KEPT BY THE POWER OF GOD
KEPT BY THE POWER OF GOD! From: Kingdom Concepts Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
There is coming upon all the world an hour of testing. The hour of testing will examine those who dwell on the earth. If we would be kept from the destructive elements that accompany the hour of testing we must patiently guard Christ’s Word, being diligent to observe, through His Presence and power, that which His Word commands.
We must keep the Word of Christ with the same diligence with which we trust Christ will keep us. Through Christ’s unceasing watchfulness we shall be enabled to escape being harmed spiritually by all of these things that are coming to pass on the earth. We shall not lose our soul but shall believe to the saving of our soul.
The "hour of temptation" of Revelation 3:0 is not referring to the wrath of God that is to be poured on the earth, the judgment and vengeance on sin and rebellion. Rather, it is speaking of a severe and prolonged testing of the condition of the hearts of people as they are exposed to an exceedingly seductive, enticing environment, perhaps accompanied by a vicious persecution of the Christians..
KEPT BY THE POWER OF GOD!
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. (Revelation 3:10)
The above promise is of outstanding importance today.
Several concepts are included:
The believers are obliged to keep (guard carefully, observing to obey) the Word of Christ.
The Word is the word of Christ’s patience (endurance).
If we will guard carefully Christ’s Word He will guard us carefully.
There is coming upon all the world an hour of temptation (trial; testing).
The hour of testing will examine those who dwell on the earth.
The noun temptation and the verb to try have the same meaning and are employed many times in the New Testament writings.
The primary meaning of the term temptation is not that of pain and harm, although pain and trouble certainly are included in our testing. Rather, the meaning is that of the testing of our faith. It is temptation with the end in view of determining the quality and strength of our faith (Matthew 4:1; 6:13; 16:1; 22:18; Acts 5:9; 20:19; I Corinthians 7:5; 10:13).
The "hour of temptation" of Revelation 3:10 is not referring to the wrath of God that is to be poured on the earth as judgment and vengeance on sin and rebellion. Rather it is speaking of a severe and prolonged examination of the condition of the hearts of people as they are exposed to an exceedingly seductive, enticing environment.
Only the Lion of Judah is worthy to open the scroll of the hearts of men and to loose the seven seals. The scroll was written "within and on the back." Everyone can see what is on the outside of the person. But only the claws of the Lion of Judah are able to tear open the personality and reveal what is written "within."
And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. (Revelation 5:5)
Many people are being examined today. Those who have guarded the word of Christ’s patience will be kept by Him and delivered from destruction.
All men are examined by the Lord, saints and sinners alike (I Corinthians 10:13). The difference between saint and sinner is not that the saint will not be tempted, will not be tried by fire, will not be tested and his responses examined. We know that the saints indeed are thoroughly tested by the Lord, sometimes by allowing Satan to entice them to sin or to cause trouble to come upon them, as happened to Job.
The difference between the saint and the sinner is that God provides "a way to escape" for the saint (I Corinthians 10:13). This does not indicate, as we have said, that the saint will not be tempted. It means that with each temptation the Lord presents a solution, a means of bringing the conflict to a successful conclusion so the saint may emerge more than a conqueror through Christ.
God provides a successful pathway to victory for every fiery trial we experience. Sometimes the "way to escape" consists of the difficulty and pain being removed from us or we from it, as was true of Jacob and his family who fled from Canaan to the land of Egypt where God had provided food and safety for them.
In other instances, Christ sustains His servant in the midst of terrifying circumstances. This was the case with the three Hebrew men in the furnace, with Daniel in the lions’ den, with Paul before Nero.
When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. (Isaiah 43:2)
God can carry us bodily up to Heaven when our testimony has been completed, as was true of Elijah; or He can maintain the prophetic anointing on us while we die in sickness, as happened to Elisha who possessed the double portion of God’s Spirit.
God can cause the waters of judgment to buoy up the prepared saint and his loved ones, as in the deliverance of Noah.
The Lord causes the faithful, persevering saint to march along in the triumphal procession of Christ for all mankind to behold.
The Scriptures reveal to us that the Lord God has an infinite variety of "escapes" for the saint who is undergoing testing.
