Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Wednesday - Revelation 2:12-17

Review: The church of Pergamos

Name: Mixed Marriage

Jesus' Attributes: He has the Word of God and will convict and will judge according to the truth of God's Word. There is no compromising of God's Word.

Commendations: They have been faithful to Jesus even in the midst of a city full of pagan worship. Even in the commendation there is a little concern. Jesus is implying as of yet they have been faithful but now...

Concerns:... though they, as a whole, are not encouraging false doctrine, yet there are a few who hold a doctrine of compromise and a doctrine of putting men as mediators between Jesus and us. Jesus despises both of these doctrines. He desires a holy people, set apart from this world. He desires a personal relationship with each one of us, He is the mediator between God and man.

Exhortation: Jesus will come and judge them with His word. Men of God will arise and reveal their foolishness through the Word of God; and worse, if they continue to hold these false doctrines, they will be judged by Jesus and earn their condemnation.

Promise: He who overcomes will eat the hidden manna and receive a white stone with a name (of Jesus) in which only that person will know. Basically, this personal relationship doesn't stop after we die but continues through eternity. Look at how personal and unique our relationship is with Christ. I will be given a name of Jesus that only I will know! Thank you, Lord.

FYI: Pergamos, at the time of this letter, was the home of Satan. It is good to know that Satan is not omnipresent. He can only be at one place at one time. Therefore, Satan is not the opposite of God but just a creation of God full of sin that will be judged and receive his just reward: Eternal Damnation. Greater is He that is in you, then he that is in the world.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Tuesday - Revelation 2:8-11

Review: The church of Smyrna

Name: Myrrh - a fragrance that is brought forth by being crushed

Jesus Attributes: He is the One, who was also a martyr. He has been through it all as well and will be with them as they go through what he already has gone through. He is the testimony that though they can take our life, they cannot touch our souls; even as he rose from the grave, so shall we.

Commendations: They are faithful in their persecution. Though they are poor to man's standards, yet in God, they are rich. They have given all and are fully investing in Eternity.

Concerns: None

Exhoration: People have said that Gods will is for us not to suffer persecution but this is entirely false. Here, Jesus tells them they will have to suffer persecution for His name, but He encourages them not to fear, knowing that he has gone through it and is alive, so will they. He says, "be faithful until death" not pray for a way out or build your faith up, no, it is His will for them to suffer for His name; if they are faithful until death they will receive the crown of life.

Promise: He who overcomes will not be hurt by the second death. So there is a first death and there is a second death. Let us fear more the second death then the first.

FYI: The letter written to Smyrna is the smallest out of the seven. Jesus does not waste words on them but only comforts them. He knows they are already faithful, there is not much to say but to comfort.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Monday - Revelation 2:1-7

Review: The church of Ephesus

Name: The desired one

Jesus' Attributes: The one who desires to be one with you. He holds you in His hand and He is in your midst. We abide in Him and He abides in Us. We are one, a love relationship.

Commendations: They labor in weariness but do not grow weary of Gods work. They hold fast to doctrinal truths and do not put up with deceivers. They are busy at Gods work.

Concerns: They left the reason for everything, this love relationship with Jesus. They studied the Word to defend but not to draw close. Their works did not come from an overflow of having a personal relationship with Jesus. They left their first love.

Exhortation: Remember, Repent, and Return. Return to the basics; when you just read the Word so that you could hear God personally speak to you, when you prayed for things just because you wanted to speak to God and see Him answer. Let the love of Jesus be the motive for all that you do or else He will remove his lampstand (His church) from Ephesus.

Promise: He who overcomes will eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God!

FYI: There is no church in Ephesus today, and never will be, because the water levels have immersed what was once Ephesus. Jesus truly removed His lampstand permanently.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Thursday - Luke 12:15-23

"Do Not Worry About Your Life"

The key to understanding the context of this passage is found in vs. 21 where Jesus basically says that the fool "lays up treasure for Himself, and is not rich toward God". There are few rich men who are rich on this earth and rich unto God, this is a good thing. But to be rich on this earth is not good if you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked unto God.

