Sermons

Audio Sermon / Discussion for 01/10/16: Pursuing Discipleship rather than the attractional church model.   Click here:https://vimeo.com/152842599

 
 

The Bride is making herself ready right now!

The church that Jesus Christ is returning for will be a radiant bride, a unified bride- adorned in righteous acts of the saints.

The Bride is making herself ready

 

For the last month or so, a scripture has been ringing in my ears.

Revelation 19:6-8 (NIV)
6 Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: "Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. 7 Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. 8 Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear." (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.)

While the timing of the events surrounding the return of Jesus cannot be fully known, it is certain that one of the things that is meant to happen, is that the bride of Jesus, the church is to make herself ready.

 

When we look at the word of God, we find other allusions to this fact, as an example: the verses in Ephesians which describe the purpose for the gifts Jesus gave the church when he ascended:


 

Ephesians 4:11-13 (NIV)
11 It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12 to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

Now this verse says nothing specifically about the bride making herself ready, but it does look forward to a time in the future when the church, or the body of Christ, will attain unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. I believe that time is coming and I hope it will come within our lives.

 

I believe that the bride Jesus is coming back for will be a unified, mature and beautiful bride, not a fragmented, petty self willed child.

 

When you talk with people who are new to Christianity, often their perspective on the church and on Christianity is colored by unbiblical ideas: things they have learned from family or friends or that they just figured out on their own. That is normal and God doesn’t expect people who come to him to have every thing figured out before they even walk through the door. That is one of the reasons that God gave us His written word. God miraculously has watched over His word, making sure that the meanings that He wanted communicated would be properly recorded and copied over and over again so that there is no other historical document known to man that has as many surviving early copies as the books of the bible do. The sheer volume of those early copies assures us that the same things that the apostles and prophets taught are the same things we are reading in the bibles we have today.

 

As a young Christian, I was mostly interested in how God came to save me as an individual. It is true that God is a personal and individual God: He’s not an impersonal force: He has chosen to relate to us in ways we can understand. But the biggest part of God’s plan in saving the world was not only that we as individual would be saved, but that He would win for Himself a people who would freely choose to love and serve Him.

 

It was God’s purpose not just to win individuals to Himself, but to display His great love and justice and wisdom through the church.

 

Ephesians 3:9-11 (NIV)
9 and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. 10 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11 according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.

So while of course, God is concerned with the individual, His eternal purpose which He accomplished in Jesus was to show all creation His wisdom through the church!

 

Now as God teaches us about the church, there are quite a few names that He uses somewhat interchangeably. That is because God is trying to get us to understand a reality that goes beyond what earthly language can express with one term.

 

The word “church” comes from the Greek word Eklesia which means “the called out ones”

Another scripture that has been ringing in my ears is

1 Peter 2:9-10 (NIV)
9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

God has called us out of darkness and into his light: That makes us saints. The word saint means a person who is set apart for holiness. We who believe have been clothed with His Holiness, not our own. Our own righteousness is actually not righteous at all. The bible tells us that God is perfect and our best actions are worse than filthy rags. Nothing we can do in our own strength could make God accept us. Our sin separates us from Him. Only when we receive the gift of God’s forgiveness through Jesus can we then be considered righteous because of the gift of righteousness he has given us.

 

So we who have come to Jesus through faith have been called out: We are the church, the eklesia, the called out ones, called out of darkness and into His light.

 

As a side track to what we’re going to do today, I want to go through a few of the terms we can use for the church.

One of the terms we use around here quite often is “the body”. For someone who hasn’t been around church all their life, that might seem a kind of weird name. The reason I think we like it is because it helps us remember that we all need each other just like the parts of our own bodies need each other: even though our functions are different.

 

1 Corinthians 12:27 (NIV)
27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.

One way to look at the church is that we are a body with Jesus being our head. So in that case, figuratively we are Jesus own body. As un-natural as it would be if our body walked away without our head, it would be un-natural for the church to do things that the head hasn’t told it to do.

 

Some of the other words or metaphors for the church are

 

Flock Luke 12:32 (NIV)
32 "Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.

Branch John 15:5 (NIV)
5 "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

Field, building

1 Corinthians 3:9 (NIV)
9 For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building.

Temple

1 Corinthians 3:16 (NIV)
16 Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you?

Household

Ephesians 2:19 (NIV)
19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household,

The New Jerusalem and a beautiful Bride

Revelation 21:2 (NIV)
2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.

 

John 3:29 (NIV)
29 The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom's voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete.

 

That brings me back to the scripture I started with:

 

Revelation 19:7-8 (NIV)
7 Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. 8 Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear." (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.)

