Revive Our Hearts Podcast

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The Results of Endurance

Leslie Basham: It looks so fun to win a sports championship or a medal, but that moment only comes after an incredible amount of endurance. Here's Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: Well, no athlete gets to the finish line without a lot of rigor and hardship and effort and paying a price and blood and sweat and tears. That's what it takes to be a champion. That's what it takes to run faithfully all the way to the finish line.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of The Quiet Place, for Tuesday, June 18, 2019.

We all experience hardship in this life. That's why Nancy's current series has helped so many listeners. It's called, "Enduring Life's Hardships."

If you've missed any of this teaching from 2 Timothy, you can hear it at ReviveOurHearts.com. It's an important topic because if you do endure, it will bring about a great, great reward. Here's Nancy.

Nancy: I just learned that one of the ladies who's here with us today in the recording just celebrated, last week, her sixtieth wedding anniversary, and I said, “You should be teaching the course on endurance.” That's endurance.

I don't know what kind of marriage it's been, but I know enough to know that sixty years of living with anyone has had to involve ups and downs, heartaches, hardships, suffering, and takes endurance. That's going the distance, making it to the finish line, all the way staying faithful. How few marriages there are today that go the distance!

Actually, I do know from having heard this woman share before that there had been some very difficult challenges in her marriage, but God has changed her. God has changed her husband. In the process, neither is glorified yet, but both are being sanctified. Here's a woman who is rich in faith and has a kind of spirit that I would love to have. I just don't want to go through what it took her to get it.

Isn't that the way we are about endurance? We want the outcome. We want the prize. We want the reward, but we don't want to go through what it takes to get there. Well, no athlete gets to the finish line without a lot of rigor and hardship and effort and paying a price and blood and sweat and tears. That's what it takes to be a champion. That's what it takes to run faithfully all the way to the finish line.

We're talking in this series about how to endure hardship and suffering. We're drawing principles from the book of 2 Timothy, which has been such a blessing to me over the past several months as I've just pondered and poured over the different passages in 2 Timothy and said, “Lord, show me Your perspective on hardship and suffering and how to endure.”

We've been looking at this ninth principle that no matter how difficult things are today, we can face the future with hope. We can be sure of four things about the future, and you may remember that in the last session we said that first we can be sure that all wrongs will be righted.

Those who persecute God's servants, those who oppose the truth will be brought to justice. God will han dle them. Their victory will be short-lived. They think it's a victory. It really won't be. All wrongs will be righted.

Then we saw, number two, the Lord will rescue us from all trouble in His way and in His time. Now that doesn't mean, as we said in the last session, that there won't be problems or that we will escape from every physical problem or prison, but it does mean that in the midst of that, God will deliver us from all evil, from the Evil One, from evil intents of evil men. In God's way and in God's time, He will rescue us.

Then I want us to see today two other things that are true about the future that we can count on that will help us to endure suffering and hardship today. Look to the future and remember that all your suffering, all the hardship, all the efforts, all the labors, all the faithfulness, all your suffering will be rewarded in that Day. All the suffering of this life will be rewarded.

Those who suffer for Christ's sake, those who suffer as Christians (and we said that 2 Timothy is written specifically to help Timothy, as a pastor, know how to suffer. But the application here, I believe, is to God's children who suffer in any sorts of circumstances in this fallen, broken world), and we can know that all our suffering will be rewarded in what Paul calls, “that Day.”

I put that in quotes in my notes. You'll notice, at least in my translation, that when it says, “that Day,” in 2 Timothy, it has D as a capital D—“that Day.”

Now, what is, “that Day”? Paul refers to it repeatedly, four times in the book of 2 Timothy, in chapter 1, verses 12 and 18, in chapter 2, verse 12, and in chapter 4, verse 8. Four times he refers to, “that Day.” Other times in others of his writings Paul cause it the Day of Jesus Christ. You read that in the book of Philippians, for example.

This is not the same as what you read in the Old Testament, that is, the Day of the Lord. You read about that in the book of Joel for example. Whenever you see the Day of the Lord, that's a phrase of final judgment of God on sinners. That's the day of the outpouring, unleashing of God's wrath upon evil doers. That's the Day of the Lord.

