|Revelation 3 |
1 "And to the angel of the church in Sardis write, These things says he who has the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know your works, that you have a name that you live, but you are dead. [Jesus is telling the people in this church that although they live on the earth, they are dead, still sinning, and so dead in their sins, dead to the life of God. The people in this church have not seen their salvation brought to them by Jesus.]
2 Wake up and be watchful, and strengthen the things that remain, which are ready to die. For I have not found your works perfect before God.1 [The works to which Jesus refers are works of love in obedient faith to the commands you hear as you wait on God. Perfect works are to completely and fully follow His orders, which He told us in Jer 7:23: Listen to and obey my voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people; and walk completely in the ways that I command you, so that it may be well with you.]
3 Remember therefore what you have received and heard, and hold fast, and repent.2 If you do not wake up and watch, I will come upon you like a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you.
4 Yet you have a few names in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they will walk with me in white for they are worthy.
5 He who overcomes, the same will be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot his name out of the book of life,3 but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.
6 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
7 To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write, These things says he who is holy, he who is true, he who has the key of David, he who opens and no man can shut, and shuts and no man can open;
8 I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, and no man can shut it; for you have a little strength, and have kept my word, and have not denied my name. [Notice again! Jesus is referencing their works, which are works of loving obedience to the commands you hear spoken from God in your heart, which works are energized by faith and are essential. When Paul said, "not by works," he was speaking of dead works, (from your own will), from the law: circumcision, washings, sacrifices, special foods, sabbath restrictions, days, feasts, tithing, etc.]
9 Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them come and bow down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you.
10 Because you have kept my word with patient endurance,4 I also will keep you from the hour of temptation, which will come upon all the world, to try those who dwell upon the earth.
11 Behold, I am coming quickly. Hold fast to what you have, so that no man takes your crown.
12 He who overcomes, I will make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he will not depart from it; 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 comes down out of heaven from my God; and I will write upon him my new name.
13 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
14 To the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, These things says the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God.
15 I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I would rather you were either cold or hot.
16 So then because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth.
17 Because you say, 'I am rich and increased with possessions, and am in need of nothing;' and do not know that you are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked,5 [From the Word of the Lord within: "I work with the blind; but if you think you can see, and you are not with me in heaven, I will make you a laughingstock."]
18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined and tried in the fire, so that you may be rich; and white garments, so that you may be clothed and the shame of your nakedness may not appear; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, so that you may see.
19 As many as I love, I chastise [rebuke, discipline]. Be zealous therefore, and repent. [Awake to righteousness , and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame. 1 Cor 15:34]
20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock. If any man hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.6 [The door is every man's heart; the knock is His gentle, anonymous voice pleading with you to depart from evil. To open the door is to believe His pleading to be true and to repent from the evil that He exposes. To sup with Him is to receive more of his Spirit that He pours on you in response to your obedience in heeding His reproofs. From the Word of the Lord within: "Every man has heard the call to repent."]
21 To him who overcomes, I will grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and have sat with my Father in his throne. [Notice! As Jesus has continually sat with the Father in his throne, so the overcomer will continually sit and rule with Jesus in his throne.]
22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."
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1 For I have not found your works perfect before God. Many sects of Christendom scream: "not by works, by grace." But Jesus is criticizing these believers' works as not being perfect; he not only wants works, he demands perfect works. The works to which Jesus refers are works of love in obedient faith to the commands you hear as you wait on God. Works that God commands you to do are not works of the law like life sacrifices, abstaining from certain foods, observing Sabbaths, feasts, washings, etc. Works of the law are dead works, decided to be done in the will of men dead to the life of God; but works of love for God energized by faith in what you hear him tell you to do are essential. Perfect works are to completely and fully follow His orders, which He told us in Jer 7:23: Listen to and obey my voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people; and walk completely in the ways that I command you, so that it may be well with you. The example of imperfect works and its consequences is shown by Moses' not being allowed to cross the Jordan because of his failure to obey completely the command of the Lord; Moses has been told by the Lord to speak to a rock before their, (the children of Israel's) eyes, and it shall give forth water. Instead Moses had expressed anger at the people and then struck the rock twice. Num 20:8-1.
2 Remember therefore what you have received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. So Jesus tells those who had been doing works as commanded, but not fully and completely, to remember what they have been taught, hold fast in full obedience to those teachings, and repent.