From this scripture we see that a time is coming when the bride will have made herself ready. She will be clothed with the fine linen of the righteous acts of the saints.

 

While we have already received the righteousness of Christ as a gift, our response to that gift will be that we will begin to act in accordance with the new nature that God is giving us.

 

I believe that the way that the bride will make herself ready is by doing those righteous acts.

 

Throughout the history of the church, there has been a constant battle to remain true to the teachings as they were handed down. Even the first century church had struggles with false prophets and false apostles.

Christians then and now have to remain vigilant and alert because the Satan, a very real and powerful adversary is constantly seeking to deceive and destroy the church in every generation. He knows that it is through the church that God will silence all accusation, displaying his manifold wisdom even to Lucifer and all of the fallen angels.

 

In every age, there are things the church does well, and things that we fail at.

Last week John shared from Revelations 2 and 3 and I really sensed that God wants us to take to heart those things that he spoke to the 7 churches of Asia.

 

I’d like for us to take another look at what Jesus had to say to those local assemblies and see if there are parallels to the church in our day. Perhaps we can avoid some of the pitfalls and snares that the enemy has set for us, and perhaps we can be encouraged to continue in the areas where we are doing well.

 

What I’ve done, is I have taken those same verses we talked about last week and I’ve re arranged their order. Normally we wouldn’t do that, because we would need to be careful not to take things out of context. In this case, what we’re trying to do is understand more fully what Jesus was saying to the churches and see if we can gain wisdom from His words for the church in our day.

 

It is important for us to learn to value the things that Jesus values. Examining the things that the churches were doing right can give us an indication of the directions that we should also be going.

 

The things the churches were doing right

 

Ephesus: Revelation 2:2-3 (NIV)
2 I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. 3 You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.

Hard work and perseverance are good things in any case, but the hard work that Jesus was talking about is the hard work of representing Christ in a hostile world. In every age, God’s primary purpose is to bring in a harvest of souls into His kingdom, to disciple them and to send them to the fields for the next harvest.

In order for this to happen, new converts must be properly discipled.

Jesus puts great value on correct doctrine because only when people relate to God in a way that is objectively true, can they be saved. That is why he praises them here for not tolerating wicked men. In our world, we are taught by society not only to tolerate wickedness but to embrace it. The morality of the day, “Tolerance” stands in stark opposition to Jesus words.

In a world that only selectively embraces certain phrases of the bible, like “Judge not lest Ye be judged” we are expected never to say that anything anyone ever does is wrong. Therefore instead we are urged to blindly accept false prophets and false apostles who turn the grace of God into a license for immorality. In fact the world system we are living in is spiraling downward into an irresistible vortex of deception where “tolerance” is the highest good and judgment or the attempted restraint of evil is deemed the vilest of sins.

Jesus praised this church because they tested and found false apostles, rejecting their false teaching, even though doing so may have contributed to them having to endure hardships thrust upon them by those who hate the truth.

Revelation 2:6 (NIV)
6 But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

The Nicolaitans were a group of people who advocated the mixture of Christianity with the world and its practices.

 

Satan, the fallen angel who tried to usurp God’s glory for himself, knows very well what things human being are most easily ensnared by. In the Old Testament, one of Satan’s primary weapons against the people of God was to get them to mix in the worship of false gods along side the worship of YHWH.

It is still his primary weapon against us.

 

I want to examine this a bit further, but for now, I want to move on to Smyrna

 

Smyrna: Revelation 2:9 (NIV)

9 I know your afflictions and your poverty--yet you are rich! I know the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.

The people of Smyrna were rich in faith rather than worldly goods. Jesus reminds them of the eternal perspective.

 

Pergamum: Revelation 2:13 (NIV)
13 I know where you live--where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city--where Satan lives.

The church of Pergamum had suffered a devastating loss: a brother in their church had been murdered because he was a Christian. Others may have been tortured or had their property confiscated by a totalitarian government that saw faith in Christ as a threat to its power. They remained true to Jesus name and didn’t renounce their faith, even though it cost them dearly.

 

In our day, Christians are often afraid to stand up for the name of Jesus because it may inconvenience them. Perhaps they will be embarrassed if someone rejects them. Perhaps they’ll miss out on that promotion. In our day, it’s hard to find an American Christian who has lost anything for the sake of Christ. That was not the case in Pergamum.

 

Thyatira: Revelation 2:19 (NIV)
19 I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first.

I’m so thankful that Jesus sees all we do for Him, and that He tells us when we are moving in the right direction. All our life is a process of allowing Him Lordship in our lives. Yet often we loose the zeal that we had when we started. Let us be more like this church, and strive to do more than we did at first toward representing Christ in our time.

