Anchors of Truth

Faithful Until Death

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: Alvin Kibble


Series Code: AOT

Program Code: AOT000128

00:13 Welcome to Anchors Of Truth
00:15 live from the 3ABN Worship Center.
00:22 Good morning and happy Sabbath.
00:24 Thank you for joining us live around the world.
00:27 This is a live program today coming here from the
00:30 3ABN Worship Center.
00:32 And that's right here between West Frankfort
00:35 and Thompsonville, Illinois; southern Illinois.
00:37 So we're glad that you're joining us around the world.
00:39 And for those of you here, we're glad you came out this morning.
00:43 I know that you have been blessed by brother Alvin Kibble.
00:46 And he's here again this morning.
00:48 Pastor Kibble; we're so thankful that he's here.
00:50 North American Division Vice President
00:53 of Seventh-day Adventists.
00:54 And he's been in ministry, I was talking to him
00:57 a while ago, 45 years.
00:59 Can somebody say amen?
01:00 Alright.
01:01 Anybody that can do anything for 45 years
01:04 deserves an amen, right?
01:06 And this brother has an anointing on him.
01:09 He's been serving the Lord a long time in our church
01:13 and the division headquarters here in North America.
01:15 We're so thankful for the ministry that he has,
01:19 that he has consented to come here for our Anchors Of Truth.
01:23 He and Jim Gilley go back a long ways.
01:25 He was telling me when Jim and his offices were
01:28 next to each other there in the North American Division.
01:31 He said, "When Jim left, I felt lonely."
01:33 And so they're good friends.
01:35 Jim speaks highly of him.
01:38 And we're so glad that he's here.
01:39 Thank you for joining us from around the world.
01:42 Thank you for your love and your prayers and financial support
01:45 of 3ABN as we continue to take this great gospel
01:48 of the kingdom into all the world.
01:51 Right before Pastor Kibble comes out today,
01:55 was have a special song.
01:57 And I'm so thankful for the ministry of Yvonne Lewis
02:01 with Dare To Dream.
02:02 And Yvonne, you're going to be singing today, Amazing Grace.
02:06 Thank you so much for what you do for the cause of God.
02:09 Thank you for Dare To Dream, as now it's having an impact
02:12 on many, many people around the world.
02:14 Praise the Lord. Thank you.
02:34 Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
02:42 that saved a wretch like me.
02:50 I once was lost but now I'm found,
02:57 was blind but now I see.
03:09 'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
03:17 and grace my fears relieved.
03:25 How precious did that Grace appear
03:32 the hour I first believed.
03:44 Through many dangers, toils, and snares
03:52 I have already come;
04:00 'Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
04:08 and grace will lead me home.
04:20 When we've been there ten thousand years,
04:27 bright shining as the sun,
04:35 we've no less days to sing God's praise
04:43 than when we'd first begun.
04:54 Amazing grace.
05:25 Great is the Lord.
05:28 And greatly to be praised.
05:32 In the city of our God, in the mountain of His holiness,
05:38 beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth
05:46 is Mount Zion.
05:49 How grateful I am to be in your presence one more time.
05:57 This morning we have a wonderful message to share with you.
06:04 And I anticipate that there will be many,
06:09 as a result of the message today,
06:14 who will finally understand the secret of being faithful
06:23 unto death.
06:25 You know, in the plan of God, He does not always
06:36 answer our prayers in the exact way and at the exact time
06:44 that we would want Him.
06:49 The truth of it is that sometimes
06:55 God's answers are delayed.
07:03 But they are never denied.
07:08 And so we're going to look at that today
07:14 as a part of our study.
07:18 We've been considering the general theme
07:22 of how a Christian looks at trouble and suffering
07:32 and heartache.
07:36 There's really a Christian view to all of life.
07:44 Our joys and our sorrows.
07:48 Our wealth as well as our need.
07:57 There's a Christian way of viewing marriage and parenting
08:03 and fathering and being a mother.
08:12 There's a Christian view of life's calling and purpose.
