Article based on a Sermon given 23 May 2009

Fruit Of The Spirit - Patience

by Jon Bowles


Just about everybody knows it seems, that our fifth grandchild is actually on the way. We hope it's on the way anyway. I had a telephone call from my son Thursday night, and it looked as if things were starting to move - a little bit of contractions. Then by Friday morning it seemed to be really going great guns, about every quarter hour between contractions, and he was about to go off to the delivery ward. I then got a telephone call last night, and no, they didn't go down to the delivery ward after all, because it just kind of fizzled out. They had contractions all through the night apparently.

I got another telephone call this morning and they probably will be going in because of pre-eclampsia, which is apparently something to do with the placenta, a reaction against the placenta, and it causes high blood pressure both in the child and also in the mother, as I understand it. There is a slight touch of that and therefore they may have to have the child induced in order to have the delivery sooner, rather than later.

But you know, there is one thing that you need whenever you are having a birth, or contemplating a birth, be that a birth of an animal, or be that a birth of a human being, or any kind of creature it seems, and that is patience. Animals will go ahead and actually choose their time. They will almost wait until they have a misty kind of day, at least my experience is, or a day that is really raining as hard as it can, so there is not the evaporation that you would have if it were bright sunshine, or high winds or something like that. It can be quite foul weather, and it also tends to be at night, but they seem to wait and bide their time. As a farmer you need patience. As a parent and as a grandparent you also need patience.

In the last three sermons we have been going through these various qualities which I described collectively as fruit of the Spirit. Here in Galatians 5:22, where they are actually mentioned, it says:

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace [and then it comes to this one, longsuffering, in some Bibles it is actually translated as patience, and certainly the word is translated even in the King James in certain places as patience], gentleness, goodness, faith," (Galatians 5:22)

Then it lists these nine qualities that are given here. We went into the first introductory sermon where I pointed out how first of all this fruit that is being mentioned here is singular. In other words, coming from the very Spirit of God, it is something which is singular in nature and yet it comprises the whole gamut. You don't just have one and nothing of the others. IIf it is a fruit of the Spirit or if it is part of the fruit of the Spirit, you will have a degree at least of all of them.

It is not the same as gifts - a gift of the Spirit is different. You can find instances in the Old Testament where people were given gifts of the Spirit - and it had nothing to do with the Holy Spirit, as far as the impregnation or being a child of God at all. They were given gifts just to do the correct embroidery in the Tabernacle, for instance.

In the second one on love, or agape, I talked about how the Spirit has actually got to flow in and flow out. It flows in from prayer, study, fasting and meditation. It flows out through the Laws of God, through these qualities that are shown here, in a life that is structured by the Law of God.

The third one I gave was on joy, and I contrasted human joy where you enjoy something that you do - Ecclesiastes goes into that a great deal. It's the work that we do at the time, and we get enjoyment, and that is not quite the same as this everlasting joy that we will have which is really coming from the very Breath of God, from the Spirit of God, and the kind of joy that God has and joy that God exhibits. It is coming from His Breath and it is something that we will have for eternity; "...everlasting joy shall be upon their head..." (Isaiah 51:11)

Last week I talked about peace. Now 'peace' in the Old Testament is the word 'shalom', which means an abundance of all things that are good. But this 'eirene' which is actually being used here, I pointed out that it literally means 'joined together'. It's where you've got it all together. There's a unity that is necessary there and this true unity, this true peace that is being implied here, it is certainly something that has to come from the very Spirit of God.

So we come to this next one which is described here in the King James as longsuffering. You wonder why is it translated as longsuffering? If they use the word patience in other areas, why do they use longsuffering here? What is the difference between longsuffering and patience? Because there is a difference. It's like having endurance. If I say endurance and patience, they are slightly different. There is a slight difference between the two of them. You've got to have patience to have endurance, and you probably have to have endurance to have patience, but the two are describing slightly different qualities.

The Word 'Longsuffering' (PLAY FROM 06:47)

Now there are two words primarily used in the New Testament:

One is 'hupomeno' [Strong's 5278,] it comes from the word 'hupo', which means under, and 'meno' which means to remain. It means to remain under, or to wait behind. You find it used in Luke 2:43, where it talks about Christ staying back in Jerusalem as a young boy, it says:

"And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind [waited behind, that is this word, hupomeno] in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it." (Luke 2:43)

So you can see how it's kind of waiting under. It's like what a fisherman does. Think of a fisherman sitting on his bank. He has his fishing rod in hand, and he's there waiting. He's waiting, and if he isn't patient he won't catch anything. He doesn't have to do very much. He just has to sit there and wait, and wait, until he gets a bite, and then he reels it in. So, if you want to use an analogy of being remaining under, it is very much an endurance. It is very often translated as endure.

I'll just hit a few of example, but it's used over and over again within scripture, Matthew 24:13:

"But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved." (Matthew 24:13)

That is this word, remain under, or hupomeno. So, he that shall remain under, to the end, remain hanging in there, to the end.

"Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;" (Romans 12:12)

Patience there is remaining under in tribulation, or remaining under trials. Again, it gives a different kind of slant to it. This is not the word being used here, by the way, in Galatians five, it's a different word. But I want to give you this one first, and then we will see how this differs. Another one is II Timothy 2:12:

"If we suffer, we shall also reign with him [the word suffer there is hupomeno, this remain under, so if we remain under, we shall also reign with him]: if we deny him, he also will deny us:" (II Timothy 2:12)

So if we just stick, stoically, steadfastly, and hang on there, then we will make it. Hebrews 12:1:

"Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience [remaining under] the race that is set before us [so you stay under that race, you keep going on], Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured [remained under] the cross [see the flavour of it?], despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured [remained under] such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds." (Hebrews 12:1-3)

Now the beginning of James 1:

"Knowing this, that the [testing] of your faith worketh patience [remaining under]. But let patience [this remaining under] have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing." (James 1:3-4)

The interesting one is when you come to Revelation 3:10:

"Because thou hast kept the word of my patience [remaining under], I also will keep thee from the hour of [trial], which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth." (Revelation 3:10)

Remaining under the authority that God places over us, and the Word that was delivered to us is very important. It goes on in Revelation 13:10:

"He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience [remaining under] and the faith of the saints." (Revelation 13:10)

It's making sure we are under the authority of God, and keeping our mind going in that direction, Revelation 14:12:

"Here is the patience [remaining under] of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus." (Revelation 14:12)

You can go and do your own word study on that. I just selected a few to give you this 'hupomeno', which is 'remaining under'. As I say, if you want an analogy it is something like a fisherman who is there and stays there, waiting for a bite.

But the one that is used here as part of the fruit of the Spirit is different. It is 'makrothumeo', [Strong's 3115.] Now a macro in computing is where you do one step after another. It's a long series of steps. It literally means long in Greek. 'thumos' means passion, angry, heat. It's something that you are stirred up, you are passionate about. So in fact, the actual word being used here is not just longsuffering, it's long passion.

Certainly, when we think of that, you can do the contrast and kind of analogy. You look at the fisherman on one side, this hupomeno, and yet this makrothumeo, you are looking at, instead of being a fisherman, it's more like a mountain climber. A mountain climber has got to have a long passion to get to the end.

Ranulph Fiennes, I think he just scaled Everest yesterday. [May 2009] He finally made it to the top summit of Everest. He's the oldest British person to actually get up there. He's sixty five years old. He's had a triple heart bypass in the past, and he did the sponsorship for cancer. The way in which he gets up there is, he says; "He has got to plod - forever." He doesn't think about anything, he doesn't go to the next hill, or anything like that, he's just got to plod - forever. So, he just keeps plodding regardless, forever.

It is interesting that this is really much the case, that we have a long passion. We're just going to keep going, and we'll keep going forever if necessary. We will do it with passion and with longsuffering. We will put up with things. We will keep going. It's not just sitting on the bank of a river, just sitting there waiting for a bite, just being patient. There is a certain degree of just getting on with it, and step by step keeping on going.

The Longsuffering of God Himself (PLAY FROM 13:49)

Now when we come to the subject of how God actually does this, let me give you a few examples: Luke 18:7:

"And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?" (Luke 18:7)

That bearing long is this word makrothumeo. 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 2:4)

And Romans 9:22:

"What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering [long passion] the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:" (Romans 9:22)

And even in the passage in I Corinthians 13:4 where it talks about agape:

"Charity [Agape] suffereth long [it has long passion], and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up," (I Corinthians 13:4)

Let's turn to one of them that is over in I Peter 3:15, and just have a look a little bit at this long passion of God. Because what is it that God is passionate about? It is the same kind of thing that we also need to be passionate about.

"But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good [conduct] in Christ. For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing [here he now uses the contrast with Christ, and also with the Way of God]. For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but [made alive] by the Spirit: By which also he [that's Christ] went and preached unto the spirits in prison; 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." (I Peter 3:15-20)

So we see here this word longsuffering being used. It's long passion, it is the long passion of God. Christ was there - He went to preach the spirits in prison - but it is talking about God, and the longsuffering of God, both Christ and the Father. It's interesting, when you start to think about what actually is going on here. Let's turn back to Genesis 1, and just remind ourselves of what actually took place when man was created and what is the purpose of God. Here in Genesis 1:23 it says:

"And the evening and the morning were the fifth day. And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And God said, Let us make man in our image [so each of the animals was made after its kind, but man was made in the image of God], after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them." (Genesis 1:23-27)

He put a spirit in man that made them like God. It made them able to have an understanding that an animal doesn't have. But you see, the long passion of God, is for His plan. What is He passionate about? He is passionate about His plan, about what He's doing, what His work is. He created man at this time and He started the process going, so when we come to this section that is talking about how in the long passion, "Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah..." (I Peter 3:20. ) It is all in the context of what was actually carrying on. Around two thousand years after the creation of man, we come to Genesis 6:3 and we find here;

"And the [Eternal] said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. [so He allowed Noah to have the 120 years of preaching, and the flood then came on the earth, verse 5] And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." (Genesis 6:3,5)

