These Things Saith He – Overcoming the Laodiceans

14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;

15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.

16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:

18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.

19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

21 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.

22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

How does one simply decide to be zealous about the things of God that pertain to Jesus and His gospel? Truly, the grace of God works all things in us—including chastening when it is necessary.

When we belong to Jesus but our heart is going after this world, He might allow this world to hurt us so that we will realize how much better He is. The things that Jesus has to offer are far more precious and meaningful than all the riches of this world.

However, it would be better if we could avoid chastening and instead turn to Jesus who is already there standing at the door. If we come to Him and repent of our love of this world, then there is no need for us to be chastened.

The real trouble is when a worldly Christianity is the norm—a Christianity that claims that a person can love the world and love Jesus too.

Jesus teaches us that “you cannot serve God and mammon (worldly riches).”

When serving God and mammon are not only commonplace, but praised, how can one come out of the mindset of the Laodiceans? As Jesus stated, they do not see their true state. They think that they have all that they need. Something would have to open their eyes to how “wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked” they are.

Maybe some would find this out without chastening. However, it seems to be unlikely depending on how deep their love of this world goes.

It is good to know that God chastens every son that He loves. I believe that the real challenge for the Laodiceans is learning how to bear that chastening in faith. They have to trust in God and not this world. They have to turn to Jesus more fully, become zealous about Him, and form a real relationship with Him. If they continue in the faith despite the challenges that come as the things that they have loved and trusted in are removed from them, then they will overcome.

As they overcome, they are given something more precious than all the vain things of this world: a close relationship with Jesus. Sitting with Him in His throne is not just about power or authority, though He can give both as He deems. What really matters is the closeness to Christ Himself. He is the real inheritance of the children of God—and we too become sons of God through Him.

We must overcome this world and a love of it, and this is hard when we have many things in this world to distract us and seduce us away from Jesus. However, it does not matter how well off we are financially, if we do not have Jesus truly, then we truly do not have anything—and there is always more of Him that we need.

We might have a relationship with Jesus, but we should never become lukewarm about Him. We always need more. There is more of Him to learn, more of Him to be formed in us, and more that He would have us to do as His servants in this world. We cannot consider ourselves rich in Him overmuch either, or we might find ourselves growing stagnant.

Being poor in spirit is what matters most. As Jesus teaches, “blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” We never have enough of Jesus—though He is more than enough. We can be thankful for all that He has done for us and recognize His work in our lives while continuing to appreciate an on-going need for Him. If we become “lukewarm,” then He might put us into circumstances that bring our spirits down a notch so that we can refocus and return to Him more fully.

If we have riches in this life—and if we live in the West, then we most likely do—we should take care that a love of this world does not make us half-hearted towards Jesus. He is what really matters.

If we have riches in the Spirit as we learn of Jesus and are gifted by Him, then we should remain humble before Him, always knowing that anything we have came from Him, and we always need more.

We all fall short of His perfection. Only His blood perfects us, but having received His sacrifice, we should be serious about Him and find out what He would have us to do with all that He died to provide for us.

The gospel of the kingdom is not just some far off idea—it is a present idea when Jesus lives in us though the Holy Spirit. The more we walk in the Spirit, the more we walk in His kingdom that comes “not with observation” and is “within you.”

However, Jesus will return also, and we want to be His when this happens. We cannot belong to Him and belong to this world also. Jesus said of His disciples, “they are not of the world even as I am not of the world.” He also prayed that that the Father would not take them out of this world, but that He would deliver them from evil.

We cannot escape this world and the troubles of this world, but we can find an escape from temptations that would devour our faithfulness to Jesus–and this world is full of such temptations.

We can live in this world and we might even be able to prosper. The Holy Spirit will convict us. Jesus stands at the door. If a love of this world is keeping us from opening up to Him, then He will let us know.

This can take many forms. This isn’t just a love of wealth. This can also be a love of people. Jesus wants us to love people. However, sometimes in our desire to be at peace or to please people around us, we deny the hard things that Jesus has called us to. Sometimes we fear emotionally hurting people that we love, and we know that we will if we follow Jesus as we should. Sometimes we fear being rejected or outcast by people that we love, respect, and value.

Jesus must come first in all things, and it seems that the more He comes first—especially in a Laodicean world—the less we might have in this world financially and socially. However, nothing that we lose here compares to what we have to gain in Him!

We cannot be like Lot’s wife. Do not look back at this dying world. Look to Jesus. Even when this world seems to be closing in; if we call out to Jesus in humility, honesty, and faith, He will give us strength and guidance to overcome the deceitfulness of riches, the seduction of sin, and the false securities of this world.

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All Current “These Things Saith He” Drafts

The above is the draft version of a chapter to a book I plan to write and publish in a manner that is free of charge to the public.

I wrote in These Things Saith He: Contents that I will publish the drafts here first and offer opportunity for others to share their thoughts before the final work is completed.

I’m open to and greatly value the insight, experiences, and thoughts of my Christian brethren because we are a body knit together in Christ that is meant to work together without over reliance on our leaders. I am not your leader, but I do try to be faithful to what I have received to the best of my ability, and I look to Jesus for gracious judgment of my service and the service of all who truly love Him.

Seed the Fell Among the Thorns

And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them (Matthew 13:7).

22 He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful (Matthew 13:22).

This is the third statement that Jesus made during His Parable of the Sower. We are looking at the statement that Jesus made during the parable and the corresponding explanation that He gave, then considering how we might apply this to our lives as Christians for the purpose of strengthening our faith.

Jesus has a lot to teach us. One of the lessons that He taught is that we cannot serve God and mammon. Mammon  is a term in the bible that refers to material wealth. One of the greatest cares that a person has in this life pertains to material wealth, especially in prosperous nations that measure a person’s success and respectability in property square-footage, vehicle mileage, and retirement account balances—to name a few.

On one hand, we have some responsibility to care for people. Especially if we have a family, but how much of our cares are necessary and how many are merely mammon-like luxuries of societal pressure or personal ease and comfort?

Certainly, many Christians prosper because God has blessed them, and their wealth is not a distraction from the things of God. However, the things of God include lessons that Jesus taught about serving God and material gain.

To each his/her own conscience. I think we should refrain from judging anyone in these things overmuch, especially if we live in prosperous nations like in the West. We are all wealthy for the most part, even those of us who are technically impoverished by modern standards.

In any case, it’s not hard to see how a love of money or the responsibilities of this life in general can become a distraction from the things of God as given by Jesus and His apostles.

