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Will Jesus Find Faith?

Norman McNulty

Presenter

Norman McNulty

Neurologist at Southern Tennessee Regional Health System, Lawrenceburg, TN

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Recorded

  • April 21, 2018
    10:00 AM
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Good morning everyone, and a happy Sabbath to each one of you. It’s always good to come back to Advent Hope. This is always a homecoming for me, although I don’t recognize most of you, so that’s the nature of the Advent movement in Loma Linda. It’s been eight years since I moved away from here, and it was definitely a period of life that was one of the highlights of my life to be part of this group. And so it’s always a privilege to come back, and I bring greetings from the state of Tennessee where the air is cleaner, and the grass is greener, and we have four seasons. I do miss the winters here; I’ll say that.

 

Well, before we start our message, I would like to offer a word of prayer, and we will get into our message. Father in Heaven, we thank You so much for this Sabbath day that we can worship you. And I pray that You would speak through me now, that Jesus would be lifted up, and that our faith would be challenged, and that we would be determined to have a deeper faith experience with you. So I pray for each person here, and I pray for the time that we have together this morning. And I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

The title for the message today is “Will Jesus Find Faith?” And I want you to turn to the book of Luke, chapter 18. Luke, chapter 18, and Jesus asks this famous question at the end of verse 8, and He says, “Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” And a lot of times we take the last part of that verse, and we don’t see how it connects to the parable that Jesus tells to get to the point where He asks that question. Jesus looks down at His Last-Day Church, and He asks the question, “When I return, will I find faith in My people?”

 

Now, if Jesus is asking that question about you, don’t you think it would be well for you to pay attention to what Jesus is wondering about because that’s what Jesus is asking. When He comes back, will He find faith. And in order to understand why Jesus asks that question, let’s go back to verse 1 of Luke 18. Luke, chapter 18, verse 1, “And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint.” So Luke is telling us why Jesus gives this parable, and He’s saying, “This parable is given to you by Jesus so that you would learn how to pray and that you wouldn’t give up in your prayer life.”

 

Now, how many of us could use a boost to our prayer experience with God? I think all of us could do better in our communication and in our prayer life with God, and so Jesus tells a parable about prayer, but if you’re paying attention, it’s connected to the kind of faith that God’s people will need when Jesus comes back. So you’re prayer life is directly proportional to the kind of faith that you have.

 

So let’s look at this parable that Jesus tells. Starting in verse 2, “There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man.” Now, I can tell you that if I were ever to stand before a judge, I would hope that this judge would be a fair judge and a just judge, but in this parable this judge doesn’t care about God, doesn’t care about man; this judge is in this position solely to enrich himself and to have position, influence and authority. And this judge doesn’t care about the things of God or what the Law of God says. And this judge doesn’t care about how his decisions will affect the people who come before him. That’s not the kind of judge I would want to face.

 

And the parable continues, “And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, ‘Avenge me of mine adversary.’” Now, if you’re paying attention carefully, if you look in society, especially in the time of Christ, a widow would especially be someone who had fallen on hard times. Now things are a bit different now, but even still, if you’re a widow, that is a very hard lot to fall upon. But back in Bible times it was even harder because a woman relied on her husband to provide for her, so if she loses her source of support, she doesn’t have that source of support, and she’s lost her emotional support and her family, and she doesn’t have that support that she needs, so she’s fallen on hard times. She’s the downcast of life, and she needs a judge to hear her case, and it’s not the kind of judge that’s inclined to help her.

 

And when she comes to this judge, she says, “Avenge me of mine adversary.” Now this word “adversary” in the Greek is the Greek word “antidikos,” which means “opponent in law.” So, in other words, this widow had an adversary, or an enemy, who had wronged her according to the law of the land. She had been treated unfairly, and she needed justice, so when she says, “Avenge me,” and the Greek word for “avenge” is the Greek word “ekdikeo,” which means that “justice will be carried out.” “I need justice, judge, because I have been wronged according to the law of the land, and I need you to set things right.” But she’s coming to an unjust judge who doesn’t care about her.

