Pinecrest Bible Training Center

John 12:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone.

Beginning in 2008 the vision and bible school that God so graciously gave Wade Taylor beginning in 1968 came to an abrupt end, falling into the ground and dying.-

We now wait for God to raise up and bring forth His seed of promise in another, that the vision fail not.

Fall 1978
Entering the Kingdom
Part II – The Trial of Faith

Stanley Smith
Graduate, Pinecrest Bible Training Center

Paul rose from the ground where he had been left for dead; zealous Jews had incited the townspeople of Lystra to stone Paul to death. Did his persecutors mistakenly leave him for dead, or did God raise Paul from the dead in answer to the prayers of the disciples who gathered around him after his stoning? Whatever the answer to this question, by grace Paul survived, and by grace he found courage to return to Lystra. Paul lost no opportunity to glorify God in his persecution, but exhorted the disciples at Lystra “to continue in the faith, and that we must, through much tribulation, enter into the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22).

Because many seek entrance into the kingdom of God, Paul’s testimony to the church in Lystra has caused many to seek tribulation. We do well to covet the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings, and to gladly lay down our lives for him daily. But not all tribulation will thrust us into the kingdom of God. Likewise, tribulation alone will not open the door of the kingdom: faith opens the door. Paul encouraged the church at Lystra to patiently bear tribulation, but not to seek it. Instead he exhorted them to continue in faith. Faith able to bear trial by fire will usher us into the kingdom.

The Lord wants one thing of us when our faith is tried: patience. In the Greek New Testament, patience is endurance or stamina such as a long-distance runner might need. “Ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise . . . now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him” (Hebrews 10:36, 38). Those who will inherit the promises of God must continue in faith, never drawing back into unbelief when faith is tried. How is this patience obtained? Paul states, “Tribulation worketh patience,” and James gives the same thought more specifically; “the trying of your faith worketh patience.” Not all tribulation, but specifically, that which tries our faith, produces the patience or stamina needed if we are to possess the kingdom of God. Tribulation, faith, and patience need to work together in our lives. So Paul rejoices over the Thessalonians “for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure” (2 Thessalonians 1:4). And the apostle John calls himself “your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 1:9). John, the Thessalonians, James, Paul, the writer of Hebrews, and all who have inherited God’s kingdom, have received it by remaining steadfast in faith while that faith was tried.

The faith which is tried is our faith for the vision that God has given us. That vision comes from God’s Spirit, sent to us “that we might know the things given to us of God (I Corinthians 2:12). Many people assume that their lives will become quiet and peaceful once they receive vision in God. Actually, receiving vision thrusts us into fiercer spiritual combat than we ever knew before. Once we begin to exercise faith for that which God has revealed to us, that faith is tried.

If we maintain the stand of faith that God has led us to assume, we win the warfare; if we yield to the pressure to abandon faith, we are defeated. The enemy assaults our faith that we might give up on experiencing that which God has revealed to us. The passing of time, well meaning friends and relatives, the claims of human sentiment, and other similar things may be used by the enemy to seek to discourage us from persevering in faith until we obtain that which God has revealed to us. And at times, the assault on our faith will not only be the subtle pull of good things and good people, but open attack by means of persecution, injustice, or false accusation. The trial of faith comes in many forms but if we hold fast to the vision God has given us, then we shall inherit the kingdom of God.

God ordained the trial of faith to strengthen us to bear fruit for His glory. Though it is little understood and therefore little valued by man, God places great importance on the trial of faith. Peter exhorts “that the trial of your faith being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.” And Jesus Christ exhorts the Laodicean church to “buy of me gold tried in the fire, that you mayest be rich.” The gold is faith; the fire is the trial allowed of God to contest our faith. As the refiner’s fire purifies gold, so the trial purifies faith, discerning between the faith of the Son of God and the presumption of the natural man. Faith can always stand the test of fire, but the fire never fails to expose religious pretense. God wants to reduce our relationship with Him to pure faith, unmixed with religious strife, undefiled with human wisdom, unmarred with trumped-up zeal. The strife, wisdom, and zeal of Paul had to be crushed through the trial of faith, that he might testify, “The life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God.” God had purified and strengthened Paul to live by divine faith and not by the faith of man.