We only have so much time. How do we choose to spend that time? Once our needs are met, do we pursue more wealth, or do we pursue Jesus?

Sometimes we might have to forego some of our needs in order to pursue Jesus. Especially when we find that the cares of this life are taking us away from Him.  

Jesus Himself said that His “meat is to do the will of my Father.” Sometimes our meat should be to do the will of our Lord. Sometimes our drink should be the Holy Spirit that springs up in us the knowledge of the Lord in truth unto everlasting life. Sometimes our rest should be to labor in the Lord. Sometimes our clothing should be His righteousness and the armor of God that fights against the powers of darkness in this world.

If we have these things, it does not really matter how much we lack in mammon. Jesus will provide for us, especially if we face a time when God decides to burn down our briars and thorns so that we can turn to Him more fully.

We really need very little to survive in the flesh, but we need the greatest things of all to survive in spirit and bodily in the resurrection, and only Jesus can provide those things. No amount of work in this world can gain them, and no troubles that we face in this life compare to the trouble of the “blackness of darkness forever.”

There is a time for all things. There is a time to prosper and there is a time to do without. Paul the Apostle spoke to this. He said that He knew how to have a lot and how to have nothing and to find contentment in all things through Jesus Christ. We can learn too by the grace of God as He wills it.

My Experience with Seed Among Thorns

Fighting against the thorns has been an on-going struggle for me for as long as I can remember in some form. Presently, this might be my greatest trouble. There is fruitfulness in Christ, by the grace and mercy of God. However, I feel the smothering of the cares of this life and the deceitfulness of riches all too well.

I’ve never owned my own home, so not having a home has been my greatest point of covetousness of riches. I’ve either lived in houses owned by other family members, lived with other family members, or rented—and it’s not because I do not work. I work constantly in some form these days, unless I’m asleep or managing to spend time with family.

I’m learning to be content with a roof over my head and the head of my family, even if it is not my own. I am learning to care less about what other people think about me also. There is an assumption that if you are impoverished, then you are incompetent or lazy. There are many reasons why people land on hard times, and sometimes it’s a matter of priority.

For example, I prioritize raising my kids over advancing my business. My kids are the reasons why I started my at-home work in the first place. I don’t regret choosing to homeschool my two older sons and keep my toddler at home. I don’t regret that my kids never saw the inside of a daycare. I don’t judge other parents. I only do what I think is best.

Yet, in doing these things, I find that the cares of this life are multiplied. In order to keep a reliable client, I have to work a set number of hours every week. I could probably make do with less money, but I have to keep the reliable client, or that’s my reasoning. In order to retain them and get the work done—while taking proper care of my kids—I have to spread those hours out over 7 days. It’s been that way since last summer. Other than 2 weeks off for last Christmas, I’ve had 3 days off (I think) in nearly a year. On one hand, I thank the Lord for giving strength to do more than I ever thought possible. On the other hand, those thorns are pressing in.

Jesus should be my first priority, but I feel more and more the fear that even He will get choked by the thorns. Yet, I have faith that He will not allow it. Finding time to write for Him is hard. I write for money every day. I should be able to give Him some time at least a few days a week.

Maybe one day I will not be able to continue with all of this. I don’t know how long I can. Yet, some things will remain fruitful. I can live a Christian life. I can raise my kids uprightly and keep working in that direction, for example. I can have the fruit of knowing and loving the teachings of Jesus. I can have the fruit of enduring hard things patiently. Not that I’m perfect in any of these things, nor do I want to seem to be.

The point is, there are many kinds of fruit, and I trust that Jesus will help us to preserve the fruit that He wants, and He might allow the thorns to choke the fruit that He doesn’t want. I don’t know.

Even as I write this, I’m tired, but I also know that the Sprit is strong when we are weak. I kind of like doing all my writing for Him at the end of long days for this reason. Lord willing, the Spirit will lead it and Lord willing, I will have strength to continue a while longer. I trust that I will finish all that He truly gave me to do. If I take up more than I should, I trust He will remove me from those things, or He will remove the thorns so that I can do what I should.

This article is part of a series that considers the parables of Jesus. Right now, we are looking at the lessons that we might learn from The Parable of the Sower. <–Visit this for quick access to all articles written about this parable. If you would like to continue with this conversation, you can subscribe by email. Scroll down to the very bottom of your screen, and you will find a subscribe button. You can also follow in WordPress. 

Considering Proverbs 11:31

Behold, the righteous shall be recompensed in the earth: much more the wicked and the sinner. – Proverbs 11:31

What does recompense mean? I understand this to mean, “repay” in the sense of giving someone what they are owed.

We could also say that the righteous get what they have coming in this life, and this is even more true for the wicked and the sinner.

At first when I read this, I wondered at it because it seems like the wicked do not get what is coming to them. On the contrary, they seem to get away with a lot. As for the righteous, I think of a saying that I heard once: “no good deed goes unpunished.” It seems that the righteous do not always receive good things, but trouble. Jesus Himself said that we should expect trouble if we follow Him because the world hates Him and His followers.

I have experienced this. I have done well. Why haven’t I received well? Why do I have so much trouble and why do the wicked have it easy?

Reality check.

I have been the sinner, and I have received what I had coming.

Sometimes I feel discouraged because I think that all my attempts at doing what is right are not rewarded in proportion to the effort that I put in. Most things are done in faith, hoping for some good in the future—both in this life and in the kingdom of heaven to come.  

As for my wickedness, I have received much more in comparison. I think this is a good thing. After-all, we know from the scriptures that God chastens every son that He loves.

It’s interesting to consider.

Most of the suffering that I have endured in this life has come from foolishness and sins done in youth that led me into things that I have not been able to escape. I could say that this in unfair because I was just a young and stupid person with emotional and mental problems, so I could not have done any differently. I could also say that this is unfair because the Christianity that I grew up in was easily overthrown by the sins of this word and the damage done to my heart and mind.

It was no wonder that I was a modern-day idolater, for example. Even though I grew up in this way, I was still held responsible for my sins because I was a Christian and God was not going to let me get away with it, and I have suffered quite a lot. I don’t think I’ve had a time in my life that was not full of suffering in some measure.

Yet, God is good and I do not blame Him one bit. It has been good for me. Without going through all that I have, I would not have real understanding of how wise and good the things of God are. I would not have real care and longing for righteousness and for His kingdom.

