Home ] Up ] The Controversy ] Online Books ] Study the Word! ] GOD's Health Laws ] Religious Liberty ] Links ]


The Patience of the Saints

by M.L. Andreasen

HERE is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus." Revelation 14:12.

Three things are here mentioned: First, the patience of the saints; second, they that keep the commandments of God; and third, the faith of Jesus. Of these three I wish to speak this morning, with special emphasis on the first one--the patience of the saints.

One would naturally expect that the wording, "Here is the patience of the saints," has some reason for being put that way. When you are delayed and tried, and show a patient spirit, then it may be said, "Here is the patience." The wording indicates that there has been delay. And indeed, we know that there has been, that there is delay. The Lord might have come ere this. But "though it [the vision] tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come." Habakkuk 2:3.

The word "patience," however, means more than merely to have a quiet spirit--not to be stirred up. The real meaning of the word "patience" here, as in other places, is steadfastness, endurance--patient endurance. Hence, when it says, "Here is the patience of the saints," it really says, "Here are they that keep on; here are they that do not give up; here are they that are ready to work or to wait, and still keep their faith."

You will note that in James 5:7-11, where the coming of the Lord is spoken of, five times, the quality of patience is mentioned: "Be patient therefore. . . . hath long patience. . . . be ye also patient. . . . take, my brethren, the prophets . . . for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience. . . . Ye have heard of the patience of Job."

I take it for granted that patience is spoken of for a reason, that at this time there will be need of patience, and that this scripture is specially applicable to this people. We must stand before the world as those who endure, who do not give up in the face of trial, or even of suffering. This people will pass through some serious experiences. The thirteenth chapter of Revelation relates what shall happen to those who will not bow down and worship the beast or receive his mark. They shall not be able to buy or sell, and at last the decree will be given that they shall be killed.

James 5:11 says, "Ye have heard of the patience of Job." I wish to call your attention to the book of Job. I think there are certain lessons in that book which may be of value to us. I believe the book of Job is written for a specific purpose, as well as other parts of the Bible. Romans 15:4 and 1 Corinthians 10:11 indicate very strongly that the whole Bible, including the book of Job, may have a special lesson and meaning for the last days.

Inspiration is more than truth. Indeed, truth is a necessary part of Inspiration, but Inspiration is more than that. A statement may be true and yet not be inspired. Inspiration rather is truth selected with a view to the application of the principles contained therein.

Let me explain that. Take for instance the book of Esther--a beautiful book! It is the story of Esther, Haman, and Mordecai. It is a beautiful story and a true story. That story was put in the Bible for a specific purpose. But though it is true, it was not selected because of that only, but because the essential points in it would be repeated. You remember the happenings in that book. What was it written for? According to the texts in Romans and 1 Corinthians that I have just referred to, whatsoever things were written, were written for our learning upon whom the ends of the world have come. This includes the book of Esther. You remember the statement that there are some who will see in this people a Mordecai in the gate? As in former days, will there not be a rescript [formal decree] issued that there is a people throughout the king's provinces that do not keep the king's laws, that have laws of their own, and that it is not profitable to the king to permit them to live?

This, then, is not merely a true story. It happened indeed just as it is written. Every word of it is true. But God selected it because it is a type, because something like it will again happen. Thus with the whole Bible--"Whatsoever things were written." Not indeed that everything will be repeated. But it contains principles applicable to this time, happenings selected with a special reference to the experiences God's people are to pass through.

Now turn to the book of Job. You know the story; yet let me go over it very briefly. The first chapter begins the story of Job, how he was prospering. He was a good man, perfect, upright, one that feared God and eschewed evil. As his children feasted from day to day, he offered sacrifices lest they might have sinned.

In verse six the scene is changed. The veil is drawn aside, and we see something happening in heaven. Satan appears, and when he is asked where he comes from he answers, "From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down it." Job 1:7. Then the question is asked, "Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?" Verse 8. Satan answered the Lord and said, "Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast not thou made a hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face." Verse 9-11.

These verses contain a challenge to the Lord that Job will not stand true. God accepts the challenge: "Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD." Verse 12. You remember the calamities that came upon Job. One thing after another happened. Job was perplexed. He did not know what was going on in heaven. He did not know of the challenge, and that he was being put to the test, and that the Lord was depending upon him. Job was stripped of all that he had, but at the end he arose and said:

"Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither; the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly." Verses 21-22.