When Paul talks about, “that Day,” this is something he looks forward to with great joy and anticipation. “That Day” is the Day that believers will stand before the Bema Seat of Christ, the judgment seat of Christ, to receive their rewards for faithfulness here on this earth.

Now, why we should get the rewards is amazing because the only way we can be faithful is that God's grace keeps us faithful. One thing I can be sure of. When I get to heaven, I will know it was not my faithfulness that got me there.

If I got through any suffering or hardship here, it will be no credit to me at all. It will be Christ who held on to me, so He should get all the rewards. In fact, we will want to take those rewards and give them to Him.

The Scripture does say that God will reward our faithfulness under suffering. Paul says this in chapter 1 of 2 Timothy, verse 17. He talks about a man named Onesiphorus. That's not a common name by any means to us. But this friend of Paul's arrived in Rome and, "searched for me earnestly and found me." And Paul says in verse 18, "May the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord on that Day.

Paul says, "This man risked his life. He made sacrifices. He came to me. He came to my aid." We did a whole other series on Revive Our Hearts about Onesiphorus, so we won't go into detail on him here. But this was quite the effort he made to be of encouragement and help to Paul. Paul says that he will be rewarded. God will give mercy to him on that Day. 

Look at 2 Timothy 4, verse 6. Paul says, “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come.”

What does Paul mean about being poured out as a drink offering? In the Old Testament sacrificial system, the drink offering was the final offering after all the other offerings had been made—the sin offering, the burnt offering. Then finally came the drink offering.

It was poured out on the altar and consumed, and Paul saw his coming death as an offering to God, his final offering, an offering on top of all the others that he had made throughout his Christian life. He said, “I'm already being poured out as a drink offering. The time of my departure has come.”

Verse 7, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race.” Oh, don't you want to be able to say that, not today, but whenever “that Day” is? I have finished the race. Isn't that what Jesus said in John chapter 17? “Lord, I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do” (v. 4 NKJV).

That's what Paul said. “I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Tim. 4:7–8).

Who are those who love His appearing? That's the ones who are enabled to endure hardship and suffering here on earth because they keep their eyes on the finish line which is the return of Christ. They're enabled to endure.

You have that same sense in James chapter 1. I'm skipping a little bit out of 2 Timothy here, but a similar concept is here where James says, “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him” (v. 12).

Paul says, “I can be sure that at the end, in that Day when I see Christ, I will experience the reward.” Paul gave up a lot of awards here on this earth. He chose instead to receive reproach, scorn, shame, to be despised, to be rejected, to be stoned and shipwrecked.

You say, “Why?” Because there's something better coming. There's a reward for this suffering.

Paul says, “Live in light of that Day.” Endure today, keeping your eyes on “that Day.”

Keep your eye on the finish line. Remember that wrongdoers will be judged. Faithful servants will be rewarded, and don't expect now what God is reserving for you later.

That's what gets us so discouraged. We want the outcome of our faith now. We want to have now the reward of our faithfulness. And God says, “Wait. Wait. Be faithful, and then you'll get the reward.”

“If we endure,” 2 Timothy 2:12, “we will also reign with him.” We want to reign. We want to endure. We want to get the crown without going through the race.

God says, “You can't get the title, you can't get the pennant, you can't get the medal, you can't get the crown until you've run the race.” Run the race. It's at the finish line.

Can you imagine those Olympic champions, runners, stopping halfway around the track and saying, “I'd like my gold medal now”? You know, wouldn't we all? "I'm tired. I want my medal now."

Hey moms, you're not going to get your medal now, and you know it. While you're pouring yourself out as a drink offering on behalf of those children, nobody's noticing. Nobody's seeing. Nobody's praising you.

It says, “Yes, but her children will rise up and call you blessed.” How long does that take? You've got to be faithful. The reward comes down the road. Don't expect now what God is reserving for you later, so remember that all your suffering will be rewarded in that Day.

Then here's one other thing you can be sure of as you face the future, and that is that you will give an account. You will give an account, and that's why Paul says to Timothy, “Guard the deposit, the stewardship, the treasure that has been entrusted to you because you are going to be held accountable for what you do with it.”

You know what, ladies? There are days when I really, really, really want to throw in the towel and jump out of the race, but I also know deep in my heart that's not an option. I'm not allowed.

