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Keep The Faith

By Mark Irby


Anchor Text: Rev 14:12 - Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.


Have you ever let go of something valuable? Maybe as a child, you reluctantly traded one of your favorite toys. Perhaps as an adult, you moved out of a home that brought fond memories or moved on from the job where lasting friendships were made. It could even be that you gave up your vacation time to tend to an ill family member. Whatever your story is, one thing is sure: letting go of something you value is never easy. But there are some things we should never let go of. Faith is one of them. Not just any old faith. I’m talking about the faith of Jesus.

Many talk about having faith, and it is true that we must have faith. Scripture is clear on this, when in Matthew 17, Jesus’ response to the disciples on why they could not cast out the devil from the possessed child was, “Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” - Matt 17:20. And, answering His disciples, yet again, in Mark chapter 11 concerning their perplexity over the cursed fig tree that had withered, Jesus said, “…Have faith in God– Mark 11:22.

Having or exercising faith is one of the first steps someone will take in their Christian journey. But a deeper faith experience awaits all of us. You see, there is a difference between “having” something and “keeping” it. We will see in a moment what it means to “keep” something, but first, let’s look at another Bible passage: Reading from Revelation 14:12, we find the following:

“Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.”

I can distinctly recall at some point in my life, strangely reciting this text as such:

“Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God and have the faith of Jesus.”

However, the word have is not present in this scripture. The obvious intent is to convey the idea that those who keep the commandments of God also “keep” the faith of Jesus, an apparently minor yet monumental difference.

Outside of the obvious meaning, what else is meant by the word “keep”? From the Greek word “tēreō (pronounced tay-reh'-o)”, to keep is to “reserve”, “observe”, “watch”, “preserve”, “hold fast”, to attend to carefully, or to “guard”.

With this in mind, ponder carefully the following passage:


The apostle [Peter] sought to teach the believers how important it is to keep the mind from wandering to forbidden themes or from spending its energies on trifling subjects. Those who would not fall a prey to Satan's devices, must guard well the avenues of the soul; they must avoid reading, seeing, or hearing that which will suggest impure thoughts. The mind must not be left to dwell at random upon every subject that the enemy of souls may suggest. The heart must be faithfully sentineled, or evils without will awaken evils within, and the soul will wander in darkness…”– Acts of the Apostles, Ellen G. White, pg. 518

What a powerful passage! This is not passively holding onto something because you don’t want to let it go. This is actively engaging every noble faculty to guard against having it removed from your possession. If this sounds like warfare, it is! But come with me as we extend this journey!

Having covered what it means to keep something, I think it is natural to look at instances in Scripture where something that should have been kept was lost. Our next stop is the church at Ephesus. Revelation 2:2-5 says:

I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars. And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. Nevertheless, I have somewhat against thee because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.”

The church at Ephesus was commended for its patience and aversion to evil practices among other things, but we find in verse 3 that it had lost its first love. The palpable question here is, how does this happen? How do you end up losing your love for something or even someone? Listen to this insight of the Ephesian church:

The first experience of the Ephesus church led to good works. God took delight in the fact that His church reflected the light of heaven by revealing the spirit of Christ in tenderness and compassion. The love that dwelt in the heart of Christ; the love that caused Him to give Himself a sacrifice for humanity, and to suffer with forbearance the reproach of men, even to the extent of being called a devil; the love that prompted Him to perform mighty works of healing during His ministry—this was the love that was to be revealed in the lives of His disciples. But they neglected to cherish Christ's compassion and tenderness. Self, as manifested in hereditary traits of character, spoiled the principles of the grand, good works that identified the members of the Ephesus church as Christians. The Lord Jesus must needs show them that they had lost that which was everything to them. The love that constrained the Saviour to die for us, was not revealed in its fullness in their lives; and hence they were unable to bring honor to the name of the Redeemer. And as they lost their first love, they increased in a knowledge of scientific theories originated by the father of lies

- Manuscript 11, 1906, Ellen G. White.


Somewhere along our journey, I believe we all have an Ephesus church experience. It is not a sudden and deliberate occurrence, but rather a gradual dissolution of our fire. But the question remains, exactly how and why does this happen?

It is true that we are overcome when, as mentioned earlier, we do not guard well the avenues of our souls. But allow me to suggest that we fail sometimes of “keeping” what we once had because we’re so busy trying to “keep” it in our own strength. Notice Galatians 2:16

Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

Apparently, the “Faith of Jesus” is not based on works. It instead, you might be surprised to hear, is based on rest; rest that can only come from an abiding and trusting relationship with our Savior Jesus Christ. Jesus invites us in Matthew 11:28,29:

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”

And Hebrews 4:1,9-11 says:

Let us therefore fear, lest a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.

Shall we rest from our own labors and enter into Jesus’ rest? Yes, and I invite you to take that journey today! Only then can we Keep the Faith, the Faith of Jesus!

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