Standing For a Lifetime

By Rev. Robin V. Richardson



          While studying the lives of the Apostles Paul and Peter, I could not help but ask, how were these men able to stand a lifetime for the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Word of God?  Let us take a look at Acts Chapter twelve:

Act 12:5 Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.



Act 12:6 And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison.






           We see Peter in prison, SLEEPING between to guards. I do not know about you, but I do not know if I could sleep in a situation like that. Lets take a look at the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians:



2Co 11:24 Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.



2Co 11:25 Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;



2Co 11:26 In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;



2Co 11:27 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.



2Co 11:28 Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.




          The whips that Paul received the 39 lashes with were not like whips in the Wild West. At the end of these whips were pieces of metal or bone.  When the whip would come across a person’s back, it would tare up the person’s flesh.  Could you imagine what his back looked like?




          These men were humans with feelings, concerns, passions, loves, and desires, like we have. The one thing they had was energy in their commitment.

How did they get to this point of no return, do or die attitude regarding their faith?  They kept their focus on these vary important points:  1) The Hope of the return of Jesus Christ.  2) The ministry that God gave them was vital and they saw their work past their own lifetimes.  3) Keeping their hearts focused on the things unseen, in spite of what was going on around them.




          Living life in the light of the return of Christ is one of the keys in getting to the point of no return in your faith. I Thessalonians 4:13-18 tells of the return of Christ:



1Th 4:13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.



1Th 4:14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.



1Th 4:15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.



1Th 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:



1Th 4:17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.



1Th 4:18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.









            No matter what happens, in our lives, we can have the comfort that the Lord Jesus Christ is coming back. We will forever be with our precious Lord.  Peter had this promise from the beginning:



Act 1:9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.



Act 1:10 And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;



Act 1:11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.






          I Corinthians also specks about the return of Christ:

1Co 15:1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;



1Co 15:2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.



1Co 15:3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;



1Co 15:4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:






          These verses are the foundation for our Christian living.  Without the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ from the dead, all we would do would come to naught.  From this foundation we can build the great truths reguarding the return of Christ, in our lives.  We need to keep theses in our memory.




1Co 15:5 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:



1Co 15:6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.



1Co 15:7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.



1Co 15:8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.



1Co 15:9 For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.



1Co 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.



1Co 15:11 Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed.



1Co 15:12 Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?



1Co 15:13 But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:



1Co 15:14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.




Some of the believers in Corinth were teaching that there was no resurrection of the dead. If this were true, then Christ was not raised, and we have no hope. Our faith would be in vain. The word “vain” in this verse, is the word kenos which means, “empty, devoid of truth, of vessels which contain nothing, destitute of spiritual wealth, of one who boasts of his faith as a transcendent possession, yet is without the fruits of faith.” A person in this state is described in 2 Timothy 3:5 as a person who, “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.”  This is not a place where we want to be in our Christian walk with the Lord.  Paul continues in I Corinthians 15:15-28:



1Co 15:15 Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.



1Co 15:16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:



1Co 15:17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.



1Co 15:18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.



1Co 15:19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.






               The Oxford Annotated Bible has the 2nd part of verse 19 translated, “we are of all people most to be pitied.”







          Paul continues the point that if Christ is not raised; those who have died in Christ are gone forever.  If Christ is not coming back for us, and we have hope that he is, we are of all men most miserable. It just would not be worth going on. Let’s take a look at the next verse…



1Co 15:20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.









          These things would be true, BUT Christ is risen from the dead. Not only is he raised from the dead, he will not be the only one raised.  Our great hope is that, when he returns for us, we that are dead in Christ will get up.












1Co 15:21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.



1Co 15:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.



1Co 15:23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.



1Co 15:24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.



1Co 15:25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.



1Co 15:26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.




             There is another enemy that will be destroyed.  That enemy is Satan.  This is also part of our hope. The thing is, Satan knows he is a goner.

Gen 3:14 And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:



Gen 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.



               Satan Knew since Genesis 3:15 that his end will come.  He tried time and time again to stop Jesus’ coming the first time.  I will tell you right here and now, Satan could not stop Jesus from coming the first time and he will NOT stop him from coming back!  Jesus Christ is coming back as Kings of Kings and Lord of Lords. He is going to set things straight and knock some heads together.  Lets get back to 1st Corinthians:









1Co 15:27 For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him.



1Co 15:28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.






               Look at verse 54.







1Co 15:54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.



1Co 15:55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?



1Co 15:56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.



1Co 15:57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.



1Co 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.