Remember therefore what you have received and heard. Write down the commands you have received from the Lord in a notebook so that you can review them periodically and make sure that you hold fast, and repent, which means to continue firm, strong, and immovable in your repentance.
Do not return to something the Lord has told you to turn from, however long ago He told you. From the Word of the Lord within: "Whatever you overcome and go back into is far harder the second time to overcome." If you receive a command from the Lord to repent from something, or if you are convicted in the Light for something you have been doing, do not disobey that command or ignore that conviction. To have overcome it, is to have stopped it with the Lord's help, which comes when he orders you to do something or when His light convicts you of something, and you obey continually until you have overcome it completely. Then you would have received supernatural help, and if you decide to return to your sin that you had overcome, it is far harder to overcome that sin again.
Stephen Crisp in his letter, THE WILES OF SATAN TO DESTROY YOU, addresses the consequences of returning to a sin that you have been told not to do by the Lord:
One more subtle snare of the enemy in this matter is in my heart to mention, that is to persuade you to do just once what the light has made manifest you should not do, with a purpose afterwards to be more faithful. Oh! Friends, in the name and fear of the Lord, I exhort and warn you all to take heed of this, for this will only prove to be a false confidence; you will find this kind of going out of the guidance of Truth, to be a costly outgoing to you; for if you ever do return, it will be very difficult, and with bitter anguish of soul. Oh! do not tempt the Lord in this manner, for fear that it proves impossible upon your wilfully sinning, to renew or restore you again by repentance; you will have your pottage, but will lose the blessing, though you may seek it with your tears; for while you went out, behold your way became hedged up, and the thorny nature got up in you, and so you are debarred and fenced out from enjoying your former state; sin being entered, death soon follows.
Do not confuse what you have decided to turn from yourself vs. what you have overcome in obedience to what the Lord has convicted you of and/or commanded you to repent from. Fleshly efforts of self often fail, and you are not disobeying the Lord unless He had commanded you to stop something. So if you decided on your own to stop something, then you didn't have His orders or help. Since you didn't have His help, you didn't overcome it, you only abstained from it, and that usually leaves you struggling to not repeat it again. Those efforts are commendable and you should always do your best to abstain from all evil; but if you slip back in weakness, you should not feel you are at major risk to be able to repent again by self-will. You should feel bad that you are so weak that you can't stop doing something, but that should be your motivator to go to Him with sorrow for your weakness with hope for His change that will make you strong enough to overcome it.
Notice! In these chapters of Revelation Jesus is talking to church attendees, not the heathen. Notice! Only a few have walked worthy by not defiling themselves. This flies in the face of Christendom, which is out of touch with the Bible they profess to believe in. Notice! Jesus is severely warning "believers" in the churches of their pending destruction. This does not fit with the widespread gospel of instant grace that is the cornerstone of Protestantism, nor does it fit in with the Roman, Russian, Greek, etc., sects' doctrine of continual Eucharists and Confession to make one acceptable to God.
3 He who overcomes, the same will be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot his name out of the book of life. Unless you overcome, after your natural death, your name is blotted out of the book of life and you are thrown into the lake of fire. Overcome, means to conquer sin in yourself; to overcome in yourself the ways of the world's immorality, impurity, greed, hate, lust, envy, lying, stealing, pride, profanity, anger, reveling, foolishness, envy, jealousies, rage, gluttony, drunkenness, etc. Notice! Jesus is severely warning "believers" in the churches of their pending destruction. This does not fit with the widespread gospel of instant grace that is the cornerstone of Protestantism, nor does it fit in with the Roman, Russian, Greek, etc., sects' doctrine of continual Eucharists and Confession to make one acceptable to God.
4 Five churches of "believers" so far, and almost all are on the way to Hell. Now, there is one church that is doing well, which is Philadelphia. So in what have they done well? You kept my word, and did not deny my name. He repeats: You have kept my word with patient endurance. They obeyed his commands and practiced his teachings, and they endured suffering with patience. Christians suffer? Yes, if you have not suffered, been afflicted, even been scourged, you are an illegitimate claimant to a relation with God. Whom the Lord loves he chastens, and scourges every son whom he receives. Heb 12:6. And, If you are without chastisement [correcting rebuke], of which all must share, then are you illegitimate. Heb 12:8. And, For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow in His steps. 1 Pet 2:21. If you are determined to lead a godly life in Christ Jesus, you will suffer persecution; not only worldly persecution, but supernatural suffering: Beloved, do not think it is strange, concerning the fiery trial, which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you. 1 Pet 4:12.