I've been given a deposit. I've been given a stewardship. I've been given a treasure. It's the gospel. It's Christ, and He has said, “Make this treasure known. Proclaim Christ. Proclaim the gospel by your life and by your lips, and you will give account.” I live in light of that final day when I know I will be accountable for what I've done with that treasure.

I can't drop out of the race. I can't throw in the towel, and neither can you. You may want to—no sin in wanting to, but there's a sin in choosing to drop out before you've run the race.

Paul says, “I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead.” We will give account. John MacArthur says of that verse, which, by the way, is chapter 4, verse 1, “This is not a judgment of condemnation but one of evaluation."

There will be this judgment of evaluation, and keep in mind that though we're told to guard the deposit that's been entrusted to us, we're also assured that He guards it for us. Paul says, “Guard the deposit that was entrusted to you.” That's in chapter 1, verse 14.

Then in chapter 1, verse 12, he says, “I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.” I'm to guard it, but I recognize that the only way I can guard it is because He's guarding me. He is keeping that stewardship for me.

There's a passage—if I could deviate for a moment from 2 Timothy—there's an Old Testament passage that really speaks to me by way of application about this matter of a future account. I want to ask you, if you have your Bible, to turn there. Ezra chapter 8. We're jumping in in the middle of a scene here, and I'm just making an application of this passage.

The scene starts in Babylon where Ezra has assembled a group of Jewish exiles to return to their homeland, to Jerusalem, so beginning at verse 24, Ezra chapter 8. Ezra says, “I set apart twelve of the leading priests, together with Sherebiah, Hashabiah and ten of their brothers,” twelve priests, “and I weighed out to them the offering of silver and gold and the articles that the king, his advisers, his officials and all Israel present there had donated for the house of our God” (vv. 24–25 NIV). They were going to use these articles to replenish the temple in Jerusalem.

Verse 26, “I weighed out to them,” and look at this very specific list, “650 talents of silver, silver articles weighing 100 talents, 100 talents of gold, 20 bowls of gold valued at 1,000 darics, and two fine articles of polished bronze, as precious as gold” (NIV). Now, you think, Why did God go to the trouble to inspire all those details?

I think God has His own reasons, and He knows fully what they are. But when I see the detail there, I'm reminded that God knows exactly what He has entrusted to you and to me. It's counted out. He knows the gifts, the stewardship, the trust.

Verse 28, Ezra said to these exiles or to these priests, “You as well as these articles are consecrated to the LORD.” You belong to the Lord. These articles belong to the Lord. “The silver and gold are a freewill offering to the LORD, the God of your fathers” (NIV).

Then verse 29, “Guard them carefully.” Guard them carefully. You're being given a sacred trust. It's sacred because it's been consecrated to the Lord, as have you. Guard these things carefully. You've been selected. You're one of the leading priests. You've been selected to take these things from Babylon back to Jerusalem.

Guard them carefully. How long? How far? “Until you weigh them out in the chambers of the house of the LORD in Jerusalem before the leading priests and the Levites and the family heads of Israel” (NIV).

Now, let me just stop there and say, you and I are on a pilgrimage. We are traveling from this world—call it Babylon if you want—to the Jerusalem that is above. We're on a journey. This world is not our home.

We're traveling to another place, and we have been separated out. We have been consecrated to the Lord, and we've been given a valuable treasure, multiple valuable treasures to take with us, precious truths, the Word of God, the gospel of Christ, the treasure of who Christ is, lives of people that have been entrusted to us.

Moms, you've got something that's worth a whole lot more than gold that you're a steward of. You've been entrusted these things, and when we arrive at our homeland, we will have to give an account.

Ezra said to these priests, “Guard these things carefully.” It's a responsibility you have all the way to the finish line. Don't stop short. I can imagine that perhaps these things—I don't know how heavy they were or what they weighed, but this was extra baggage that not everybody else had to carry.

God's given me some stewardship of some things that you don't have to carry, and God's given you stewardship of some things that I don't have to carry. I don't have children.

You gals have some heavy-weighted gold there in your children, and there have got to be times when all of us think, Could I just lay this down? Do I have to keep going? Do I have to keep carrying this? Why can't somebody else carry this? Why did I get picked to carry this? Why didn't somebody else get picked to carry this? Their burden doesn't look quite like mine. My burden seems so much heavier than theirs.