 

Now, most people with a heart would see someone who has fallen on hard times, and they would have a sympathizing ear for the plight of such an unfortunate person. But this judge didn’t care about her. Verse 4 says, “And he would not for a while.” So this widow comes to the judge, and she’s saying, “I’m pleading with you; avenge me of mine adversary. Set things right. I’ve been wronged according to the law. You need to carryout justice.” But he would not for a while.

 

But notice how it continues, “But afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I fear not God, nor regard man; yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’” So here’s what’s happening. This widow would not take no for an answer. She knew that the law was on her side, and she knew that the judge was supposed to administer the law according to the law of the land. And she knew that even though he didn’t fear God, and even though he didn’t care about man, his job was to carryout the law of the land. And she knew, according to human nature, that you can wear somebody out. And so she would keep coming back, “Avenge me of mine adversary. I’m pleading with you. I don’t have food. I don’t have money. I have kids to take care of. How can you let this person who has broken the law to wrong me, get away with what he’s done? You’ve got to set things right. You’ve got to avenge me. Please help me; I’m begging you.”

 

And the judge, it didn’t touch his heart. It never reached the point where he was like, “You know what? She has been wronged. I need to set things right according to the law of the land.” According to the parable that Jesus gives, Jesus says that this judge didn’t care about her plight; he simply was tired of hearing about her requests. And so, because he was tired of hearing her requests, he says, “Fine. Go away. I’ll sign whatever paper I need to sign. I’ll stamp it with my seal; it will have the effect that it needs, and you will be set right. You will have justice, and you will no longer bother me.”

 

Now, notice what Jesus says, starting in verse 6, “And the Lord said, ‘Hear what the unjust judge saith.’” And you’re thinking, “What’s Jesus trying to get at here?” Notice verses 7 and 8, “And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily.” So notice Jesus compares this widow coming to the unjust judge, and then He asks the question, “Shall not God avenge His own elect who cry day and night unto Him continually?”

 

Now, remember, what was the purpose of this parable? It was that men ought always to pray and not to faint. And so Jesus is giving this parable, and he’s saying, “Here is this widow who has been wronged, and she’s facing an unjust judge. And despite the fact that she was facing an unjust judge, she continued to plead to this unjust judge to give her what was her lawful right until she got what she wanted and needed. And then Jesus asked the question, “Shall not God avenge His own elect who cry unto Him day and night continually?” And who do you think you’re crying unto? Are you crying unto an unjust judge who doesn’t fear God? No. He’s the God of the universe who wants you to come before the throne of grace in your time of need. But where are God’s people who are crying unto Him day and night?

 

And so Jesus then asks the question, He says, “I will avenge them speedily. The unjust judged avenged that widow. I will avenge My people speedily.” “Nevertheless…,” so now He says this word to set apart everything he has said to make His next point. “Nevertheless, where am I going to find these people? I’m looking down on My Last-Day church, and I see what they are focused on, and there are all these issues in their lives.” And let’s be honest, friends, we all have baggage. We all have sin issues. We all have struggles. We all have things that we know are not measuring up to the mark of the high calling in Christ Jesus. We know that they’re there, and yet we don’t take the time to cry unto God day and night saying, “Lord, deliver me from this struggle.”

 

And He’s like, “I would avenge you speedily if you would just ask Me, but you’re not even asking Me.” And you’re not developing faith, and then you sit back and say, “Well, everybody else is living that way, so I guess it’s just okay for me to keep living this way.” And God is saying, “I have so much that I want to give you, and You’re not even crying unto Me.”

 

“Shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily.” You know, there’s nothing like developing faith as when you’re in a crisis, and you are required to cry unto God. Well, you’re not “required” to, but the circumstances create a scenario in your life where you realize that the only way that you can get the help that you need is to cry unto God day and night. And that is when your faith life begins to develop. And that’s what Jesus is speaking about here. This parable is given with the idea that men ought always to pray and not to faint.