Stephen showed us how perfect victory and glory can be maintained even during the final moments before martyrdom. What have we to fear?
Let us return to Revelation 3:10.
The believer is obliged to guard carefully, observing to obey, the Word of Christ. This is not the careless, lazy, slipshod, halfhearted manner in which many Christian people address themselves to God’s Word.
If we would claim the guarding power of Christ during the worldwide testing at hand we must guard the Word of Christ with the same diligence with which we trust Christ will keep us from evil.
It is not scriptural, not of God, to hope that even though we have drifted along without diligently learning and obeying the Word of Christ we will be guarded in that hour, kept from the seductive power of a demon-filled environment. It appears there are numerous "believers" in Christ who are continuing in the delusion that because of their initial profession of belief they will not undergo severe testing in the world. We are not to abuse the Scriptures in this fashion. Christ will perform His promises only if we keep our part of the contract.
Teachers of the Scriptures who are slanting God’s Word so it attracts people, omitting the stern demands of discipleship and righteous behavior, are moving toward a dreadful day of reckoning—they and their students who trusted them.
To guard and observe the Word of Christ is to treat the Scriptures as a precious possession. It is to read the Word, to study it carefully, to memorize portions, to talk about the Word to other Christians, and to attend assemblings of believers where the Word of God is expounded by prayerful, holy people. It is to come boldly to the Throne of Grace and ask for Divine assistance so we may do what the Word commands.
If the major part of our time, attention, and interest is occupied with the cares of this life, not with that which Christ has said, then we are not candidates for the keeping power of Christ.
If the Lord Jesus were to guard us anyway, even though we have been careless with His Word, He Himself would be breaking the Scriptures. But the Scriptures cannot be broken.
The overcomers will learn, to their unutterable delight and rejoicing in the Day of the Lord, that the Scriptures cannot be broken. The careless will learn, to their wretchedness and despair in the Day of the Lord, that the Scriptures cannot be broken. They will turn against their teachers who, perhaps for the love of material gain and popularity, have counseled them that although they are not diligent in adhering to the Scriptures they will be delivered by grace and mercy.
If we are careless in guarding His Word, Christ will be careless in guarding us in the hour of trouble.
Notice that it is the word of Christ’s patience, His endurance.
One of the noteworthy characteristics of the victorious saint is his or her willingness to keep the Word of Christ year after year even though there is little excitement, little observable success in ministry, little recognition of his steady application and faithfulness.
Many believers will walk as Christians provided there is attention and fanfare being given to what is taking place. But God’s worthies, those who are able through Christ to turn the valleys of weeping into wells of resurrection life, are formed slowly and patiently.
In order to make a success of the Christian discipleship, great patience must be practiced. Patience brings about a perfect work of conformity to the image of Christ. We save our souls by perseverance, by patiently plodding through the wilderness.
Those who look for a quick, easy path invite spiritual trouble. Many have started off joyfully on the highway to Zion, only to end up barren and spiritually sick in some "isolation ward" along the route. How heartbreaking! Oftentimes the deciding factor in victory in Christ is the willingness to be patient with God, with one’s circumstances, with one’s self. Patience! Patience and the Kingdom of God! The Word of Christ’s patience!
If we would be kept from the destructive elements that accompany the hour of testing we must patiently guard Christ’s Word, being diligent to observe, through His grace, that which His Word commands.
There is coming upon all the world an hour of testing. The hour of testing will examine those who dwell on the earth. In the twenty-first chapter of Luke, Jesus spoke of the hour of testing.
In verse 36 of this chapter, Jesus refers to "all these things that shall come to pass":
Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man. (Luke 21:36)
Let us see what Christ was speaking of, commencing with verse six:
As for these things which ye behold, the days will come, in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. (Luke 21:6)
The Temple of Herod will be demolished.
Many deceivers will come in Christ’s name.
Nations and kingdoms will engage in war.
There will be earthquakes, famines, plagues, fearful sights, great signs from Heaven.
Christians will be persecuted, delivered up to synagogues and prisons, brought before kings and rulers for Jesus’ sake.
The saints will be betrayed by parents, relatives and friends.
Some of the saints will be put to death.
