Friday, May 29, 2020

Where Do You Put Your Faith?

Do you ever stop and consider how truly wealthy you are? Not based on the world's standards of defining wealth, but in God's eyes. You are rich in the things that matter in God's eyes, not in earthly standards or earthly achievements, Jesus reminds us not to lay up for ourselves treasures in this world, which can corrupt or rot, but we are to store up our treasures in heaven instead where nothing can threaten your investment. In order for God to really use us, we need to get our eyes off the fact, that this is money, and view it instead as tools. Some times we will have more tools or less, but they are all used to bring about glory and honor to God, and not we have more money than we know what to do with, we will have grown spiritually. We need to remember not to do that.

"What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul." ~ Matthew 16:26

Poverty means that they once had something, but then lost it all. This doesn't mean that they live from check to check, but this is not the kind of poverty that Jesus was talking about. This was a church that was so poor because they were mocked based on their faith in Jesus, they were considered losers, because they refused to worship Caesar, and they weren't receiving any monetary compensation but instead were ostracized by the people living there. They were rejected and considered outcasts while everyone else around them, had it made.

Philippians 3:8 ~ "What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things."

Philippians 4:11-12 ~ "I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want."

When Jesus told them they were rich, He was telling them that they had invested wisely in eternal things.

2 Corinthians 8:1-2 ~ "And now brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity."

When times of difficulty surround you, you will be able to rejoice. Verse 9.

Revelation 2:9 ~"I know your works while being blasphemed..."

Blasphemia means to vilify, to speak against, to go about slandering another person. To speak evil of another person.

God has a particular hatred for this type of sin, and He judges both the believer and non believer alike.

Matthew 5:10-12 ~ Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."

Have you ever taken a stand for Jesus when it is biblical? How does that work out for you? 

Revelation 2:9 ~ I know the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan."

Remember the church of Ephesus, there was a warning to them about false apostles. Revelation 2:2 ~ "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."

These false apostles came in apostolic succession, that the apostles that Jesus founded, continued on in succession of church hierarchy to this day. "Those who say they are Jews."  These were a powerful group of Jews that came to Smyrna, while they claimed to be Christians. They believed themselves to be a special priesthood that was continuous (imposters). This was a false priestly system that tried to marry an elaborate legalism of Judaism to the simple grace of Christianity.

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

It means hierarchy, lordship, authoritative rule, a church serving the ministry, rather than the minister serving the church. Jesus said, "I hate that." This impostership has survived, in the merger of apostolic succession and a continuing priesthood. The Mormon church claims this apostolic priesthood. The Roman Catholic church claims this apostolic priesthood. A system of holy ordinances, performances, elaborate requirements, legalistic rights, and church dependence. It's all known as Romanism.

What kind of church are you, when eternity is an ever present reality in your life. Does that sound like you spiritually?

Revelation 2:10-11 ~ "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. He who has an ear, let  him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death." 

When eternity is an ever present reality, you'll see Jesus Christ as your shepherd.

Revelation 2:10 ~ "Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer." 

Jesus tells us not to worry. If we go back to verse 9, we can see Jesus is saying, "I know...I have experienced it too!" That is supposed to translate to great peace in our life. We all want it to simply go away. Do you realize that 2 million people have died in the Sudan? Where is the U.N. on that issue? Where is the United States? Where is Europe? The Sudanese Christians are dying at a rate that is unbelievable. 2 million in 10 years, they are the persecuted church today. Churches are being burned with people in them. Locked in churches while bulldozers run over them. They hold onto their faith when that happens. This is real to them. Is Jesus your shepherd today?

Hebrews 4:15-16 ~ "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are - yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. "

Jesus feels and has felt everything you and I feel.

When eternity is an every present reality, you'll see Satan the devil as a tool in the hand of God.

Revelation 2:10 ~ " I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days."

He is a defeated enemy. God's got Satan right now under control. God uses everything he is doing, to bring about His will on the earth. No one knows what the precise meaning of the words "ten days." Jesus uses it specifically, because He is in reality. Some will suffer ten days. One day is like a thousand years to Jesus. When you keep your eyes on Jesus, time won't matter. It will pass. Jesus is basically saying, "I'm on it. That you might be tested, I'm on it." Remember Peter's sifting? You know that when you are enduring anything related to trials, time just seems to drag on by, but Jesus says, "I'm on it.!"