Satan was beaten. He had charged that Job served God because it was paying him; that God had put a hedge about him; that Satan could not get at him. But Job stood the test.

Then comes the second meeting in heaven, and Satan, unabashed, again appears. He had been beaten once, but he is not discouraged. God asks him again if he has noticed Job. Satan answers, "Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will a man give for his life. But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face." Job 2:4-5. God again accepts the challenge. And so Satan goes forth and does all he is permitted to do. He goes the limit. He may not kill Job, but he causes him to suffer intensely. He is laid on the ash heap scraping himself, the matter oozing from all his sores. His wife counsels him to curse God and die. Job answers her:

"Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips." Verse 10.

Satan was beaten again. He had tormented Job, causing him intense suffering; but Job had stood the test. God's confidence in him was not misplaced.

Then came the three friends, and poor Job had a hard time of it. I am not here to defend Job this morning. He needs no defense. He was greatly perplexed at times. He had not seen that scene in heaven; he did not know the challenge that had gone forth. God was depending upon him. Job was perplexed. He could not understand why this thing had come.

W. A. SPICER: He did not understand how important it was in God's plan that he should stand the test.

M. L. ANDREASEN: No, he did not. He was perplexed, terribly perplexed. I do not wonder at it. He had searched his soul, and he did not know of any specific wrong he had done. He went through the same experience that everyone has gone through, or will go through, before the end. Have you sometimes stood at the bed of sickness or gone through some severe trial, and asked, Why? Why?

The problem of suffering, of sickness, is indeed an important one. All sickness is not the result of sin. Of the man mentioned in John 9 it is asked, "Who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?" John 9:2. And the answer, "Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him." Verse 3.

There is, indeed, suffering that is a result of sin. You transgress, and suffering results. That is one kind of suffering which we are generally quite well acquainted with. But there is another kind, mentioned in the fourth verse of the eleventh chapter of John:

"When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby." John 11:4.

Reading again, "Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be manifest in him."

Here was a man blind, not because of any specific sin of his own or of his parents, but that the works of God might be made manifest in him, as also in the case of Lazarus. This blindness was for the glory of God.

As I think of this, I suppose that there are those today who are sick who are suffering that the glory of God might be shown. Think of it just a moment. Is it possible that there are those today who are blind, that the works of God might be made manifest in them? those who are sick, that God may heal them, and that God is just waiting for someone to claim the power of God to rebuke that disease? What a wonderful responsibility that puts on us!

There is a third kind of suffering and sickness to which I also wish to call your attention, mentioned in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4.
I might call that vicarious suffering:

"Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God." Verses 3-4.

Notice that God comforts us in our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them that are in any trouble.

"For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation." Verses 5-6.

I have known people to go through sad experiences and exclaim: "Why, O Lord, does this come? Wherein have I sinned? What have I done?" And they search their souls and can find no reason for it. They are perplexed. May it not be, as with Paul here, that there is a purpose even in suffering, and that it may be that God is causing you to pass through that perplexity that you may be able to help and to comfort those who are in any trouble? After all, it is only as we pass through certain experiences that our words of comfort or reproof have any weight.

I well remember a young man who made an address, the best, I think, I had ever heard. He began on such a high plane, the periods were so well rounded, almost perfect, that I said, he can never keep that up. But he did. A wonderful speech! That same man went down to see the Chautauqua people, to see if he could get on the Chautauqua circuit. They heard his speech, and then they said, "Very good indeed. Now come back in about fifteen or twenty years, and perhaps we can use you." Oh, he had to go through some experiences first, before his words, beautiful as they were, would have the effect that they should have. No singer can sing, no musician can play to touch the deepest emotions, until his own heart has tasted the waters of Marah. It was only after Hosea had gone through certain heartbreaking experiences that he could give the message he gave later on when he became the John of the Old Testament. It was only after Ezekiel had sustained the loss of his wife that he became a greater power for God. See Ezekiel 24.