He doesn't end even there, but it was during this longsuffering, during this long passion, it was the passion of the creation that He had made, and the fact that He was going to have to close the whole thing down and start again with this one family. The long passion, and it was something to do with the spirits that were in prison, and Christ preached to these spirits in prison at that particular time. Now what exactly they were up to, we don't know, but they certainly were influencing man in a way to actually subvert the plan of God. Therefore, the entirety of all flesh had to be destroyed; the entirety of the planet had to be closed down and started again with a fresh slate. Notice by the time we get to Genesis 10:5, we find a similar thing happening as well:

"By these were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands; every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations." (Genesis 10:5)

And it is interesting that part of this, actually occurred first of all in Genesis 10:32:

"These are the families of the sons of Noah, after their generations, in their nations: and by these were the nations divided in the earth after the flood [so the nations were divided according to their nationalities, Genesis 11:1]. And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech." (Genesis 10:32-11:1)

So at the time they were one language, one speech. The nations were divided deliberately by God. They were set into their respective areas. And yet, along came an individual that didn't like that. And this is why He had to do it again, dividing them by their tongue, as it says in Genesis 10:5. And that individual as it says in Genesis 10:6:

"And the sons of Ham; Cush, and Mizraim, and Phut, and Canaan. And the sons of Cush; Seba, and Havilah, and Sabtah, and Raamah, and Sabtecha: and the sons of Raamah; Sheba, and Dedan. And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. He was a mighty hunter [ahead of] the [Eternal]: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter [ahead of] the [Eternal]. And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel..." (Genesis 10:5-10)

So when we come into Genesis 11:8 you find the dividing of the nations, and the scattering abroad:

"So the [Eternal] scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city." (Genesis 11:8)

It was because once again, they were gathering together in one homogenous group. As far as Nimrod was concerned and Semiramis, interbreeding between the races which God had separated at the end of the flood, Genesis 10:32. He had not just separated, but He actually put barriers there. If you look at the various nations and the international groups, you will find that the black nations are in Central Africa and divided by the Sahara. The white nations that are in the European theatre, divided by Afghanistan and that area. Going across into the brown nations of India and into that area, divided by the Himalayas to the North, into the yellow races that are in that area. So He even divided them up geographically and yet they wanted to get together, and so He had to divide them by language as well, and separate them.

This long passion of God was for the plan. And yet if we turn over to Revelation 13 we see the same thing that actually occurred when Nimrod gathered people together in Babel; gathering people together in a Babylon of confusion. This also happens again, right at the very end time, again this same spirit, I Peter 3:19:

"...preached unto the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah..." (I Peter 3:19-20)

At that particular time, the entire plan was in jeopardy, but that is not the way God works. He is longsuffering, He has long passion. For what? For His plan, for what He is doing, for the Way of God. If the Spirit of God is there within us, it will also give us the long passion, the longsuffering, the patience necessary so that God's plan will indeed be accomplished within our lives. Here in Revelation 13:1:

"And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns..." (Revelation 13:1)

These are inset chapters. Revelation 12 is dealing with the Church, the true Church's relationship with Satan. And Revelation 13 is the false church's relationship with Satan, and where it came from. We see this starting from Babylon. Beginning with Babel and Nimrod and Semiramis, and all the mixed up religions of that time, going into Babylon itself, the beginning of the Chaldean Empire, the beginning of the series of empires that actually was the start of what we see today - and we will see - right up to the very end, and the return of Christ. It is that period of time. Coming from Nimrod, going into the actual start of the Chaldean Empire, going right through to the present time:

"And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns. and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy [you're looking at these heads of Babylon, of Persia, and then three to six of Greece, and finally of Rome]. And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard [tie it across with what is written over in the Book of Daniel]...And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed...And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months [1260 years or 1260 days]. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." (Revelation 13:1-8)

So right from the very beginning; the plan didn't go awry, but Adam took of the wrong tree and the whole plan seemed to be off track. From that point Christ knew that He was going to have to come and be offered as a sacrifice. He had long passion. He had long passion all the way through that time. He came to the time of Noah, again it looked as if the wheels had come off, but it didn't. It says; "Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah..." (I Peter 3:20)

He went ahead and got the infrastructure re-established. Whatever it was that was happening at that time, was destroying the very ability of the spirit of man to function within the human beings at that time. Something along those lines must have been happening, something in the genetic area.

Today, it goes right the way through Babylon, the dividing of the nations, back into their original time, the longsuffering of God. It goes through the Babylonian, Chaldean Empire all the way through Persia, through Greece, through Rome, to the present situation that we find today; the longsuffering of God, the long passion. What's He doing? He's got a plan.

All the way through, through all those stages, His Spirit, His Breath, what He is, the Breath that both Christ and the Father share, the thing that also into which we are plunged, the thing that gives us the love, the power, the sound mind - these things that come from that Spiritual has a long passion all the way through. And this has been true and will be true right the way through until the beginning of the Millennium, and right the way through the Millennium, and right the way through until the entire Family of God, the entire Kingdom of God is established on this earth, the Family of God, and all the human side is finished. That will then complete this stage of the plan. Then as Mr. Armstrong said, comes "The beginning".