08:20 But there's a also a Christian's view of suffering.
08:28 And that's why we thought to engage you during this
08:33 particular spring series.
08:37 Because there is so much suffering and hardship and
08:43 heartache that is taking place all around our world.
08:50 I would like to direct your attention this morning
08:54 and for the next few minutes to the book of Revelation
09:00 chapter 2.
09:03 And I would like to read in your hearing verses 8 through 11.
09:11 Revelation chapter 2 verses 8 through 11.
09:19 "To the leader of the church in Smyrna, write this letter:
09:27 This message is from Him who is the First and Last,
09:33 who was dead and then came back to life.
09:38 I know how much you suffer for the Lord,
09:44 I know all about your poverty, but you have heavenly riches.
09:53 I know the slander of those opposing you,
09:58 who say that they are Jews, the children of God,
10:03 but they aren't, for they support the cause of Satan.
10:10 Stop being afraid of what you are about to suffer..."
10:16 I'm going to repeat that for emphasis.
10:20 Stop being afraid of the things that you anticipate
10:29 and that you are about to suffer.
10:32 "...for the devil will soon throw some of you
10:37 into prison to test you.
10:40 You will be persecuted for ten days.
10:44 Remain faithful even when facing death
10:50 and I will give you a crown of life."
10:56 I've given title to this text.
11:01 I want to talk to you about a standard for faithfulness.
11:09 Being faithful unto death.
11:16 But before I talk with you, please join me
11:21 as we talk with God.
11:24 Beyond the sacred page we seek Thee, Lord.
11:32 Our spirits crave for Thee,
11:38 oh living Word.
11:41 So Father, let the words of my mouth and the sweet and
11:49 sincere meditations of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight.
11:58 For You are my Strength and You are our Redeemer.
12:06 In the blessed and holy name of Jesus, amen.
12:15 What do you think about when you hear this admonition,
12:26 "Be thou faithful unto death."
12:33 What does it mean?
12:37 "Be thou faithful unto death."
12:45 I asked my secretary, and she said, "To be found faithful
12:53 means to stay faithful.
12:57 It means being faithful every day.
13:02 Drawing a line and saying, 'Thus far and no further.'
13:10 It takes a lot of courage," she said, "to be found faithful."
13:18 Joseph was found faithful, and he ended up in jail.
13:23 Daniel was found faithful, and he ended up in a den of lions.
13:28 The three Hebrew boys were found faithful,
13:31 and they ended up in a fiery furnace.
13:35 Jesus was found faithful, and He ended up on a cross.
13:44 I asked another friend, and she said,
13:48 "It means doing everything that the Holy Spirit tells you to do.
13:53 And not doing those things that the flesh wants you to do."
14:01 Some time ago I asked my mother at the age of 93,
14:08 the daughter of one of our pioneer ministers.
14:12 And she said, "Carrying out the will of God
14:16 in everything you know.
14:19 Living up to all that God has called you to be.
14:24 That all God requires of us.
14:31 I asked my son in the ministry, Dr. Andrew Harewood,
14:38 and the scholar and theologian that he is.
14:44 His mind began to twirl, and he said, "The answer, Pop,
14:52 to that question is embedded in the original question,
14:59 which is the central theme of the great controversy.
15:04 It was the implied defamation that Lucifer
15:14 brought to the throne of God, and that the fallen angels
15:22 inferred in their expressions and in their declarations
15:29 throughout the courts of glory as to whether God was just.
15:38 Will the God of the universe be fair?
15:48 Will Jehovah do right?"
15:53 He said, "It's a question of God's providence
15:58 and God's power."
16:02 David, he reminded me, in Psalm 84:11, had declared,
16:08 "For the Lord God is a sun and a shield.
16:13 The Lord will give grace and glory; and no good thing
16:17 will He withhold from those who walk uprightly."
16:24 But I am here and God is there.
16:28 And the haunting question is whether or not
16:32 God will be just in my regard.
