Consolations for Overcomers, Part 2

The consolations of God - Eleventh in a series

Repeating the question from the previous post: Can we find our own church in the ‘seven candlesticks’ of the Revelation? Is there a word or message for you?

Be wholehearted in your faith

The church at Ephesus had many good points: the congregation had labored for Christ, demonstrated patience and tested the spirits to prevent doctrinal errors. But they had left their first love. The Lord seeks wholehearted devotion; he is a jealous God (Ex 34:14). For any who love God best of all, striving continually to put first His kingdom and righteousness, standing against temptations to wander, there will be great reward: To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. (Rev 2:7)

Persevere

Smyrna was a special church among the seven; she had already entered into the season of tribulation. She was simply encouraged to be faithful unto death and would then receive a crown of life. He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death. (Rev 2:11)

Be pure

Pergamos suffered by location in an area where Satan had his base of operations, yet her members had not denied their faith even when some in their number were martyred. However, some practiced divination rather than presenting their need for guidance in prayer to God, and some subscribed to the Nicolaitans' teachings that opposed purity and degraded the Christian witness. To the repentant and To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it. (Rev 2:17) In the ancient courts of justice the accused were condemned by black pebbles and the acquitted by white. (ref)

Beware of the occult

Thyatira was commended for her charity, service, faith and zeal. However, they tolerated a prophetess, 'Jezebel,' who seduced God's children to fornicate and to eat what was sacrificed to idols. She had been given opportunity to repent but did not, so she would be punished and those who followed her would "be killed with death." (Rev 2:23) “And all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts; and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.” (vs 23) From this verse we understand that the Lord sees our inner selves and whether we resist temptation or entertain sin. Overcomers will receive GREAT rewards: Power over the nations — And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father And I will give him the morning star. (Rev 2:27-28) Jesus is the morning star. (Rev. 22:16)

Revive!

Sardis was famous for works but Jesus saw a dead church; he could see through the reputation. She was exhorted to strengthen what remained and was about to die, and to remember all that she had received, and to repent. Otherwise his return to her would be as a thief in the night. Yet, he saw that some had not "defiled their garments" so they would walk with him in white. (Rev 3:4) He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. (vs 5)

Wait, trust and obey

Philadelphia had kept Christ's word; she would be helped to serve, and those of the synagogue of Satan which claimed to be Jews would bow to her and know Christ loved this church. She had shown patience, waiting on the Lord in tribulation, so in turn He would keep her from temptation, that is, a severe time of testing that would come, to try all who dwell on the earth. Yet, she was warned to hold on to her careful obedience to God. Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name. (Rev 3:12)

Be careful and wise; do not be deceived

Laodicea was a deceived church. She thought she was rich but was poor, wretched, blind, naked and miserable (Rev 3:17) and was advised to invest in purification by costly repentance and to earnestly seek God's righteousness. Christ would dine with any who heard his voice and opened the door to him. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. (Rev 3:21)

Consolations for Overcomers, Part 1

The consolations of God - Tenth in a series

In The Revelation, the Bible's last book, John saw in his first vision seven golden candlesticks and in their midst, Jesus Christ, "the first and the last" with seven stars in his right hand. (Rev 1:16-17)

The Lord then explained to him, The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches. (vs 20) Therefore, uppermost in the Lord's heart before he showed John all that would precede and accompany the great tribulation, was his church, represented in seven congregations in Asia.

Some have said that the churches of Revelation 2 and 3 may be viewed as types of churches throughout the ages. We could also view each one as representing tendencies of believers, so we may see ourselves in their witness, for Christ ends each message with, "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches."

Christ’s messages were carefully worded to uphold and encourage the individual churches and Christians, and included consoling promises of rewards for OVERCOMERS.

In the next post we will consider the Lord’s exhortations and promises. Perhaps you will find your own church and a special message for your own heart.

The Consoling Personal Word

The consolations of God - Ninth in a series

The entire word of God is consoling. Even its rebukes are life-giving to the one who has ears. In addition, at times the Lord imparts a special word to a believer.

The special word I refer to is not a "rhema" as some Christian teachers have suggested. In the New Testament, God's word is sometimes defined as "logos" and others times as "rhema." Some examples in Scripture of each are:

  • In the beginning was the Word [logos], and the Word [logos] was with God, and the Word [logos] was God. (John 1:1)
  • Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word [logos] of truth.(II Timothy 2:15)
  • And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word [rhema] of God (Ephesians 6:17)
  • If ye abide in me, and my words [rhema] abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. (John 15:7)

By definition, "rhema" is God's speech or discourse and "logos" denotes doctrine or divine reason or plan.