As the eyes of the Lord run to and fro in the earth to find a perfect heart, a perfect heart is a heart of faith. If God can find pure faith in our hearts, He is prepared to show Himself strong in our behalf. If we want God to demonstrate His life greatly through us, we must embrace the trials of faith that God allows us to meet, and seek to be enriched before God with gold tried in the fire. God will always vindicate pure faith, and prizes it very highly in man. Again and again in scripture, God took pains to purify the faith of those whom He was later to use greatly in the outworking of His purposes. Having led them to stand in faith by revealing His purpose in their lives, He then thrust them into a period of trail before fulfilling that which He has revealed. This process may be seen in the lives of many throughout scripture. Following is the example of Joseph’s life.

Joseph began to lose favor with the other eleven sons of Jacob because he loved righteousness too much for them. Unable to approve or to participate in their unrighteousness, Joseph instead told his father all they said and did. Naturally, as this went on his brothers despised him more and more. Then came the dreams: first Joseph dreamed that all his brothers bowed down before him, then his father and mother joined their eleven sons in bowing before Joseph. His father rebuked him, but pondered the dreams in his heart; his brothers began to plan Joseph’s death. Through these dreams, God imparted to Joseph the vision that he would rule, and these same dreams aggravated an already difficult family problem in order to fulfill the vision. Once Joseph reached this place of vision, the vision thrust him into an underserved period of suffering.

Though the eleven considered killing Joseph, they sold him into slavery instead. Joseph, seventeen years old, became a slave in an Egyptian officer’s house. Though God had revealed to Joseph that his own household would serve him, Joseph faced a terrible contradiction: He had been sold into slavery in a foreign land. The vision had given faith, and now, because of this faith, he was being tried. Had Joseph received no vision, he might still be comfortable at home; however, God had spoken, and so far Joseph had nothing to show for God’s promise but trouble.

But the word of God brought more than trouble: it also brought faith. Joseph’s faith prepared him for the fulfilling of God’s promise in his life. At some point, the conviction must have struck his heart, “If God has called me to rulership, I can begin now, even in slavery, and can begin to rule within my present confinement.” So as Joseph served in Potiphar’s house, he served in faith, not as pleasing man but as pleasing God. “And his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord made all that he did to prosper in his hand . . . and he made him overseer in his house, and over all that he had” (Genesis 39:3-4)

As Joseph exercised faith during his confinement, God prepared another trail of faith for him. Because he loved righteousness and hated iniquity, Joseph again found himself unjustly accused and was thrust into the king’s prison. The temptation to abandon faith was greater than ever, for now Joseph had twice suffered injustice for believing God, and it seemed that believing God only moved matters from bad to worse. But in spite of temptation and without regard to the hopelessness of his predicament, Joseph again exercised faith, expecting God to fulfill the vision even in Pharaoh’s prison. And in time, “the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph’s hand all the prisoners that were in the prison; and whatsoever they did there, he was the doer of it” (Genesis 39:22). Joseph was ruling not over his household, but rather over a band of convicts; nonetheless, by faith, he was ruling.

But had Joseph passively waited in prison and hoped his lot would improve, he would have lost out on the promise of God. His faith was his deliverance. By faith, “the elders received a good report” (Hebrews 11:2), and three good reports Joseph received were prophetic interpretation of dreams. Joseph interpreted the dreams of two prisoners, and two years later, Pharaoh’s dream. As a result, Joseph found himself elevated, becoming practically a prime minister in Egypt, and entered into the fulfillment of the vision God had given him. Was Joseph embittered by the injustices he had experienced as God led him from vision to fulfillment? Did he look back over his experience and wonder if there might have been an easier way? No, he recognized that it was of God that “he was laid in iron: until the time that his word came: the word of the Lord tried him” (Psalm 105:18-19). Joseph knew his trials resulted not from man but from the word of the Lord. Therefore, when his brothers prostrated themselves before Joseph and feared that he might take revenge upon them, he comforted them: “Ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. Now therefore, fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones” (Genesis 50:20-21). The vision was completely fulfilled, and Joseph had no controversy with God or man that God had used the trial of faith to thrust Joseph into the kingdom.

As faith, patience, and tribulation worked together to bring Joseph into the fulfillment of God’s promises, the same working today will lift us from vision to experience. After God sows the seed of His word into our hearts, He delights in the tiny green spouts of vision because He knows they will grow up to produce fruit in experience. Let us go on from vision to experience, not despising our present state of being in God, but absorbing His light and drinking His rain with thanksgiving. He, the author and finisher of our faith will show Himself strong in our behalf if we will continue doggedly in faith.

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