Tuesday, November 2, 2010

You Have Obeyed my Command to Persevere

Rev. 3:7-13 NLT  
  7 Write this letter to the angel of the church in Philadelphia. This is the message from the one who is holy and true, the one who has the key of David. What he opens, no one can close; and what he closes, no one can open: 8 I know all the things you do, and I have opened a door for you that no one can close. You have little strength, yet you obeyed my word and did not deny me. 9 Look, I will force those who belong to Satan’s synagogue—those liars who say they are Jews but are not—to come and bow down at your feet. They will acknowledge that you are the ones I love.
  10 Because you have obeyed my command to persevere, I will protect you from the great time of testing that will come upon the whole world to test those who belong to this world. 11 I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take away your crown. 12 All who are victorious will become pillars in the Temple of my God, and they will never have to leave it. And I will write on them the name of my God, and they will be citizens in the city of my God—the new Jerusalem that comes down from heaven from my God. And I will also write on them my new name.
   13 Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches.

Sometimes, when I was pastoring, I was tempted to feel bad because the church I served was a little church and I had not grown a church like the big one across town or the large independent congregation around the corner. I knew better that to think that any church is big or little based on any pastor, but it was a good excuse for my personal pity party, I suppose.

Jesus does not call us to 'make a big church.' He called us to 'make disciples.' He called us to 'persevere until I come.'  He called us to believe in Him sent by God as the sacrifice for sin. He called us to teach others the truth of the Good News. It is our obedience and trust that makes the difference in the lives we live for Christ. It is not the number of believers we produce but it is that we obey and share our faith in Christ. It is not how much money a church raises but that members in that church share His story to change history.

Philadelphia was not known for riches, power, political influence, great worship teams, great authors in the pulpit, or great numbers of attenders. It was known to be surviving persecution by Satan and his followers. It was known as once with little that the world calls strength by people. However, Philadelphia did not live for people. This church lived to obey God, trusted in God, and received strength beyond their own from God's Holy Spirit who inhabited them. There were victorious. They heard and understood what the Spirit was saying to the churches. What about your church today?

Your servant in Christ's love

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