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How Can You Contend with Horses?
If you have run a marathon, then running 10 miles isn’t such a big deal because you have trained for endurance thus can go a greater length.
But, if you only ever run 3 miles, you will faint and likely not finish a 26 mile race. You haven’t prepared for the endurance. The most I have ever done was 36 miles- walking/running mix
Jeremiah 12:5New King James Version (NKJV)
5 “If you have run with the footmen, and they have wearied you,
Then how can you contend with horses? And if in the land of peace,
In which you trusted, they wearied you, Then how will you do in the floodplain[a] of the Jordan?
Jeremiah, I have greater dangers for you to encounter than those you are exposed to at Anathoth; if you be so disturbed with them, who are but as footmen, how will you be able to grapple with those far greater enemies which you are like to meet with at Jerusalem? Anathoth also seems to be understood by the land of thy peace; that is, the land of your friends, wherein you have a confidence: If your enemies meet with you there (in the land of peace) and you faint, what wilt thou do in the swellings of Jordan? that is, in a place where you are like to meet with an increase of greater troubles, like the swelling of Jordan (which in harvest used to overflow its banks).
Ex: my friend who smuggled Bibles into China, went to an underground church at night
They would rejoice to be able to meet freely as we still have that right
Now look at Americans, who treat the Bride of Christ like a prostitute, using Her only as they need something. People who cannot even say homosexuality is a sin for fear of offending someone who has absolutely no say so over their life. Never really putting their faith on display, but all the while pretending to be a closet Christian.
This type of Christian will not endure intense persecution.
Can you contend with horses?
This was spoken to the great prophet Jeremiah by God Himself-
what will He say to you?
The Faithful Church- the Church of Philadelphia
Revelation 3:7-13 New King James Version (NKJV)
10 Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.
Philadelphia was a faithful church that kept Christ’s Word did not deny Him. They endured intense opposition from the world and resisted conforming to the evil trends of other churches.
They persevered in loyalty to Christ and the truth of the gospel.
1. Perseverance requires trust that God loves you. Rev 3:9 “and to know that I have loved you”
“A saint’s life is in the hands of God like a bow and arrow in the hands of an archer. God is aiming at something the saint cannot see, but our Lord continues to stretch and strain, and every once in awhile the saint says, ‘I can’t take any more’. Yet, God pays no attention; He goes on stretching until His purpose is in sight, and then He lets the arrow fly. Entrust yourself to God’s hands.”
Faith is not some weak and pitiful emotion, but is strong and vigorous confidence built on the fact that God loves me. God cares for me. I am His beloved child.
Going through trials, does not mean that God has forsaken you. Quite the opposite. Trials test ad strengthen our faith
1 Peter 1:6-7 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,
EX: I have walked with people that have lost someone dear to them, children, spouses; and those that overcame were the ones who trusted in God’s love for them, even when they couldn’t feel it.
Job 13:15New King James Version (NKJV)
15 Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him. Even so, I will defend my own ways before Him.
We are called to be child-like, not childish. We have to move past this childish mentality that is constantly falling into despair every time we go through something, crying out, “why have you forsaken me!”
When will you rest in His love for you? When will you realize that you are His child if you are in Christ?
His love for you cannot be measured and He cares more about you and your circumstances than you do!
Yet, you cannot know His love for you if you do not know and understand Him- and this only comes through prayer and the reading of His Word.
Rev 3:8 “you have kept my Word”
During his forty years of ministry, Jeremiah would suffer intense persecution. He was thrown into a dungeon, beaten, put in stocks, and threatened. Tradition teaches that he was stoned to death. Despite the opposition he faced, however, he remained true to the messages God gave him. He confronted the Jews with their rebellion and called them to confess their sins, accept responsibility, and ask God for forgiveness. As God directed him, he also spoke words of comfort to a people facing disaster.
Paul suffered great opposition-
2 Cor 11:22-28 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? So am I. 23 Are they ministers of Christ?—I speak as a fool—I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. 24 From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27 in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness— 28 besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches
Yet, he knew the Lord has NOT forsaken him, He knew Jesus loved him and would see him through
2 Corinthians 4:9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed—
GOD HAS NOT LEFT YOU ALONE just because you are suffering! ENDURE hardship!
2. Perseverance requires faith in God’s ability to deliver.
Perseverance is more than endurance- more than simply holding on until the end.
It is endurance combined with absolute assurance and certainty that God will do what He said He would do.
Do you trust that the end of your trial will result in a victory? Rev 3:12
Do you trust that because Christ overcame the cross, we to can overcome all things?
Do you trust Him to see you through to the end and deliver?
“The righteous cry and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles.” Ps. 34:17
“Many are the afflictions of the righteous; but the Lord delivers him out of them all.” Ps. 34: 19
“The Lord redeems the soul of his servants; and none of them that trust in Him shall be desolate.” Ps. 34: 22
BUT DO YOU BELIEVE IT?? Do you trust that He is working something out through this affliction and He will see you into the Promised land?
Or will you be like Israel, and die in your wilderness because you did not believe that God would do what He said He would do? They believed IN GOD, they just believe God. They didn’t take Him at His word and so they failed to enter the Promised land.
Perseverance is looking past the suffering of the cross to the joy on the other side!
Jeremiah 29:11New King James Version (NKJV)
11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Jeremiah was giving the people hope that He would restore them as a nation and His people after 70 years of captivity. Jeremiah KNEW what was coming. He preached what was coming and it was pretty ugly, but he reminded people that at the end, God would restore His people.
This is why I LOVE the book of Revelation- it is the culmination of all things. It is the marriage supper of the Jesus and His Bride- it is a constant reminder to me that God has the FINAL WORD and His plans remain intact, no matter what I may experience here on this earth
Persevere through the pain! The people that will make it are able to overcome their own pain, they don’t stop doing the work the Lord have them to do- PAUL WAS STONED!
My husband- severe back problems, Ps Jay had back surgery last year, I have circulation and heart arrhythmia, I get dizzy and have had horrible GI problems, Ps Connie- cancer
We’re all shot! just drive- Blackhawk Down
3. Persevere even when the work cannot be seen by others Rev 3:8 “I know YOUR works”
This can be a tough one when we are toiling in the heat of the day for the Lord and no one sees us tilling our soil and there is none to encourage us to keep going- persevere anyway
Jesus knows our works- that is all that should matter
NO ONE will ever know all you do for the Lord, but He knows
No one will see how much prayer time you have put in, interceding for others so that they can work hard
EX: Tami- prayer warrior and interceder for the Body, Aubrey- I don’t even know half of what she does
Colossians 3:23 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men,
Jeremiah’s work was only for the Lord- he had a hard message that no one would receive, and they laughed and scorned him
Jeremiah 7:27New King James Version (NKJV)
27 “Therefore you shall speak all these words to them, but they will not obey you. You shall also call to them, but they will not answer you.
Yet, he still had to continue, even though he wasn’t received or appreciated
I understand Jeremiah- it is hard to preach the message that God has given you to preach, when the natural man so longs to be liked and received well by others
I am no different than most people, but I have decided that it is better to obey God rather than man
4. Perseverance requires the help of the Body. Rev 3:7 “to the CHURCH”
The “you” statements are a collective “you”
Guess what, you were never meant to do this alone.
Jeremiah was alone- yes, but he was anointed and called for a specific assignment during a specific period of history.
Yet, he still had some that he relied on: The prophetess, Huldah, was a relative and contemporary of Jeremiah while the prophets Zephaniah and Isaiah were his mentors. I am sure he drew strength from these other lone voices crying in the wilderness.
We are in the dispensation of the NT Church- we are supposed to move and operate within the Body ad we gain strength from one another.
Isn’t my salvation personal? While your salvation may be personal- how you walk it out is not.
For God so loved……what??
1 John 2:6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.
1 John 3:16New King James Version (NKJV)
16 By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
This same theme is seen in Matthew 25- separating of the sheep and goat and reiterated by Jesus when He asked of Peter, “Peter do you love Me?”
IF anyone has done something for you in the Body- it is THE CHURCH
If anyone serves you, IT IS THE CHURCH
If anyone gives you money, IT IS THE CHURCH
EX: I have had people leave this church and say, “YOU never did anything for me”
Excuse me? I am the church. You are the church. No one would even be here if Pastor Matt and I hadnt answered the call to plant
5. the only way to contend with horses is by looking to Jesus
Hebrews 12:1-2New King James Version (NKJV)
12 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
We have to be DAILY drawing from the well, our constant source of strength to endure
Keep your eyes FIXED on Jesus!