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“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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A person God turned around many times.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Keeping Christ, the Law, and faith

“Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep5083 the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” (Rev. 14:12).
 
G5083 tēreō  From teros (a watch; perhaps akin to G2334); to guard (from loss or injury, properly by keeping the eye upon; and thus differing from G5442, which is properly to prevent escaping; and from G2892, which implies a fortress or full military lines of apparatus), that is, to note (a prophecy; figuratively to fulfil a command); by implication to detain (in custody; figuratively to maintain); by extension to withhold (for personal ends; figuratively to keep unmarried): - hold fast, keep (-er), (ob, pre-, re) serve, watch.
 
I grew up with the misconception that this trailer of the 3rd angel’s message meant that I must be busy working to keep the commandments, especially the 4th commandment. That was the focus, and the faith of Jesus was assumed for everyone if they were sitting in church.
 
But, recently this word “keep” stood out to me and I’ve thought about it for a week or so. I was studying John 14 when it came up, and then I saw it again in this past Sabbath sermon. The sermon was on patience, and the preacher said that one synonym for patience is “endurance”. He asked if we are ready for the coming troubles. He asked us, Will we endure them and remain faithful to the Law and our faith?
 
But, the idea I had been getting from reading the word “keep” in John means that our endurance must result from guarding the loss of “the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus”. Will the final troubles cause us to lose our obedience and our faith or will we retain them. How strong is our faithfulness to God? What kind of troubles could cause me to lose the faith of Jesus? Do I even have the faith of Jesus to lose?
 
And all of this comes out of the 3rd angel’s message. Everyone who escapes the wrath of God that is poured out without any mercy, and retains his standing before the righteous Judge, will do so by avoiding whatever the 3rd angel’s message is talking about—which is the mark of the Beast. The 3rd angel’s message is probably the most serious text in the whole Bible. It is the hour of God’s judgment. It sounds very similar to Deuteronomy 29:18-28, which I label the Old Testament’s 3rd angel’s message. Then there is also the Gospel’s 3rd angel’s message in the compressed version of John 3:36.
 
So, looking at Deuteronomy 29:18-28 and John 3:36 we know a little about what the judgment actually is. It has to do with worshiping the gods of spiritualism and humanism, basically trusting in Satan instead of Jesus. Serving spiritualism results in the mark of the Beast. That is very helpful for understanding Revelation’s 3rd angel’s message. But, how do we avoid the mark of the Beast? By keeping the weekly Sabbath holy? It most certainly can and should help us avoid the mark. But, that depends on your definition of keeping the Sabbath holy. Does your idea of Sabbath-keeping mean a day of communion with Jesus through Bible study, prayer, fellowship with others seeking communion with Jesus? Or, is it a day so chock full of meeting people that you have no time to commune with Jesus and learn of Him? Does the Sabbath school lesson and the sermon concern every other topic except Jesus, His grace and His truth? Does the sun go down on the church member without leaving him with a “blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation” (Ps. 24:5)? Did he or she receive something good to share with his or her friends and neighbors and a cause to invite them to join them the next Sabbath? We need to examine ourselves whether our Sabbath-keeping be in the faith; because, otherwise it might be that our Sabbath-keeping is reprobate. It may be that there are some serious Sabbath spiritual shenanigans going on. It may be time to cleanse the earthly temple and them that worship therein.
 
So, what are the intricacies of avoiding the mark of the Beast? What can we be doing now to prepare for the “besom [broom] of destruction” (Isa. 14:23), the future events that will strike “with blinding force” 2SM 142? How can we get ready for the revealing of the man of sin with his giant mergers and global monopolies that that have been forming into international corporations and cartels, which the Lord will soon cause to sweep an apostate Constitutional Protestant America off the pages of secular and sacred history? His “fan is in his hand, and He will throughly purge His floor, and gather His wheat into the garner; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” (Matt. 3:12).
 
Let’s examine John 14 where I first saw the word, “keep”. That word is key in Revelation 14:12, “Here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus”. So, “keep” must be extremely important to everyone who, in the end, still has the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. This speaks of their righteousness and their faith —or we might surmise— their righteousness by their faith, which is what the gospel is about. Exactly how will they keep righteousness by faith, or maintain it until the end? Obviously, their righteousness by faith is in jeopardy by something. By spiritualism? Isn’t spiritualism what Deuteronomy 29:18-28 shows to be the problem? Spiritualism in the church! And if you get the mark of the Beast, then you can’t get the Seal of God. If spiritualism gives the mark, then there must be more to the Seal than seventh-day Sabbath-keeping, as many Adventists define the commandment. The mark is about spiritualism—breaking, or avoiding, every commandment. It’s about abrogating the whole Law, which is the goal of spiritualism—overthrow the government of God.
 