Though I still suffer many things, and though I try to be more faithful with all that He has given me, I do not see the recompense readily. I see changes in me as I have died to self and seen Christ form in me, but there is more to be formed for certain and I have to wait for this to happen. I have to wait to see what will be in faith, knowing that when Jesus returns, we will be as He is. I have to wait to see what my efforts will mean for my children in faith, hoping that they will grow into strong men of God despite many obstacles that come against us.

When I consider it all, I can’t say anything but how good God is. How gracious and merciful. If it were not for Him and His intervention, I very well might not be here at all to endure these hard things, to grow, to seek Him, and to find more of His work in me. If I managed to survive bodily, I would surely be dead in spirit because I was headed to my destruction full force.

So, the suffering that I go through pales in comparison to that fate. God is good.

It did not matter that I did not know any better. It did not matter that my life made me foolish and unwell mentally. I did not matter that the Christianity I knew was lukewarm at best. I was chastened, and it was hard—and it was good.

It was worth it. It is still worth it. Every day that I get to live through hardship and seek Jesus is a good day, even when it does not feel like it because I’m still alive and I can learn. I can get stronger. I can die to self more fully and be raised in Christ in Spirit and one day bodily too.

The same goes for all of us.

If we belong to Jesus, we might suffer for our sins. His blood paid the price and we are forgiven. However, if that forgiveness does not cause us to surrender to Him, but instead we turn to idols of self or idols of people, idols of wealth, idols of comfort, idols of false spirituality, and so forth—which are real problems for many in the faith—then we can expect to suffer when He takes these things from us.

However, it will be good because everything that He does is good.  He will bring us through it all for His Name’s sake if we continue to put our trust in Him, even when it is hard and it seems as though we are going through more than we can handle. In the end, there is a reward of righteousness—the righteousness of Jesus that covers our sins and the righteousness that He works in us by the Spirit who makes us more like Him in spirit and in sincerity. We will love what is really good and really true when all else proves to be meaningless.

The more we let go of that which is meaningless, the more peace and joy we have also. Even when things are hard. There’s always something good that God is working. Sometimes we just need to look and see, and sometimes we look to the future in faith because we serve a wise, patience, merciful, generous, and good God whose promises we can trust in.

I would that the suffering was over. I know that it is far from over. Yet, there is a lot of good things to look at also and to be thankful for—especially Jesus. He has overcome all things. He will make a way for us to overcome in Him also because He said it and His word is true.

Seed That Fell Upon Stony Places

Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth:

And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away (Matthew 13:5-6).

20 But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it;

21 Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended (Matthew 13:20-21).

This is the second statement that Jesus made within the Parable of the Sower. As we did in the last article within this series, we are looking at a section of the parable and the corresponding explanation that Jesus gave.

The goal is for us to consider how we receive the gospel of the kingdom of Jesus Christ so that we might be strengthened in the faith.

The seed was earlier identified as the “word of the kingdom.” What is the word of the kingdom? In most basic terms, this is the gospel of the kingdom of Jesus Christ. Through faith in Him, we are promised everlasting life in His kingdom and freedom from sin and death. Within this faith, there is much for us to learn because Jesus had a lot to say, and He still has a lot to say to us through all scripture and through the Holy Spirit.

Sometimes we receive His word happily and we begin to see some semblance of a Christian life. However, when it becomes difficult to keep His word, that growth withers away and it’s as if there was nothing received at all.

This can happen in a variety of ways. The most extreme way is when a person embraces the gospel then later denies the faith because of religious persecution. This also happens in small ways. We might hear a teaching of Jesus and His apostles, embrace that teaching as good, then later deny or fail to perform that teaching when it becomes difficult or contrary to our nature.

The latter is common to all of us in the Christian faith, and the good news is that if we continue in the faith anyway, we will get stronger. We will grow deep roots.

First, we need to get acquainted with the word of God through faith and continued relationship with Jesus who is the word of God. As we learn about Him and love His ways and teachings, we will try to keep His word and live it. We will fail when it gets too hard for us.

When this happens, we can turn to Jesus in faith. We can acknowledge that we love His word, but we lack the strength to uphold it. We can acknowledge that His sacrifice is sufficient for our sins, yet we want to keep His word because we love Him, and we want to be faithful to His teachings.

We can also acknowledge that Jesus made a promise. He said that He would send the Holy Spirit to those who keep His commandments. Jesus also stated that He will send the Holy Spirit to those who persistently ask. So, we keep asking and seeking in faith, and when the Holy Spirit comes to us, we will find greater strength in keeping His word.

We might receive the Spirit in a demonstrative manner as the apostles did or we might simply find it easier to perform the righteousness that we seek. The evidence of receiving the Spirit is fruitful faith—and fruit is only made possible when we have roots.

We all need deeper roots. We might not deny the faith outright, but we can keep the sayings of Jesus more perfectly. The more we can endure small temptations while remaining faithful to His word, the greater confidence we can have in our ability to remain faithful to Jesus during times of great trouble.

We will experience the love of God first-hand as He works in us. We will see His perfect timing and methods as a good Father who knows how to raise each child personally. We will experience mercy and know that He is for us. We will experience strength of Spirit and know that we are being made into sons that can stand strong in righteousness no matter the cost, because He that is in us is strongest when we are weak.

We will see that all things are given to us by the grace of God, and we put our trust in Him to work all good things in us. He makes us to have deep roots. He waters those roots. He feeds us. He prunes us. He makes us strong so that we can be of use to Him and our brethren.

Jesus said that He is the vine and we are the branches. If we abide in Him, then we will be fruitful. Without Him, it is impossible to keep His word. It is all made possible by Him, so have faith. He will cause you to overcome. Bit by bit. If we fail to keep His word and we are honest and remorseful, there is mercy. He knows our frame. He died for us for a reason.

However, we should not be foolish to think that we can deny Jesus in small ways carelessly and remain faithful when serious trials come. Even so, it is the grace of God that makes all the difference. He can do a lot with us in short order if He so chooses.

In any case, for us who love Jesus and do not want to receive Him as a seed on stony ground, let us keep seeking Him to make our hearts rich in knowledge of Him so that we can have deep and strong roots that are tapped into the never-ending supply of water that the Holy Spirit provides. When the heat comes bearing down, we will remain strong—and Lord willing—as a shelter and shade for some in the faith whose roots are not as well formed.

The scripture mentioned here is found in John 14-16. Psalm 1 and Jeremiah 12 also speaks to this idea.

My Experience with Seed that Fell on Stony Ground

One of the most frustrating things as a Christian is to love the teachings of Jesus but find myself unable to keep them. Once I received good teachings that were not fit to be eaten by birds on the wayside, the next challenge was keeping these teachings.

