Revelation 2:10 "Be thou faithful unto death and I will give you a crown of life."
Have you ever thought about what it is to be faithful? There seem so many examples of what it is not, sometimes we donít even notice the examples of what it is. In a time when sucpicions abounds, what is there that can be trusted? What is there that remains the same?
A dog is still manís best friend, thatís remained the same. Why, its faithfulness, a dog will be there waiting for you, ready to accept whatever you offer. Some days you might kick it, times will come when you forget to feed it, but the dog will be there, and will lick your hand when you return. The dog accepts you just as you are and believes in you.
While parents may sometimes think that they lead a dog's life, parents are most always faithful, they're there for their children when the children need them. Sometimes that means someone who's been sleeping on the couch, whoís for you to come home, someone you really didn't want to see, because you're late. But they are there because they care. Parents don't accept us they way we are, they can see the way we ought be, and they work to help us become all we were meant to be. Parents believe in us, and love us even though we are far from perfect.
There are good pictures of faithfulness, but it seems faithfulness comes hard these days, because faithfulness takes time and patience, 2 things we seem always to be short of. Sometimes I think that we no longer believe this Bible verse - ĎBe thou faithful unto death and I will give you a crown of life.í Sometimes I think many have forgotten the promise they made at their confirmation, to be faithful to their confession and faith, and suffer all even death, rather than fall away from it.
Be thou faithful unto death and I will give you a crown of life. What does it Mean? For some people it may be that consider themselves faithful when they accept death as inevitable, and that after death there is another life. The verse says much more than this, listen to the whole of the verse:
Rev. 2:10 'Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold the devil is about to throw some of you into prison that you may be tested, and for 10 days you will have tribulation. Be thou faithful unto death and I will give you a crown of life.'
Faithfulness in this case is holding something, and continuing to hold on even in the face of suffering. A picture Iíll always remember is a picture of a snapping turtle, once it gets a hold of something it just doesn't let go, you can pull it out of the water, it won't let go. you can wiggle it around, it won't let go. I remember one that didn't let go when its head was separated from its body. Why, because it knew it had something to hold on to.
What do we have to hold on to? Everything in this world is passing away, scripture tells us that we are like the flower of the field or the grass of the meadow, we are soon cut off, we whither and fade away. We cannot hold on to ourselves. We cannot hope in ourselves. We even have trouble comforting ourselves. And when there is trouble, by ourselves, we can make no peace.
But God didnít leave us by ourselves. God knew of the sin, sorrow and suffering in this world. God knew that we wanted to find peace with him, and so God sent his Son Jesus Christ to bring us all that we want, all that we need, life, salvation, forgiveness. Jesus sufered and died for us, to pay the debt of our sin, and to give us life and forgiveness. And this gift of God by grace through faith is something worth holding on to. I donít claim that I knew Carl Wackerbarth well, but I knew of him, and I saw in him an example of faithfulness. He knew he had something worth holding on to. And as I remember the devotion he had for his wife, and his regular trips to visit her, there was one thing even greater in his life, and that was the faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, he held onto that in an uncompromising way. Perhaps some did not understand, but then few these days understand even a snapping turtle.
My prayer for you is that you have that snapping turtle kind of faith that doesn't let go of this great gift of God that is ours in Christ Jesus. Hold fast to this faith not matter what come up; for it is only in Jesus that we find the way to heaven. It is only in Jesus Christ that we have the victory over sin death and the devil. It is only m Jesus name that we can overcome temptation. It is only through Jesus that we can accept ourselves, and love ourselves, for Jesus has made us a new creation and has given us new life. It is only in Jesus that we who mourn will find the comfort of the resurection of the dead and the life everlasting that are ours by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.
God lets us know that a time of trial will come, not because God has abandoned us, not because God doesn't care. But God has called us to five by faith, and has give us faith, a faith to live by. And as long as times are good, and things run smoothly we donít know what we can do.
But when times get bad, it is then we see what God by grace through faith has enabled us to do, and so we grow in faith, as we live by faith, and all the while we come to understand how faithful is our God and how great is his love for us. Keep the faith, and share the faith and We by faith, for our faithful God has prepared for us heavenly mansions hereafter, and here gives us all that wee need for Jesus sake.