and position. It will be first class accommodations, a great salary, benefits, and my retirement package is bar none.” What he said was, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.”

His character was His leadership. It credentialed Him. The authority of His command to ‘Follow me,” was instantly heeded. The bible does not say that Andrew, Peter, James and John called a committee meeting, put their heads together, hired all the best consultants, and then put it to a vote. It says, ‘They laid down their nets, and followed him.”
Wow. Just let that sink in. Jesus, was not a known and respected rabbi. He did not have his own synagogue or reputable yeshiva school. He wasn’t dressed in lavish robes or adorned with articles of wealth. He didn’t point the tip of a sword from aloft a conqueror’s stallion. He came armed only with His character, the anointing of the Holy Spirit, and the authority of His word.
What if they’d said no? What if they preferred to stay and fish? What if they had realized that incumbent to the call to become fishers of men they would be labeled outcasts, social deviants, and rabble-rousers? They would have missed out on the adventure of a lifetime. They would have cheated themselves out of verse 10b “bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God”.
Notice that Jesus did not call every person He met to become a disciple like the 12. That is because God wants godly fisherman, godly accountants, godly contractors, doctors, car mechanics and insurance salesmen. God call is specific to each person, and everyone is not given a title or position in the church. But everyone is given leadership to be exerted in your sphere of influence.

That’s why verse 11 says “11being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience,” because God will give you power to live by. As you navigate your life-working, raising a family, spending times with loved ones- God’s power will make you mighty. It will be there. It will be perfected in your weakness. And, as you endure His glorious might works through you, around you, and behind the scenes to orchestrate the intended result.

Life can feel long sometimes. Everything doesn’t always seem to be going our way. We might lose a job, have an argument with our spouse, watch a child wander from God. Maybe you live with a sense of quiet desperation. Take heart! God’s word says, “Be strengthened!” So, be strengthened. His strengthening make it so that you may have great endurance and patience! Somebody said, “I’ve been patient long enough! What about me?” I hear you.
Patience isn’t always my strong suit, especially when I’m really excited. Anticipation makes it harder to endure with patience. That’s kind of the point right? Patience means the more I want it, the more I have to be willing to wait on God. Its not really patience, if you don’t really care.

The people Paul wrote to were being beset on all sides by false doctrines. The pressure to relent was enormous. The false teachers applied immense influence, and besides the culture was steeped in the Gnostic belief system. It would have been so easy to compromise. The false teachers made the lie so convincing, and so close to the actual truth of the Gospel that many believers questioned whether or not they should accept the Gnostic version.
Our day in age is not so different. Our culture compels us to betray they true Gospel of Jesus with a kiss. Or to pay it lip service. Or to leave it at home, or in the church, or just keep it between you and God. The secular humanism we wade through every day wants nothing more than for Christians to accept that there are many ways to God and there is no “absolute truth”.

Hey, just because a Republican won the white house, does not mean that is going to change. Cultures do not change overnight, even though Presidents do. So, we have to push back. We have to patiently endure. Some of you may feel unqualified to reach the culture for Christ. You may avoid leadership. Listen, I have studied to be a pastor. I took the classed, and I earned a degree. Probably most of you have not. Who cares? Some of the godliest men I’ve ever known never carried a title. Guess what- The bible says in verse 12, “and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. “

You are qualified! Go did that! There’s no need to feel inadequate. He qualified you to share in the inheritance of His holy people. Part of that inheritance means leadership. Part of it means persecution and suffering in the world. Part of it means denying yourself and taking up your cross. But, all of it means participating in the Kingdom of light! Not having a pastor is no excuse for this church to stop leading. Therefore “Give Thanks!”

It’s Testimony time! I’m really asking now and please speak up. What is the most exciting thing that has happened at this church recently? Who here has been showing leadership? In what ways?
(Allow time for a discussion)
The last Verses are 13 “For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,
14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

Praise God!

>Elephant Island was inhospitable and uninhabited. Shackleton knew he had to risk yet another over sea journey to a whaling station on South Georgia Island, the very place he began his expedition 16 months prior. If they were going to make it, a rescue would have to be mounted. So, he selected 5 men, and they packed enough rations for 4 weeks at sea. The intrepid quintet navigated through hurricane force winds to arrive on the wrong side of the Island. Rather than risk putting back out to see Shackelton chose to make the harrowing 32 mile trek on foot to the whaling station. It was him and one other man, leaving the 3 companions behind. No one had ever done this before, and all they had was 50 feet of rope, and a carpenter’s adze. In short, it was nothing short of madness and shear grit that saw them through.
>Immediately Shackelton arranged for pickup of his three companions on the other side of the island, and after 3 foiled attempts they successfully rescued the 22 men he’d left behind at Elephant Island. All told it took 4 1/2 months to rescue them, but on August 30 they were evacuated from the Island and taken to Valparaiso, Chile, there to receive a hero’s welcome.

What was so special about these men? Regular men would have abandoned hope, or been driven to madness. I don’t know how I would have fared in their place. We are talking about a degree of difficulty hear impossible to put into words. Could it be that Shackelton just got lucky with his crew? No! He recruited them with purpose, and totally scrutinized them. He was looking for a crew that belonged on such an expedition
This is the ad he put in the London Times: Men wanted for hazardous journey. Small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness. Constant danger, safe return doubtful. Honor and recognition in the case of success.” The only people who applied for the crew were the ones who really belonged on it. They were survivors, and they believed in the mission of the expedition.

By the way, I should have mentioned that Shackelton’s ship was called the Endurance, and his camp on the ice floes was call ‘Camp Patience”

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