So, how do we actually avoid the mark? How do we actually get the Seal in our forehead? By trying really, really, really hard to obey the Law? Again, I believe the answer lies in John 14:15-23. Let’s look at it. The deceiver’s subtleties for getting us to miss the Seal and to receive the mark are almost invisible, especially outside of understanding Jesus’ closing instructions to His beloved eleven disciples. I think you will agree that John is giving the same instruction in both his Revelation and his gospel.
 
“If ye love me, keep5083 my commandments.
And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.
Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.
At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.
He that hath my commandments, and keepeth5083 them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?
Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep5083 my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” (John 14:15-23).
 
First of all, notice again the same word “keep”. And maybe you noticed that Jesus repeated Himself three times in John 14. 1) verses 15-18, 2) verse 21, 3) verse 23. Repetition is a good teacher, and Jesus was the Master Teacher. In each case, Jesus says that if we keep [or guard from losing] His commandments, words, and His sayings in our mind as we will later see Paul doing (a similar repetition in the negative comes from verse 24), then we gradually, naturally come to appreciate Jesus as Paul did also. We see this interpretation more clearly in His statement after they left the upper room, “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.” (John 15:14).
 
Continuing on, again back in the classroom instructions: We show Him our loyalty by not losing “all things whatsoever I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:20). Because we show Him that we want Him for a friend, He loves us, and comes to us. The Father also loves us, and because we love His Son,  He also comes to us, and makes us His home, His “abode” [G3438 monē from G3306; a staying, that is residence (the act of the place): -abode, mansion].
 
This Greek word monē for mansion is the same as the place Jesus goes to prepare for us in John 14:2. What this all speaks of is what Moses and the children of Israel sang after their deliverance from Egypt. “The LORD is my strength and song, and He is become my salvation: He is my God, and I will prepare Him an habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt Him.” (Ex. 15:2). This could shed light on the Psalm of David, “Thou art holy, O Thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.” (Ps. 22:3). So, we abide in Him and He abides in us as we tell others of His goodness.
 
And the mansion abode could also speak of a new body temple, which would include the most holy place of our heart. As Paul wrote:

“For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven:
If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked.
For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.
Now He that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.” (2Cor. 5:1-5).
 
“In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
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.” (1Cor. 15:52-54).
 
“Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:…
 For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:…
That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death; if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.” (Phil. 1:6,23; 3:10,11).
 
These statements from Paul all refer to the change that will happen when Jesus returns. We will receive a new body temple, and new mansion for God to dwell in. In the context of these verses, and especially of the others to the Philippians, Paul’s Philippians 1:23 verse clearly shows that he did not expect to go to heaven immediately when he would depart this life. Nevertheless, he did expect to receive a perfect, powerful, mansion that Jesus went to prepare for him. In the meantime, during his life Paul had received a lesser mansion through the Spirit, which was given him as a promissory note, or a down payment until the bigger prize is redeemed at Jesus’ coming (see 2 Cor. 5:5).
 
That powerful Spirit is spoken of in Jesus’ instructions in the upper room. Jesus said that not only would He and His Father come and make Their abode in us, but so would the Comforter—the Spirit. And how would the Comforter come? By guarding the loss of the commandments/words/sayings of Jesus. By doing everything it takes to not let them slip away—i.e. obeying His commandment by seeing Him exemplify them and then copying Him.
 
“For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ…. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” (2Pet. 1:8,10,11).
 
Also, when laying “precept upon precept; line upon line” (Isa. 28:10), we must conclude that Jesus and His Father are the Comforter who would do the same thing in verse 15 as He promised in verses 21 and 23. He said that He would not leave us comfortless, but would love us and come to us. All three promises to come to us are under the exact same condition—guarding the loss of His teachings and coming to love Him through them.
 
This falls perfectly in line with the discovery of Paul in Romans 7:25.
 
“For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” (Rom. 7:22-8:2).
 
First Paul finds a new delight in the commandments after a long, hard battle with his natural innate rebellion. But, he still must admit to his utter wretchedness and natural evil. And after coming to that admission, his victory came immediately from God through Jesus. The anointing came to a desperate, humbled, repentant Paul. Paul was justified. His new justification by the Spirit of Christ solidified his love for the Bible and its Law, and serving the Law became Paul’s lifelong adventure. He received the promise from Ezekiel, “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.” (Eze. 36:26,27).
 
His new heart and spirit came from surrendering to the condemnation of the Law, and by his continued searching the word of God for Jesus—the Law of life in Christ—or, the spirit of the Law, or the Spirit of Christ received from the Law. Paul had the experience prophesied of in Deuteronomy 32:13, “He made him ride on the high places of the earth, that he might eat the increase of the fields; and he made him to suck honey out of the rock, and oil out of the flinty rock.”
 