The church of Laodicea declared themselves rich and in need of nothing and because of their self portrait, they were blinded to the inward destitution in their lives. In our society, we must be very cautious not to fall into the same demise. Persecution has always been a good thing for the church; materialism has been our worst enemy. When we feel strong in ourselves and rely upon our own sufficiency's, we most certainly will walk out of God's will. God wants to free us of any hold that this world may have on our souls. Eternity is forever, this world, in comparison, is but a vapor.

As I read this I am encouraged to remember that I am a pilgrim on this land, fully dependant on God and His strength, nothing of my own; that God knows better what is best for my life. I am encouraged to give up my time, money, safety, comforts, and luxuries on this earth that I might be rich toward God, where all things will last forever! Is it even worth to compare?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Wednesday - 2 Timothy 3:1-5

"Having a Form of Godliness But Denying its Power"

As I read through this passage it struck me that this huge list of sins were the attributes of those who were within the church; that is why it states, "having the form of Godliness but denying its power". This list is full of dreadful things but also, I think, things that might seem to hit a little too close to home than we'd like. For example, lovers of themselves, disobedient to parents, unthankful... these are huge problems in the society we live in, and as usual, the world has crept in to the church and left us with the same distasteful characteristics.

But Notice that all the characteristics stem from one point, "having the FORM of Godliness but DENYING its power". You see, we have heard the slogan "come as you are" and this is a great slogan; but lately churches have added "and stay as you are" but this makes no sense to the plans of God, in fact, it contrasts our very gospel. It says in Titus 2:14 - "who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works". Our gospel is that Gods Spirit and power will transform us more and more into the image of His Son IN THIS PRESENT AGE!

So I say come as you are but know that God will not allow you to stay as you are. We serve a true and living God who is mighty and able and will purify us, and cause us to walk in His will. If you become complacent to this... if you love your FORM of Godliness but deny the transforming power of Gods grace, then know that He will vomit you out of His mouth. Therefore, repent and be zealous for God. Believe in Him and watch as you walk on water by His strength alone!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Tuesday - Matthew 16:21-25

"You are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men"

Why is it that when we are called to suffer for Christ we question our faith. Not that we question why we chose this Christian life, but we question that conviction in our hearts, that only comes from the Holy Spirit. We start to try and justify why the Lord wouldn't allow us to suffer for Him; that His will would want the best for our lives, not to suffer. It is true that God wants the best for us but it is according to His standard not mans standard. He knows what is truly best for each one of us and will give to us accordingly, as He knows best.

Jesus' mind was set on the things of God, he was doing the will of He who sent Him. But Peter, with his mind set on the things of man, thought it was not fitting for the Messiah to be put through this suffering. In his ignorance, he was sentencing his own eternal damnation by trying to persuade Jesus from the path of the cross; not just that, but he was also disqualifying himself from the blessings and eternal rewards that God so desired to graciously bestow upon Him.

It makes me wonder how many blessings we may "disqualify" ourselves from by being mindful of mans ways and standards rather then our Gods. It is good to ask ourselves, "Is Jesus ours, or are we His"? The difference being the motive of why we are Christians. Are we Christians because we desire Jesus or because we desire the blessings of Jesus. Even He declares, " If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me." Let us settle this in our hearts, that we are God's and we must follow His will through blessing and suffering, knowing that he knows best.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Monday - Revelation 3:14-22

The church of Laodicea - The lukewarm church

I am noticing that the Holy Spirit keeps leading us to a specific matter as we read through these letters to the seven churches. It is the matter of: In whom do we find our source for who we are and what we do. As we read through this letter written to the church of Laodicea we see that, once again, man has found a way to glory in their own strengths and abilities rather than God himself.

Vs.17 says "Because you say, 'I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing'- and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked". Obviously they have become self sufficient and independent from God. But we are only alive IN CHRIST; therefore, anything out of Christ is death, lukewarmness, and nakedness. We are clothed with righteousness only because of Christ. Even as we received Him, so must we walk in Him, by faith and trust in Him, not ourselves.

We must be very careful to not make the same mistake as Laodicea. We are very wealthy compared to the rest of the world and we can easily forget to have a daily dependence on God for everything; our strength, our food, our ministry, our growth, and much more. Let us be thankful and dependent, let us be weak and submissive, let us be willing and ready, let us be hot and boiling in our love relationship with Christ Jesus, fully relying upon Him for all that we are and all that we do.