16:42 We're often prone to think because God did not
16:45 answer our prayers the way we wanted Him to
16:48 and how we wanted Him to, that our prayers are denied.
16:58 So he said, "Being faithful unto death is about
17:02 trusting God's clock.
17:06 It's about waiting and trusting.
17:10 It's about being obedient and waiting.
17:19 Waiting," he said, "has to do with God's providence.
17:23 And the miracles have to do with God's power.
17:27 And the bottom line," he said, "it's not about us.
17:33 It's about Him."
17:37 But what does it mean to you...
17:42 be found faithful?
17:47 Is it a matter of maintaining your daily devotion?
17:54 Is it continuing to keep the right day, the seventh day
17:58 of the week, as you would say, as the Sabbath?
18:05 Is it about maintaining a certain dress style
18:12 or a dress standard?
18:17 What does it mean to remain faithful?
18:20 Is it a matter of returning a faithful tithe?
18:25 Or better still, a tithe and a half?
18:30 Or making sure that your candle doesn't go out?
18:38 Because we have been counseled that in the last days
18:43 that some lights are going to go out.
18:46 What does it mean, what does it really mean,
18:50 to be found faithful?
18:53 "Be thou faithful unto death,
18:57 and I will give thee a crown of life."
19:01 Just four miles from the city of Ephesus stood, and still stands,
19:07 the city of Smyrna.
19:09 Of all the seven cities of Asia spoken of in the book of
19:14 Revelation, it alone is of any really spiritual importance.
19:24 The other cities have gone into eclipse.
19:28 All of the other messages of the seven churches of Asia Minor,
19:32 the messages of the church at Smyrna...
19:35 Of all the messages to the seven churches of Asia Minor,
19:39 the message to the church of Smyrna is the most gracious
19:44 and the most complimentary.
19:49 The risen exalted Christ sent messages by way of John,
19:54 the Patmos prisoner, to the seven churches.
19:58 Seven churches that were both actual and symbolic.
20:03 These seven churches actually existed.
20:06 But in a greater sense they represented the seven ages
20:10 of the church,
20:13 through which the church would pass through
20:17 prior to the great consummation.
20:21 And this message to the church of Smyrna
20:25 is rather short and succinct.
20:29 But the risen Lord has ought against all the other six.
20:34 Ephesus, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia,
20:39 and Laodicea.
20:42 He's not happy with their performance.
20:45 But Smyrna, of all the seven, received no rebuke.
20:52 To the angel of this church, to the pastor of this church,
20:57 to the messenger of this church, He who is the First and the Last
21:03 who was dead and came to life says, "I know your works,
21:11 your tribulation, and your poverty."
21:14 And then parenthetically, He adds, "But you are rich.
21:22 I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews
21:25 and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.
21:30 Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer.
21:33 Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison
21:37 that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days.
21:44 But be thou..."
21:46 What, everybody?
21:47 "...faithful unto death, and I will give you a crown of life."
21:55 Smyrna was a very progressive city.
21:58 It was one of the few planned cities of the ancient world.
22:03 It was founded by the Greeks as a colony about 1000 BC.
22:09 The streets were broad and straight.
22:13 And they were paved with huge blocks of marble.
22:18 Can you believe that?
22:21 And it contained a famous street of gold.
22:25 I don't know whether they called it Main Street or Broad Street.
22:34 But the street began at the temple of Zeus
22:38 and it ended at the temple of Dionysus;
22:47 the god of fertility and the god of joy.
22:56 Dionysus, I believe is the correct pronunciation.
23:01 One of the loveliest cities in all of Asia.
23:04 Smyrna became wealthy as a commercial center
23:07 for the entire Hermas Valley.
23:11 It had one of the safest harbors.
23:14 And it could be well protected from all the
23:19 enemies round about.
23:23 The inhabitants of this city were primarily Jews.
23:28 And these Jews had become very friendly to Rome.
23:34 It appears, according to the historians, that the Jews had
23:40 assimilated into the society.
23:43 And they had gained wealth there.
23:45 And their chief interest was in material things.