God often speaks through the Bible to us by causing certain passages to stand out that have specific application to our lives. Some say this is God's special word or "rhema" to us. So, perhaps at times the logos becomes the rhema?

The special word to comfort or guide us that I refer to may echo a Bible passage, or may not. My dad told me that after he had learned of mom's terminal illness and was in deep distress, God spoke his name and then said, "Everything will be all right." Dad was driving, and not expecting any revelation. He was extremely practical. This private word did not mean that mom would get well, but it was such a definite counsel, expression and impression that, after hearing it, Dad gained strength and peace to cope. And he continued to love and serve God after mom's death.

Some would say, "Well, couldn't he have known that simply by reading the Word of God?" Yes, certainly, but that would not have worked the same result.

Anyone who faithfully reads the Bible will hear the voice of God and be guided to apply his wisdom to their circumstances, and anyone may also receive a special word. Yet, to make a point of seeking that personal word can be a devastating practice.

Seeking a word from God apart from his canon, the Bible, is a dangerous pursuit and ought not to be encouraged. For that reason, in this post I will also warn against certain charismatic practices that may engender counterfeits of the special, personal word.

An excellent book, War on the Saints, by Jessie Penn-Lewis and Evan Roberts, published in 1912, and now online, free, addresses this topic.

Here is a somewhat difficult-to-read excerpt from the foreword in my print copy of the book, that addresses how saints become susceptible to Satan's counterfeits of God's special words and why the book was written:

The adventists of Thessalonica, who refused their normal obligations in the interest of a complete self-preparation for the Lord's Coming, have had their representatives in many strange sects in Europe and America, who have been carried into amazing extravagancies of creed and conduct. St. Paul's brusque judgment, 'If a man will not work, neither let him eat' (2 Th 3:10) applies to them all. The ascetics of Colossæ whose punctilious rigorism co-existed with a perilous moral laxity, have had their successors in every Christian generation. Medieval monks and modern sectaries come together here. Both illustrate, in varying ways, the same spiritual malady. Such total prostration of the individual before the mandates of the Divine Spirit seems to argue a genuine humility, but the implied assumption of plenary and direct personal inspiration discloses and fosters a spiritual arrogance none the less morally disintegrating because it is unsuspected. Experience has ever endorsed the great Apostle's verdict. Over the whole woeful pageant of self-willed pietism with its eccentric, arbitrary, even monstrous demands on its victims, the words may be written: 'which things have indeed a show of wisdom in will-worship, and humility, and severity to the body; but are not of any value against the indulgence of the flesh.' (Col 2:23)

An aftermath of the Welsh Revival at the dawn of the present [20th] century was the rise of a number of extreme cults, often stressing a return to "pentecostal" practices. Mrs. Penn-Lewis, who had witnessed much of the Revival as the representative of The Life of Faith, saw clearly the peril of these fanatical teachings, and in collaboration with Mr. Evan Roberts, who played so prominent a part in the Revival, wrote a book, War on the Saints. In this book these extreme and overbalanced beliefs and practices are categorically branded as the work of an invading host of evil spirits. The word "deception" might be said to be the key word of the book…”

War on the Saints made a great impression on me when I read it many years ago. I wrote down a number of its insights, and here are three that teach us, yes, honest souls CAN BE DECEIVED (the point of the book):

  1. Deception has to do with the mind, and it means a wrong thought admitted to the mind, under the deception that it is truth.
  2. The thought that God will protect a believer from being deceived if he is true and faithful, is in itself a Deception because it throws a person off guard, and ignores that there are conditions on the part of the believer which must be fulfilled for God's working.
  3. Heresies in the Church often have begun with a great crisis in which a man is brought to give himself up in full abandonment to the Holy Spirit, thus opening himself to the supernatural powers of the invisible world.

Beware of any personal word from the Lord that follows from a meditative state, irrational exuberance or other upset. Nevertheless, the Lord may impart a special word. As well, he is not limited to consolation in this practice.

Attention Readers

Have you visited the Biotech Blog on this website? Find information and resources to help you think about biotech as a Christian.

During the summer of 2017, I explored the topic of kidney donation. Is it right for a society to permit that? To encourage it? What do you think? Read the Live Kidney Donation Series!

Should you sign your driver’s license to be an organ donor? Is cremation OK with God? Do these practices undermine the Christian doctrine of the Resurrection?

Learn more. The conscience cannot function without facts.


Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. -Mat 5:14

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