All will be under Christ and Christ will put all things under God the Father that the Father may be all in all.  What a wonderful day that will be!  Those who have died in Christ will get up, in their new bodies.  Those who are still alive will be changed.  Those who have the hope of Christ’s return burning in their heart will receive the Crown of Righteousness:

 2Ti 4:8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.






The Question is, not only today, but also day-by-day do you love His appearing? The answer to that Question will put energy in your commitment. Remember that our labor is not in vein, for we have the hope that he is coming back!




When we say, “see the ministry past your own lifetime”, what do we mean? That’s a good question. The answer to that question is another one of the keys of having the energy of your commitment.  What we do today will determine how much of the Word of God Lives in the lives, the minds and the hearts of future generations of believers, yet unseen.  Another words, what deliberate actions are we going to take to ensure that the Word of God lives, in these future generations?  

There is a good pastor friend that has this vision of the ministry past his lifetime. He told me more then once, “ Do you know what a pastor’s job is? It is to equip the saints, so they can be about the Fathers’ business.”   A pastor’s responsibility is to train the church to the end that if any thing happen to him, the church could continue on, not skipping a beat.  That’s seeing the ministry past your lifetime.



The first thing born again believers (Romans 10:9,10) need to realize is that they have a ministry in the church given by God.  While it might not yet be that of a Pastor, Evangelist or Teacher, they do have the Ministry of Reconciliation committed to them by God. We are also ambassadors of God according to II Corinthians 5:17-21:



  2Co 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.



2Co 5:18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;



2Co 5:19 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.



2Co 5:20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.



2Co 5:21 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.






In verse 17 to be “In Christ” is fellowship with the Father. Christ in you is what we received when we were born again. This is called Sonship. Each time we are walking in fellowship with the Lord, we are a new creation.  With the ministry of reconciliation we have the legal right to reconcile people back to God.  God says we are also ambassadors. The question is are we going to be good ambassadors or bad ambassadors?



 Part of this seeing the ministry past your lifetime is found in II Timothy 2:2:



2Ti 2:2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.






The truths of God’s Word we have been taught we are to commit, to teach to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others.  That’s one of the ways the Word of God lives in future generations, yet unseen.  Acts chapter 19 shows what can happen when faithful men, teach faithful men.



Act 19:6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.



Act 19:7 And all the men were about twelve.



Act 19:8 And he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God.



Act 19:9 But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus.



Act 19:10 And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.






Within a space of two years and three months the entire known world, at that time, heard about the Lord Jesus Christ.  Faithful men were teaching other faithful men. 



It is exciting to see others come to Christ. It is equally exciting to be able to teach people God’s Word to the point they can teach it to others. In turn, they teach it to others.  To be able to fully see your ministry in operation, go find “a Timothy” to teach. In doing so, you will ensure the life of God’s Word past our lifetime. Remember one important thing, its not about us. We do not preach ourselves. It is about the greatness of God and His Word living and the Lord Jesus Christ.




There is a song I learned years ago titled “ Turn Your Eves Upon Jesus.”  The refrain goes as follows:

Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, And the things   of earth will grow strangely dim, In the light of his glory and grace.



The more we look at the things of this world, the more discouraged we can get.  The more we look fully in the wonderful face of our Lord Jesus Christ, our problems and troubles grow dimmer and dimmer. To be able to stand a lifetime we need to keep focused on things unseen.

2Co 4:1 Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;






          To keep your eves on the things unseen will keep you from fainting, in your mind. Also we received mercy which means, “God’s withholding of merited judgment”.   Another words because of what Christ did for us; we did not get what we deserved.  We have no good reason to faint, or give up.

2Co 4:2 But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.



2Co 4:3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:



2Co 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.



2Co 4:5 For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake.






          I told you earlier, it is not about us. We do not preach how great we are, because we have received mercy. We also do the ministry honestly, not handling the Word of God, deceitfully. Neither do we hide the gospel; we let others know so they too can look on the wonderful face of the Lord Jesus.

2Co 4:6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.



2Co 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.



2Co 4:8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;



2Co 4:9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;




Things happen, but we continue to let that light shine because God has commanded the light to shine out of darkness. As we keep our eyes on the unseen things of God, we get the strength from God, to move on.









2Co 4:10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.



2Co 4:11 For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.



2Co 4:12 So then death worketh in us, but life in you.



2Co 4:13 We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak;



2Co 4:14 Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.



2Co 4:15 For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.



2Co 4:16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.



2Co 4:17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;




          There is a verse in Romans chapter 8 that ties in with this:

Rom 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.




          We as believers will go through troubles Jesus said this.  Some of the things we go through will be very hard, very difficult to go through.  The Word declares that anything we go through on earth, no matter how difficult, is a light affliction, compared to the glory we will have in eternity.







2Co 4:18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal




The believers in the first century church had their share of troubles and problems they could dwell upon. Instead they pressed on with the things of God, “being about the Father’s business.” They kept their minds and hearts on the Lord Jesus, knowing the things of this World were temporary.


The book of Hebrews chapter 11 and 12 have truths regarding looking at the things unseen.  Hebrews 11 is known as the hall of fame of the Old Testament believers.  The Old Testament believers’ hope was the first coming of the messiah. This enabled them to go through unbelievable persecution. By their example, we can look to our hope the Lord Jesus.

     Heb 11:32 And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:



Heb 11:33 Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions.



Heb 11:34 Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.



Heb 11:35 Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:



Heb 11:36 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:



Heb 11:37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;




          God delivered these believers from terrible circumstances; some were tortured, not accepting deliverance. Do you know what the sheepskins and goatskins meant in verse 37?  These skins were sowed, on a person, wet.  As the skins dried, they would shrink, and suffocate the person wearing it.


Heb 11:38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.



Heb 11:39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:



Heb 11:40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.



Heb 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 the race that is set before us,



Heb 12:2 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 is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.



Heb 12:3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.




Looking unto, (away from all else) Jesus the beginner and finisher of our faith, will prevent us from being wearied and faint in our minds. When Jesus was dieing on the cross, he was doing the Father’s will. Verse 2 says, “for the joy that was set before him.  Joy and happiness is not the same. Things on the outside make us happy. Joy is an “inside job,” a spiritual thing.  Jesus knew he was doing the Father’s will and that gave him joy. Beginner and finisher of our faith means, our faith is complete.  When Jesus said, ”It is finished,” he was not specking of his death. He was specking of your redemption and mine. With the finished work of Christ we have everything we need, as we continue to look fully at his wonderful face.




 Keeping these three points high in our focus.  1) The hope of the return of Christ.  2) Seeing your ministry past your lifetime.  2) Looking at the things unseen, even unto Jesus, the beginner and finisher of our faith, we can stand on God’s Word a lifetime.  Then when all is said an done, the Father can say to me and you, “ this is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased.”     





 Who Do You Think You Are?-Your Identity In Christ.

From Joyce Meyer’s Book:  You Can Begin Again.

I am the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21)                              2Co 5:21  For He made the One who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in0 Him.


I am forgiven of all my sins. (Ephesians 1:7)

Eph 1:7  In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;


I am born of God, and the evil one does not touch me. (I John 5:18)

1Jn 5:18  We know th;4at whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.


I am raised up in Christ and seated in heavenly places.(Ephesians 2:6)

Eph 2:6  And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:


I am a believer, and the light of the Gospel shines in my mind.              (2 Corinthians 4:4)

2Co 4:4  In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.


I am more than a conqueror through Him who loves me.(Romans 8:37)

Rom 8:37  Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.


I am an overcomer by the blood of the Lamb and the word of my testimony. (Revelation 12:11)

Rev 12:11  And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.


I am the head and not the tail; I am above only and not beneath.

(Deuteronomy 28:13)

Deu 28:13  And the LORD shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the LORD thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them:

I am greatly loved by God. (Romans 1:7, Ephesians 2:4, Colossians 3:12, I Thessalonians 1:4)

 Rom 1:7  To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Eph 2:4  But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,

Col 3:12  Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;

1Th 1:4  Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God.


I am strengthened with all might according to his glorious power. (Colossians 1:11)

Col 1:11  Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;


I am the light of the world. (Matthew 5:14)

Mat 5:14  Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.


I am a new creature in Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

2Co 5:17  Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.


I am able to do all things through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:13)

Php 4:13  I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.


I am redeemed from the curses of sin, sickness and poverty. (Deuteronomy 28:1-4; Galatians 3:13)

Deu 28:1  And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth:

Deu 28:2  And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God.

Deu 28:3  Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field.

Deu 28:4  Blessed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep.

Gal 3:13  Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:


I am healed by the stripes of Jesus. (Isaiah 53:5; I Peter 2:24)

Isa 53:5  But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

1Pe 2:24  Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.


I am God’s Workmanship, (Masterpiece) created in Christ to do good works. (Ephesians 2:10)

Eph 2:10  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.


I am a joint-heir with Christ. (Romans 8:17)

Rom 8:17  And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.