When eternity is an ever present reality, you'll see heaven, eternity as your next home.

Revelation 2:11 ~ " Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life."

First He wanted to close leaving them with a key thought, "I will give you the crown of life." Remember the citizens of Smyrna considered their city to be the crown of life. Jesus was reminding them they didn't belong here any longer. They had a new citizenship that could never be conquered. A crown that would be everlasting. Jesus mocks them, He says, "I will give you the crown of life." There is nothing God can't do!

The emperor isn't it. The city isn't it. The system wasn't it.

Let's look at the things that God promises to those that trust in Him.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 ~ "Therefore do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

The Roman crown of victory was everyone to the Roman, but not to the Christian. What can I say to you, who are suffering? What can I say to you, who are about to suffer? I have one word. Bible. If the people who attend any church, gathered together to help you through your suffering, do you realize they couldn't do enough? To understand that if you had all the money in the world, that that money could not buy your health.

It is the Bible. It is His Word.

It was good enough for the church of Symrna. It was good enough for the apostle Paul. It was good enough for Mary. It was good enough for Jeremiah. It was good enough for Noah. It was good enough for John the Baptist. It was good enough for George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. It was good enough for the succession of Christians throughout the ages.

When suffering reaches the maximum, it is then, at those moments when the deepest of Christ's nature is translated into the life of His follower, until we are standing before Him in perfect peace.

Revelation 2:11 ~ "Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life. He who has an ear, let  him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death." 

The second death is the worst of all. A Christ-less hell forever.

Without God. His blessings, His goodness, His mercies.

Among the apostle Paul's last recorded words are 2 Timothy 4:8 ~ "Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day - and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing."

Don't be afraid. To get you through your altar of difficulty and it leads you to death, He has engineered this moment of trial. He will be with you through it all, He will hold your hand, He will not leave your or forsake you. Remember He has died and came back to life, and if you believe in me, so shall you! Ever human being will die at least one time, unless the rapture happens. You are going to die! It's going to happen. Taxes and death! We will eventually die. If you are a Christian, you will only die once, in this world and live forever more with God in heaven. When He speaks of spiritual death, that is coming to those who don't believe in Jesus. When they are escorted upon their death straight to hell. To be born once, you die twice. If you are born twice, you die once.

Are you born again? Have you been born a second time? That is the greatest question right now! Jesus will be with you if you put your faith in Him.

Let's pray before we leave today.

Father, today Lord as we are here, I ask you Lord God to move across this body right now, and Father that You would minister to us, your comfort, your strength, your truth to all of us that are your children. And the beautiful thing is Lord, that You will do that, no matter where we find ourselves today. But Father, today for those who do not know you as Lord and Savior, I ask you Father that You would come upon them right now, and Lord only You can do this, that You would so speak to them, that they Lord God, would know these verses, these words and considerations are true from Your throne, and that You can be known personally. 

Would you consider Jesus Christ? He died on the cross to forgive you of your sins, but the problem is that you are still holding your sins, you're in trouble by the way for them, but Jesus is saying, "Give me your sin. I died for those sins on the cross." You have to give those sins to Him. You have to tell Him, "Lord, I give you my sinful life, and then Lord, I want You to be with me in this life, to save me, to watch over me, to keep me."

If this is your decision today, and you agree with this prayer, you want to know if you died today, you want to go to heaven, you don't need to worry about it anymore. You've heard about Jesus, you might even have a cross around your neck, but you have no assurance if you died today, you'd go to heaven. That can change right now. I'm going to lead you in a prayer right now, and if you mean it, God will hear you. In a moment you will leave this religious experience and enter into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, which is far better. Right now, the Lord has engineered this day for you, repeat this as you read it as you mean it,

Dear Lord Jesus, 

Forgive me of my sins, write my name in Your book of Life. I give You my life, I ask You to save me now, and give me Your Holy Spirit, that I might live for You, thank You for dying for me on the cross, in Jesus Name I pray, AMEN!!!

You are now a wonderful believer in Jesus Christ right now, and if you died today, you would be with Jesus in Heaven today! You have that blessed assurance that when this life ends, your eternal life begins.

God loves you so much that all that stuff that has happened in your life, He has brought about for this moment, to bring you to Him, through making your way here today. From this moment on, now, decide to follow Jesus.

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