EXPLORING THE WORD
Are You Listening?
Four Key Statements to the Seven Churches in the Book of Revelation
By Laurel J. Davis
See Laurel's blog at The Reluctant First Lady
What does the word of the Lord mean to you? Are you hearing the Lord? Are you listening? Are you allowing His Word to minister in your life? To lead you? To uplift you? To correct you? To guide you into all truth?
In the Book of Revelation Chapters 2 and 3, John records the Lord Jesus' individual messages to seven churches — Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea. Four key statements appear in all seven messages that should make us in the Christian church today stop and really listen to the voice of God:
1. These are the words of Him who...: Every message to the seven churches starts with this phrase, and then goes on to attest to Jesus' status as Almighty God — His power, His authority, His infinite nature, His marvelous glory, etc.
The message to today's church is: Remember who and what God is. When He speaks, remember His power and authority over all of creation – including you. Meditate on His awesomeness. Rest in His faithfulness and truth, remembering that it is impossible for Him to lie. When God speaks to you — to your heart and mind in compatibility with His Word — remember that He holds your very life and breath in His hands.
2. I know your works [or, deeds]... : That's the next thing Jesus says to every church. As the One with all power, authority, glory, faithfulness and truth, Jesus is omniscient. He knows all things. There is nothing hidden from His sight — not what you do, and also not why you do it. He is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart just as much as He sees all of your actions, both good and bad.
So, when Jesus speaks to you, be encouraged to know your good deeds have not gone unnoticed. You will be rewarded in due time. Know too that He wants to bring your bad deeds to your attention so that you can seek His forgiveness, repent, grow and ultimately overcome.
3. He who has an ear to hear, let him hear: After telling each church what their works, good and/or bad, have been, Jesus punctuates it with an exhortation to really get what He is saying. Do you have an ear to hear what God is saying to you? Enough to get it and do it? Are you a doer of what He's saying, or just a hearer only?
Almighty God, who holds all power, authority and truth, and whose glory is unmatched, and who knows all things – does He have your ear? Are you willing to listen and then be accountable to follow through? We all get tempted to turn a deaf ear to the Lord sometimes, especially with the tough stuff. But think about those people who don't have an ear to hear? What is it about them that let's you know they don't? Don't be like them.
4. He who overcomes...: Jesus closes His individual messages to the churches with a promise for those who do have an ear to hear and who correct their deeds accordingly. Blessing comes with staying the course God has set before you and accepting His correction if you get off track along the way. Sometimes that blessing may not come right away, or even in this lifetime, but it is a promise nonetheless and will come to pass because it comes from the One who is all-powerful, all-knowing, deserving of all glory, and most faithful and true.
So, stick with Jesus. Hunger for His authority in your life. Receive His Word in your heart and endeavor to live honestly by it. Be assured of your reward. Listen to His voice (as expressed in His Holy Word) and heed it. For in Jesus Christ alone, you can overcome.
Image Credit: Tony Hall; ""; Creative Commons
Tags: Biblical-Truth | Christian-Life
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Published on 12-16-14