Share This Episode
Truth for Life Alistair Begg Logo

God’s Patience (Part 2 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg
The Truth Network Radio
February 19, 2021 3:00 am

God’s Patience (Part 2 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg

On-Demand Podcasts NEW!

This broadcaster has 1302 podcast archives available on-demand.

Broadcaster's Links

Keep up-to-date with this broadcaster on social media and their website.


February 19, 2021 3:00 am

In our get-it-done-now culture, patience isn’t a skill we practice. However, as we busily seek immediate gratification in things that can never satisfy, God patiently waits. Find out why He’s waiting when you tune in to Truth For Life with Alistair Begg.



Listen...

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
Grace To You
John MacArthur
Renewing Your Mind
R.C. Sproul
Summit Life
J.D. Greear
The Truth Pulpit
Don Green
Grace To You
John MacArthur

Patience is a willingness to hang in, to wait a long time. Thankfully, it is one of God's attributes. But it can be easy to mistake his patience for tolerance. His inaction can be seen as disinterest. After all, people think, what's he waiting for? Well, today on Truth for Life, Alistair Begg explains that God's patience has a purpose.

But it will not last forever. We're in 2 Peter 3. I'm not going to spend a long time on this, but I want to look at it from three perspectives. The patience of God viewed, if you like, historically, the patience of God viewed doctrinally, and the patience of God viewed personally. From a historical perspective, from a doctrinal perspective, and from a personal perspective.

And I'm giving you, if you like, a thumbnail sketch. This is not the finished outline to Exodus and Moses, and the incident with the golden calf. Exodus chapter 31, if you want to follow along, and in verse 10. Exodus 32, I should say, and the Lord said to Moses, I have this verse 9 of 32, I've seen this people, behold it is a stiffnecked people. Now therefore, let me alone, my wrath may burn hot against them, and I may consume them, in order that I may make a great nation of you. But Moses implored the Lord his God, and he pleaded, and in verse 14, what do we read? And the Lord relented from the disaster that he had spoken of bringing on his people.

And why is that? You go to chapter 34 and to verse 6, and the Lord passed before Moses and proclaimed the Lord, the Lord, a God, what is he like, merciful and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty. So you remember the story of Jonah.

We don't need to get into it. He was in a whale of a problem right from the get go, and Jonah gets the assignment, go here. He goes, nah, I don't fancy that.

I think I'll go over there. Then God saves him in the whale, and then he goes on his assignment, and then he's really ticked because now these people are actually responding to the good news that he's telling them. He's telling that salvation is from the Lord. Salvation belongs to the Lord.

That's what he's telling them now. And then we read verse 1 of chapter 4, it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry, and he prayed to the Lord and said, Lord, isn't this what I said when I was yet in my country? That's why I was running away to Tarshish, because I know that you're a gracious God and merciful and slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and relenting from disaster.

In other words, I knew that you would be patient. If God wasn't the God that he is, we couldn't even be around here. He'd have to take us out. That's why people say, well, why doesn't God do something? The answer is God has done something, and he's about to do something.

But if he does the something he's about to do tonight, nobody will be left. And the reason that he doesn't is because of who he is, because he is a patient God. He is a long-suffering God. He made you. You've made stuff, haven't you? Imagine you're small, taking a knife, taking a little bit of wood, made a boat or made a canoe or done something like that, taking it and sailed it around. Have you ever lost it? Imagine you made your boat.

You were sailing it in a lake. You lost it. You go to, what's that crazy place in Arizona? Yeah, that would be it, Sedona. Perfect.

Sedona. And you're going up the crazy high street with the impersonal and the personal God opportunities, and you look in a window and your boat's in there. You look in, you say, that's my boat that I made and I lost.

So you go in. Hey, sir, that's my boat in the window. The guy says, that's not your boat. He says, that is my boat. I made that boat. He said, well, if you want that boat back, you're going to have to buy it back.