The more that I learned about Jesus and His ways, the more I became convinced of His goodness and the wisdom of His teachings. I loved His ways, but I also saw my sin very clearly and I became discouraged because I was not able to do the things that Jesus taught. This led me to a desperate place.

I was convinced that many things had gone wrong within the Christian world, and I felt like I should do something about that in some small way. So, I started my first Christian blog. However, my own sin weighed heavily on me, and I had not received the Holy Spirit in a demonstrative manner.

One of the teachings that I had come to believe was that receiving the Spirit in demonstration and power was to be expected and sought after persistently, so I did. I asked to receive the Holy Spirit often, and I did so for about two years before anything noticeable happened.

In late January 2016, that changed. I was alone in my room, praying to Jesus. I was very upset about my inability to live righteously, and I wanted to understand His word better. I was sure that things were wrong in mainstream Christianity, but I needed to have that knowledge confirmed in the Spirit. One of the things that I believed was that the gospel was not just forgiveness, but power to live righteously as the Spirit of God wrote the words of God in our hearts and changed our natures (I still believe this).

I needed the Holy Spirit so that I could do as I should do, and I needed the Spirit to strengthen my understanding in the things that I believed to be true about the Christian world as I saw it.

I prayed to receive the Holy Spirit because I wanted to overcome sin, and I told Jesus that I would make His truth and will for His people known if He would teach me. I didn’t really understand what I was asking for or what that would mean, but I really wanted to know Him, to live uprightly, and to help His people who I considered to be in danger of trouble because of corruption within the faith.

He answered in a demonstrative manner. I wrote about this on a few other occasions. I felt a sensation come over me that at first just felt like emotional peace, but then it was more than emotion. I felt a physical sensation come over my hands and lips then I began to speak softly in a language that I did not understand. I sat up (I was lying on my bed at the time crying to Jesus). Then, the words turned into a song that was gentle at first, then strong and almost angry, then one of rejoicing. I did not know what the words were. I still don’t, but I did know that it was a song for the churches.

This is why I take the letters to the 7 churches in Revelation so seriously. Though, I would that I could do better. Time and life responsibilities make it difficult—like a seed among thorns. I get what that is like too.

I would that I could say that I am never like one who received the seed of God on stony ground now that I have the Holy Spirit. Some sins were taken away as well as some social anxiety problems that I had. However, I still have weak areas.

Overtime, I have learned that it is good for us to wrestle against sin and to learn to trust in the strength of God and not ourselves. This struggle draws us near to Jesus, especially when we have the Holy Spirit because we cannot sin without being affected by it. We need to know better, and we need to do better. I also know that receiving the Spirit is not just a one and done thing. We need continual refreshing, which is why the Spirit is compared to a stream of water.

I am not really like stony ground in the sense that nothing can make me deny the truth and goodness of the ways of Jesus. I have experienced mild troubles socially because of the hard things I say and write about mainstream Christianity in the West, and so far, by the grace of God, I have not denied what He gave me.

As far as living a Christian life–which is most important of all– I still need to see Him work in me so that I have the strength of Spirit to do all that He would have me to do. I still struggle with some sin, but I do know that what I wrote about above is true.

When we fail, admit our fault, and sincerely want to do what is pleasing to God, there is mercy through Jesus. I also know that the more we fail and keep seeking, the stronger we will get. I also know that the more we grow, the more challenges we might face depending on the will of God for us and what He is creating us to endure.

Below are some things that I wrote that might help if you feel weak in the things of God. I have also and I still do, but I am thankful to know that Jesus works mightily in us when we continue to put our trust in Him.

God Gives Strength, but We Don’t Always Notice.

Praying for the Right Kind of Strength

It’s not that you aren’t improving. Things keep getting harder.

That’s the basics of how it went for me. If you would like to know more, or if you would like to share your own troubles with unbelief, feel free to email me at kindlingtruth@hushmail.com. It’s difficult sometimes to remain faithful to Jesus, especially when the world hates us for it or because of our own weakness. If you find yourself on the verge of unbelief, pray. If you would like someone to pray with you or for you, reach out anytime.

This article is part of a series that considers the parables of Jesus. Right now, we are looking at the lessons that we might learn from The Parable of the Sower. <–Visit this for quick access to all articles written about this parable. If you would like to continue with this conversation, you can subscribe by email. Scroll down to the very bottom of your screen, and you will find a subscribe button. You can also follow in WordPress. This is not copyrighted material. Use and share freely.

These Things Saith He – The Laodiceans Overview

14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;

15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.

16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:

18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.

19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

21 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.

22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

Jesus is not someone to be half-hearted towards. He is the truth. He is the faithful and true witness of the Father to man, and He is the beginning of all creation. His word formed all things, and it is by His sacrifice and resurrection that we are formed into sons of God who will live forever.

Yet, despite who He is, many do not pursue Him as they should. They consider themselves to have everything that they need already. There are two ways that I consider the richness of the Laodiceans.

First, there is literal richness. They are financially prosperous and therefore satisfied with their lives. They do not think that they need anything because they only view need in terms of this world. If they have money, houses, cars, and other possessions, then there is nothing else to be concerned about.

Next, there is spiritual richness. Jesus teaches, “blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs in the kingdom of heaven.” A person who is rich in spirit is a person who is full of themselves. They are satisfied with who they are. They like who they are, and they see no reason to change a thing.

Whether a person is rich in possessions or rich in self, there is hazard that Jesus is addressing.

They do not see how much they lack.

Jesus once said that it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Yet, with God, all things all possible.

With God, chastening is also possible—and necessary—if our hearts have become Laodicean-like in nature.

As Christians, we do not want to be overly satisfied with this world or with ourselves—especially not to the extent that we stop feeling our desperate need for Jesus.

Riches in this world are temporary and they do not make us rich towards God. We need to keep seeking Jesus because He is worthy to be sought after. He is worthy of our loyalty, devotion, and service. If we seek Him and want to live as He would have us, then He will bless us in the things of the Kingdom which are far greater than all the wealth in the world.

Similarity, being content with ourselves does not make us a good person. We need to keep seeking Jesus and looking to Him as the example that we are to follow. In so doing, we will see how much we lack. There is always room to grow in understanding of the things of God, in righteousness that performs the good things of God, and in growing our fellow servants in Christ.