 

Now, let’s dig a little bit deeper into this parable. This woman had an adversary, and again I said earlier that the word adversary is the Greek word “antidikos,” which means “opponent in law.” We also have an adversary. First Peter, chapter 5, verses 8 and 9, a very familiar verse. And the word for “adversary” is the same word in the Greek. “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary…,” there’s that word again. This word means “opponent in law.” “Your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.”

 

Listen, friends, the devil is our adversary, and he is our opponent in law. The devil is out – he is hellbent – to try to destroy the people of God. And he is opposed to the people of God who exalt the Law of God, who keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. The devil is our opponent. He is out to destroy those who are trying to uphold the Law of God. And Scripture says, “Resist steadfast in the faith.” There is an element here of resisting the devil steadfastly, and the way we resist our adversary is to cry unto God day and night.

 

Now, the reality is we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God. Sin is the transgression of the Law, so we have all broken the Law, which then adds weight to the devil’s argument that God’s people can’t keep the commandments of God. And so the devil is our opponent who is trying to make it look like we are opposed to the Law of God even though we make a profession of believing that the commandments can be kept.

 

And so we have this opponent who has caused us to fall short of the glory of God, and when that happens, rather than making excuses, that is the time to come back to the Lord and say, “Lord, avenge me of mine adversary. Give me grace and strength to overcome the temptations of the devil. Please give me victory over my tendency to be discouraged and to give up quickly. Please give me grace to believe in Your promises rather than to believe the doubts that the devil throws my way.” Where are the people of God who are crying unto God day and night until the blessing that is promised is received?

 

Now this parable isn’t given to us so that we would cry unto God day and night so that we can get an expensive house or a nice car or lots of money. That’s not what the parable is about. The parable is about developing faith to overcome our adversary. The devil is going around seeking whom he may devour, and, yes, he is devouring the world, but he doesn’t have to try that hard because they’re already in his hand, and the Lord wants us to go out and reach those people.

 

But his focus is especially on Seventh-day Adventists and on those who uphold Scripture and the Law of God. There are so many different ways that the devil attacks, and it’s easy to focus on the bigger institutional type of issues that sometimes you see where the devil may attack. And, yes, we can see erroneous theologies that sometimes come in that undermine a belief in Scripture, philosophies that are being taught that can pave the way for people to doubt what the Bible teaches, and so we can focus on those things sometimes. And that’s important for us to be aware of, but in a closer more personal way, the devil is seeking whom he may devour.

 

And I see this in my travels. You know, I talk to people whose families are falling apart. The devil is attacking, and he’ll attack marriages, and people will make excuses and say, “Well, I wouldn’t have been unfaithful if they weren’t so annoying,” and, “I wouldn’t have done this if they hadn’t done that,” and all these different excuses that people come up with where the devil is attacking them. We don’t realize that it’s the devil who is trying to bring discord and disunion into the people of God.

 

And not only does he attack marriages, he attacks parents and children where parents and children fight with each other, and they have all these different issues. And we are so much in need of God’s grace to bring restoration to the family unit because the family unit is the witness that the church has to the world of how the grace of God works. So if families are falling apart, the devil can say, “Look, you may proclaim a certain message, but look at the families in that church. They can’t even hold it together, and they might put on a fake smile when they come to church on Sabbath, but as soon as they walk away, they’re back to fighting like cats and dogs.” And, friends, the Lord can give us victory over such experiences in the home situation.

 

And if you’re in that scenario right now, I challenge you. The Lord will give you victory in that situation. You can cry unto God day and night, and it is the Lord’s will that your family be restored. He may not give you a lot of money, but He can bring restoration to your family.