By seeing Christ in His commandments, Paul partook of the Spirit of Christ; Paul sucked the honey of Christ’s Spirit out of the stone Law. Therefore, the Seal is about exposing the conscience to the Law of God, and going through Paul’s blood, sweat, and tears, his vanity and vexation of spirit until the wonderful breakthrough—salvation from God through Jesus.
 
The Law, the commandments, the word of God, are the source of the Spirit of Christ. The Spirit comes from the Law. We must study and search it with all of our heart. We must suck the Spirit out of the Law as we suck the grace of Christ out of the stone Law. If we have access to the Bible and its laws, and purposely overlook its reproofs and its condemnation of our sins, and try to find the Spirit any other way, we have circumvented the biblical method to receive the gracious Spirit of God. In the light of Revelation 14:9-11, we see that all who disobey the biblical means to have God blessing of His Spirit through His Law have opened the door for Satan to impersonate the Spirit of Christ. We get torment and the wrath of God and sleepless nights. Every denomination that abrogated the Law of God has opened their heart to a spirit other than the Spirit of God in Christ. They cannot have God’s blessing if they don’t keep Jesus’ Law and come to appreciate and love Him through the same wrestling with the Law as Paul had done.
 
Therefore, to bypass the reproofs and correction of the Law is to end up in spiritualism and to receive the mark of the Beast. We need to be honest in our self-assessments. That is what Jesus is looking for—our worship to God must be in Spirit and in truth. Once the long, difficult wrestling is finished, and we are submitted and converted to Jesus, then His Spirit influences our spirit, and inhabits the thoughts of our heart. “The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” (Rom. 5:5).
 
Back to the patience of the saints and righteousness by faith. Thus, guarding the loss of the Law in our heart, we have the patience and the long-suffering endurance to survive the grand finale of the investigative judgment. Everything passing in the world, politically, economically, religiously, is heading toward a global prayer meeting—but the prayers will be to Satan, who is disguised as God or Jesus or the Holy Spirit. You ask, How can the whole Christian world pray to Satan like the Hindus, Buddhists, animists, witches and warlocks do?
 
Easy and simply. By seeking God without wrestling under His hot condemnation of our sins. This is the essence of Spiritual Formation that is moving into the denominations, including our own. Then we are no longer praying to the one true God; we are praying to Satan. “He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.” (Prov. 28:9).
 
Those whose minds are fortified with the words of truth are the ones who, as Paul experienced, were “alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.” (Rom. 7:9). “For without the law sin was dead.” (Rom 7:8).
“What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence.” (Rom. 7:7,8).
 
Then Paul commences his struggles to be right with God. Back and forth he went, “I want to do good, but all I ever do is bad. I don’t want to do bad, but I can never do anything good. Oh, how wretched I am!” Yet, out of the rubble of that wrestling arose a new creature who would change history for the good.
 
But, Paul could have become a statistic and ran from the convictions of the Law and stayed in his carnal, well-favored position with the powerful (but, soon to be abolished) Jewish Sanhedrin. This is where most of the world is. Running from convictions, consciously and premeditatedly, or subconsciously and ignorantly. But, for the most part, they are unconscious of doing it; they are dead to that law.
 
How will it be for me in the time of trouble such as never was? Will I be swept away in the storm of spiritualism that comes with blinding force? Or will I be among those who faithfully fortified their minds with the words and Spirit of Jesus, and rule the nations with Jesus’ rod of iron?
 
“Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth5083 his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.” (Rev. 16:15).
“Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast5083, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white: for they are worthy.” (Rev. 3:3,4).
 
And even though the following promises don’t use the same Greek word tēreō, they use a similar word with the same thought of having the strength to hold on. G2902 krateō From G2904; to use strength, that is, seize or retain (literally or figuratively): -hold (by, fast), kept, lay hand (hold) on, obtain, retain, take (by).
 
“But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine [of Jezebel’s spiritual fornication], and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden.
But that which ye have already hold fast2902 till I come.
And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:
And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.
And I will give him the morning star.
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” (Rev. 2:24-29).
“Because thou hast kept the word of My patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast2902 which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.” (Rev. 3:10,11).
 
Will we come to learn of Jesus by His words and Spirit, and become a mansion for Him and the Father to dwell in? Did we build on the Rock Christ Jesus? Did we keep Him amidst the truth and grace that comes with Him and prepare for Him a habitation; is He becoming our salvation, our strength and song? Are we “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone; in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: in whom [we] also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit”? (Eph. 2:20-22).
 
Will we have the patience of the saints, and guard from loss the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus?

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