We are never good enough to stop improving, not so long as we are in this flesh. If we keep seeking, we will keep growing—and it’s amazing to know that there is always more. There is no reason to become stale or stagnant in our faith or in our pursuit of being transformed into the likeness of Christ.

18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.

19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

The gold that we want is not gold in this world, but the gold of real faith that is made pure by a life of trials and difficulties. A life of ease and prosperity rarely leads to strong faith. If necessary, the Father will remove our prosperity and love of self. He will put us through the fire to purify our faith and make it stronger.

Or we can buy this gold from Him—gold that Christ Himself forged through the fires of His own affliction. He will give us faith in Him as He had in the Father. We just need to seek Him and keep asking for it. We can also buy from Him the white robes of salvation that makes us truly clean in the eyes of God. Only He can provide this for us.

We are never going to be good enough so we should never be satisfied with ourselves apart from the work of Jesus on the cross and His power in us to renew our minds and hearts. We need to see what really matters and covet Him and His kingdom instead of the things of this world.

Jesus compared His kingdom to a pearl of great price, that once found, a person would sell all that he had just to get that pearl. We need to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.”

We should be zealous for the things of God as given by the gospel of the kingdom of Jesus Christ and less zealous for this world and for our desire to be satisfied with ourselves. If we find ourselves too consumed by this world and ourselves—and if we are the children of God—then we will be chastised because the Father chastens every son that He loves.

20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

21 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.

Jesus is always there, and His word is always going out. The scriptures are always speaking, and the Spirit is always at work. Jesus is near, and if we look for Him and pursue Him then He will come into us in spirit. He will feed us with His good and everlasting word—the word that satisfies more than all the wealth of the worlds and the only word that can make sinful man right before God and created again new as sons of God.

The things that Jesus has to offer are far better than anything we can imagine. We are inheriting eternal life as sons of God and Jesus grants authority to those who overcome in Him. Jesus said, “in the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world.” We can overcome because He overcame first, and “He that is in you is stronger than he that is in the world.”

What does it mean to sit with Jesus in His throne?

For one, this is a close relationship with Jesus. That is the real treasure. He is not far off. He is right with us, and we are right with Him. We are working together with Him as servants and sons. We are of the same mind and same purpose, and therefore we are granted authority to bring His kingdom about in this world an in the age to come. In the age to come, we also have authority as “kings and priests to God and to the Lamb.”

What might that kingdom be like? Based on this letter alone, we might question what Jesus values in His kingdom. Does He want a kingdom of worldly pleasure and gain? Will we simply sit around and enjoy a rich life and revel in the glory of our resurrected bodies?

Or will we keep seeking Jesus? Will we keep serving Him? Will He have things for us to do that build His kingdom, serve His people, and further grow us into better sons? There is more for us after the resurrection, and it does not involve a life of worldly pleasure and self-gratification. However, what it does involve is far better—even better than we can imagine.

“The eye has not seen, nor the ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him.”

PREVIOUS: These Things Saith He – Scripture for Philadelphia

NEXT: These Things Saith He — Overcoming Laodicea

All Current “These Things Saith He” Drafts

The above is the draft version of a chapter to a book I plan to write and publish in a manner that is free of charge to the public.

I wrote in These Things Saith He: Contents that I will publish the drafts here first and offer opportunity for others to share their thoughts before the final work is completed.

I’m open to and greatly value the insight, experiences, and thoughts of my Christian brethren because we are a body knit together in Christ that is meant to work together without over reliance on our leaders. I am not your leader, but I do try to be faithful to what I have received to the best of my ability, and I look to Jesus for gracious judgment of my service and the service of all who truly love Him.

Considering Proverbs 11:30

The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise. – Proverbs 11:30

James stated that when we convert a sinner from the error of his ways, we are saving his soul from death (James 5). This seems to be the same idea.

As Christians, it’s easy to feel discouraged, saddened, and angered by a culture that normalizes and praises sin, but we need to be careful in how we deal with the sins of our time.

First, what is our goal?

Is our goal to convert a sinner so that they might be saved from deadly ideas and actions?

Or is our goal to humiliate them? Is our goal to show off how right we are or how much we know? Is our goal to gain approval and praise from those who already believe like we do? Is our goal to make ourselves feel morally superior?

If our goal is not to stand up for what is right out of a love of the truth and a love for God and our fellow man, then we are far less likely to convert anyone.

In-fact, we are far more likely to harden the person(s) further and make them stronger in their sin rather than free them from it. We might even encourage them to feel so passionate about their stance that they feel the need to convert others to their way of thinking and behaving.

Before we allow our emotions to cloud our better judgment, we need to remember that we have received forgiveness of our sins through faith in Jesus. Since we have the promise of the resurrection, there is no real harm that can come to us. However, those who are blinded to the truth are on a path of sure destruction, and they lead others in the same things.

Jesus once said, “leave them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind.”

There is a time to let people be. Especially when are at risk of handling the situation in a foolish manner. Sometimes people get so caught up in saving others from their sin that they don’t recognize their own.

However, if we are properly equipped and if communication is opened so that we can turn someone away from their sin, then we should try—but in a Christian way that treats others the same way we would want to be treated.

These are trying times for us who love Jesus and His ways.

People do not believe in sin anymore. Not really. They do not think that there are consequences for the wrongs that they do, because they have become so hardened that they think the wrongs are good. They think that they are standing up for the rights of others as they destroy many.

It seems that the self has become a god. It’s all about what the individual thinks is best for them and to hell with anyone who gets in the way of their “right” to be completely self-obsessed. Self-sacrifice for the good of anyone—even their own children—is oppressive in their minds. How dare anyone suggest that they care about anyone but themselves? This is their rationale:

Sin? Give me a break. There is no sin. If I say it’s good for me, then it’s good. If I say that it’s wrong for me, then it’s wrong. Same goes for you too. I’m so tolerant. What you say is good for you is good for you. What you say is wrong for you is wrong for you. Who am I to judge? And don’t you dare judge me either. How dare you say that what is right for me is wrong for you? Your rights are wrong for me. You must be destroyed because I am my own god, and I do not care about your rights if they contradict my own.

What utter hypocrisy. How can such a society exist? It will tear itself apart.

This is serious and we need to be wise in how we handle all of this. If we really want to convert people and not add more hatred and destruction to the mix, then we need to behave as Christians. If it means being hated, targeted, and snuffed out, then that is better for our souls than to go the path of the wicked whose god is themselves.

PREVIOUS STUDY: Considering Proverbs 11:29 – “He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind: and the fool shall be servant to the wise of heart.