 

Where are God’s people who are crying unto God day and night? Not only is the devil attacking at maybe higher levels and higher levels of institutions and things like that or in the family, he also attacks the church family, and I’ve seen this in different churches where hostility develops, factions develop. One group is on one side; one group is on the other side. I mean, I’ve seen people get mad over how the sanctuary was painted a different color, and I’m not just making that up; it’s really happened.

 

And then people won’t talk to each other for months. And they have the love of God in their heart, and they’ll walk in and say, “Happy Sabbath” to the friends in their faction, and then as soon as the other faction walks in, the cold shoulder, and you turn the other way, and you really are kidding yourselves that you have the love of God in your heart. And that’s the attack of the devil. The church is also supposed to be a witness of the grace of God and how it is working in our lives so that when people come to our church, they see that the power of God is in this place because of how we love one another.

 

Not only does the devil attack the family unit or the church family, he also attacks us individually with our time, and we become so busy at times that we don’t have time for that which is so important. We’re told in Testimonies, volume 9, page 19, that the work of the third angel’s message is of so great importance that we are to allow nothing else to absorb our attention. But sometimes we become so busy in the cares of this life, doing even good things, that we’re just wiped out during the rest of the week, and we become couch potatoes and just focused on entertainment and things of that nature, where we aren’t spending time with God in His Word, and so we don’t have a prayer life and a devotional life. And we’re rushing through life, and our only devotional life is once a week.

 

And the Lord wants us to come to a higher experience where we are focusing on spending time with Him because the devil works in so many different ways to try to get us to move away from God. Where are the elect that are crying unto God day and night? “Avenge me of mine adversary. Lord, give me victory over the work of the devil in my life. May He not bring discord into my home. May he not bring discord into my individual personal life. May I spend time with the Lord every day. Give me victory over my adversary.” And we cry and we pray until the Lord delivers us and gives us the victory that we need. Where are God’s people with such an experience?

 

If Jesus were to come right now, would this be true of you? Would He be able to say, “Here is My son or My daughter who has been crying unto me day and night, and I am here to deliver you because you have faith. You are My child. I know you by name. We talk all the time.”

 

You know, it’s interesting that when the widow says, “Avenge of mine adversary,” that word is the Greek word “ekdikeo,” which means “to carry out justice.” When Jesus says, “I will avenge them speedily,” it’s the Greek word “ekdikesis,” which carries with it a connotation of “vindication” or of “setting things right.” So, in other words, when Jesus avenges His elect speedily, there is this connotation of Him vindicating or setting right His name as He sets right what has been done to His people. And so, God’s people, as they are crying unto God day and night, are not only crying unto God day and night to be avenged personally of the work of the devil in their lives, but they are crying unto God day and night asking Him and pleading with Him that His name would be set right before the world. That His name would be honored or vindicated.

 

Are you incessantly by faith expecting God to avenge the honor of His name, or do you just sit back idly by as things get worse, thinking, “Oh, well, those wicked people are going to burn someday, and it will be nice when Jesus eventually comes back”? We should be like the souls in Revelation 6:10 who cry out, “How long, O Lord, until you judge and avenge?”

 

You know, you look at the heroes of faith in Hebrews, chapter 11, and sometimes there is a tendency to think that those are like the heroes in the hall of faith, and we could never have faith like that; those are just the heroes of faith. But yet, if you study the chapter carefully, the heroes of faith are simply the witnesses that have gone before so that God’s Last-Day people will have a faith experience that is at least equal to their faith. Their faith experience is not a pie-in-the-sky experience, and I’m telling you, if you listen to what Jesus says and you learn to cry unto him day and night continually, asking for biblical faith, He will give you that faith.

 

And so we look at the kind of faith that the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11 had. It’s interesting; you’ve probably seen this before or heard this before, how the first hero, Abel, dies; the second hero, Enoch, is translated without seeing death. So one dies and the other lives, and both have faith. Noah built an ark to remain on this earth. Abraham is called to go out to a place, which he would after receive as an inheritance. Noah stays, Abraham leaves, and they both have faith. You look at some of the other heroes of faith. Daniel stopped the mouths of lions; Isaiah was sawn in half by a saw, and they both have faith.

