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                

Today’s Scrip-Bit 26 July 2015 Revelation 3:15

Revelation 3:15.    I know thy works, that thou art neither cold or hot: I would (wish) that thou wert (were) cold or hot.

Oh Friends, oh Friends, it’s Sunday once again! Time to gather in fellowship; to sing, praise, worship and give thanks to our magnificent Creator and heavenly Father. Wow! Isn’t that amazing? It surely is!

Oh I know some of you might think what’s all the fuss about? But if you have the blessings and the promises and faithfulness and all the other good stuff that stems from Jesus’ demise and then His ultimate resurrection, how can you not be joyful, ecstatic and passionate about your faith eh?

Unfortunately we supposed believers are not a very passionate lot. We treat our faith as though it wasn’t that important. But wait until we get a new car, a new house, or some such worldly stuff that will eventually rot and be destroyed, we jump for joy and carry on. But for the mercies, forgiveness of our abominable sins and the blessings that the Lord pours down on us every day, we are lukewarm and indifferent.

However my people, those are the things that we should be joyful and expressive about. Nothing in this evil and ungodly world will ever beat those heavenly things. So let’s show some passion about our faith nuh, let’s talk it up, live it up, enjoy it and behave like we truly appreciate it, for remember, the joy of the Lord is our strength. So if we don’t have joy in God, then we won’t be strong and useful. It’s as simple as that my people.

We are behaving just like the church at Laodicea, to whom Jesus sent this message in our Bit. ‘I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would (wish) thou wert (were) cold or hot.’

Yeh Friends, it’s the same message that Jesus is sending us today, for we’re neither hot nor cold, just sort of indifferent, kind of doh-care, sitting on the fence trying to play both ends against the middle. But my brethren that attitude, that modus operandi seldom ever works positively, but negatively most of the time. We have to stand up and choose a side, else we’ll be levelled by both.

Now here’s a little history on Laodicea per the scholars. ‘3:14. Laodicea was located about 50 miles southeast of Philadelphia, in the Lycus River valley near Colossae and Hierapolis (cf. Col.4:13-16). Its name means “People Ruling,” and represents the unbelieving, materialistic church of all ages…’

Ah Friends, we can certainly fall under that heading, because we don’t behave like we truly believe and we’re extremely materialistic. And consequently, the message from Jesus continues: ‘So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew (spit or vomit) thee out of my mouth.’ (Rev.3:16)

Now my people, we don’t want Christ to spit us out or regurgitate us, do we? Certainly not! For if He does that, we won’t have a relationship with Him again, and thus lose all the blessings and other wonderful things that He represents.

And the scholars have this to say about those last two verses. ‘3:15-16. The church is likened to lukewarm, or as being virtually worthless. Christ says He will “spew them out,” or eject them from His company. The hot waters of nearby Hierapolis were known for their medicinal qualities, whereas Colossae was known for its cold, pure water. But Laodicea was forced to receive water by aqueduct from other areas.

By the time it arrived in Laodicea it was lukewarm and provoked nausea. The works of the Laodicean church were as worthless as the city’s lukewarm water. The description does not refer to a backslidden condition, but rather to their lack of genuine faith.’ 

Oh Friends, does that sound like our church today? Sadly I will have to answer yes. To a great extent the church has lost its way. We no longer practice what Christ taught, plus there are too many denominations, divisions, petty differences and grievances and consequently not sufficient unity and togetherness to make a worthwhile assault on the enemy.

And we obviously can’t make any inroads against enemy since we’re not seeking first the kingdom of God and its righteousness as Jesus directed in the Sermon on the Mount. But instead we are too taken up with the things of the world, rather than the things of God. Our faith is not demonstrated in the way we live our lives, that’s why the heathen, the unbeliever, mocks and scorns us and calls us hypocrites and are not interested in coming to Jesus.

As I keep telling us friends, examples speak more forcibly than words. So if we sincerely want people to come to Jesus, then we have to begin living the truth, with passion and sincerity, and not the lie that so many of us live nowadays.

Now hear how Jesus puts it. ‘Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods (have become wealthy), and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind and naked. I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire (refined), that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment (garments), that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear (may not be revealed), and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I LOVE, I rebuke and chasten; be zealous therefore, and repent.’ (Rev.3:17-19)

And the scholars explain all of that thus. ‘3:17-19. Laodicea was famous for its wealth, its bankers, its medical school, its popular eyesalve, and its textile industry. Christ says that spiritually the people of the church are poor, blind, and naked. True wealth is found only in God’s grace. This church had no spiritual value (gold), virtue (white raiment), or vision (eyesalve). He urges the Laodiceans to repent of their lack of genuine faith and of spiritual understanding.’