He said, well, you know what? I will buy it back. So you took the money out of your pocket and you paid for it and you bought it out and you walked down the street in Sedona and you held the boat in your hand and you said, you're twice mine. I made you and I lost you and I bought you back. Is that the message of the gospel? I made you. I lost you.

I came and purchased you. Oh, the love, the true salvation's plan. Oh, the grace that brought it down to man. Oh, the mighty gulf that God did span at Calvary and mercy, patience, grace was there and great and free and pardon there was multiplied to me.

That's the story you get all the way through. The history of the people of God throughout the entire Old Testament is a sore trial to the patience of God. It's a story of God's grace towards them, their rebellion, then they're getting in deep water, then their repentance, I'll never do it again, I'll never do it again. Then the restoration, then a few years, then right back into the same rebellion once again. You fast forward into the New Testament, God comes in the person of his son, invades our time and our space, reaches out his hands if you like, stretches out his hands to a disobedient people. That's the picture of the prophet in the Old Testament. And now Christ who is the great prophet reaches out his hands to the disobedient people of his day and he cries over Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it.

How often would I have gathered you and your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings and you wouldn't, you wouldn't, what kind of love is this? What kind of patience is this? A patience that pursues humanity in its rebellion right into the darkness of Gethsemane, right into all that the incarnation meant and all that it meant for him to make that purchase.

Christ died for sins once for all the righteous, for the unrighteous to bring us to God. We'll be relieved to know that we've really moved into the doctrinal dimension of it, so we're actually advancing our cause. In writing to the scattered believers of his day, Peter is reminding these readers that there's no reason for them to be unsettled by the folks who are coming to them and saying, you know, Jesus is not going to come back again. They're scoffing at the idea that he will return because they're saying to the people, everything's just the way it always was.

And Peter says, you don't need to worry about that at all. Listen, he says, and understand the reason for the delay. And he puts it in a phrase, count the patience of our Lord as salvation.

Why then does God delay? A day with the Lord is a thousand years, a thousand years is a day. People ask me all the time, are we in the last days? Of course we're in the last days. The last days are the days that began, if you like, with the incarnation or with the resurrection and will end with the return of Jesus. So we've been in the last days for about 2000 years, right? That's quite a long time for the last days to go on. And we may be in the last days for another 2000 years for all we know.

Why would God wait so long? See you're a good class. You see, you got it now.

I can pretty well stop. You've got it absolutely perfectly. The reason why the promised return of Christ to judgment hasn't happened is because of his patience, because of his patience. Verse nine states it clearly, the Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but he is patient towards you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

Now there's a verse to stay up with half the night arguing back and forth and here and there and either and yon. But I'll tell you what it tells me, God loves saving people. God loves saving people. And if God's patience is in order that men and women might come to faith in his son, then surely we are then to be keenly engaged in the task of evangelism, going to people and telling them that God is patient, but that his patience won't last forever, but that today is the day of salvation. So historically his patience is there throughout the history of his dealings with humanity. Doctrinally, and this is not all of it, but in part his patience is in order that he may give opportunity for men and women to come to trust in him.

And then finally, just a word or two about it personally in terms of application to ourselves. Once again, I want to set this in a context and that is in Romans two. And at the beginning of Romans two, at the end of Romans one, Paul has been addressing those who do what they know is wrong and approve of those who do those very things. You see that in verse 32 of Romans one, though they know God's decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them, but give approval to those who practice them. So chapter one ends, he's addressing those who do what they know is wrong and who approve of others who do the same. Into chapter two, he then talks to those who do what they know is wrong and condemn others who do the same thing as them.

Therefore, verse one of chapter two, you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges, for in passing judgment on another, you condemn yourself. Because this is hypocrisy, he says. There are these people in the culture who do these things. They know they do wrong things, but they approve of everybody who does the wrong things. They don't care.