5 Now Laodicea, is the church of presumption, not overcomers. You say, 'I am rich, and increased with possessions, and am in need of nothing;' and do not know that you are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked. Notice! This is exactly the description of the Pharisees. They thought they were spiritually prosperous, in need of nothing; they said they could see, and so were blind; they said they were righteous children of Abraham and followers of Moses. Christendom is infected with the same disease: hypocrisy. They praise Jesus with their lips, but their feet are swift to run to evil, and their hearts are far from him.
Christendom says: we have a free pass to heaven. Our sins, past, present, and future are paid for by Jesus. We are righteous believers in Jesus, we can see and understand, we have need of nothing more. But Jesus says to church-going believers: "you are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked." Notice! Jesus is severely warning believers in the churches of their pending destruction. From the Word of the Lord within: "I work with the blind; but if you think you can see, and you are not with me in heaven, I will make you a laughingstock." This does not fit with the widespread gospel of instant grace that is the cornerstone of Protestantism, nor does it fit in with the Roman, Russian, Greek, etc., sects' doctrine of continual Eucharists and Confession to make one acceptable to God.
The believers remain damned because they are still sinning and slaves to sin — their damnation does not slumber, remaining in the condemned state of Adam.
The first to enter heaven are the sinners, who knew they were blind; the last to enter heaven are the religious people, who thought they could see.
This is the meaning of: there are last which will be first, and there are first which will be last. Luke 13:25-31
As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten; be zealous therefore, and repent. And Christendom, how are you going to hear his rebukes, if you don't listen for his voice? Look at the footnote below.
6 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If any man hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. The door is every man's heart; the knock is his gentle, anonymous pleading with you to depart from evil. To open the door is to believe his pleading to be true and to repent from the evil that he exposes, changing your conduct appropriately. To sup with him is to receive more of his wisdom that he pours on you in response to your obedience in heeding his reproofs. How are you going to hear his voice, unless you get quiet and listen? It is that simple. To open the door is to receive Christ into your heart. How is that done? To receive Jesus is to hear Him speak words from within your heart and to believe His words to be true as well as believe that He who is speaking to you is the Son of God, Jesus: The word (Jesus) is near you, even in your mouth, and in your heart [so you may do it]; that is, the word of faith, which we preach. So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God [from within your heart], Rom 10:8,17, Deu 30:10-14. Again, when you hear him, and believe who is speaking to be the Son of God, you have received Jesus; and when you receive him, power is released by God to recreate you into a son of God, a totally new creature, all old things having passed away. But to just hear and believe him once does not result in becoming a son of God; to persist in hearing and following him will eventually crucify your sinful nature through the inward cross of self-denial, when you will have been purified and attain salvation, as you experience Christ bringing salvation to you.
God would have all men to be saved. From the Word of the Lord within: "I was looking for men who wanted to become something like me, but now they have stopped seeking a way. I could stop two thirds of the world's people dead in their tracks, anytime I choose." So why does he gently, anonymously knock instead of severely threatening us with Hell? Because He is quietly and gently sorting us between those who love the truth and the way of the Golden Rule vs. those who love their selfish, evil ways so much that they discard His logical, clear, gentle, considerate, anonymous pleas with indifference. Those who love the truth and choose to heed his pleas to depart from their selfish, evil ways are then candidates for Him to draw with His love — candidates to become sons of God. He has to draw us in love, not in fear; for love is the only lasting motivator. Love does not force its own way; love bears all things, hopes all things, endures all things; yet love never fails. 1 Cor 13:4-8.
Isaac Penington writes of the Christ, the light in every man, knocking at the door of your heart:
"His name is called the Word of God." Rev 19:13. Peter calls that the Word of God, which lives and abides forever. 1 Pet 1:23. And this Word that lives and abides for ever, was the Word that they preached. 1 Pet 1:25. And those who believed did not cry up the words that the apostles spoke for the Word; but received the thing they spoke of, "the engrafted Word;" which being received with a meek, quiet, and submissive spirit, "is able to save the soul." Jam 1:21. This is "the Word of faith" that is "near, in the heart and in the mouth." Rom. 10:8. This is the Word that stands at the door of the heart, and speaks to be let in "(Behold, I stand at the door and knock):" and when it is let in, it speaks in the heart what is to be heard and done. It is near; it is in the heart, and in the mouth; to what end? "That you might hear it, and do it." The living Word, which is "quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword," divides in the mouth, and divides in the heart, the vile from the precious; yes, it reaches to the very inmost of the heart, and cuts between the roots, Heb 4:12, and this you are to hear and do.
