Today’s Scrip-Bit 3 June 2021 Revelation 2:7a.

Revelation 2:7a.     He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

Rainy days and Thursdays always get me down! Now that’s not really true, because there’s nothing like a rainy day to bring peace and quiet to your life. A rainy day just seems to draw one closer to one’s Maker, in that it brings a serenity and calm to one’s soul and spirit. And that’s how I feel today, as we open with some heavenly blessings. It just seems that when the rain falls the world is not as noisy and busy, and do we ever need to lessen the futile busyness and unnecessary noise in this modern technological age. 

So if it’s rainy in your area, please take a few quiet moments and spend with your Maker… and hopefully do less talking than listening, because I believe we tend to talk to God much more than we listen to Him, that’s why sometimes we take so long to get answers, He can’t get in a word edgeways. (smile) But since the Lord so generously gave us breath to face another glorious day on planet earth, let’s turn to the promise we made yesterday, to continue looking at some stuff from the Book of Revelation. 

Yesterday we stopped where Christ told John to write down some messages to seven particular churches, to be sent by seven angels or messengers. We won’t go through them all, just some that I think are most important. And the first one is to the church at Ephesus: ‘Unto the angel (messenger) of the church at Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks (lampstands). (Rev. 2:1) 

The seven candlesticks which Jesus walks amidst represent the seven churches to which he has messages (1:11) The seven stars in His hands represent the angels of the seven churches. According to the scholars: ‘The angels may be either literal angels, each of which has a special guardian ministry toward one specific church (cf. Heb. 1:14), or the human leaders or pastors of these churches. Angel literally means “messenger.” 

And Jesus continues: ‘I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience (perseverance), and how thou canst not bear (endure) them which are evil: and thou hast tried (tested) them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars. And hast borne (persevered), and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted (become weary). Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first LOVE.’ (Rev. 2:2-4) 

The scholars tell us that ‘The city of Ephesus was one of the most important commercial and religious cities in Asia Minor. The most famous temple of the goddess Artemis (Diana) was located there. It was also John’s headquarters before his exile. Ephesus served as the “mother” church to the others, all of which were connected by the same Roman road. And though the church is commended because of its soundness of faith and its perseverance through persecution, its people have come under Christ’s discipline for having left (not lost) their first LOVE or former devotion to Christ.’

 Does that sound familiar my people? I think it should, because a lot of us supposed believers are not as devoted to Christ as we used to be. Our devotion has dropped off at a time when it should be at it’s zenith! But as always, our Saviour offer us a lifeboat. ‘Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works, or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except (unless) thou repent. But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.’ (Rev. 2:5-6) 

Yes friends, the scholars tell us that the solution the Ephesian problem is threefold: ‘(1) remember your former devotion to Christ; (2) repent of the present lack of LOVE and devotion; and (3) return – that is, do the things that were characteristic of the devotion of the church in its earlier years. Christ threatens to discipline the church by removing its light (candlestick). Today, Ephesus is in ruins, and it’s church is gone.’ 

Now was Christ’s discipline a pertinent factor in the demise of the church at Ephesus? Who knows? But it’s surely a good question for us to contemplate in these ungodly times. And as per the Nicolaitans, the scholars say they ‘were probably a libertine, antinomian sect (rejects laws and moral values) who attempted to use Christian liberty as an excuse for self-indulgence and immorality.’ 

Then comes the second letter: ‘And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive; I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue (congregation) of Satan. Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried (tested); and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.’ (Rev. 2:9-10) 

A tough request that friends, but it’s also the same request the Lord is making of us today: stay faithful to the end, and He will bless us with a crown of eternal life. And just a few words from the scholars on the plight of Smyrna, ‘whose name meant “Myrrh” a fragrant spice for anointing dead bodies. It was a rich and beautiful city, some fifty miles north of Ephesus on the shores of the Aegean sea, whose believers were undergoing persecution and had been reduced to poverty. They were being reviled by unbelieving Jews. They received no condemnation from Christ but were encouraged to endure suffering faithfully. Faithful persecution through trials will bring a crown of life (cf. James 1:12). The second death is eternal destruction in the lake of fire (20:14-15), reserved for all unbelievers.’ 

Oh my people, our church life and devotion to Christ is definitely not up to scratch, and we do need to come up higher, especially in these troubled times. Please listen to what Jesus says after every message to a church: ‘He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.’ It’s a straight up warning, and to each church He promises something different if they repent and/or stand strong. 

To the church at Ephesus, He promises: ‘To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.’ (Rev. 2:7) And the scholars explain that ‘the promise to him that overcometh probably applies to all Christians with genuine faith (cf. 1 John 5:4-5) and will be fulfilled as believers enjoy the blessing of the New Jerusalem (22:2,14), the paradise of God.’ 

To the church at Smyrna it was: ‘He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.’ (Rev. 2:11) And that’s the gospel truth friends! If we persevere in good faith with Christ until the very end, we will not be cast into the lake of fire. Now shouldn’t that give us a strong sense of purpose, especially as we draw near to the end of this church age? I should think so. But sadly, not all of us agree on that point. However, for those of us who do, let’s go home this rainy Thursday declaring (wrong again!) our Thursday Blessings which the Lord has so generously bestowed on us to do His earthly work. 

As one now: ‘I declare that I am blessed with God’s supernatural wisdom and receive clear direction for my life! I declare today that I am blessed with creativity, courage, talent and abundance! I am blessed with a strong will, self-control and self-discipline! I am blessed with a great family, good friends, good health, faith, favour and fulfillment! I am blessed with success, supernatural strength, promotion and divine protection! I am blessed with a compassionate heart and a positive outlook on life! I declare that any curse or negative word that’s ever been spoken over me is broken right now in the name of Jesus! I declare that everything I put my hands to, will prosper and succeed! I declare it today and every day! Amen!’ 

Our next move is to now go out and share those blessings just as generously as our heavenly Father shared them with us. Much LOVE!

…the Lord does not expect perfection from His followers…but He does expect diligence, devotion and excellence from them… 

P.S. Sorry for the length and lateness of the Bit, but I messed it up and had to rewrite it. Chuh! Much LOVE!                                                          

Hear our podcast at https://open.spotify.com/show/3aVfqIC1CqwGybISs9dZJ8                

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