Here is a remarkable fact. In verse 18 Jesus promises, "But there shall not a hair of your head perish." But two verses previously He prophesies, "some of you shall they cause to be put to death."
The Lord Jesus does not view persecution and death by martyrdom as being significant harm. In Revelation 3:10, Luke 21:36, Isaiah 43:2, and other passages promising deliverance to the saint, God’s concern is with our spiritual well-being in His sight. Who would not willingly share Stephen’s martyrdom if he could see "the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God"?
Would you agree that not a hair of Stephen’s head perished? This is literally true because his body will be raised from the dead in glory in the Day of Christ.
It is possible for the saint to be overly concerned with the physical well-being of himself and his family and not concerned enough with the spiritual well-being of himself and his family. But Christ emphasizes the spiritual, the relationship with God, the well-being of the soul.
"In your patience possess ye your souls" (Luke 21:19).
Patience; perseverance; endurance. Here is the quality required for success in the conduct of the victorious Christian life.
Jerusalem will be desolated and the Jews led away captive. There will be "great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people."
Jerusalem will be trodden down until the times of the nations have been fulfilled.
There will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars.
The nations will be distressed and perplexed.
The sea will roar and the waves surge.
Men will faint with fear in anticipation of what is coming on the world.
The powers of the heavens will be shaken.
Then all the world will behold the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
All these are the events that will take place in the world, from the days that Jesus’ disciples asked Him about the end-time until He comes again with power and great glory.
History reveals that Jesus is a true Prophet. From Jesus’ time until now, philosophers have searched for an earthly utopia. But only Jesus was able to prophesy of world history as it actually has taken place.
Many of the calamities of which Jesus spoke have happened already. Some of His sayings have not been fulfilled as yet, but we know that they will be. We know also from what the Scripture teaches, and from the present-day burden of the Holy Spirit, that the greatest woes of all soon are to come upon the world.
If we look at Revelation 3:10 and Luke 21:36 together we can see that they proclaim the same message: Prepare yourself to stand in the evil day!
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. (Revelation 3:10)
Watch ye therefore [keep on the alert!], and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy [that ye may prevail—alternate reading] to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man. (Luke 21:36)
The concept in both of these passages is that of trying conditions on the earth and the Lord keeping in safety and well-being the disciple who has served his Lord diligently and faithfully.
The saints from the days of Jesus have known of these promises and have placed their hope and trust in them. Each generation of the faithful has viewed the turmoil of their own day as the sign of the end. Each generation has served the Lord with diligence, and the Lord Jesus has kept His Word to those who have served Him. He has guarded them. He has made a way of escape for each person who has kept the Lord’s Word.
We feel certain that we of today have reached the end-time. Perhaps every calamity of history will be repeated and magnified during the next few years of world history as we approach the end of the age.
What does Jesus mean when He states He will guard us from the hour of trial? What danger will threaten us if He is not guarding us?
Let us take Stephen, for example. Was he an alert, faithful, diligent saint? Did Stephen meet Jesus’ requirements of worthiness (or strength) to "escape all these things"? We think that most saints hold Stephen in high regard as we know that Jesus does also.
Stephen kept Christ’s word of patience. Did Jesus guard Stephen from temptation and testing? We believe He did indeed. Stephen was guarded with utmost care, although he died under the stones of enraged Jews as Saul of Tarsus held the robes of his murderers.
If such be the case, being kept or guarded from the hour of temptation has little to do with our physical well-being.
With what, then, is our protection concerned? It is concerned with our spiritual well-being, with our ability to stand before the son of man.
Is Christ concerned with the saint suffering pain or with the saint losing his soul? What is it that is to be guarded?
Let us examine the context of Luke 21:36. We have pointed out already that the Lord Jesus in one breath had stated that many of the saints would be betrayed and put to death, and in the next breath had declared that not a hair of their head would perish. The Lord Jesus does not view physical tribulation as a threat to the saint’s well-being.
If we can understand and accept that the Lord Jesus does not always prevent our experiencing tribulation, imprisonment, fiery trials but that these can and do befall us, we are on our way to the interpretation of Revelation 3:10 and Luke 21:36. It is true that the Lord delivers us constantly from physical dangers and calamities of all kinds. Every experienced saint can tell of numerous occasions on which the Lord Jesus came to the rescue. Thank God! He can and does deliver us from physical harm and pain each day of our pilgrimage.