Paul also knew that only as he passed through certain experiences would he ever be able to minister as he might after having gone through those experiences. And so with all God's ministers. Suffering and soulwinning efficiency must go together.

The young men can do a certain work, and let them be encouraged; the Lord bless the young; but don't think that because you have a few gray hairs your days of usefulness are past! There is a work you can do that no one else can do, and the Lord will bless you in doing it.

Think of this, you missionaries in far-off lands, Christ became the Prince of comforters because He was the Prince of sufferers. It is only as you go through experiences of trial that you will be able to minister. That gives a meaning to life's hard experiences. It may be that suffering may come to us, not because of any sin, but as part of our education, that we may be able to help someone else that is in need; for after you have gone through a similar one, there is a bond of sympathy established that will enable you to minister much more effectively.

Again, I come to Job's experience. He did not understand why this calamity had come, and he was terribly perplexed concerning it. He did not understand that he was being tested, that there was a challenge issued, and that the Lord was depending upon him. The time will come when we shall pass through a similar experience.

Speaking of the man in John 9--the man born blind, an inspired writer says:

"Satan, the author of sin and all its results, had led men to look upon disease and death as proceeding from God--as punishment arbitrarily inflicted on account of sin. Hence one upon whom some great affliction or calamity had fallen had the additional burden of being regarded as a great sinner. . . . The history of Job had shown that suffering is inflicted by Satan, and is overruled by God for purposes of mercy." The Desire of Ages, 471.

I well remember the experience I had when my little girl fell into the fire and was burned from the top of her head to her heels. They brought her home, and month after month she lay there in agony. That was in New York City, and in the midst of this experience I got a letter from a good sister saying that if I would repent of my sins, such things would not happen. Well, I had done some repenting there, but that letter did not help me, and yet it was written with good intentions. I am speaking this for some of these dear souls who are worried and perplexed, and who do not understand that God is putting them through trials for the purpose of service.

You remember how Satan was given permission to try Job to the utmost; so Satan will be permitted to try the saints when probation shall cease. In effect the same thing will take place that took place in the case of Job. God has been with His people; has been a Shield to them. Angels have protected them. There has been a mighty movement. Thousands have been converted. Pentecost has been repeated. Now comes the challenge. Satan is given permission to try God's people to the utmost. They will suffer weariness, delay, and hunger. They cry to God day and night. It is the time of Jacob's trouble. They search their souls to see if any sin is left. But they find none. They repented of their sins. There is nothing against them. But trial that comes, brings perplexity, keenest anxiety, terror, and distress. The people go through somewhat the same experience that Job went through. His experience is written that we may know that there is something going on in heaven, that there is a challenge, that there is a test, and that God is depending upon us to do right.

"The most vivid presentation cannot reach the magnitude of the ordeal. In that time of trial, every soul must stand for himself before God."--The Great Controversy, 622.

He (Christ) kept His Father's commandments, and there was no sin in Him that Satan could use to his advantage. This is the condition in which those must be found who shall stand in the time of trouble.

"The people of God will not be free from suffering; but while persecuted and distressed, while they endure privation and suffer for want of food they will not be left to perish." Ibid., 629.

"The heavens glow with the dawning of eternal day, and like the melody of angel songs the words fall upon the ear: 'Stand fast to your allegiance. Help is coming.' " Ibid., 632-633.

When the people of God pass through that experience, the angels of God are anxious to come to their help; but the commanding angel says, "Not yet. They must drink of the cup."

The way to glory leads through Gethsemane. It is only as we pass through the valley of trial and affliction that we shall ever be able to perfect character.

Of Christ it is spoken in Hebrews 2:10:

"It became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings."

Again, in the fifth chapter, and the eighth and ninth verses:

"Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; and being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him."

As He was made perfect through suffering, so we may have to follow in His footsteps.

If we cannot now walk with the footmen, how then shall we be able to run with horses? And if we now cannot stand the small trials that come to us, what will we do in the swelling Jordan? God will cause His people to pass through experiences that will be perplexing, that will cause them anxiety; and yet they may know that that is the preparation for a larger ministry, and for the perfection of character. May the Lord help us to accept cheerfully whatever He may send.