23:51 Does that sound familiar to you?
23:54 They were eager to stay on good terms because they saw
23:58 that their livelihood depended on being politically correct.
24:08 So along with their other fellow citizens,
24:10 they built a statue to the Roman Emperor Tiberius.
24:20 Now these Jews were especially antagonistic
24:25 to the Christians.
24:27 In fact, the very first persecutions suffered
24:30 by the Christian church was at the hand of Jews.
24:37 And throughout the record of the New Testament
24:39 the Jews had done all that they could to stop the progress
24:44 of the gospel.
24:46 They had demanded the death penalty of Christ,
24:49 they put Stephen to death, they jailed many of the apostles,
24:53 and dogged the footsteps of the apostle Paul
24:56 all throughout his missionary journey.
25:00 It's no wonder that in Revelation these Jews,
25:03 who were not the spiritual sons of Abraham,
25:07 are called, the synagogue of Satan.
25:12 Later, Rome picked up their malice and continued to
25:16 meet out cruelty toward the Christians.
25:21 Starting merely as a political matter of loyalty to Rome,
25:26 it had grown into compulsory worship of Caesar.
25:30 And once a year each Roman citizen was compelled
25:39 to pinch some incense
25:44 out of the special vase or dish
25:52 and offer it on the altar of the godhead of Caesar.
26:00 And it had to be done in the presence of witnesses.
26:04 Like paying your taxes, they had to go and pinch some incense
26:09 and place it there on the altar.
26:14 And they had to record who did and who did not perform
26:20 this sacred rite.
26:23 And upon doing so, each one received a certificate
26:28 of acknowledgement.
26:30 Oh, this thing gets good.
26:33 All that you had to do was to burn some incense
26:38 on the altar and say, "Caesar is Lord."
26:45 And you received your certificate and you walked away.
26:51 But the true Christian could never do that, could they?
26:56 The true Christian acknowledged Jesus Christ as Lord.
27:02 So the threat of death hung over every Christian's head
27:09 who lived in Smyrna.
27:11 In contrast to the Jews, the Christians were poor.
27:16 Almost to the point of destitution.
27:20 Generally speaking, most early Christians.
27:24 Now all the Bible characters were not poor.
27:29 Job certainly was not poor.
27:31 Abraham and Lot were not poor.
27:36 But many of the New Testament Christians were very poor.
27:42 When Jesus chose His twelve disciples, in effect He said,
27:46 "Give Me twelve ordinary men
27:49 and I will turn the world upside down."
27:56 And from that we could pretty clearly assume
28:03 that God is not really asking anybody to be extraordinary.
28:09 In fact, God does not require you to be successful.
28:16 What God is really asking is that you be faithful.
28:23 God is looking for ordinary people
28:28 whom He can fill with His power, and then He declares,
28:33 "You will do extraordinary things.
28:38 You will do greater things than even I have done."
28:44 So what is the message...
28:47 ...that was sent to this church in Asia Minor?
28:53 This hard pressed church?
28:57 Four things the Lord recognized in the persecutions suffered
29:06 by the church of Smyrna.
29:09 The Lord says first of all, "I know your tribulation."
29:15 And the word literally means,
29:19 "The pressure that you're under."
29:21 The world and the devil are always trying to afflict
29:26 the Christian.
29:27 Because we are counter-culture.
29:30 We're trying to swim, as it were, upstream.
29:33 Against the tide.
29:37 And so the world says, "Be one of the crowd.
29:41 Just go with the flow.
29:43 Why do you have to be so different?"
29:47 And this kind of pressure is one of the devil's most
29:53 subtle temptations.
29:56 But the Bible says, "Be not conformed to the world,
30:02 but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind."
30:08 Don't let the world shape you into its mold.
30:15 Remember the sermon that we preached the other night
30:17 on the potter and the clay.
30:20 You're in the Potter's hand.
30:22 The Potter is trying to shape you.
30:25 Don't let the world shape you into its mold.
30:32 There was pressure on the Christians to conform.
