Sunday, 22 December 2013

"I WILL GIVE TO EACH AS YOUR ..." Thoughts from Today's Bib;e Readings 21/12/13

“I WILL GIVE TO EACH AS YOUR …”

     Today we started reading the book of Revelation and to begin with we have the messages to the 7 churches, of course that means the members, not the building; which is the meaning of the Gk word ecclesia.  We can view these 7 churches as representative of all the different types of communities of believers that have existed through the ages.
     We notice the message to the believers at Thyatira: it begins with praise, “I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first …” [2 v.19]  How great to increase in zeal in working for our Lord, but then come words of serious disappointment because some are led into the “practice of sexual immorality,”  and these, says Jesus, “I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent” [v.22]  along with the one who has led them into this behavior who will be throw(n) “onto a sickbed” – probably the result of that behavior.
      May it be that the believers in Thyatira learnt lessons from  this, a lesson which has probably been learnt in many generations in the centuries since: “and all the churches (true believers) will know that I am he who searches mind and heart and, I will give to each of you as your works deserve.” [v.23]  
      It must be evident to all true believers that this type of fleshly influence, while true in every generation; that in our era it is flagrant, so much so that it is now widely accepted as “normal”,   Therefore the message to believers at Thyatira is totally appropriate to believers in the 21st Century.  Let everyone of us be totally conscious that our Lord “will give to each one as (y)our works deserve.” 
     Now it is true that we are saved by faith – but, remember what we read earlier this month in James, “You see that faith was active along with his (Abraham’s) works, and faith was completed byhis works … you see that a person is justified by works and not by faith along” [ch. 2 v.22,24]
     Finally, recall what Peter told Cornelius, the Roman Centurion when he was teaching him about the true God and his son, “I understand that … in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him” [Acts 10 v.34,35] and of course Cornelius began, in doing “what is right” by being “baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.” [v.48]  Let us always be mindful that our Lord “will give to each as (y)our works deserve.”