Ah mih people, what’s left to be said eh? Nothing really, because we are behaving just like the Laodiceans. We talk a lot, but don’t have the serious actions to back it up. And we are definitely showing more interest in the material things of the world than the spiritual things of heaven. Please remember Friends that the things of the world will rot and be destroyed, they will pass away, but the things of heaven don’t rot, and will never pass away. Much LOVE!

…he that hath an ear…let him hear…what the Spirit saith unto the churches… (Rev.3:22)

Today’s Scrip-Bit 8 March 2015 1 Corinthians 3:11

1 Corinthians 3:11. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

Well Friends, we’ve jumped forward an hour this Sunday morning to what we call Daylight Saving Time, having lost an hour a few months ago. Hn! If that jumping back and forth benefits anyone, is open to argument, but it does seem to have some negative effects on people’s sleep and their metabolism. And I don’t think that the countries who don’t follow this eccentric behaviour (smile) suffer any setbacks either. So why do we play this mental hopscotch every year eh?

I guess that only God and the powers that be understand it. The normal, run of the mill man certainly doesn’t. He just knows that twice a year it confuses his life. Now because of that, many of us will be late for work or other important appointments, including church, since we either didn’t know or didn’t remember that the clocks were going forward one hour this morning.

Hopefully though, not many of us will miss the glorious opportunity for worship, fellowship, praise and thanksgiving to Almighty God, and in return get His strength, wisdom and confidence to face this wicked world for another week.  And today I’m excited to share this good, no wonderful news about Christianity, from Gramp’s Schuller’s (Dr. Robert H. Schuller) Hour of Power Devotional. Now it’s something we all know, or should know, but we need to be reminded of it every so often.

Listen up: ‘Christianity is a religion based on mercy. It is rooted in forgiveness. Of all the religions in the world, Christianity is the only belief system that accepts grace as its source of salvation. Every other religion is based on good works – work hard enough or be good enough and you will earn your salvation, your heaven, your Nirvana. Christianity alone says, “You can’t do it. No one is perfect. We all make mistakes. We all suffer from guilt and shame. We are all victims.

But Jesus died on the cross with these final words: ‘Father forgive them, for they do not know what they do.’ (Luke 23:34) He has risen again. He has paid for my sins. He has paid for yours. The gift of salvation is free – no strings attached.”

Ah mih people, in light of all of that, how could I choose to be other than a Christian eh, a believer in Jesus Christ? It is certainly the best belief system in the world; spiritually, psychologically, philosophically and any other ‘ally’ you choose to bring up! (smile) It definitely beats all other belief systems in the way humans ought to live and interact with each other, and with their God.

So why are we so reluctant to embrace it eh? I really don’t know nuh. I just know that the wise people will accept and embrace it with joyful hearts, minds and souls, because that’s what it is designed to do. That’s why Bruh Paul proclaims in our Bit to the church at Corinth: ‘For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.’

And that’s indisputable, gospel truth my brethren! Jesus was the foundation for all mankind from day one!  

The prophet Isaiah warned Jerusalem thus: ‘Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.’ (Is.28:16)

Yes Friends, the Lord promised that foundation stone a long, long time before Jesus came to fulfill it. Meanwhile, in Psalm 118 – Thanksgiving for the Lord’s salvation, the psalmist said it this way: ‘I will praise thee: for thou hast heard (answered) me, and art become my salvation.

The stone which the builders refused (rejected) is become the head stone of the corner (chief cornerstone). This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvellous in our eyes. This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.’ (Ps.118:21-24)

Oh Friends, in light of Jesus’ sacrifice, of God’s wonderful grace, of offering salvation freely, that is what we need to do each and every day; rejoice and be glad that we are alive and kicking and have heaven and eternal life with Jesus to look forward to, no matter what happens here on earth. Does any other belief system have that ensconced in their promises? Obviously not! So why aren’t we more joyful than we are eh?

I think it just shows that we are not very true, but merely half-hearted believers. No other religion has the wonderful and fulfilled promises that ours does, but yet they rejoice in theirs more than we do in ours. Maybe it’s because we are like the church at Laodicea, to whom Jesus sent this message.

‘And unto the angel (messenger) of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen,  the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God (Christ); I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would (wish) thou wert (were) cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew (spit, vomit) thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods (have become wealthy), and have need of nothing: and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.’ (Rev.3:14-17)

Yes Friends, Laodicea was famous for its wealth, but that did not translate into a genuine and strong faith. Likewise our faith today is somewhat compromised by our wealth and freedom, which lead us to not trust and have as much faith in Jesus as we ought to.

Please, I implore us to get really serious about Jesus, so that those words to the Laodiceans no longer are applicable to us, for if we continue in our less than genuine faith, Jesus is liable to spit us out, eject us from His church. And that my brethren is the last thing we can afford to have happen to us. So let’s ponder it all and come to the wise conclusion to raise our faith in Jesus nuh, which is wisdom to the nth degree. Much LOVE!

…He that hath and ear…let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches…