Revelation 14:12 “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.”
For the past week we have been discussing the passage above as it applies to the life and faith of Jesus as well as His children. In our last study we looked at what the faith of Jesus endured. In His life and in His death Jesus became the “Author and Finisher of our faith.” Hebrews 12:2. That faith endured every weapon of the arsenal of Satan and brought Jesus off more than conquerer, in our same flesh and blood. And He proved that the law of God can be kept under even the most dire of circumstances. THIS is the faith of Jesus.
It was through the discipline of temptation, opposition, hardship and trial that the faith of Jesus was challenged and developed into patient enduring obedience. He always kept His Father’s commandments–even in the face of the uniting of church and state against Him. His confidence in the character of His Father was unshaken even when the Father turned from Him on the cross. God is love, and the faith of Jesus refused to cherish any thought to the contrary, even when staring into the second death of total annihilation. The Lord has not left us without understanding of what this meant to the Father. Even a brief meditation on the sacrifice of Isaac by Abraham reveals the intense agony of the Father as He watched His Son suffer. (Genesis 22).
Jesus has given every one of us a “measure of faith.” Romans 12:3 What we do with it is up to us, and our responses our daily tests are a good indicator of how we will behave in bigger trials ahead. Revelation 13 clearly foretells a time when once again church and state will unite in persecuting power. The tortures of the past ages will once again become a reality, and according to Revelation 13:15, we also will face death. Will our faith hold? Will we have “the faith of Jesus”?
What does it matter? Why is our possession of the faith of Jesus so vital in the great controversy? I can state it no better than the late Donald K. Short in his book, “Made Like…His Brethren”, page 146.
“What is this need that drives God to such sacrificial devotion? A 6000-year courtship of frustration and rejection! What hidden value does the repentant bride possess that only He can see? In full view of the universe she is the canvas upon which He can paint the reflections of His attributes. No celestial resume’ could adequately represent Him and dispel the doubts and accusations that have taunted Him since Lucifer’s rebellion. She alone can open the chest of God and display the compassion and love that burns in His desire. She alone is the rib that rested in the cavity of His soul.”
The faith of Jesus is not about us. It’s about Him. And when we love Him Who first loved us, the faith of Jesus – that faith of which He is the Author and Finisher – will carry us through anything that faces us today or in the future. We will “open the chest of God and display” what God and His law are really all about, as by faith Jesus did on in His life, in Gethsemane, and on Calvary.
Throughout His life on earth we see a progressive increase in the intensity of tests brought into the life of Christ. As He entered His ministry He was met with the severe test in the wilderness. Hunger, thirst and loneliness all pressed upon Him. Satan used every tactic in his hellish arsenal to turn Christ from His mission. As Jesus began to teach He was met with the stern rebuke of the spiritual leaders who questioned His right to teach or in any way challenge their authority. He endured, obeyed, trusted! His faith held.
Day by day as He ministered, He was challenged, questioned, derided, hunted, gossiped about, conspired against, spied on, etc. The faith of Jesus was being developed. His commitment to His mission and His love for and confidence in His Father were undaunted; He stood as a mighty cedar in the storm. But that would soon change. Gethsemane was coming.
As Jesus entered the garden that passover evening, He staggered as He expressed His feelings, “My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death…” Matthew 26:38. He pleads with His Father for the cup to pass (ibid, verse 39). His faith–His moral conviction, His confidence, His surrender, His love–were all tested to the core. His concession, “nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt.” reveals the depth of his surrender, His faith, obedience, and His patient endurance.
The mob comes and He could escape but the faith of Jesus stands. The trial comes, replete with false witnesses, outright lies, physical abuse, mockery, bribery, the confession of Judas and the abandonment of His “loyal” followers. Motivated by love for His Father and for His children, His faith holds fast. Satan is pressing every “panic button” in the human nature of Christ, but Jesus chooses to keep His amygdala, which is screaming “self preservation”, under complete control of His frontal lobe, which is under the control if the Holy Spirit.
Then comes the cross, the nails and the crown of thorns. Something called neural thorns can develop along the neurons in the brain whenever we harbor an unforgiving spirit. These thorns wound surrounding tissues, but the choice to forgive prunes those thorns away. The faith of Jesus speaks: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do…” Luke 23:34. No thorns penetrate to the mind of Christ!
As Jesus hangs on the cross at Calvary the Father hides His face, and the faith of Jesus is tested to the utmost. He is alone in His suffering, and the scream, “My God, My GOD, Why hast Thou forsaken ME?”, bursts from the breaking heart of our Redeemer. He has no assurance of ever living or seeing His Father again. Except….by faith. And that faith held. Jesus died in faith, willing rather to be blotted out of existence than disobey His Father or to leave humanity with no hope.
“Here…are they that keep…the faith of Jesus.” Revelation 14:12. Tomorrow we will look more at what this means for you and for me.