"Here are they that keep the commandments." Revelation 14:12. That means all the commandments--the first, the second, the third, the fourth, and on to the tenth. They keep all the commandments. They have no other gods; O that that might be said of this people! No other gods. What are other gods, or strange gods? You well know. It is anything that stands between you and God. These have no other gods. They keep the commandments. There is not a thing between them and their God. They are wholly dedicated to Him.

They reverence the name of the Lord. They have in them that most precious heritage and virtue--reverence, which has almost left the earth.

They keep the Sabbath day; they work six days, and do all their work. There is not a lazy one among them. They work; they rest.

They have respect for constituted authority. They obey their parents. And that principle of respect for constituted authority, whether it be the parents or the church, is worthwhile. They believe in organization.

They do not kill; they do not hate--they love. There is no trouble anywhere because of jealousy, but love prevails.

They are a pure people. They are pure in mind, in act, in their reading and all. Purity is their watchword.

They do not steal. They pay their debts. They give to the Lord that which belongs to Him. They are faithful in tithes and offerings. They respect the rights of others.

They do not lie. No guile is found in their mouth. Their word can be depended on. They are honest. Their reputation is good with them that are without.

They do not covet. This refers not merely to the outward, but to the very heart. Every bit of covetousness is rooted out.

But note. The keeping of the commandments presupposes perfection, and that is holiness; that is sanctification. Do they keep the commandments to be saved? No, not at all. They keep them because they love. Love is the mainspring; love is the center of their experience. "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." John 13:35. This is the true keeping of the commandments. You have, then, in the keeping of the commandments, a people sanctified, holy, who have no other gods, not a thing standing between them and their Maker.

The third part of my text deals with the faith of Jesus. I notice that the reading is not that they have faith in Jesus, wonderful as that may be, but they have the faith of Jesus.

Let me illustrate the difference. I have faith in Brother Underwood. I believe in Him. He is a good man, honest, straightforward. I have faith in him. I can depend upon him. But that is different from saying, "Oh, that I had the faith of Brother Underwood!" To have the faith of Jesus is more than merely to have faith in Jesus. It is to have the same kind of faith that He had. And Jesus did have faith. See Him healing the sick. See Him raising the dead. The faith He had is to be ours. This faith may lead us to Gethsemane, even to Calvary. But if so, His faith shall be ours.

Read Galatians 2:16: "Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ."

Note, it is not merely faith in Jesus, wonderful as that is. It is a step higher. Mark the differentiation so beautifully put here:

"Even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ." Verse 16.

We believe in Him, that we might be justified by the faith of Jesus Christ. Again:

"I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God." Verse 20.

I am indeed not speaking lightly of faith in Jesus, that is the first step. But there is a step still higher than that, which this people must take. "And the life which I now live . . . I live by the faith of the Son of God." That faith that He had must be ours, and will be ours.

The people spoken of here have first then, the patience of the saints. They endure. They never give up, whatever the difficulties may be. Then they keep the commandments. And then they have the faith of Jesus, the same faith He had. What a wonderful thing! What a wonderful people!

I will close with the first promise in the Bible:

"I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." Genesis 3:15.

That enmity, friends, is our salvation. Paraphrasing, I would read: "I will put enmity between thee, Satan, and the church. I will put hatred there. I will put hatred for sin in the heart of My people." That hatred will help us to stop sinning! That hatred is our salvation.

As long as sin is alluring, as long as there is a tendency toward sin in our hearts, we are not on safe ground. For years after I became an Adventist I had trouble about smoking. Not that I ever smoked, not once. But I dreamed again and again that I would awake, go to the window where my pipe used to lie, light it, and start around the corner where I would meet some Adventist. Then I would wake up and thank the Lord it was only a dream. I did not smoke, but neither did I hate it. As long as we are in that condition with reference to sin we are on dangerous ground. We need to pray to God to help us to hate sin, and when we get that hatred in our hearts, so that the things we once loved we now hate; when we really get to hate sin, we will stop it.

This is the first promise in the Bible; and what a wonderful promise it is! God help us to hate sin, to abominate [abhor] it, so that all that has to do with sin will appear in our sight as it does in God's sight. Then we shall have complete victory, without fear of falling. May God help us to be willing to go through the experience that will help us to stand with Him on the sea of glass.


Back ] Up ] Next ]