Do you ever struggle with fear? With the “what ifs” of this life? You know God is leading in your life. You know he is directing your path. You know you are following him in obedience, and that you have heard his voice clearly. But then someone comes along and pulls the rug out from underneath you, or says something to you to cause you to doubt and to fear. And, it is at these moments when the Lord comes to the rescue and he reminds us of his truths found in his word and of his sovereignty over our lives, and then we are at peace. Our faith is strengthened, and then we can move forward.
“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: ‘The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens.
“‘I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. Rev. 3:7-8 ESV
This is a marvelous promise and assurance for those of us who are being led of the Holy Spirit, who are walking in obedience to our Lord, and who are not denying his name by how we live our lives, or by our words. We don’t ever have to be afraid of people or circumstances, because IF it is God who opens the door, no one, not even Satan can shut that door, no matter how hard he may try. And, if God closes a door, no one can open it, not even us.
So, we rest in the Lord, and we rely upon his power and strength, and we yield control of our lives over to our Lord and we surrender to his sovereignty over our lives. And, we allow him to do his works through us as we give him full reign in our lives, and as we follow him in obedience to his will, and as we are being led of the Spirit of God. Then, these works are not of ourselves, not of the flesh, done in our own power and strength, but they are of the works of the Spirit of God, done only in God’s power and strength at work within us.
So, what should be some of these works of the Spirit in our lives which would be reflective of those whom God has opened up doors of ministry and who are in the practice of keeping (obeying) his Word, and his instructions to us, and who have not denied his name? What is the primary calling of God in the lives of those who are his followers, in the way of ministry to others?
His calling on our lives in the way of ministry to others is to love them with the love of Christ Jesus. And, how does Jesus Christ love us? He loves (loved) us so much that he gave his life up for us that we might be delivered out of our slavery to sin and that we might walk in his holiness.
So, if we who believe in Jesus Christ are Christ’s representatives on this earth, which we are, then we should be sharing the love, grace and mercy of our Lord with the people of this world and with the worldly church, too.
We should be about exposing the lies of Satan for what they are so that they are no longer hidden, so that people will no longer be deceived by them. We should be exposing man-made religion and man-made gospels, too, in order to deliver people from deception and to point them to true freedom in Christ, our Lord. And, we should be confronting sin and sinful practices, particularly among God’s people, and teaching what the scriptures teach with regard to these, for many are believing lies which tell them they can continue in sin.
But, it doesn’t end there. First we expose the lies of Satan, but then we tell the people the truths of God’s Word. And, we call people to repentance and to faith (or renewed faith) in Jesus Christ, our Lord. And, in the power of the Spirit within us, we urge them and we encourage them to walk in holiness and in righteousness and no longer according to the flesh. We also help them to see that there is a difference between human plans and agendas and God’s plans and his agenda, and that we need to be finding out what God has for us to do, and then to do what he has for us.
These servants of the Lord, who do the works of God, also encourage the people of God to get serious about their walks of faith with Christ and about his Word, and to stop playing games with God, just going through the motions of religious activity, but not really having their hearts surrendered to Christ. They also warn of the consequences of ignoring God’s warnings and his teachings on holiness and of continuing to operate according to the flesh, following man’s ways and not God’s ways.
These servants of Christ know all too well that God’s love for humankind was demonstrated to us all in Jesus’ death and resurrection, in order that we might be delivered from our slavery to sin and walk in the power of the Spirit in holiness and righteousness. Thus, these Christ followers are ones who deliver this message of hope and of deliverance to the people so that they can be delivered, too.
Yet, that message will often be met with opposition, but not just by the world, but by the worldly church, too.
They Will Learn
Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie—behold, I will make them come and bow down before your feet, and they will learn that I have loved you. Rev. 3:9 ESV
One day, our Lord is going to humble our persecutors before us – those who have strongly opposed us in our obedience to our Lord in sharing the truths of his word with the people, telling them that they can be free from their slavery to sin. And, at that time, these opponents to the gospel will be brought to the realization that God does, indeed, love us, and that we are the called according to his purposes, when he exposes their lies for what they are and he calls them to account for their actions.
Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth. Rev. 3:10 ESV
This is also another marvelous promise, but not the one that many people have believed it to be. If we keep God’s Word and we patiently endure unjust suffering, persecution and hardship for the sake of the name of Jesus, and for the sake of his gospel, God will keep us, he will strengthen and empower us, and he will comfort and encourage us with his love. Yet, this is not to keep us from trials, for trials and tribulations are what he said we must all go through. But, he will preserve us under trial so that we are able to endure it, and so that we come through it unscathed regarding our faith and trust in Him, and protected from detriment to our spiritual lives.
Conquerors through Christ
I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown. The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’ Rev. 3:11-13 ESV
The Bible promises us that we will have trials and tribulations which test our faith, that we will be hated and persecuted for the sake of the name of Jesus Christ and for the sake of his gospel, and that some of us will even become martyrs for the cause of Christ and for the message of the gospel of our salvation.
Yet, when we are down, when we are going through those troubled times, Jesus reaches down to us and he comforts and he encourages us with his love and grace, and he reminds us that we can’t do this in our own strength, but that in his strength we can be conquerors.
He encourages us to put our complete faith and trust in him, for he will carry us through. And, he helps us to rise above our circumstances so that we can give him praise even in the storms of life that come against us.
It Is Well with My Soul / H. G. Spafford / P. P. Bliss
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say,
It is well; it is well with my soul.
Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed his own blood for my soul.
My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
And, Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.
It is well with my soul,
It is well; it is well with my soul.
Monday, January 29, 2018, 3:59 a.m. – Thank you, Jesus, for these encouraging and these hopeful words which strengthen our hearts. Amen!