Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Comfort from Revelation, of all places!

When people need spiritual comfort there is only one place to go: the bible. And I know that many people go to Philippians or the Psalms for comfort. It's rare to hear someone say "Revelation is such a comforting book!" But I find it to be comforting, and is that so remarkable? All scripture is God-breathed and therefore powerful,

"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

I can't hardly open the bible to any location in the Old Testament or the New, and not find comfort. It's comforting to read of His hatred for evil, His love by sending Jesus, His intellect, power, holiness...it's all good stuff. So I turn to the letter in Revelation from Jesus via John to the church at Ephesus. It's fascinating.
photo credit: SBA73 via photopin cc

In Revelation 2:2 we read this:

"I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false."

Does that speak to us now in this evil, fallen, corrupt world, or what?!

The evil that men do makes us want to close our eyes! It makes us grow tired of outing one false pastor or teacher after another. It's enough to make us want to throw up our hands and say of false doctrine, "what's the use? People believe it anyway."

photo credit: doovie via photopin cc
But Jesus comforted the church at Ephesus. Now there was an evil world. Christianity was not even known. People were pagans and did much worse than we see today, regularly. I mean, killing slaves for sport in the arenas was the entertainment. Life was cheap, sin was rampant, and Christianity was this weird new religion. It must have seemed like to the Ephesians that they were truly trying to beat back an ocean of sin with a teacup.

Jesus said He would be with us even unto the end of the age. As He was preparing to ascend, he told the Apostles, "And lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” Amen." (Matthew 28:20.)

And so he is. We see in the Revelation verse above, Jesus said "I know..."

The Ephesians were sharing the Gospel and working for Christ and part of that work was testing false
Enduring patiently. photo credit:
Elizabeth Thomsenvia photopin cc
ones. The more we are sanctified the harder it is to be with evil ones who say they are apostles but are not. It grates on our Spirit because they are such a blight on the name of Jesus. It's hard. Just as it was then, it is hard today. But we exhibit patient endurance and keep working and we have the great comfort of knowing that Jesus knows the work we do by the Spirit in His name for His name. He knows.

He said in the next verse, "I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary." (Revelation 2:3)

He knows! Every day we bear up patiently, every time we are mindful of His name's sake, every time we keep moving and not grown weary, He knows. Isn't that comforting!

I find it comforting in the first place that He is so involved in the church. When He said I am with you always, He meant it. He knows what's going on.  I know we often examine the disapproval verses in Revelation, looking at why Jesus was disapproving of this or that in a particular church. However, the commendation is important too.

The most comforting thing of all, I find, is the fact alone that Jesus came to John to tell John specific items about specific churches. Jesus is highly involved in His church.

Sometimes it feels like a curse to see the vividness of false doctrine where wolves drag off the unwary and the weak. It is hard to watch the numerous souls who are headed for hell. How did Jesus stand it?! It is like I'm on the playground, and outside the chain link fence of where children are playing is a ring of child molesters, leering, drooling, fingers entwined in the chain link, waiting their moment to grab a careless child. And I know that because the bible says so, some will be carried off by false doctrine or false teachers. Satan is a roaring lion seeking whom he will devour.

One reason I'm longing for redemption of the body is so that I'll finally be in the place where sin will destroy no one anymore... oh what a day that will be!

So do the full work of Christ, which does include testing the ones who call themselves apostles but are not. Love what He loves, and hate what He hates, and keep doing it until the Day he calls us home via death or rapture. He knows, brethren, He knows. He knows you, by name, and all your works for His name's sake. What a comfort.


5 comments:

  1. I find it comforting how God kills 99% of Earth's population. Such a loving God.

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    Replies
    1. Don't mistake His love for His holiness. Love does not overlook your crimes against Him. He would not have overlooked mine, if I had not believed in His son and asked for forgiveness. You are blessed not to have been killed already for your sins. His love has kept you alive so far to hear the Gospel.

      People who die go to hell because they chose to.

      Proverbs 8:36, but he who fails to find me injures himself;
      all who hate me love death.”

      Here is the Gospel,
      “Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).

      Read more about it!! http://www.gotquestions.org/gospel-message.html#ixzz2eiOjPNfs

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    2. Elizabeth, to add to your thoughts:

      For me, Revelation has both comforting and non-comforting passages. What you specifically posted, about Christ's tender care for those who trust Him, was extremely comforting.

      Another passage I love in Revelation:

      Rev 7

      9 After these things I looked, and behold, ***a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues***, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands ; 10 and they cry out with a loud voice, saying, " Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb."

      I rejoice when I reflect on how many people are described in Revelation as receiving salvation in Christ - an uncountable multitude!!!

      I also am encouraged by the passages that remind us that one day, all who have trusted Christ will be with Him, sin will be no more, and He will wipe away every tear.

      Yet the passages which detail God's judgment of the unrepentant - those grieve me enormously. I know He must, as His holiness compels it, but they are sobering and difficult passages to read.

      I am thankful that God's character is such that He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked.

      Blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his transgressions. And this He has done for us in Christ alone.

      Psalm 103
      8 The LORD is compassionate and gracious, Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness. ... 10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. 11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him. 12 As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us. 13 Just as a father has compassion on his children, So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him.

      -carolyn

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  2. This was a very comforting post, thanks for sharing.

    And I love the picture of the forlorn, wet puppy dog.

    -carolyn

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    Replies
    1. thanks so much carolyn. I thought the wet puppy enduring patiently was cute too :)

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