 

You know, there are some less known stories that Paul just kind of shoots off really quickly, and when he starts, he says, “I’m out of time, so let me just throw some quick little one-liners at you.” Starting in verse 33 he says, “Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 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. Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment. 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 (of whom the world was not worthy).” And my friends, today, I ask you the question, could it be said of you that of you the world is not worthy?

 

And, you know, the story about wandering about in sheepskins and goatskins; this is a very interesting story. Go to 2 Kings, chapter 1; 2 Kings, chapter 1, and this is speaking of the nation of Israel after Mount Carmel. So they’ve already seen fire come down from heaven. They’ve seen, and this is after the death of Ahab, they’ve seen Ahab die. They’ve seen the result of idolatry and of the worship of a false god. They know what happens when they worship false gods. And so now Ahaziah is king, and in verse 2 of 2 Kings 1 it says, “Ahaziah fell down through a lattice in his upper chamber that was in Samaria, and was sick.” Now, I’m not an orthopedist, but I would imagine if he fell really hard, he might have broken his hip, and then maybe he developed immobility and perhaps he had an infection from where the fracture took place, and so he was in a really bad spot. And they didn’t have Loma Linda to fix him, and so he’s in trouble here.

 

And so things are not going well for King Ahaziah, and so he’s worried about what’s going to happen. And so, “He sent messengers, and said unto them, ‘Go, enquire of Baalzebub the god of Ekron whether I shall recover of this disease.’” So they’ve already seen fire come down from heaven; Baal couldn’t deliver them on Mount Carmel, and yet this king says, “Go ask Baal if I’m going to recover of this illness that I’m suffering from.”

 

So immediately, verse 3, “The angel of the Lord said to Elijah the Tishbite, ‘Arise, go up to meet the messengers of the king of Samaria, and say unto them, “Is it not because there is not a God in Israel, that ye go to enquire of Baalzebub the god of Ekron?”’” And the application here is poignant. “Why are you going to the gods of Ekron when there’s a God in Israel?” Why do we go to the world to figure out what is truth and what is right when we already have truth?

 

And so the story continues. God tells Elijah, “Go intercept those messengers and tell them that this sickness is unto death.” And so Elijah intercepts the messengers, and they go back to Ahaziah, and they tell him, “We met this man who was clothed with a girdle of leather. He was a hairy man.” And Ahaziah said, “That is Elijah the Tishbite; I know who that guy is. He’s the prophet of God.”

 

Now, I’m not going to read the rest of the story where he sends more messengers, and fire comes down from heaven. You can figure out the meaning of that story later. But here’s the point: There were men of faith of old who were not afraid to stand up to the king and say, “Why are you going to the god of Ekron when there’s a God in Israel?” Where’s that kind of faith in Adventism today? Are we just floating down the river, allowing the cultural milieu around us, that, frankly, is becoming very filthy and rotten, to infect us so that we just assimilate into the culture around us? Or are we saying, “There is a God in Israel and a ‘Thus saith the Lord,’ and we will follow what the Bible says”?

 

These are the heroes of faith that are described in Hebrews 11. Will Jesus really find this kind of faith when He returns? You know, Romans 14:23 says, “Whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” So many in the Christian world and even in our church today say things like, “I’m so glad Jesus lived a righteous life so that I don’t have to.” We are drowning in Laodicean self-righteousness that is devoid of true faith. You know, Jesus says to Laodicea, “I counsel you to buy Me gold tried in the fire, that you might be rich,” and 1 Peter 1:7 says that gold tried in the fire is faith. And so, Laodicea thinks it has faith, and it really doesn’t.