and in his Catechism:
...there is no way of being saved by him, but through receiving him into the heart by a living faith, and having him formed in the heart. Christ saves not as he stands without at the door knocking, but as he is let in; and being let in, he brings in with him that life, power, and mercy, which breaks down the wall of partition, unites to God, and saves. The Jews could not be saved formerly by the belief of a Messiah to come, with the observation of all the laws and ordinances of Moses; nor can anyone now be saved by the belief of a Christ who has historically come, with observation of all that the apostles commanded or practiced; but only by the receiving him into your heart, where he works out the salvation.
...the way of receiving the light of the Spirit into the heart, (and thereby uniting with the Father, and the Son), is by listening to, and receiving its convictions of sin there. The first operation of the Spirit towards man lying in the sin, is to convince him of the sin; and he that receives not the convincing light of the Spirit, the work is stopped in him at the very first; and Christ can never come to be formed in him, because that light by which he should be formed is kept out. And then he may talk of Christ, and practice duties, (pray, read, and contemplate much), and gather comforts from promises, and run into ordinances, and be exceeding zealous and affectionate in all these, and yet perish in the end. Yes, the devil will let him alone, (if not help him), in all this, knowing that he has him the surer by this, he being, (by the strict observation of these), kept out of the fear of the danger of his condition, which otherwise perhaps he might be made sensible of.
God is fair, God is just, God is pure; and He pleads with every man, wishing that all would be saved: Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If any man hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me, Rev 3:20. Also the grace of God, which brings salvation, has appeared to all men, Tit 2:11; grace appears to all, but each man must choose to respond to the grace to receive salvation. Further, the Spirit of God was poured out on all mankind at Pentecost, Acts 2:14-18, and a measure of Spirit is given to every man, 1 Cor 12:7; so there are no men excluded from the pleadings of the Spirit. The light (Christ) is given to every man that comes into the world so that he might believe; John 1:4:7,9; but man must believe what the light shows him in order to receive salvation. In every man's lifetime, he hears and understands the gentle, anonymous pleadings of the light of the Word within him; he can accept them, (open the door), or reject them, (close his heart to the truth). If we harden our hearts to the Word's gentle, anonymous pleading with us to turn from evil, at death we will remember the words we heard; and to our shame we will be judged by those words. John 12:47-48
Today if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts, as in the provocation [and rebellion]. Heb 3:15
Again, he limits a certain day, saying in David's Psalms, Today, which was long after [God swore his oath]; as it is said, "Today if you hear his voice, do not harden your heart, [as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness]. " Heb 4:7
He has blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them. John 12:40
To hear more of Him, we must seek Him; in prayer we must stop telling him all the things we want him to do for us, and listen for him to tell us what he wants us to do. God is not there to serve our wishes and wants; but if we seek to hear his convictions, we can become his servant to serve His desires and commands; doing his will on earth as it is done in heaven. We must wait on him, in humble silence, watching, and listening, so that we can hear him and see what he wants to show us about the secrets in our heart; which if we do not deny, he then cleanses our hearts of that revealed sin. By his grace, he shows us our sins and then removes them from our heart, until with persistence to the end, he redeems us from all sin and purifies us to become for himself a people who are his very own, zealous for good works. Tit 2:11-14.
But, instead of listening for the Lord's voice, Christendom's itching ears are listening to the deep heaps of teachers and preachers, telling fables and lies about "Jesus coming," exactly like it was in 1656 when George Fox wrote this in The Journal of George Fox - Click to see who Fox was.
While I was in prison here, [for preaching] the Baptists and fifth-monarchy-men prophesied, that this year Christ would come, and reign upon earth a thousand years. And they looked upon this reign to be outward; when he had come inwardly in the hearts of his people, to reign and rule; these "believers" would not receive him in their hearts. So they failed in their prophecy and expectation, and did not have the possession of him. But Christ has come, and does dwell and reign in the hearts of his people. Thousands, at the door of whose hearts he has been knocking, have opened to him; and he has come in, and does sup with them, and they with him; the heavenly supper with the heavenly and spiritual man. So many of these Baptists and monarchy-people became the greatest enemies to the followers of Christ, but he reigns in the hearts of his saints over all their envy.
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