30:37 Nevertheless, the Lord said, "Be thou faithful unto death."
30:43 And then the Lord says, "I know the blasphemy,
30:49 the slander that you are receiving from those
30:54 who say that they are Jews, but who aren't."
30:59 The Christian is always in danger because of the
31:05 blasphemy of those who are attacking the church.
31:12 In the ancient world, in many cases, the Jews had the ear
31:16 of those in high places.
31:19 And it was their slanderous and perverted information
31:23 which turned Nero against the Christians.
31:28 When the Christians would not conform, the next step
31:34 in persecution was to slander them.
31:37 So the Christians were falsely accused.
31:41 They were accused of being disloyal to the state.
31:46 Of being revolutionaries.
31:49 Of being trouble makers.
31:51 In Acts chapter 6 and verse 14, the disciples were slandered
31:56 because they dared to change the customs
32:00 which Moses had delivered.
32:06 Even so, the Lord said, "Be thou faithful unto..." What?
32:11 "...unto death."
32:14 And the third thing that our Lord observed about the
32:18 church of Smyrna was its poverty.
32:24 If affliction and slander do not work,
32:28 the next thing to issue upon the church is poverty.
32:35 We're talking about how a Christian views trouble,
32:40 heartache, and suffering.
32:45 Many Christians in the first century were
32:48 forbidden employment.
32:53 And there are many people today who are suffering unemployment.
33:01 Their homes and property were pillaged and plundered.
33:06 And in many cases foreclosed upon.
33:11 Back in those days, they would have probably
33:13 called it confiscated.
33:16 The writer to the Hebrews wrote in Hebrews 10:34,
33:20 "You received the pillaging of your homes with joy."
33:26 Huh, these were some amazing people, were they not?
33:30 People were confiscating and pillaging their homes.
33:34 And the writer of Hebrews says that the Christians
33:39 received it with joy.
33:42 In other words, like Paul said, "Count it all joy."
33:47 After all, it's only on loan.
33:52 That's what I discovered during my convalescence.
33:57 My job, it was on loan.
34:01 My gifts, they were on loan.
34:04 My clothes, they were on loan too.
34:08 My house, my car, my health.
34:13 It was all on loan. I'm not an owner.
34:16 Paul has it right, I'm a steward.
34:26 And so these early Christians in Smyrna suffered from
34:30 economic boycott.
34:33 They couldn't get a job, not because there were no jobs,
34:37 but because of who and what they represented.
34:48 In early days here in America,
34:54 people of my complexion were often denied housing and jobs
34:59 because of what is called, redlining.
35:07 These Christians were being redlined.
35:13 When they called the job seeking employment,
35:18 they would say, "Well we're not hiring."
35:20 And then someone else would come right behind them
35:22 and call, and they'd say, "Well sure, absolutely.
35:25 Come right down."
35:30 And if a person insisted on carrying their Christian
35:33 principles into their business life or into their
35:37 everyday life, they would be in a very real danger
35:43 of being fired.
35:46 So what is Christ's message to this church?
35:50 What is the message to the people of this age?
35:53 "I know your poverty, but you are really rich."
35:59 This is a rich poor church.
36:03 Some churches are poor rich churches.
36:08 They are rich in material things, but poor
36:13 in those things that pertain to God.
36:18 It doesn't matter whether they have glass cathedrals,
36:23 or handmade organs, or 500 voice choirs.
36:33 But Smyrna, although poverty stricken, were declared rich
36:40 by the King of glory.
36:42 Their metal had been tested.
36:44 They had come through so much.
36:46 They had been tried in the fire of persecution.
36:50 They are a society of sufferers.
36:56 The demonic had made its move on them.
37:01 They were presently under terrible persecution.
37:04 But in spite of all that they had gone through,
37:08 they persevered, they pressed on.
37:12 And they are rich in the sense that they have everything
37:16 in abundance that they need in order to hold out.
37:24 "I know your poverty, but you are really rich."
37:29 Their poverty was of body, but not of spirit.