Isn't it always amazing? We think our burden is heavier than whoever else is walking alongside of us. We need to remember that when we arrive, we'll have to give account.

Look at verse 30. “Then the priests and Levites received the silver and gold and sacred articles that had been weighed out to be taken to the house of our God in Jerusalem. On the twelfth day of the first month we set out from the Ahava Canal to go to Jerusalem. The hand of our God was on us, and he protected us from enemies and bandits along the way. So we arrived in Jerusalem where we rested three days” (vv. 30–32 NIV).

Now notice that on this trip there were enemies, and on our journey there are enemies. There is the world's system that is contrary to the ways of God. There is the Devil who has many, many, many different ways of tripping us up or trying to trip us up or trying to distract us in our journey or trying to weigh us down, turn us back.

There is our own flesh. We battle with this sinful flesh. I can remember as a little girl thinking how nice it would be to be old and not have to battle with temptation. Well . . . I don't know when that's going to be, because it hasn't happened yet. I talk to some of these older saints who are friends of mine, and they are still struggling with their corrupt flesh and temptations.

There are hardships along the way. There are enemies along the way, but look. They made it because the hand of God was on them, and God protected them from the enemies all along the way. I just want to assure you, I want to assure myself (as I say this, I'm counseling my own heart) that God is able to protect us from the enemies we meet along the way from here to heaven as we carry this stewardship He has entrusted to us.

Verse 33, “On the fourth day, in the house of our God, we weighed out the silver and gold and the sacred articles into the hands of Meremoth,” and he names different ones of the priests who were there to receive the articles. Verse 34, “Everything was accounted for by number and weight, and the entire weight was recorded at that time” (NIV).

Notice it was recorded on the front end, and it was recorded at the finish line. Did you bring with you what you started out with? Did you end up at the finish line with all that was entrusted to you, or did you drop some of the treasures along the way?

They had to give account. It was weighed. It was measured. It was counted. As I read that passage, I'm just reminded that we must carefully guard what has been entrusted to us so that one day we can give account with joy, and we can have confidence. This isn't something that needs to bury us in fear or frustration.

Paul says, “I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me” (2 Tim. 1:12). 

There are seasons when you think that. There are seasons when it's hard. Paul said, “Expect it.” I'll tell you one of the things that keeps me going and that keeps me facing the future with hope is remembering that one day I will give account.

There's an old hymn by Charles Wesley that is one of my personal favorites. It's as if it was written for me, and I've made this my prayer. Let me share it with you as you prepare to give an account, as do I.

A charge to keep I have,
A God to glorify,
A never-dying soul to save,
And fit it for the sky.

To serve the present age,
My calling to fulfill:
O may it all my powers engage,
To do my Master’s will!

Arm me with jealous care,
As in Thy sight to live;
And O Thy servant, Lord, prepare
A strict account to give!

Help me to watch and pray,
And on Thyself rely,
And let me ne’er my trust betray,
But press to realms on high.

("A Charge to Keep I Have," Charles Wesley)

Lord, how I pray for these sisters and myself that You will guard our hearts, guard what has been entrusted to us, keep us faithful, keep us pressing on, and take us safely to that heavenly Jerusalem that we may give an account before You with joy. I pray in Jesus' name, amen.

Leslie: If you're faithful to what God has called you to today, it will have a great bearing on your future. Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has been helping women understand that in a series called "Enduring Life's Hardships."

If you’ve been encouraged by today’s program, you can help keep this podcast running with a gift to the ministry of Revive Our Hearts. Your support allows us to continue bringing you biblical teaching every weekday. When you make a donation of any amount, we’ll send you a copy of a book by Elisabeth Elliot published this year. It’s called Suffering Is Never for Nothing, and it is filled with biblical encouragement on how to persevere. Visit ReviveOurHearts.com to request a copy when you make your donation of any size, or call us at 1–800–569–5959.

There's a very helpful way you can learn to endure whatever life throws at you. It's to focus on the endurance of Jesus. Nancy will explain why that’s so helpful, next time on Revive Our Hearts

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth is helping you face the future with hope. It's an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scriptures are from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.

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About the Speaker

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has touched the lives of millions of women through Revive Our Hearts and the True Woman movement, calling them to heart revival and biblical womanhood. Her love …

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