God is the Creator and has long passion. He is passionate about what He does. He is passionate about the creation that He is making. He is the Creator who is a passionate Creator. We have got to be something similar. He says; "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might..." (Ecclesiastes 9:10). You work out your stages you work through and you have the same kind of passion that God has, because it's coming from the same source. It's coming from the same Spirit. It's the same Breath that produces it.

Therefore, we also need that same passion. It will give us the patience. The passion is not alone, it's the patience, it does mean patience. It's not just passion, it's patience. You continue to walk, you will plod - forever - if necessary. It's like the mountain climber. You will plod - forever. You will do it forever. Certainly that is something that we must make sure we grab hold of.

Old Testament Examples (PLAY FROM 29:13)

Let's have a look at some Old Testament examples. Note that one of the places this word is used is James 5:10:

"Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience." (James 5:10)

Now here the word is actually translated as patience, but it is this long passion, this longsuffering. This same word is being used in that particular location. Turn to Hebrews 6:13:

"For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself, Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee. And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise." (Hebrews 6:13-15)

Notice, patiently endured, after a long passion. Patiently endured is this word that means long passion, this makrothumoia. He obtained the promise, the promise being the birth of Isaac. It goes on:

"For men verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife. Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong [encouragement], who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast..." (Hebrews 6:16-19)

Again, there's a long passion. As it says here, "And so, after he had patiently endured [after this long passion, enduring all the way through], he obtained the promise." (Hebrews 6:15) That is therefore the example that we can go back to:

"Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil [that we can go to God whenever we need to and we can pray to Him]; Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec." (Hebrews 6:19-20)

The order of Melchisedec is the order we will also have as kings and priests, because He is both a King and a Priest. So here is the forerunner going within the veil for us, who then will also go within the veil and having this patient endurance as well.

In Hebrews 11:13, the example I want to go into re. the Old Testament is about Abraham and Sarah, who are included in this verse;

"These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off..." (Hebrews 11:13)

Now it said earlier on that; "...after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise" (Hebrews 6:15). Well he obtained the promise of an heir, but he didn't obtain the full promises as we will go on and see:

"...and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country." (Hebrews 11:13-14)

Another order of things. Let's just have a look at some of these promises and just remind ourselves a little bit about Abraham, because as it says here; "...after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise" (Hebrews 6:15). After we patiently endure, we'll also obtain the promise. Over in Genesis 12:1, and again you are looking at a time not very far from the flood. It is a few hundred years, but it's not a huge length of time:

"Now the [Eternal] had said [notice, 'had said'] unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee:" (Genesis 12:1)

Note in Genesis 15:7, it says: "And he said unto him, I am the [Eternal] that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it." (Genesis 15:7)

So He 'had said', in Ur of the Chaldees to Abraham, because Abraham at this time was actually in Haran. He had already gone so far, and had stopped in Haran till his father Terah had died. But in Ur of the Chaldees, God had said to him:

"...Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth [bless themselves, as it says in the RSV]. So Abram departed, as the [Eternal] had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran. And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot..." (Genesis 12:1-5)

Sarah was barren, Sarah had no children, so where was this great nation going to come from? He had said this to him in Ur of the Chaldees before he had even left for Haran. He stayed in Haran and it's there, if you notice the preceding chapter, that Terah his father died. He waited there until he died, and then he carried on again. He had a long passion for what he was looking for. Notice in Genesis 15:1, the One that became Jesus Christ gave a further promise:

"After these things the word of the [Eternal] came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward. And Abram said, Lord [Eternal], what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus? And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir. And, behold, the word of the [Eternal] came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be." (Genesis 15:1-5)

So He was able to actually bring him out, show him the stars, and say, "Look, you see the stars?" . He was able to see the stars and he saw the Milky Way. Could it possibly be that he had a telescope at that time, seeing the stars and having a comprehension of how many?

"And he believed in the [Eternal]; and he counted it to him for righteousness. And he said unto him, I am the [Eternal] that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it." (Genesis 15:6-7)

So He brought him out of Ur. It was all the way back in Ur when He gave him that promise. He had been to Haran. His father, Terah died. He then carried on, and still hadn't got a child. Yet, he had long passion for the promise that he had been given by God: In Genesis 15:18:

"In the same day the [Eternal] made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates:" (Genesis 15:18)

Haran is near the river Euphrates, in that area. So presumably he had seen and walked along the banks of the Euphrates. Then crossed over the mountain range from the Euphrates, down into Palestine. He walked through that area of Palestine. Remember, he went across to Egypt as well. So he knew the area, he had walked in the area, and here is the promise that was being given to him. Turn over to Genesis 17:1:

"And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the [Eternal] appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God [I am the El Shaddai]; walk before me, and be thou perfect. And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly [he still hadn't got a child - well he did have a child, but he didn't have one by Sarah at this time]. And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying, As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee. And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God." (Genesis 17:1-8)

And in Genesis 17:15:

"And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be. And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her. Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?" (Genesis 17:15-17)