The purpose of this bible study in The Proverbs is to consider present-day events in terms of the teachings and wisdom of Jesus ChristFollow in WordPress or subscribe by email (red button at the bottom of each page below the comments) if you would like to join this discussion and receive updates of future postsVisit the link above for easy access to all posts within this series

Seed That Fell by the Wayside

And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow; And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up (Matthew 13:3-4).

When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side (Matthew 13:19).

We have an advantage when considering this parable because Jesus provides an explanation. As we go through this parable, we will look at one section of the parable at a time and the corresponding explanation that Jesus gave.

Here, we are considering the seed that fell by the wayside.

The word of the kingdom is compared to seed. In this section of the parable, the seed fails to produce anything because it is immediately eaten up by birds. Jesus compares this to a person who hears the word of the kingdom but fails to understand it. As a result, the “wicked one” takes away that which was received.

Here are some questions that we might wonder as we read this:

  • What is a wayside?
  • How can a person lose something that they did not understand in the first place?
  • Who is the “wicked one?”

A wayside is a well-worn path. As a result, the ground is hard, and the seed cannot penetrate. This makes sense when we look at the soil as a metaphor for the heart or mind.

We could compare this well-worn path to a hard heart that is not open to receiving the things of God. Some people are emotionally hard of heart. Meaning, they have a visceral distain for God and the things of God on a personal level.

We could compare this to a mind that is hardened by the well-accepted knowledge of man—a sort of knowledge that is contrary to the kingdom of God. For example, some might be hardened against the idea of God or the kingdom of God because they do not see any evidence or because their understanding of science seems to contradict the bible and mainstream Christian teachings.

What Jesus says next is interesting and kind of confusing. He says that this is a representation of someone who hears the word of the kingdom but does not understand. Yet, there still seems to be something sown in his heart that the wicked one can take away.

First, who is the wicked one?

The wicked one is an enemy of the faith. This includes Satan himself, but not exclusively. This can include anyone who steals the good word of the kingdom of God from others.

How can the wicked one steal something that is not there? If there is no understanding, then what is left in the heart that can be stolen?

Maybe I’m getting too caught up on this point, but there is an example that comes to mind that might help.

Let’s say that a person is raised with a fundamentalist’s approach to Christianity. Meaning, they believe in a mostly literal interpretation of the scripture, and along with this they also believe a certain set of Christian teachings that are traditional to the denomination in which they were raised. This is the well-worn path. However, this well-worn path lacks real understanding, so any truth of the gospel that was received is easily stollen by unbelievers.

We see this a lot today.

There are many people who were raised in the Christian faith, or a type of it, but they do not have a real understanding of who Jesus is, what He stands for, what it means to live a Christian life, and how to form a real-to-life relationship with Jesus. Their understanding is superficial at best, so it is easily challenged and eaten up by their peers in school, college, Online, and so forth.

What is the solution?

Factual knowledge about Christianity is not the same thing as real understanding. Real understanding involves getting to know Jesus personally. This is the solution.

As we get to know Him personally, He can reveal much understanding of the things of the kingdom—understanding that is spiritually discerned. We cannot substitute tradition for relationship, and very often our traditions do not actually understand what the things of God and His kingdom are about—and most importantly—what Jesus is all about and what He expects from His followers.

When we have real understanding that is in spirit and truth, nothing can steal that understanding away from us because what we have is not just a set of facts that can be disputed and done away with by those whose wisdom is of this world and not of God. What we have is knowledge of the Lord Himself and once He invests Himself in someone, no one can take it because He is everlasting.

My faith has been challenged by the knowledge of this world and its atheists. What should I do?

If you relate to this question, then the best thing that you can do is pray earnestly and humbly to Jesus. Be honest about exactly where you are, even if you feel ashamed, confused, or afraid that Jesus is not even real or there at all to hear you. Ask Him to show you what is true, and maybe He will have mercy on you and answer.

If you do not notice an answer, keep asking. Get away from all that you think you know or that you were taught by whatever denomination you were raised in and ask Jesus to teach you Himself or lead you to a teacher that was ordained by Him and not man.

Ask Him to open your heart to His word afresh, as a child who knows nothing but is eager for instruction. Then read your bible or listen to an audio bible. Keep praying, knowing that Jesus responds to those who persistently look for Him—not just intellectually—but in sincerity of heart.

My Experience with Seed That Fell by the Wayside

I was raised to believe in the facts of the Christian faith. I believed that Jesus was the Son of God who lived among man, died for our sins, rose from the dead, and is now alive in heaven. I believed that since I pledged my allegiance to Jesus by reciting the “Sinner’s Prayer,” I was saved. This meant that I would go to heaven when I died instead of hell. I was also taught a set of Christian doctrines and interpretations of the teachings of Jesus.

However, I later found myself on the verge of unbelief. This was in part due to problems that I had with some of the teachings that I had been taught—which I later rejected once I learned better. This was also in part due to the influence of New Age thinking along with various ideas of unbelief that are prevalent Online.

I began to think that Jesus was just one way to God, and I even began to wonder if He existed at all. I was also severely depressed due to other life circumstances. I prayed to Jesus, asking Him to show me the truth. This was in 2014, and this is when Jesus showed me mercy and gave me a heart that would take the faith seriously. He graciously and patiently led me through various things that grew my understanding—not just of true Christian doctrine—but understanding of Jesus personally.

That’s the basics of how it went for me. If you would like to know more, or if you would like to share your own troubles with unbelief, feel free to email me at kindlingtruth@hushmail.com. Being on the verge of unbelief as enemies of the faith steal the word of God from you is a desperate place to be. I would very much like to pray for you if you find yourself there.

This article is part of a series that considers the parables of Jesus. Right now, we are looking at the lessons that we might learn from The Parable of the Sower. <–Visit this for quick access to all articles written about this parable. If you would like to continue with this conversation, you can subscribe by email. Scroll down to the very bottom of your screen, and you will find a subscribe button. You can also follow in WordPress. This is not copyrighted material. Use and share freely.

The Father is Wise in Hiding His Son from Us

Before I received the Holy Spirit, I remember thinking that if I had the Spirit of God within me, then I would have Jesus with me all the time and I would not feel alone anymore. Feeling alone in this world has been a constant for most of my life, and I assume that the problem is with me. I don’t want to get into that right now, because I have a larger and beautiful point that I’m getting at.

Every now and then, these feelings of loneliness come creeping back in. Today was one of those days. Then, I remembered what I had thought about before, and I reminded myself of the fact that God is all that I really need and I am not alone. I like to think about what Jesus said, “I am not alone because the Father is with me.” If Jesus is with us, then we are never really alone.