But it is true also that the righteous suffer many afflictions and disappointments, fiery tests and temptations of every description. Our pilgrimage is not an easy, comfortable one. The same is true of the life of the sinner.
If Revelation 3:10 and Luke 21:36 are not addressed primarily to our physical safety and comfort, to what deliverance are they pointing?
Both of these verses are directed toward our not losing our souls during the hour of testing but rather overcoming the works of Satan and standing in glory before the Lord Jesus Christ.
. . . And he said to me, These are they which came out of [the] great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. (Revelation 7:14)
The prime concern of the Lord Jesus is the cleanliness of our robes, that is, the righteousness of our behavior. Are we keeping our conduct washed in His blood or are we living in sin and spiritual carelessness?
And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting [dissipation], and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. (Luke 21:34)
This is the concern of the Lord Jesus. He knows that physical suffering during our short stay on the earth does us more good than harm ordinarily. Physical suffering is not the concern. Suffering is not what He promises to keep us from.
The concern is our soul. Will we lose our soul because of the things that are coming to pass in the world and the abundance of moral temptation on every side? Will we become discouraged and cease seeking the Lord? Will we drift back into the covetousness, lust, and malice of the world? Will we choose Antichrist over Christ? Will we choose Babylon, the spirit of world religion, over the Kingdom of God? These are the true dangers. These are the temptations from which He promises to keep us, from which we can escape if we remain alert in prayer and guard His precious Word with diligence.
The years ahead will bring many changes to the world. Sin will multiply to an astonishing extent. Tremendous natural calamities will occur. Supernatural signs and wonders will abound, with many false teachers leading astray those who have not become established in Christ.
In some instances the deadliest condition of all will be the ready availability of sin and comfortable living. The opportunity to live comfortably in immorality has the potential to destroy many saints who might have stood fast in suffering. Remember, Christ has promised to guard us from the hour of temptation no matter what form that temptation may take.
The saints need to be alerted concerning the newly developed Internet computer system. Many pastors and believers will be sucked into Satans web because of the lust that will be presented to them on the Internet. Pornography is a powerful devil in the world of today and sometimes is associated with taking drugs and other destructive practices.
Are our hearts overcharged today with dissipation, drunkenness, and the cares of the present life? Or are we keeping the Lord’s Word with the utmost diligence, the utmost patience and endurance?
In some cases the believers are looking for a monster to come forth from the sea having the number 666 stamped on him. What is not realized is that the spirit of Antichrist has been in the world since the days of the Apostles, and many Christian people already are thinking and acting as Antichrist desires they think and act.
The meaning of 666 is man making himself a god. This spirit is in the world now. Many believers in Christ already are caught up in the materialism and humanism so important to the antichrist system and so destructive of our soul’s welfare.
Antichrist is here now, and we have been caught by him because we neither pray fervently nor guard the Word of Christ with patience. Therefore Christ is not guarding us from the present hour of temptation. He is not guarding us because we are not guarding the Word of His patience.
During the next few months and years many Christian people will be brought into painful situations or intense moral seduction in which they will be forced to choose between Christ and Antichrist, between the Kingdom of God and Babylon.
Which way are you leaning now?
Jesus loves you with an exceedingly fervent love. He is offering to you His Divine power and glory. Through Him you will be able to escape all of the enticements of the world and stand triumphantly in the Presence of God and of the Lamb.
To insure your spiritual protection you must attend to His Word with great concern and self-control. If you do not, the Lord Jesus may send trouble your way in order to move you to a position of spiritual strength and safety.
The promise of protection is not to the careless but to the watchful.
We are not to fear physical suffering. The worst that men can do is to kill our body. Our goal is to enter eternal life in the Presence of God and it is to this haven that Jesus is guarding us and guiding us.
If we will choose to guard Jesus’ Word with great diligence He will choose to guard us with great diligence. Through His watchful care we will be enabled to escape all these things that are coming to pass on the earth. We will not lose our soul but we will believe to the saving of our soul.
I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. (John 17:15)