37:34 And this compliment is rather unique.
37:37 There's no other church in the New Testament
37:39 that is described as being rich.
37:43 There is one that thought itself to be rich
37:49 and increased with goods.
37:52 And beyond that, having need of nothing.
37:55 They had a huge surplus.
38:03 They had trust funds and they had investments
38:08 far greater than they would ever be called upon to use.
38:16 But Jesus saw them as pitiful, wretched, miserable,
38:25 blind, and naked.
38:30 This church was not in reality rich at all.
38:34 It was rich in things, but that wasn't enough.
38:39 A rich church is to be prized, provided it is rich
38:43 in the right things.
38:45 The church at Laodicea was suffering from a delusion
38:50 of grandeur.
38:52 In reality, it was poverty stricken.
38:56 And the Master had some lovely words of commendation
39:00 for the church at Ephesus.
39:03 But there was also one bit of criticism.
39:07 He said, "I have this against you,
39:10 because you have left your first love."
39:15 But with this church,
39:17 I said this church,
39:19 it has no fault that can be found.
39:23 It was absolutely perfect.
39:28 But it was on its way.
39:30 It was not absolutely perfect. Correction.
39:33 But it was on its way.
39:37 So wherein was it rich?
39:40 Well, the First and the Last declared Himself,
39:48 in the form of a challenge, "Be thou faithful unto death."
40:01 That's it.
40:03 That is the key.
40:08 That was the gold in them there hills.
40:11 It was their faithfulness.
40:14 It was their loyalty, it was their fidelity.
40:18 He didn't say, notice, "Become faithful."
40:22 He didn't say, "Get faithful."
40:24 He said, "Continue to be in the future what you are now."
40:30 "Be thou faithful."
40:35 Now "faithful" is a great word, to be sure.
40:39 But it is often a greatly misunderstood word.
40:45 And therefore regularly misused.
40:51 We use the word, "faithful," too loosely.
40:58 And today, almost anybody is considered faithful.
41:03 Anybody who attends church and supports the church
41:07 is faithful.
41:09 But that's not really what is meant by being faithful.
41:14 That's simply regular, punctual, and generous.
41:22 Faithful means something far deeper than your attendance
41:28 and your financial regularity of support.
41:35 It is "pistos" in the Greek.
41:38 And pistos is best expressed as self surrender.
41:43 Pistos is more than just showing up.
41:46 It's more than just attending services.
41:50 It's more than just being a dutiful member.
41:53 Pistos is, paying the price.
41:59 But with more than just tithe and offerings.
42:02 If I am faithful, three experiences are at work
42:07 in me in tandem.
42:10 If I am faithful I am believing, I am trusting, and I am relying.
42:19 I am believing.
42:21 I am believing God; not just in God, but God.
42:29 I believe the revelation about God.
42:34 I believe His words to be true.
42:37 I believe His promises are for real.
42:40 I believe, I believe, I believe.
42:44 You can't make me doubt Him,
42:47 because I know too much about Him.
42:51 And then I am trusting.
42:54 I trust God.
42:56 I trust God to perform according to His purposes,
43:00 according to His promises.
43:03 I trust His directions, I trust His decisions,
43:07 with respect to my daily life.
43:09 I trust Him to provide all of my needs.
43:13 I trust God.
43:15 He has my confidence.
43:17 On mountain bleak or on the stormy sea,
43:21 though billows roll He keeps my soul.
43:25 I know my heavenly Father watches over me.
43:31 And finally, I am relying.
43:37 I believe God, I trust God, I am relying on God.
43:43 Now this is beyond trust.
43:47 Reliance is assurance based on experience.
43:54 Reliance is a positive assertion predicated on the sure knowledge
44:00 that whatever I get into in God's name
44:05 and for God's kingdom, I can rely on Him
44:09 to not only be with me, but to bring me through.
44:14 I believe God; I'm a follower.
44:18 I trust God; I am a servant.
44:21 I rely on God; I am a conqueror.