 

We are drowning in this Laodicean self-righteousness, that because we come to church…and that’s good, keep coming because you’ll meet the Lord when you come to church, but you need to take Him with you after you leave. Where are the messages in the church calling us to prepare to stand in the Great Day of God without a mediator? Are we just being patted on the back that our mediocre, half-hearted Christian experience will pass for being okay when Jesus comes back? I realize this might be a little bit hard to hear, but Jesus says to the Laodicean Church, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Be zealous, therefore, and repent.” The message of repentance and of turning away from sin is a message that is often not heard in the church anymore.

 

I’m going to read a couple of statements to you. This is The Great Controversy, 489, “‘“He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.’” That’s Proverbs 28:13, and the quote continues. “If those who hide and excuse their faults could see how Satan exults over them, how he taunts Christ and holy angels with their course, they would make haste to confess their sins and to put them away. Through defects in the character, Satan works to gain control of the whole mind, and he knows that if these defects are cherished, he will succeed.” Now listen to this sentence. “Therefore, he is constantly seeking to deceive the followers of Christ with his fatal sophistry that it is impossible for them to overcome.” Look, he’s constantly…This is our adversary, our opponent in law, who is saying, “You can’t keep the Law of God. You can’t overcome.”

 

“But Jesus pleads in their behalf His wounded hands, His bruised body; and He declares to all who would follow Him: ‘My grace is sufficient for thee.’” Do you have faith to believe in the sufficient grace of Jesus so that you will overcome your negative attitude and your bad attitude and your grumpiness and your gossiping tongue and all of these things in your life that weigh the people down that are with you? Let me tell you something, if the grace of the Lord can give you victory over those things, the people that are closest to you will enjoy being around you more. It has real-life, practical value in your life.

 

The quote ends by saying, “Let none, then, regard their defects as incurable. God will give faith and grace to overcome them.” You may have defects that you think are incurable, but if you’re like the widow who came to the unjust judge, you’re not coming to an unjust judge; you’re coming to the God of the universe who loves you, who’s saying, “Your defects are not incurable.” And if you cry unto Him day and night continually, just as the widow received justice, you will receive grace to overcome.

 

One more statement that I’m going to read from Ellen White. This is Selected Messages, volume 3, page 360, “In the day of judgment, the course of the man who has retained the frailty and imperfection of humanity will not be vindicated. For him there will be no place in heaven. He could not enjoy the perfection of the saints in light.” And here is the sentence that is worth listening to, “He who has not sufficient faith in Christ to believe that He can keep him from sinning, has not the faith that will give him an entrance into the kingdom of God.”

 

Listen, friends, if you don’t even believe that you can overcome, how are you going to come to God in faith and say, “Lord, I have these weaknesses, I have these struggles,” just like every person in this room has, we all have them, but if you don’t believe that they can be overcome, you’re not going to be crying to God day and night continually, “avenge me of mine adversary the devil. Give me grace, give me victory.” That’s why Jesus asks the question, “When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith?” Will He find faith among His followers who will believe His promises where Scripture says, “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy.” Where are those who believe in Romans, chapter 6, where it says, “Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?”

 

Those are the promises of God, but if we’re not praying that those promises will be fulfilled, and if we don’t believe that they can be fulfilled, how will they ever take place in our lives? These are the promises of God for His Last-Day people. The Lord in His love knows that we would be much happier if these sins would be overcome.

 

Now, listen. I’m well aware of the fact that Ellen White says the closer we come to the Lord, the more imperfect we will appear in our own eyes, absolutely. So, if you’re like listening to this message and then saying, “Man, three weeks from now I’m going to come back, and I’m going to be perfect, and I’m going to show everyone just how good I am,” you missed the point. Because the closer you come to Jesus, the more sinful you’re going to feel, and you’re not going to notice that you have had sin removed from your life. You’re just going to be focusing on Jesus and what He is doing in your life and in your heart, but the others that are around you will see the change, and you’ll become a loving and loveable person.