Two days ago we talked about patience. Yesterday we introduced the faith of Jesus and touched on the necessity of understanding that He was in our same flesh and blood while wrestling with the temptations and challenges of His earthly life. Today we will expand on His faith.
Taking the Strong’s Concordance definition of faith once more [persuasion, credence, moral conviction (of religious truth, or the truthfulness of God or a religious teacher…)], let’s look at the life of Christ. Before His birth He, by faith in His Father, said, “Lo, I come…I delight to do Thy will, O my God: yea, Thy law is within My heart.” Psalm 40:7,8. When reflecting on His birth and infancy, “I was cast upon Thee from My mother’s womb: Thou didst make me hope when I was upon My mother’s breast” Psalm 22:10. This is how Jesus was kept from sin in his childhood.
As He grew into a youth, faith (moral conviction) caused Him to say when tempted, “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse His way? by taking heed thereto according to Thy Word.” Psalm 119:9. By faith, having studied prophecy, he understood at age 12 that He was the lamb of God symbolized in the earthly sacrificial services. By faith, again having studied prophecy, He knew when it was time to lay down His life as that sacrifice.
Jesus walked by faith. He had patience (endurance when tested) because of His faith. He kept His Father’s commandments because of His faith. (And remember, faith works by love! (Galatians 5:6) These are the three words, faith, obedience, patience, that stand out in Revelation 14:12, the passage we’ve focused on in this short study. What was the measure of that faith? that patience? that obedience? That is most clearly seen in the crucible of His final hours. Those final hours will be the focus of our next study.
Revelation 14:12 “Here is the patience of the saints; here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.”
Yesterday we talked about patience a bit. It’s interesting to find the attribute of patience here connected with faith and obedience. As I’m pondering those last four words, “the faith of Jesus” this morning, I feel like Job–I need to place my hand over my mouth.
Faith is defined in Strong’s Concordance as, “persuasion, credence, moral conviction (of religious truth, or the truthfulness of God or a religious teacher),…” Hebrews 11:1 gives us the famous definition as “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Faith, then, has the ability to create within the heart the hope and evidence to cling to that which is desired. An example of this could be when Jesus prayed in Psalm 22:2, “but Thou hearest not…” (His feelings and emotions), but faith, which is persuaded of the character of His Father, says in vs 24, “…but when he cried unto Him, He heard.” This is why I believe, as John 17:3 says, that a true understanding of God’s character and an intimate connection with Him are the essence of eternal life.
So often we maybe feel a little like Peter; “…though all men should deny You, yet will not I!” But we must remember we’re made of the same stuff Peter was. The almost scary fact is that the Bible says that Jesus was “made like unto His brethren.” Hebrews 2:17 “Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren,…” Was Jesus like Peter? like me? Did He struggle with the same temptations to fear and doubt as I do?
I am going to suggest that unless we understand how fundamentally LIKE us Jesus was made, we cannot truly understand what the faith of Jesus is. We have to understand the ground from which “the faith of Jesus” was built. And we will talk more about that tomorrow.
“Patience under trials will keep us from saying and doing those things which will injure our own souls and injure those with whom we associate. Let your trials be what they will, nothing can seriously injure you if you exercise patience, if you are calm and unexcited when in trying positions…. ” Our High Calling, page 70
The frontal lobe of the brain is the area responsible for emotional reactions. But there are areas of the brain that can give the frontal lobe “a run for its money”, so to speak. One such area is the amygdala.
The amygdala is that area of the brain that is responsible for emotions of fear, anger, panic, etc. It’s the fight or flight headquarters of the brain. The late Dr. Elden Chalmers once stated that it is only the frontal lobe that can cool the fires of the amygdala.
Is your frontal lobe being developed to help you become “panic proof”? Can you handle stress and still be kind and calm? Do you become irritable when you have “too many irons in the fire”? It’s kind of “natural”, isn’t it? But God wants us to live a supernatural life. And with His strength and training, we can.
One of the best things God has called us to in order to help us to prepare for the closing scenes of this life is country living; time in nature and in the garden. If you’ve experienced it, you know what I’m saying when I say that gardening and country living develops patience! We’re told in Revelation 14:12 that the people of God in the final scenes of earth’s history will possess patience….and the faith of Jesus.
We’ll talk more about the faith of Jesus tomorrow. But for today, do you have patience? are you developing patience? Are you choosing to allow the Lord to control your frontal lobe so it can calm that impulsive amygdala? Day by day? When you’re cut off in traffic? When someone offends you? When you smash your thumb with a hammer, burn the toast or are otherwise challenged? Hiding the promises of God in the heart by memorization is a HUGE advantage here!
God help us to be willing to embrace the discipline it will take to become the people of Revelation 12:14.