44:26 So then, to be faithful is to be so full of faith...
44:35 ...that you, through your entire life, are obedient
44:44 to His will.
44:46 Knowing that He is completely in charge.
44:51 This church at Smyrna gives us a standard for faithfulness.
44:58 By example, their faith declares,
45:00 "Lord, the answer is yes.
45:05 Now what's the question."
45:09 That's belief, that's trust, and that is reliance in concert.
45:15 And that is what was happening at the church of Smyrna.
45:19 And it caused the Lord to say, "I know what you have
45:23 been through, and I know what you're going through now.
45:26 And I want you to know that your faith is of such
45:30 that you are equipped to go on through.
45:33 So then, be thou faithful unto death,
45:38 and I will give thee a crown of life."
45:42 Look again at the text.
45:44 "Be thou faithful unto death."
45:46 He didn't say, "Be thou faithful unto..."
45:48 He said...
45:49 Look again at the text, "Be thou faithful unto death."
45:52 He didn't say, "Be thou faithful until death."
45:58 He said, "...unto death."
46:01 "Until" is extensive.
46:04 "Unto" is intensive.
46:07 "Until" is time dimensional.
46:09 "Unto" is event dimensional.
46:12 "Until" is, "chronos." It is clock time.
46:16 "Unto" is, "kairos." God time.
46:20 "Until" is quantitative.
46:23 "Unto" is qualitative.
46:26 So what is the message?
46:29 Glad you asked.
46:31 "Be thou faithful to the point of death."
46:37 Die as you fight the good fight of faith.
46:41 "Be thou faithful unto death."
46:45 That is what He told this church of Smyrna.
46:49 And that is what He is telling you and me today.
46:54 That's it.
46:55 That is the standard of faithfulness.
47:03 And you know something?
47:05 They were.
47:07 Why, the angel, the messenger of the church of Smyrna,
47:12 was a preacher named Polycarp.
47:15 I'm almost done.
47:17 And near the close of the second century
47:20 he was martyred for being faithful.
47:24 It was a festival day.
47:26 And the crowd was in high and excitable gear.
47:30 Under the emotion, someone cried out, "Away with Polycarp.
47:36 Away with Polycarp."
47:40 And so they searched out for the pastor of the church of Smyrna.
47:47 His whereabouts were made known by a slave child.
47:52 And he was arrested.
47:54 When the officials came to arrest Polycarp,
47:58 he ordered that a meal be prepared for them.
48:04 And he asked while they were eating if they would give him
48:09 the privilege of praying for one hour.
48:13 Just one hour.
48:16 The chief police was so impressed that he didn't
48:19 want to carry out his orders.
48:21 And he pleaded with the pastor, "Just say, 'Caesar is Lord.'
48:27 And if you did that, you won't have to be burned."
48:31 And Polycarp replied, "Eighty-six years have I
48:36 served my Lord, and He has done me no wrong.
48:42 How can I blaspheme my King who has saved me?"
48:49 Now martyrs were normally nailed to the stake
48:53 before they were set on fire.
48:56 But Polycarp was only tied to the stake
48:59 because he assured his murderers that he wasn't going anywhere.
49:07 That's being faithful unto death.
49:12 Don't, don't, don't, don't tell me it can't be done.
49:19 Don't tell me that people can't be faithful unto death.
49:25 Too many already have.
49:29 Finally, the members of the church of Smyrna
49:32 discovered a quality of life which neither tribulation,
49:35 nor poverty, nor slander, nor death could destroy.
49:40 Though pillaged and peeled, they were not utterly impoverished.
49:44 In fact, their suffering only made them richer.
49:49 Their want brought them greater wealth.
49:52 Their weakness was a pathway to power.
49:56 Their crucifixion enabled them to be crowned.
50:03 If we are faithful unto death, then we will become candidates
50:10 for a robe and a crown.
50:14 If we are faithful, something better awaits us
50:20 on yonder shore.
50:23 So be thou faithful unto death.
50:28 When the risen Lord made this pronouncement to the
50:31 church members of Smyrna...