So he could see the absurdity of it in a sense, but he believed. He believed what was actually being said. His passion didn't dim. He had long passion. As it says; "And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise." (Hebrews 6:15) He did finally obtain the promise. But as it also says in Hebrews 11, part of that was the nations that would be born of him, the multitude. He took him out and showed him the stars and said, "Look, you see the stars? That's how many people you're going to look at. These are the people that are going to come out from you." Yet, he had no child at that time. Later on, when He gave him his promise, yes, he'd had one child, but Ishmael wasn't the primary inheritor. It was going to go to Isaac. Turn to Ezekiel 37:11:

"Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts. Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord [Eternal]; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. And ye shall know that I am the [Eternal], when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the [Eternal] have spoken it, and performed it, saith the [Eternal]. (Ezekiel 37:11-14)

The one who will be with Jesus Christ - who will actually cause this event to come to pass - will be Abraham. He will actually see these things happen. He will see first of all, Israel as the model nation in the World Tomorrow. He will see Israel as that model nation, actually inhabiting, not only the area of Palestine, but the old areas that it had as well. The areas of the United States, of Canada, the UK, all of Australia and New Zealand, all these other areas Israel will go back and inhabit again. Exactly where the boundaries of these areas will be, I'm not sure, because there will be several earthquakes that occur at that time. Therefore, the boundaries will be changed. They will be given land and he will see them actually grow in the land. It talks about the nations of the Gentiles being divided according to the nation of Israel in Deuteronomy 32.

So you are looking at five thousand years later that Abraham will see that result. He will actually witness the promise. Five thousand years! Yet his passion is constant. The fact that he had this passion all the way through life, through Ur of the Chaldees, of going across to Haran and having his father die there, of going along the Euphrates, and seeing the land as he went across towards Egypt, of knowing that his seed was going to be greater than the stars of heaven. And yet his long passion as it says:

"...after he had patiently endured [he had this long passion], he obtained the promise." (Hebrews 6:15)

There, but it also goes beyond that. It will then go into a promise that will stretch down through the millennia, down into the very Millennium itself. He will see the nation of Israel as that model nation. He will see the expansion into all the different areas. He will see this event of Ezekiel 37 occur, when Israel will be raised up. He will see what actually went before - he will see all of this.

Yet, his long passion goes all the way through. That is in fact an example that we should look at and say, "Yes, and what was that passion about?" It was the same long passion that God had. It was the same thing. He was about to go ahead and cause something to occur which was a vital part of His plan, a vital part of what He was doing on the earth. That plan was not going to fail, it was the vital passion that God had, and Abraham also possessed as well.

The Longsuffering of Christ (PLAY FROM 43:59)

Turn over to II Peter 3 and we'll have a look at a couple of passages here that talk bout this long passion of Christ.

"And account that the longsuffering of our Lord [that is the long passion of Christ] is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles..." (II Peter 3:15-16)

What's he talking about, "accounting"? What does it mean? "...account that the longsuffering [or long passion] of our Lord is salvation..." (II Peter 3:15) What does he mean? What is that actually talking about? Well, let's just pick it up in the beginning and read some more, from verse 1 of chapter 3:

"This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance: That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour [so here was the word that was delivered to the Church]: Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts [what they want], And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men." (II Peter 3:1-7)

So here he's pointing us down to the end time, saying; "Look, just understand the time in which we find ourselves." II Peter 3:8:

"But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day [we are going back to God's long passion for His plan. That a day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as a day - He does not look at time the way we do]. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but [has a long passion] to us-ward [His long passion is towards us, towards His people to make sure that they make it if they possibly can, if there is anything that He can do, to allow them to go ahead and inherit the Kingdom], not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night..." (II Peter 3:8-10)

Remember where it says that; "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering [long passionate] to us-ward..." (II Peter 3:9). That Lord is the same One that became Christ. Turn back to Isaiah 30:18, and we can again see this passion that Christ, Himself has. It's the same passion that God has. It's the same passion to make sure the plan is on track, to make sure that what is going to happen will indeed happen the way these Creating Beings intend:

"And therefore will the [Eternal] wait, that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you: for the [Eternal] is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for him. For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem: thou shalt weep no more: he will be very gracious unto thee at the voice of thy cry; when he shall hear it, he will answer thee. And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction, yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner any more, but thine eyes shall see thy teachers:" (Isaiah 30:18-20)

So where it says He is going to; " gracious unto you, and...that he may have mercy upon you..." (Isaiah 30:18) and the fact that He will wait, that He may be gracious unto you, it's in the context of being able to have the right people at the right time, because of the verse; Thine eyes shall see your teachers. "And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left." (Isaiah 30:21)

So, in that context when we go back then to II Peter 3:9, Christ is waiting, as it says here:

"The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward..." (II Peter 3:9)

He has a long passion towards the world as a whole because He knows He is going to have to have people ready to teach in the World Tomorrow. He is going to have those ready to teach; 'This is the Way', in the World Tomorrow. It is a case of are we ready to teach that? Are we in that place yet? Christ is working with us, and working through His very Spirit to create the same kind of individual that He was as God in the flesh, in every single one within His Church. This longsuffering is towards us:

"... not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy [conduct] and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness [we've got the same passion that God has, the same passion that Christ has, the same passion that should be in every single one within His Church]. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. And account that the longsuffering [this long passion] of our Lord is salvation..." (II Peter 3:9-15)

It is rescue. It is done with a purpose in mind. So when we are looking at that verse 15 that's what it's talking about. It's talking about all this that went before. It's referring back to where it says; "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise...not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" (II Peter 3:9). Making sure that all have their initial chance. Yet, those that have rejected it, He will put out of their misery. But everyone is going to have their chance, every single human being will have their chance. Everyone will have their chance to become the fulfilment, as we read over in Isaiah, to either be a teacher or be taught the Way of God.This is part of this long passion of Christ, Himself.