“The lives of many are too delicate and dainty. They know nothing of bearing hardship as good soldiers of Christ. They are hindrances to the work of soul saving. They have many wants; everything must be convenient and easy, to suit their taste.”
Volume 8, Testimonies, pages 52-53
As I interact with people day by day I realize just how spoiled “we” have become. In the past folk had to go to the well to draw water, or the spring. There were no indoor toilets and no showers. If you bathed, you had to draw up the water, start a fire, heat the water (unless you’re brave or it’s summer!), bathe with a bucket of water, and throw out the bath water when you finished. Having homesteaded on numerous occasions, I know what this looks like day to day. I’ve done it! It’s not easy, but it is definitely a rewarding and valuable experience.
The Bible says that, in the near future, those who remain faithful to Jesus will no longer be able to buy or sell. (Revelation 13:17 “And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.”) What will you do? If you can’t pay your water bill? power bill? buy gas or food? Are you preparing? Are you preparing spiritually? physically? mentally? emotionally?
Are you prepared to be ridiculed, hated or hunted and still stand for your convictions? I believe that living in the country is one of the most merciful things God could call us to do in preparation for what is ahead. Trials? You better believe it! Homesteading is not for sissies! We must prepare ourselves to be comfortable being uncomfortable! God help us to embrace His method of schooling.
I would like to invite you to our Spring 2018 Camp Meeting at Closure for Jesus Farm if you need help getting started. Even if you’re an old pro, you can come and share your experience with others. May 16-20. More to come!
How can we be perfect?
“It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect.” Psalm 18:32
How can we be victorious step by step?
“Hold up my goings in Thy paths, that my footsteps slip not.”
What is my part?
“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me.”
How do I do that?
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, Who loved me, and gave Himself for me.”
“Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Really? Yes, really.
“For he that is dead is freed from sin.”
“…I die daily.”
1 Corinthians 15:31
In describing to His disciples the office work of the Holy Spirit, Jesus sought to inspire them with the joy and hope that inspired His own heart. He rejoiced because of the abundant help He had provided for His church. The Holy Spirit was the highest of all gifts that He could solicit from His Father for the exaltation of His people. The Spirit was to be given as a regenerating agent, and without this the sacrifice of Christ would have been of no avail. The power of evil had been strengthening for centuries, and the submission of men to this satanic captivity was amazing. Sin could be resisted and overcome only through the mighty agency of the Third Person of the Godhead, who would come with no modified energy, but in the fullness of divine power. It is the Spirit that makes effectual what has been wrought out by the world’s Redeemer. It is by the Spirit that the heart is made pure. Through the Spirit the believer becomes a partaker of the divine nature. Christ has given His Spirit as a divine power to overcome all hereditary and cultivated tendencies to evil, and to impress His own character upon His church.
The Desire of Ages, page 671
The following was a children’s story I shared at our church recently:
Charlie. Everyone who comes to Closure for Jesus farm loves Charlie. Let me tell you a little about Charlie. He’s a Border Collie dog, and he’s about two years old now. If we tell Charlie, “NO”, we only have to tell him once. If we tell him, “Come!”, he comes right away. If we tell him, “Go get it!”, he’s off before we finish speaking. If we tell him “Bring it, Drop it”, whatever it is, is right on the ground in front of us. If we throw a stick in the creek or the pond, he has it back at our feet in seconds, waiting for the next throw. If we throw a frisbee, Charlie will sail through the air to catch it. Charlie loves to please.
Then there’s Emma. Not everyone who comes to Closure for Jesus farm loves Emma. Let me tell you a little about Emma. She’s also a Border Collie dog, and she is one week older than Charlie. She’s as sweet and loving a dog as you will ever find, and is very attached to us. But if we tell Emma, “NO”, we may have to tell her 20 times before she stops. If we tell her “Fetch”, she runs to the stick and stands over it and stares at us. The dogs are not supposed to get in the garden, but I have to tell Emma every day, “Emma, get out of the garden!!” If my cat, Lily, walks by Emma tears out after her.
You know what Charlie does when Emma chases my cat? He runs after Emma and stops her. Charlie knows they are not supposed to chase my cat, and he is trying to remind Emma to leave her alone. Charlie often tries to help Emma obey, but Emma seems set on doing what she wants to. Remember, though, she is very sweet and loving; she just won’t obey. She wants to have her own way, and it sometimes frustrates not only me, but children who come here to visit our farm and play with the dogs.
Now, when I ask people why they love Charlie so much, do you know what is the first thing most people say? They say, “Because he is so obedient!!” WOW! Now that’s very interesting. Charlie is fun to play with. He’s a sweet dog. He’s super smart. He’s a beautiful dog (so is Emma). But the thing most people really like about Charlie is the fact that he is quick to obey.
What a lesson! Do you think Jesus can make us quick to obey like Charlie, the Border Collie dog? I think He can. Do you think it would make our friends and family like to be around us better?
John 14:15 “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”