50:40 ...He was not speaking of the material crown.
50:46 He was not offering them some fading laurel wreath
50:52 or tarnishing piece of metal.
50:55 No, there's a bright crown, a glorious crown,
51:02 awaiting you and me in the New Jerusalem.
51:07 But what kind of crown?
51:12 Glad you asked.
51:15 There are two, you know.
51:17 There is the diadem and there is the stephanos.
51:23 Now the diadem, that's what it is in the Greek,
51:28 is the one for the person who occupies the throne.
51:35 It is the symbol of kingly sovereignty,
51:38 imperial dignity, majestic enthronement.
51:42 I can't wear that crown.
51:45 That is God's crown.
51:50 That's my Lord's crown.
51:51 I can't wear the diadem, but I can wear the stephanos.
51:57 The stephanos is the victor's crown.
52:01 I'm about to shout here now.
52:04 It's for those who have run the race.
52:08 It's for those who have kept the faith.
52:12 In God's great Jerusalem I shall wear a crown.
52:20 And do you know what I'm going to do?
52:22 I'm going to join the saints of all the ages
52:26 and start singing with that great coronation hymn,
52:31 "All hail the power of Jesus' name;
52:35 let angels prostrate fall.
52:38 Bring forth the royal diadem and crown Him, yes crown Him,
52:45 crown Him Lord of all.
52:49 O that, with yonder sacred throng,
52:52 we at His feet may fall;
52:54 we'll join in the everlasting song, and crown Him
52:59 Lord of all."
53:01 And if you are faithful, He will crown you.
53:06 And you will have the privilege of crowning Him.
53:11 My, my, my, what gracious reciprocity.
53:15 He crowns me, and I share in the process of crowning Him.
53:21 Thank you, Jesus.
53:23 Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Jesus.
53:27 Thank you, Lord.
53:28 You have brought me, yes, you have brought me
53:31 from a mighty, a mighty long way.
53:34 "Be thou faithful unto death,
53:42 and I will give thee a crown of life."
53:50 Let us bow our heads as we pray.
53:57 What a precious promise,
54:02 oh God our Father.
54:07 We humbly bow before You,
54:15 we worship and adore You.
54:22 King of my life I crown Thee now,
54:30 Thine shall the glory be;
54:35 but lest I forget Thy thorn-crowned brow,
54:42 lead me, lead us to Calvary.
54:50 Help us, Holy One, to remain faithful,
54:59 not until death, but unto death,
55:06 that we might have the privilege of everlasting life.
55:13 And give someone today listening to this message
55:17 the assurance and the peace and the confidence of knowing
55:25 that in Christ they too are victors.
55:34 Victory is mine,
55:37 victory is mine, victory today is mine,
55:46 through the merits and blessings of Jesus our Christ.
55:52 Amen, amen.
55:59 Thank you, Brother Kibble.
56:01 God bless.
56:02 We just appreciate your ministry so much,
56:04 what you're doing for the cause of God.
56:07 I know everything in life has not been easy for you.
56:10 And health problems, you've gone through all the things
56:13 that all the rest of us have gone through.
56:14 Maybe some more.
56:16 But you're still there serving the Lord.
56:19 And to me that's encouraging to see 45 years of ministry,
56:23 still strong in the Lord.
56:25 We have less than a minute left.
56:26 If you could look in that camera out here;
56:28 and somebody is wavering today.
56:30 They feel like they're the only one's that are going through
56:32 some things that nobody else has gone through.
56:35 Maybe the Lord doesn't really love them.
56:37 They fell like giving up.
56:38 What would you say to them?
56:40 One person...
56:44 person...
56:49 so precious to God
56:52 that in comparison, worlds slip into insignificance.
57:04 God has invested in you.
57:09 And all that He has asked is that you trust in Him.
57:16 Trust in God.
57:19 Believe in God.
57:23 Rely upon God.
57:26 Alright, thank you so much.
57:28 God bless you and those of you at home.


Revised 2014-12-17