Remember that; "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever" (Hebrews 13:8). He is absolutely the same. He is passionate. He is the creating God. He is the One that has the plan of God and He will continue functioning and doing whatever is necessary in order for that plan to come to its fruition. Where it says in II Peter 3:9:

"The Lord is not slack concerning his promise...but is longsuffering [has long passion] to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." (II Peter 3:9)

That has a great deal to tell us today. The reason it has a great deal to tell us today is because of what it says in Revelation 3. We find ourselves at a juncture in history with the greatest time of trial that will ever come across the world, ever has, or ever will again. This Being knows that, and He is not slack concerning His promise, but He is longsuffering towards us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. He is wanting us all to come to repentance, to come to a point where we decide; 'Right, this is the direction of life we are going to go and we will go that way come what may, for eternity'. Revelation 3:19:

"As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent." (Revelation 3:19)

Remember what we just read? "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is [long passionate] longsuffering to [towards us, every single one within the Church], not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." (II Peter 3:9)

"As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock..." (Revelation 3:19-20)

He doesn't barge in, He doesn't push the door down, He doesn't kick it in, He doesn't force. He stands there and knocks. This is the time in which we find ourselves today. We don't know who Laodicea is, we can't point the finger at someone and say; "Oh, they're Laodicea." We don't know. Laodicea will be formed when the tribulation actually occurs, and at that time we will see who is in Laodicea and who is not. There may well be some surprises as to who is in Laodicea and who is not. There certainly seems to be. As it says here:

"Behold, I stand at the door and knock [right now Christ is in this position, He is standing at the door and knocking]: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." (Revelation 3:20)

In other words, we will eat together. Eat what? Eat spiritual food, eat spiritual food that is necessary for the kind of growth that is needed. He is longsuffering. It's been decades {1} since Mr. Armstrong's death. Why? Because that's what is taking place. Let's face it, we weren't ready several years ago. I don't know of anyone anywhere in this world that was really on track. Anyone! I know people that claim to be, but I've never come across anybody that has really been on track, that really understands about the Way of God. Yet, we have got to come to repentance. We've got to be aligned with God.

As it says; "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise...but is longsuffering..." (II Peter 3:9). He's got this passion to have His plan accomplished. It is a longstanding thing, and He will be patient as He accomplishes that. He is longsuffering towards us right now, saying be zealous and repent and change; "...not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" (II Peter 3:9). That's what He would like to see in this time that we find ourselves in today.

Again, when we are looking at the fruit of the Spirit, that's where it's coming from. It is the Spirit, the very Breath of God that Christ and the Father share. Therefore, they have the same view of life, the same outlook on life. And it's the same outlook that we also need to have.

The Longsuffering of the Ministry (PLAY FROM 57:06)

Let's go back to I Peter 5:1. We find here Peter talking about the ministers, the ministry and the elders in the Church:

"The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind. Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away." (I Peter 5:1-4)

So many ministers have in fact, failed in their task, and failed in their job. We have seen them come and we've seen them go. It's a short term thing. True ministers of God are in it for the long haul. We are not here for the short haul, it just cannot be. Because the crown of glory only comes when the chief Shepherd appears. You have got to consistently and continually carry on, until that crown of glory, until that reward is given.

They are being put as administrators over the very flock of God, as shepherds over the flock of God, as an elder over that flock. We are not to be lords over God's heritage, but being examples to the flock. When that chief Shepherd shall appear, then you will receive your crown of glory. That's the reward, it's not the reward now. And in order to do that, it takes a certain amount of longsuffering. It takes a certain amount of long passion. You have got to hold onto the belief we had right in the very beginning, and continue it right down until Christ actually returns. All of us within the ministry have got to understand that.

Here in I Corinthians 3:5 there was a problem within the Corinthian Church, and the problem was there because of problems within the ministry, and this is why Paul sent Timothy into this area:

"Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos..." (I Corinthians 3:5)

Now we can read between the lines and see that there is some kind of problem, presumably with Apollos, and whatever Apollos had been teaching. I don't think it was malicious in any way, but there was some problem there by the looks of it.

"Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one [of the same mind]: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour [just as we were talking about in I Peter 5:4, about the minister receiving a reward at the return of Christ]. For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building [according to how the Church has been fed, how the Church has been led, how the Church has been administered to]. According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon [he as the master builder who lays the foundation, lays the plan out for the building, the one who is an apostle, one sent to raise up a Church]. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon." (I Corinthians 3:5-10)

The subsequent ministers come along and build on top of that foundation. Remember what the context of this is. It's talking about the reward according to his own labour. He's talking about the context of ministries here, but you have to be careful how you build thereon;

"For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ." (I Corinthians 3:11)

That apostle, if he is a true apostle of God has laid it according to Jesus Christ. And we in the ministry, have then with longsuffering, with long passion, with the same kind of passion that God has for His plan, have got to faithfully build upon that foundation:

"Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it [that's the Day of the Lord], because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall [test] every man's work of what sort it is." (I Corinthians 3:12-13)

Eventually, only those that are Spirit beings will remain, because the world and everything else is going to be burned up. And the only ones that will be Spirit beings will be those with the character of God. The way of God, the life of God, the Spirit of God, with the fruit of God; in the very people of God. The subject matter in this passage, is to do with the reward, and it is to do with the reward of the minister that is building:

"If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon [built on what? The foundation which is laid by Jesus Christ which He, the Master Builder, laid], he shall receive a reward [who is he talking about? The ministry]. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire." (I Corinthians 3:14-15)

In other words, that minister is not going to be rewarded for something that burns, but as long as he is on track, that he, himself is repentant, he will be saved, but his reward is gone. There is a warning to everybody that wants to destroy God's house:

"Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are." (I Corinthians 3:16-17)

So if somebody comes into the Church as a masquerading minister and destroys the people of God, then him, God will destroy. That's a different matter altogether. But he's talking earlier on about somebody who, through lack of longsuffering, lack of diligence, the Church is allowed to go ahead and disintegrate. Now the ministry are responsible. They have to be responsible and they have got to be continually faithful as it says in I Corinthians 4:1

"Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God [we don't own them, they have been given to us, we are stewards]. Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful." (I Corinthians 4:1-2)

We have got to be continually faithful. That takes long passion. There are certain scriptures where this word is tied to the ministry, I Timothy 1:16:

"Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering [all long passion], for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting." (I Timothy 1:16)

In other words, they to look at the example of Paul, and think if he can do it, anybody can do it. That's what he's saying. And in II Timothy 3:10 it says:

"But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering [or long passion], charity, patience," (II Timothy 3:10)

Again, the qualities of him as a minister. Turn over to II Corinthians 5:18 and it says:

"And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us [the reason why it was called Ambassador College, is this verse here, that we, talking about the ministry, are ambassadors for Christ]: as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God [they are servants of Christ, servants of God that are going out there in His stead, giving His Word]. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." (II Corinthians 5:18-21)

II Corinthians 6:1 continues:

"We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in [a day of salvation as it says in the original] have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation [for them, for these people he was talking to, which was the Corinthian Church] Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed: But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in [sleeplessness], in fastings; By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering [by long passion], by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by love unfeigned," (II Corinthians 6:1-6)

So as ambassadors, going out in the world, having been given a job to do, the ministry has got to do it with long passion. The same kind of long passion that Christ, Himself also exhibited and God the Father also exhibits. II Timothy 4:1 here is another passage:

"I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all [long passion] and doctrine." (II Timothy 4:1-2)

It is an actual command to the ministry. The reward isn't until Christ returns. But that reward is only obtainable when we do; "Preach the season, out of season, reproving, rebuking, exhorting with all long passion and doctrine." (II Timothy 4:2 paraphrased)

"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears [ we can see it happening within the Church, right now]; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry." (II Timothy 4:3-5)

He was saying to Timothy; "Hang in there." The ministry really is for the long term, it's for the long haul. It's a long passion, because the reward is not until the end when Christ actually returns. And during all the time leading up to that - through the Spirit of God through this long passion, as an elder within the Church - we are to be feeding the flock. Hopefully that flock will grow and they will be ready to be used by God, by Jesus Christ in the very Kingdom of God.

The Longsuffering of God's People (PLAY FROM 1:09:55)

So we come to the fact of God's people. You know, all of us also have got to go through the long haul. I know that when I'm counselling people about baptism, the basic question is, are they repentant? And repentance is that we are going to turn from our way to God's Way, and turn from our way to God's Way in everything - for eternity. It doesn't matter what comes up. In other words, if we know that a certain way that we're going is against God's Way, we will turn from it.

If we know that a certain way we should be going is God's Way, we will turn towards it. It is making that commitment, making that intent to turn that is repentance. And it is not just something that happens at baptism counselling, it is something that has to happen continually for eternity, and it is getting that across. It is a long passion, it is a longsuffering thing. It is the plodding - forever, if necessary. Are we willing to do that? We need to ask ourselves, are we still repentant? That we will turn from our way, we will turn to God's Way in everything for eternity, because that's the way we are going to go.

That's what we said and committed to at baptism. If we didn't, if that is not what you committed to at baptism, then we need to ask the question, do we need to be re-baptized? Now in most cases we develop understanding. When we were baptized we had no clue about what we had to go through. We had no clue what we had to face, but it was that initial step, that first step, that said, "Right, I'm going to go this way." You take that first step, and if that step was with the full intent that, that's the way we're going to go and that's the way we're going to go from that point forward, that's fine. But if that's not the way, if there is something that you refuse to turn from, and you refuse to turn to, that is the unpardonable sin, because that is a non-repented sin. It doesn't matter what it is. It makes no difference what it is. So that is absolutely vital.