Although I am very grateful for all that He has done for me, I also began to grumble a little to Jesus. I know that He is always here, and I know that He always hears me. But sometimes I feel like something is missing because although He has become my greatest friend, I cannot see Him. I cannot sit down and have a tangible conversation with Him. So, it’s not the same as a real relationship. I know that it is wrong to feel this way and I am so thankful that He takes any time for someone like me at all, but I admitted this feeling to Him.

Then He let me know why this is necessary, and not just for me, but for all of us who love Him.

He reminded me of all the superficial relationships that I have had over the years, and even now there are some that are quite painful. There are people who I feel like should know me very well, but they have never taken the time or care to get to know me. We go through the motions of life together and we have some good times, but connection is missing. I’ve also had a few close friends in my life who I loved dearly, even as my own sisters and brothers, who dropped me. Usually because it was not fashionable to be my friend.

These relationships were all tangible but they were not meaningful.

In our relationship with Jesus, we do things in the opposite way. We cannot see Him as we see people in this world. We cannot sit with Him and talk with Him in the same way that we might sit and talk with one another. Our relationship with Jesus begins in the spirit first, and later we will “see Him as He is and we will know Him even as we are known by Him.”

This makes good sense.

This makes good sense because we are forming a relationship at the heart level. He knows us very well, even better than we know ourselves. Yet, as we speak with Him often—even when we are being foolish and on the border of thanklessness—we are forming a real relationship with Him that is true, open, and vulnerable.

In so doing, we learn to trust Him with who we really are, even when who we really are is not who we want to be. We know that He will change us into a person who is fit for everlasting life with Him in His Kingdom, and His blood cleanses us before God.

As we boldly draw near to Him, trusting in His grace, He also begins to reveal Himself to us. We get to know His words and not just the letter of them, but we get to see the heart and spirit of He who said them. We understand them and His words have an amazing effect on us.

For one, it’s amazing to get to know Him. That’s the best part, then because we know that He is good and we want to be pleasing to Him, we try to conform our lives to this understanding. We fail. We pray. We confess how we fall short and we praise Him for how good He is and how patient. He answers. He gives us a boost in Spirit to make us a little more like Him.

It all builds upon that. His word builds us up and we get to know Him and we get to become more like He is. This is so much better than thousands of superficial relationships in this world, and when you really think about it, all relationships in this life are superficial in comparison.

How silly I was to complain that I did not have a tangible friend. How silly I was to complain about feeling lonely in this world.

God in His immense wisdom has hidden Himself from us. He does so for many reasons and I think this is one of the most beautiful reasons. Jesus wants to get to know us (though He already does, we just need to experience drawing near to Him for our own growth) and He wants to reveal Himself to us in spirit first so that our relationship with Him is in heart and not just something that we do as we go through the motions of life.

I know that for many of us, our Christianity can get stale and it is as if we are just going trough the motions. Or so I’ve heard. Honestly, I have not had that since I started taking my faith seriously in 2014. I did take it lightly for most of my life, however. So, I do understand that mindset too and it is that faithless Christian faith that I minster to most of all.

So, I want to end this by saying that Jesus does not want a relationship that mimics our superficial relationships in this world. He wants our hearts, minds, and souls, and though sometimes we feel that faith is hard because we cannot see Him as we would like to see Him, Jesus says that we are blessed. “Blessed are those who believe and have not seen.”

We are blessed because our faith is given from God, and we are also blessed because Jesus is forming a real relationship with us by hiding from us, because the only way to get to know Him is to care about getting to know Him. The only way to know Him is to “diligently seek Him.” The only way to know Him is to open our hearts to Him, even when we are sinners and fools because He knows us already. This is more real than anything, and God is so wise to have purposed it so.

Considering Proverbs 11:29

He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind: and the fool shall be servant to the wise of heart. – Proverbs 11:29

When we do not take proper care for our own household, our lives become meaningless in the end, except that it might serve as an example of foolishness that the wise can learn from.

That’s what I think this proverb is saying, and there is a lot that we could consider here.

One of the most important tasks that mankind is given is to raise up the next generation. When we fail in this regard, our future is as empty as the wind—and often as tumultuous as a severe storm.

Being raised in an unhealthy home does not usually foster quality parent-child relationships. The parent, who would have inherited much had they performed their parental duties with care, are often left with little to no relationship with their children after they are grown and make a life of their own. In other instances, a parent might have to deal with watching their children grow up and make unhealthy life choices that perpetuate the same mal-adaptive behaviors that the parent displayed.

When unhealthy parenting becomes the norm within a society, what will that society inherit? What sort of future will that society have?

They will inherit the wind. This is an empty future. A desolate future.

All families have some sort of trouble because none of us are perfect, and many of us struggle to break free from generational habits of unhealthy living and bad parenting. However, to whatever degree that we can be wise and learn from the failings that we see in our own families or in our society, we can push forwards towards a better and more meaningful existence for present and future generations.

Our society is heading down a terrible path of destruction, and it all begins with the home. Our homes are troubled in so many regards that we could go to painstaking measures to describe them. However, there are root causes to look to.

Fornication is a big one. In-fact, most of our household-troubling trends fall under this category.

What is fornication?

Fornication is sex outside of marriage.

Marriage is a lifelong unity between a man and a woman.

This definition does not change, and fornication is still a sin despite what many say.

Fornication is the root of so many of our societal problems.

Abortion would not be a serious issue without fornication, for example.

We can also consider that a marriage as defined is under attack, and this is also fornication. Men are no longer men and women are no longer women. This happens in obtuse ways through denial of basic biology and glorification of gender confusion. However, it also happens in a society that despises healthy masculinity that is made by God to foster a desire to provide, protect, and lead. It also happens in a society that despises healthy femininity that is made by God to foster a desire to nurture and serve with gentleness and strength.

To make matters worse, fornication in all its forms is glorified in the schools and in media as they attempt to push indoctrination of fornication onto small children.

Welcome to Fornication Nation—a Land of Desolation! It’s the new national anthem!

God willing, there are enough wise who will see what this wicked and foolish generation has done and stand against it.

I’m no perfect parent. Not by a long shot and I need the grace of God to keep working on me and my home. I also know that if it were not for the grace of God, I would whole-heartedly pledge my allegiance to Fornication Nation, because that is how I was raised.