They go to the Burning Man Festival in the middle of the desert and they engage in all of that craziness for all that time. They know that's wrong, but they give approval to everybody who does it. Now he says, what about the people who do what's wrong? And then they actually judge the people who are doing what's wrong, who are doing the same things they're doing. He says, that's actually hypocrisy. That's the preacher who preaches against immorality and is picked up with prostitutes.

Who do you think you are, O man? Every one of you who judges, stands up there in your big pulpit and hauls off about immorality in passing judgment on another, you condemn yourself because you, the judge, you're practicing the very same things. That's partly why James says, don't let many of you become teachers. For those of you who teach, we'll be judged with greater strictness.

You can't use this as a mechanism for saying, just because I said it, I did it. No, you said it, but do you believe it and do you live it and do you do it? The hypocrisy that is represented in the opening verses of chapter two are there in order to recognize for us this, that we will not escape the judgment of God. That's verse five. You've got a hardened and penitent heart storing up for yourself on the day of wrath when God's righteous judgment will be revealed.

Let me put it to you simply. Verses one to three, verse four, and then verse five. What is Paul saying here? This is what he's saying. Every time I condemn someone else for doing the same things I'm doing, I condemn myself before God.

It put it at a most trivial level just to make the point. You're driving down the freeway, you're cutting people off like crazy, for whatever reason it's not good. And then just when you get close to Pasadena, somebody gives you one, a big one, a big cut off just like, and your wife's in the car and you're like, look at that idiot, can you believe that? People doing that.

I can't believe people are doing that. And your wife doesn't say anything, she just goes. Every time I condemn, I judge somebody else for doing what I'm doing, I condemn myself before God. Verse four, every time I'm not punished immediately, every time I'm not punished immediately, God is giving me time to repent. Isn't that what verse four is saying?

Right? Do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience? Don't you realize that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? So one, every time I condemn someone else for doing what I'm doing, I condemn myself before God. Every time I'm not punished immediately, God has given me time to repent. And three, if I persist in refusing to repent, I store up more of God's righteous anger for the last day.

Here's the bottom line, fellas, and I'm going to draw this to a close. God's patience with us when we sin must not be mistaken for his permission for us to sin. He's not granting us permission. The fact that he is patient with us is not that he permits it.

He opposes it. He will judge it. And the only reason that he's patient with us is so that we can fess up to him and say, you know, I am a hypocrite. I am condemning my brother and I'm doing the very same thing myself.

I am unprepared to face up to the Sermon on the Mount when it turns the issues of hatred right inside, when it turns the issues of immorality right inside, I want to be able to take the high ground and judge everybody else for their actions. The only difference between some of us and them is that we don't have the guts to follow through on it. Otherwise, we'd be in the same predicament.

No. God's patience and his kindness is intended to give us the space to repent, not to give us an excuse for sinning. So think about it. Think about it.

This is what I wrote in my notes for myself. Consider then his patience with us when we resisted his claims and when we spurned his love. How patient he was with us. You remember before you became a Christian, when you tell that person at your work or your girlfriend or whoever it was, hell will freeze over before ever I get into that garbage. Isn't it amazing God just didn't strike you dead? Isn't it amazing when you fell out of that car? Isn't it amazing when you came skidding on your backside down the road when you came off your motorbike? Isn't it amazing?

Isn't it amazing? Isn't it incredible that any of us are actually in this room because of God's patience with us? He was patient with us. Patient with us.

I found a friend, oh, such a friend. He loved me ere I knew him. He drew me with the cords of love, and thus he bound me to him.

Consider his patience then. Consider his patience with us today when even on our best day we're unprofitable servants. Think of the times when we thought we would just jump outside the boundaries, that we would go away somewhere else and do something else. When we had spent it all and we found ourselves in the equivalent of a Jewish boy feeding pigs, what was it that brought us back up the road? I'll tell you what brought you back up the road, not the fact that you knew you were in a mess, but the reason you came back up the road was because you had an inkling that God is a patient God.