So when we are looking at God's people, it is indeed a long haul, just the same as the ministry - it's a long haul with a reward at the end. It's for every single one of us a long haul with a reward at the end. That is the way it is, and we don't necessarily know what we are going to face. We don't know, but we will trust God to help us through and to train us, because He has complete control.

So let's have a look at some of the scriptures that apply to us, the ones that we haven't hit where this particular word, this makrothumos, is used. Matthew 18:23, you know the parable:

"Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants." (Matthew 18:23)

Here is somebody owing ten thousand talents. The trouble is, I put a note in my Bible as to how many millions this is, and every single year I get up here to speak, it's changed! When I put the note here it was one million, eight hundred and seventy five thousand, but I have no idea what it is today. A good deal more than that I would hasten to add, but it's still a goodly sum. Matthew 18:25:

"But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me [have long passion with me], and I will pay thee all. Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt." (Matthew 18:25-27)

Then when you come to Matthew 18:29: "And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience [have long passion] with me, and I will pay thee all." (Matthew 18:29)

But he didn't, he wouldn't, he refused to. And we must make sure that if we want forgiveness, if we want God to have long passion with us, have longsuffering with us in our ways and our lives, and let's face it, who doesn't? All of us do. Then we are going to have to make sure that we have longsuffering and long passion with others as well. That we hold onto the Way of God through the Spirit of God as we deal with one another also - that the blood of Christ covers all sin including the other person's, not just our own. We realize that we make mistakes as do other people as well. On repentance, they are forgiven just the same as you and I are forgiven.

Galatians 5:22 which we just read about; "...the fruit of the Spirit [being] love, joy, peace, longsuffering..." (Galatians 5:22). This is what we are talking about, the very fruit of the Spirit itself. Ephesians 4:1, is another one we can turn to:

"I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with [long passion], forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." (Ephesians 4:1-3)

Again, we have read this two or three times in this particular series. In order to have unity, in order to have peace, it also takes a longsuffering, a long passion. It is plodding forever. It is making sure we go God's Way. We have had that baptismal counselling previously, we've taken our step towards God's Way and away from our way and we are prepared to just plod forever if necessary. Colosssians 1:9:

"For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding [where does that wisdom and spiritual understanding come from? From the Spirit of God]; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work [we are talking about the fruit of the very Spirit of God], and increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;" (Colossians 1:9-11)

Here are the two words that we mentioned, the two words being used, both are necessary. Sitting there like a fisherman with a rod, waiting for a bite, you know you've got to be there, and that is the way it is, and keep on going. And also like a mountain climber, you plod for eternity, if necessary. But you will just keep going regardless. Your passion remains consistent. Your passion remains as God's passion. Why? Because it comes from God's Spirit, and the passion needs to be the same thing. Colossians 3:9 says:

"Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all. Put on therefore, as the elect [notice, as the elect, as the holy ones, as through the Holy Spirit] of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;" (Colossians 3:9-12)

This long passion. Where is it coming from? It's coming from someone who is elect, who is holy, of God and beloved. Coming from the very Spirit of God. I Thessalonians 5:14 says:

"Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient [be long suffering] toward all men. See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all." (I Thessalonians 5:14-15)

In other words, be patient. We are patient in dealing with all, because again we are all eventually going to be part of the very family of God, even those that are in the world at the moment. Hebrews 6:10:

"For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister. And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: [it's this long passion that's necessary all the way through until the end, it's the same as for the ministry, who are only going to be rewarded at the end]: That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and [longsuffering or long passion] inherit the promises." (Hebrews 6:10-12)

Then he gives the example of Abraham which we have already seen.

Finally, in James 5:7 says: "Be patient therefore, brethren..." (James 5:7)

Be patient, be longsuffering as it says. Here is this makrothumeo again being used in this particular place. The same quality that is shown and is part of the fruit of the Spirit. It is something that comes from God. It is something that every single one of us needs. We need it as the ministry. We need it as individuals within the Church. We are following God and Christ and the people who went before us, who all had this quality, this aspect:

"Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord [that's how long it is going to continue for in this human life]. Behold, the husbandman [take a look, notice the farmer] waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience [long enthusiasm, long passion] for it, until he receive the early and latter rain." (James 5:7)

He allows it to grow. It's not going to be there all at once. It's something that grows, and therefore it's something that we need to be aware of, going to God and asking Him for. If we are impatient about things, then we need to go to God and ask Him about it, ask Him for the help. Ask Him for the Spirit of God, and the qualities that are necessary so that we can indeed have that long passion, this long patience:

"Be ye also patient [have long passion]; stablish your hearts [make sure our hearts are right and ready for receiving the very Spirit of God through which you get that quality, and why?]: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh." (James 5:8)


{1} Mr Bowles originally said, "It's been twenty odd years since..." but it is considerably more now.