 

Now, when Jesus avenges His elect of our adversary, He is setting right His name before the universe and before the devil in the Great Controversy because the devil says God’s Law can’t be kept, and when God says, “Here’s My people who uphold the Law of God,” the devil comes after them. But then he has people who are actually by faith overcoming. He is acquitting His elect of our sins; therefore, we are overcoming the devil.

 

Let’s look at a couple more passages as we wrap up. This is Revelation, chapter 12, verse 11. Revelation, chapter 12, verse 11, and we’re studying prophecy in our Sabbath School quarterly this quarter. Revelation, chapter 12, verse 11 says, “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.” This individual that they’re overcoming is the devil; it’s very clear if you read the verses immediately preceding this. The elect of God overcome the devil by the blood of the Lamb. So the sacrifice of Jesus and His blood on the cross is a motivation of love, that we would follow the Lamb and not the devil. And not only do we overcome by the blood of the Lamb but by the word of our testimony. And the testimony is that we love not our lives unto the death. In other words, we love Jesus so much, we see that He loved us enough to die for us, and we love Him enough that we will die for Him at all costs to be faithful unto death.

 

We’re not going to make excuses like the other Jews who were with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego because the Chaldeans came to Nebuchadnezzar and said, “There are certain Jews who will not bow down,” but the other ones did. And they were just kind of bowing down and saying, “Oh, God will forgive us. We don’t believe this image,” and, “Forgive us, Lord. Now we can keep witnessing for You. Okay.” That’s not how Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were. They were faithful unto death because they loved the Lord so much.

 

To overcome, 1 John, chapter 5, verse 4, says, “This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” So those who overcame by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony had faith in their lives. They saw the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. It translated into a real-life faith experience so that they overcame the power of the devil.

 

You know, it’s interesting, speaking of faith, Jesus could not see through the portals of the tomb. Hope did not present to Him coming forth as a conqueror from the grave, but by faith He was victor because He relied on the promises of His Father prior to His experience on the cross. His death was a vindication of the character of God. His faith is to be ours. And, you know what, when He comes back, He is going to find people with faith.

 

This is a familiar verse; you all know it, Revelation 14:12, “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” And the amazing is, is that when Jesus comes back, the kind of faith He’s looking for is not just any kind of faith. He’s looking for the faith of Jesus, and when you have the faith of Jesus, Jesus says to the Laodicean Church, “You know, you have an overcoming problem; that’s why I’m standing at the door and knocking because you haven’t let Me come in. But if you let Me come in,” verse 21 says, “to him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame.” Jesus overcame. His Last-Day people overcome through faith, and they are a demonstration of the faith of Jesus, which is why the devil has come so hard against God’s Last-Day church, so that we wouldn’t even believe that it’s possible to overcome.

 

And the only way that we’re going to overcome, according to this parable in Luke 18, is not by comparing ourselves among ourselves, it’s not by trying really hard in our own strength, it’s by spending time with the Lord in prayer, by crying unto Him day and night continually. How’s your prayer life? How’s your walk with God? Are you hearing Him speak to you through that still small voice? Are you communing with Him every day? Are you drawing closer to Him each and every day so that your faith in the promises of God is strengthening? And that, as you face the trials of life, you are learning by experience how to overcome the attacks of the devil because you know by experience that there is a God in Israel, that you don’t have to inquire of the gods of Ekron. You can inquire from Scripture directly and let God speak to you. And even if people around you don’t believe in a plain, “Thus saith the Lord,” where the Word of God gives you hope, you know that God is speaking to you through the power of His Word, and that through His grace and through His promises, you can be an overcomer. You can have faith, and that when Jesus comes back, you will be among those that He will find faith in.

 

Is that the experience that you want? I just want to challenge you. Think on these things. Pray to the Lord more than you ever have before. We’re living in crazy times. And as the world gets crazier, God’s people will draw closer to Him. Amen?

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