That when you got back up the end of the street, he wouldn't give you the hell you deserve, but he would give you a heaven that you had never any asking right for in the first place. The only person that doesn't get that is the Pharisaical older brother who's out there playing the same old game, judging those for doing the very same things he's doing himself. Where did he come up with the prostitutes? There was no mention of prostitutes. The prostitutes came out of his own filthy mind, but that son of yours, while he was down there doing all that stuff with prostitutes, don't even mention prostitutes?

No. Where do you come up with that? You came up with that out of your own filthy head, son. What an amazing gospel this is. In my congregation when I preach and people reject the gospel every single Sunday, some accept by God's grace, but when people reject it, they do for one of two reasons, largely.

There are people there who are saying, you know what? I'm really doing pretty good here and I don't have any need of salvation. There are others who are in there going, I have made such a royal dog's breakfast of this that I have no prospect of salvation.

The answer to both is found in the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ, because it is the cross which humbles the pride of the person who says, I have no need, and it is the cross which pours out its gracious blood freely on the lives of those who are saying, I have no hope. This is an inkling of what it means to think about a God who is patient. Some of us have kids who don't believe.

Some of us may have spouses who don't believe. Some of us are folks that we've been praying for for a long time. Some of us may be within ear short of me right now, and you have just been presuming on the patience and kindness of God, and you've got one foot on a banana skin and the other foot in your grave, and God has been patient with you right up until tonight, not giving you permission to continue clowning around the way you are, but because he's patient, patient enough to send another funny voice that comes out of another funny face, to say again, hey, here is God, trust him. It is humbling for us to realize that God is patient with us. You're listening to Truth for Life and Alistair Begg's message titled, God's Patience.

Alistair will close with prayer in just a minute, so please keep listening. Every day on Truth for Life, we teach directly from the Bible. We know that when Scripture is proclaimed, God's Spirit works to transform the lives of those who listen. When you give to Truth for Life, you come alongside this ministry to help bring God's Word to listeners all around the world. If you've been strengthened and encouraged by the teaching on this program, we want to invite you to join the team of monthly Truth Partners today so more people can benefit from Alistair's teaching. When you become a Truth Partner or when you make a one-time donation, we want to say thank you by sending you a book called, With All Your Heart. When we see the way the word heart is used in Scripture, what we find is it describes the very center of our existence, who we are, how we think about things, what motivates us to act. These are matters of the heart, and the book, With All Your Heart, unpacks this topic with a fresh perspective, inviting us to discover how God sees us and how He works in our hearts. Be sure to request a copy of, With All Your Heart, when you sign up to be a Truth Partner or when you give a gift to Truth for Life. Visit us at truthforlife.org slash donate or click the image you see in the mobile app.

Or you can call us at 888-588-7884. Now here's Alistair with the closing prayer. Father, thank you for the Bible. Thank you that we can go away and read the Bible and see if this stuff is actually in there so that we can examine the Scriptures to see if these things are so. We thank you tonight for your disclosure of yourself, and as we scratch the surface of what it means for an immutable God to be patient, we just bow before your greatness. We thank you for your steadfast love, and we pray for some for whom we have continued to pray for a long time, that you will still be patient with them because we know your spirit will not always strive with man. There will be a time for the last time someone hears and has the opportunity to repent and to believe. So we pray that we might, with a measure of sincerity and urgency and Christ-like love, say to people, God is a patient God, but his patience has limits, and today is the day of salvation. Let our prayers, O God, forgive our sins. Let our cries come unto you, for Jesus' sake, Amen. I'm Bob Lapine. I hope you have a wonderful weekend, and I hope you can join us Monday as we go from learning about God's patience to learning about his faithfulness. The Bible teaching of Alistair Begg is furnished by Truth for Life, where the Learning is for Living.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-23 17:09:29 / 2023-12-23 17:18:33 / 9

Get The Truth Mobile App and Listen to your Favorite Station Anytime