Revelation 2:24-25 (NIV)
24 Now I say to the rest of you in Thyatira, to you who do not hold to her teaching and have not learned Satan's so-called deep secrets (I will not impose any other burden on you): 25 Only hold on to what you have until I come.

Some of the people in this church did not hold to teaching of Jezebel and had not learned Satan’s so called deep secrets.

More on this later as well.

 

Sardis:

Revelation 3:4 (NIV)
4 Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy.

Only a few had not soiled their clothes

 

Philadelphia:

Revelation 3:8 (NIV)
8 I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.

Jesus did not rebuke them for not being strong, instead he praised them that though they had little strength, they used the little strength they had to keep His word.

 

Even in the face of persecution they did not deny the name of Jesus as Lord.

 

Revelation 3:10 (NIV)
10 Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth.

God knows how strong or weak we are, and never allows a temptation or trial to come upon us that is impossible for us to endure. Instead he will either keep us from the hour of trial, or will give us a way through it so that we may endure.

 

Laodicea

Revelation 3:19 (NIV)
19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent.

The best thing that we can say about this church is that Jesus loves them, and is encouraging them to be earnest and repent.

 

As we have looked at the positive things that Jesus said about the 7 churches of Asia, I hope we can see some positive things in the church of today and in our own lives. While perhaps it might be easier to stop with that, Jesus had more words to say in correction of problems with these churches. Now we are going to look at the negative things Jesus said about the 7 churches. Let’s see if we can see any modern day parallels to their mistakes, and see what we can do to help the bride of Jesus to get ready for His return.

 

Things the churches were doing wrong

 

Ephesus

Revelation 2:4 (NIV)
4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love.

This is something we all could relate to. Human nature is fickle. It’s easy to start something but always harder to finish it. Another thing that happens is that we tend to become cynical. When we think things are supposed to go a certain way and they don’t, we tend to close our hearts.

 

I remember a time about 20 years ago when I met a guy who was a cocaine addict. I knew Jesus could deliver him and I wanted to do whatever I could to really put feet to the gospel. I talked with this guy and prayed with him. I counseled him and gave him all the information he needed to give his life to Christ. I loved him. I bought him clothes. I tried to help him get his feet on the ground but the enemy sucked him back into the mire.

I really thought that God was going to keep this guy from falling in again. I knew God would allow him free choice but I really wanted God to deliver him right then. But that isn’t what happened. He eventually started using again, and lying again, and stealing again. Finally I had to just let go and leave him to God. Since then, it’s been harder for me to think about giving that much up to a drug addict. And that is wrong. That is not what my first love for Christ was.

Our first love for Christ may have been idealistic and immature, but it was real and willing to take risks. Sometimes things like I just mentioned have a tendency to cause us to close up our hearts. When that happens, we need to repent and do what we did at first.

 

Pergamum:

Revelation 2:14-15 (NIV)
14 Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: You have people there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin by eating food sacrificed to idols and by committing sexual immorality. 15 Likewise you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans.

As I mentioned before, I want to go a little deeper into what Jesus was talking about when He mentioned the practices of the Nicolaitans, then after that I want to talk about Balaam.

 

The town of Pergamum was a crossroads town and most of the people who lived there were craftsmen by trade. At that time in the Roman empire, craftsmen, if they wanted to be able to sell their goods at the market, would need to become members of the craftsmen’s guild in their town. In most cases these guilds were run by the local idol worshippers who advocated their own local deities. Not only that, the meat market where everyone got their food, and all the restaurants in town served only meat that had been sacrificed to idols.

In fact, the restaurants were actually pagan temples, and the people attending were doing much worse than just eating food sacrificed to idols: they were participating with the temple prostitutes and performing despicable and lewd acts.

The problem was, if you were a Christian in this town, it was difficult to make a living unless you were willing to “go along with the flow”

So, a new doctrine emerged, advocated by some guy named Nicholas and his followers. It taught a form of the Gnostic heresy that advocated that anything physical was evil and anything spiritual was good. So these people taught that it was fine to eat food in pagan temple, and to drink wine, and to get drunk, and to participate in all of the things going on there because after all, the idol was really nothing at all anyway, and the destruction of the body was really a good thing since anything physical was evil. And they taught that all this was acceptable right along side of everything they had learned in the church.

 

So the Nicolaitin Heresy was this: It’s great to believe in Jesus and to go to church. But it’s also great to do what feels right to you. After all, we’re only human and everybody does it. Besides, God doesn’t really care about this: he made me this way. Since God is a spirit, he wants me to give in to my physical desires to over eat, to over drink, to be sexually immoral so that I can actually become more spiritual.