Jesus will not allow His to be deceived and indoctrinated into their destructive ways and He will also keep our hearts from being overcome with a holier-than-thou attitude and wrathful indignation. He will teach us to meekly instruct those who oppose themselves as they trouble their own households and our nation. He knows how to preserve His people in times of trouble and temptation and He also knows how to reserve the wicked for destruction. All things are part of His plan, and we can trust in Him.

As Christians, we can look at fornication in another respect as we consider ways in which we trouble the household of the saints of God—the temple of God of which we are all members.

While the world is going the way of Fornication Nation—a Land of Desolation, we can consider ourselves also. Do we fornicate in our hearts as we love this world? As Christians, we know that we cannot love God and love the world also. A love of the world is also fornication, and we need to search this out within ourselves individually and repent of it. We cannot love sin in any of its forms, and we cannot love heaping to ourselves an abundance of riches, pride, and a life of leisure and pleasure.

The sins of Sodom were more than fornication in the flesh—they were also “pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness, and every abomination.”

As Christians, we do not want to be members of Fornication Nation—a Land of Desolation in any of her forms. Think of this in spiritual terms. We must “come out of her my people, that you partake not of her sins and receive not of her plagues,” as it is written of the Great Whore of Mystery Babylon.

We need to be as the wise who will learn from the fornication found within the church—in all its forms. We look to our own sins first. We raise our own children as uprightly as we can in faith. We do our own small part to turn this nation around and we trust in Jesus for the rest.

If it is His will to give our nation over to the lusts of the Great Whore, then we can continue to put our trust in Him knowing that although she will destroy many of us, Jesus sees all and He will raise His from the dead at His coming—a coming that will lead to a time that repairs “the desolations of many generations.” (Isaiah 61)

PREVIOUS STUDY: Considering Proverbs 11:28 – “He that trusteth in his riches shall fall; but the righteous shall flourish as a branch.

The purpose of this bible study in The Proverbs is to consider present-day events in terms of the teachings and wisdom of Jesus ChristFollow in WordPress or subscribe by email (red button at the bottom of each page below the comments) if you would like to join this discussion and receive updates of future postsVisit the link above for easy access to all posts within this series

These Things Saith He – Scripture for Philadelphia

I usually begin scripture chapters with a verse that describes the main idea discussed within the letter to the church that we are considering. I’m struggling to find one that fits just right, because it seems that the main idea is multi-faceted and encapsules what it means to keep the word of the Lord’s patience—which seems to mean several things based on the scripture. I also believe that this is related to what was said, “thou hast kept my word and has not denied my name.”

Here are the scriptures that inform my understanding, and the key points within these scriptures are noted.

  • 1 Peter 1-2: Our faith is tried as we endure many temptations, but if we patiently continue in well-doing, then we will receive the reward of our faith which is a crown of life. In our patience, we should remember the example of Jesus—He who patiently suffered the wrongs of evil men without being overcome by evil Himself but remained blameless in word and in deed.
  • 2 Peter 3: We patiently wait on the Lord, even as others scoff at us and mock us stating that our Lord has delayed His coming (“I sit a queen and am no widow,” they say). We know that the Lord will fulfill His promises, but He is patient as He gives time and space for all who belong to Him to repent. As we patiently endure ridicule, we can rejoice in knowing that the Lord is making time for our brethren to come to Him. We also know that Jesus will return and judge, and we want to be found faithful at His coming because the unrighteous cannot stand in His presence.
  • Romans 2: We should not despise the patience of God that leads many to repentance. We also remember that Jesus judges without respect of persons, meaning no one is too big and important get away with sin not repented of. We may need some time to repent ourselves, so we should not be so quick to see the judgment of God nor should we be overly eager to judge one another.
  • Romans 5: Difficult times make us stronger and increases our patience, experience, and hope in the Lord. We remember that Jesus died for the ungodly, and we are justified by His sacrifice. We are not going to face His wrath, and as we grow in the faith, we have more confidence in our salvation as we experience the mercy and patience of the Lord first-hand.
  • Romans 9: Jesus endures the wicked patiently until His work is completed, and He is in control of all things. He will save all who He intends to save. Jesus is glorified in the wicked, so when we feel disheartened because of the wicked who seem to prevail, we can know that they will bring honor to God in the end and all things are coming together for our good.
  • James 5: Suffer affliction with patience just as the prophets suffered and as Jesus also suffered. Even now He endures much until the time of His coming is accomplished. Take comfort in His mercy and compassion for those who suffer for His sake.

You might notice recurring ideas.

Jesus died for the ungodly, and this includes us. We can have faith in His sacrifice, even as our faith is tried by a life among those who would do us harm or do harm to the Christian faith.

We endure suffering with patience, not repaying evil for evil, because we know that this is the calling we have as Christians.

We endure knowing that Jesus is no respecter of important persons, so we should not be so high and mighty in our judgements of others, but rather we should look to our own sin and be glad that Jesus gives many—including us—time to repent.

Just because we are covered by His blood does not mean we have no need to repent of the sins that we live out in this present world. However, we repent in good faith, knowing that He will save all who He intends to save—and this means allowing the wicked to continue until His time has come to return and judge the earth.

He will come and He will fulfill His promises—this is both a fearful and wonderful thing, so we should live out our days in this world in fear and in faith, seeking the grace of God and placing our trust in the sufficient sacrifice of the Son as we grow in our knowledge of Him and our ability to live in a manner that is pleasing to Him—a manner that means enduring the wicked with righteousness and with patience.

On a final note, as mentioned in Philippians: “He who began a good work in you is faithful to complete it.” We can have patience in this also as we strive to grow in these areas. It is not easy to endure the wicked righteously, and Jesus knows that we are weak at times. Yet, as He reminds us of in His letter to Philadelphia, it is Jesus who is Holy and True and He has the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven.

We might become overly worried that we do not keep His name or His word, but He sees our desire and penitent heart. He sees our little strength, and He instructs us to hold on to what we have in faith. He will come, and His coming will be joyous for us because we continue to put our trust in Him despite living in this wicked world and despite our failings. He will work it all out in time, and we will keep His patience—not just in understanding, but in action by the power of the Spirit who is strong in our weakness.

I apologize if veering from my typical scriptures format is annoying. As mentioned before, these are drafts that I am writing in the open, allowing others time to comment and share their thoughts while I seek to have my own understanding built up. Once these are completed, I will look at these drafts along with the article series that I wrote on The 7 Churches of Revelation to inform and prayerfully complete a final work entitled, These Things Saith He. Thank you for your patience with me!

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