It’s the tolerance doctrine that is being preached in our public schools and on our local tv stations.

 

Now about Balaam:

 

Some of you may remember the story of Balaam and his donkey. Balaam a prophet, but he was not an Israelite. He was probably a Midianite, an ally of the Moabites. Balaam was hired by Balak, the King of Moab, to curse the Israelites as they passed through the territory. To keep the story short, we’ll just remind you that God prevented Balaam from cursing Israel. But the story doesn’t end there: Balaam was not happy about this, or about the blessing of God on the Israelites. Balaam councils Balak to have the Moabite women seduce the sons of Israel.

The seduction is successful, and many of the Israelite men commit sexual immorality with the Moabite and Midianite women. Not only that, but they also take part in the worship of Baal. The anger of the Lord is aroused and a plague begins to kill the Israelites.

 

Numbers 25:1-9 (NIV)
1 While Israel was staying in Shittim, the men began to indulge in sexual immorality with Moabite women, 2 who invited them to the sacrifices to their gods. The people ate and bowed down before these gods. 3 So Israel joined in worshiping the Baal of Peor. And the LORD's anger burned against them. 4 The LORD said to Moses, "Take all the leaders of these people, kill them and expose them in broad daylight before the LORD, so that the LORD's fierce anger may turn away from Israel." 5 So Moses said to Israel's judges, "Each of you must put to death those of your men who have joined in worshiping the Baal of Peor." 6 Then an Israelite man brought to his family a Midianite woman right before the eyes of Moses and the whole assembly of Israel while they were weeping at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. 7 When Phinehas son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, the priest, saw this, he left the assembly, took a spear in his hand 8 and followed the Israelite into the tent. He drove the spear through both of them--through the Israelite and into the woman's body. Then the plague against the Israelites was stopped; 9 but those who died in the plague numbered 24,000.

 

The teaching of Balaam is that God is like any other god. God is not Supreme, he is one of many.

You just have to figure out how to outsmart him, or appeal to a god that is stronger. The teaching of Balaam encourages mixing the worship of YHWH with the worship of Baal.

The teaching of Balaam reminds me of the current doctrine that has swept our time: that there are many ways to god, and who are to judge whether our way is the only way.

 

Thyatira

Revelation 2:20 (NIV)
20 Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols.

 

Jezebel, the wife of Ahab King of Israel was an avowed worshipper of Baal. She was the first pagan wife of a King of Israel. Jezebel married Ahaz but then proceeded to kill off the prophets of YHWH until only a few remained. She convinced her husband to build a temple to a false god and had over 800 prophets of Baal who ate at the kings table.

 

The teaching of Jezebel is a teaching that conspires and connives and seeks to destroy the true worshippers of God. It seeks to substitute worship of Baal for worship of the only true God. Jezebel is ruthless and dishonorable, and a usurper of Godly authority. Jezebel didn’t hesitate to frame an innocent man and have him condemned to death because her husband wanted his vineyard.

 

The worship of Baal included male and female shrine prostitutes. The people were encouraged to give in to degrading animal passions as a form of worship to Baal. Worshippers cut themselves and even tortured their own children to death as a form of worshipping Baal. Baal worship was a hideous and disgusting display, inspired by Satan expressly for the purpose of debasing human beings, who were made in the image of God.

The teaching of the Nicholaitans teaches Christians to mix in a little of the world system with their Christianity.

The teaching of Balaam teaches Christians to marry their Christianity with the worship of Baal.

 

The teaching of Jezebel advocates the worship of Baal and the killing of the true worshippers of God.

 

All have things in common: They pollute pure Christianity.

 

 

Sardis: Revelation 3:1-2 (NIV)
1 "To the angel of the church in Sardis write: These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. 2 Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God.

A Reputation for being alive but you’re dead. This reminds me of what most of the traditional church has become, and what every church is at risk of becoming…

2 Timothy 3:4b-5 (NIV)
lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God-- 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.

The church is supposed to be alive, filled with passion. A place where living water is abundant and clean. But too often, liberal ideas have slowly drained off the power and done away with the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ, leaving only a lifeless form of what once was a church.

Jesus said that he found their deeds incomplete. That means that they made a start, but didn’t carry it through… they didn’t endure till the end.

Almost like the seed that fell on the rocky soil, which grew up quickly but then withered as soon as the sun beat down on it, never bearing fruit.

Revelation 3:4 (NIV)
4 Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy.

Unfortunately, the majority of people had soiled their clothes. That, of course means that their deeds were not righteous. Their walk didn’t match up to their talk.

 

Laodicea:

Revelation 3:15-17 (NIV)
15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm--neither hot nor cold--I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.

That’s the strange thing about us when we become lukewarm. We usually don’t even realize it.

 

Things are going well, the business is making money. Everything is good.

 

Think they are rich and need nothing but are poor, wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.

 

 

Well, the picture we’ve just seen is a bit gloomy. Truly, these problems that the Asian church had are still around today in varying degrees.

 

Christians STILL mix the world in to their lives like the Nicolaitins did!

 

They still listen to Balaam and give their love and attention to other gods along with YHWH!

 

And Christians still tolerate the spirit of Jezebel, attacking anyone who worships the true God and advocating the worship of Baal!

 

Thankfully, in each case there is hope given by our Lord.
 

 

Jesus commands to the churches:

 

Ephesus

Revelation 2:5 (NIV)
5 Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first.


Repent and do the things you did at first: return to your first love.

 

Smyrna Revelation 2:10 (NIV)
10 Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.

 

Don’t be afraid about what you will suffer. Be faithful even unto death.

 

Pergamum: Revelation 2:16 (NIV)
16 Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

Repent of Balaams teaching, sexual immorality, the Nicolaitans teaching,

 

 

Thyatira

Revelation 2:22 (NIV)
22 So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways.

Repent of the teachings of Jezebel, of sexual immorality and of idolatry.

Revelation 2:25 (NIV)
25 Only hold on to what you have until I come.

Hold on to the good you have until I return.

 

Smyrna: Revelation 3:2 (NIV)
2 Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God.

Philadelphia

Revelation 3:11 (NIV)
11 I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown.

Laodicea

Revelation 3:18-19 (NIV)
18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. 19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent.


 

Jesus is speaking to His church through these letters, throughout every generation, His words for each of the churches needs to hit home with us. If we think that we are not susceptible to these problems then we are fooling ourselves. You see, with any sin, if you just boil it down, it really comes down to just a few very basic things.
 

We need to be on fire for God. We need to return to our first love. We need to get rid of false gods that dilute our love for God. We need to say no immorality in every form, whether it’s actual or virtual: it’s still the same thing.

 

We need to be a holy people, set apart for His glory.


All of us have fallen short, and of course we know that our salvation comes to us by the grace of God, not by works. But we must also hear the rebuke of Jesus to the church he loves… to us… urging us to hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches.

 

 

Revelation 3:20 (NIV)
20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.

This promise is full of meaning for us.

From the book: Manners and Customs of Bible Lands, I’d like to read a passage.

 

Renewing A Broken Covenant

"Among oriental people, when a covenant of friendship has been once broken, it may be renewed by those involved once again eating together. After His resurrection, Jesus ate at least three times with various disciples of His, and this was no doubt done in order to renew the covenant, which had been broken by their disloyalty to Him during the days of His passion (cf. Luke 24:30, 41-43; John 21:12, 13). In the Old Testament we have an example of this when Jacob and Laban were in strained relationship. They restored their friendship by eating together, as well as entering into an oath (Gen. 31:53, 54)."

—Manners and Customs of Bible Lands

Jesus isn’t just inviting himself to lunch, he is saying that he is willing to forgive us for breaking our covenant with him.

 

Jesus is looking forward to the day when the bride, the church, will have made herself ready. She is the one who will make herself ready, and the way every bride makes herself ready is by the way she dresses herself.

 

The righteous acts of the saints throughout history will clothe the church in a beautiful white linen gown. No spot or wrinkle will be found, for her Lord has washed all her sins away.

 

Let us consider the way we spend our time, the things we allow into our minds through our ears and eyes. Let us be diligent to do the work of representing our Lord here in our time. Let’s remember how very important it is that we are found faithful when he returns.

 

Some day he will come back.

What kind of things would you want to be doing the week he comes back?

 

What would you want the year that Jesus comes back to include?

How faithful would you want your giving to be?

How passionate would you want your witness to be?

What sins would you want to be holding against others when Jesus returns?

 

Our works can’t win salvation for us.

But our works can be a gift to our loving Lord who gave up everything for us.

 

He is coming for a beautiful, radiant bride. She will be clothed with the righteous works of the Saints.  

May we be diligent, and rid our lives of any competing allegiances.  May we take joy in doing those good works that were created for us by Him before the foundation of the world.

May we be ready to receive Him the moment He returns for us- May he find us dressed and ready.

 


 


 

 

 

Visitor Comments (0)

Be the first to post a comment.
 
 
 
Harvest Church currently meets at 1026 Whittier Hwy, Moultonborough, NH 2 doors East of the Moultonborough Methodist Church and across the road from the Public Library.