Wonderful words from Oswald Chambers:
Being saved and seeing Jesus are not the same thing. Many are partakers of God’s grace who have never seen Jesus. When once you have seen Jesus, you can never be the same, other things do not appeal as they used to do:
Always distinguish between what you see Jesus to be, and what He has done for you. If you only know what He has done for you, you have not a big enough God; but if you have had a vision of Jesus as He is, experiences can come and go, you will endure, “as seeing Him Who is invisible.” The man blind from his birth did not know Who Jesus was until He appeared and revealed Himself to him. Jesus appears to those for whom he has done something; but we cannot dictate when He will come. Suddenly at any turn He may come—‘Now I see Him!’
Jesus must appear to your friend as well as to you; no one can see Jesus with your eyes. Severance takes place where one and not the other has seen Jesus. You cannot bring your friend unless God brings him. Have you seen Jesus? Then you will want others to see Him too. “And they went and told it unto the residue, neither believed they them.” You must tell, although they do not believe.
“Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are,
and the things which will take place after this.”
One of the key truths that explains almost everything pertaining to the Christian life today is found in the second and third chapters of the Revelation. Here our Lord Jesus writes seven letters to seven churches that are, on the surface, intriguing. But once you dig deeper into the meanings of these letters, they are breathtaking and prophetic. In fact, they chronicle all of church history from the days of the Apostles until now. They are a timeline of church history and, for us, present church life. And once we come to grips with that fact alone, the meaning and purpose of the life we live, or try to live, or claim to live, or don’t live in Christ today opens up and unfolds like a spring flower. Everything becomes clear and focused.
But, as usual, I am getting ahead of myself. Let me step back and explain.
Seven Letters to Seven Churches
In Revelation 1:19 John is given a command by the risen Lord Jesus. He is told to, “Write the things which you have seen, the things which are, and the things which will take place after this.” Here we have the outline from Jesus Himself for the entire book of the Revelation.
First, John is told to write what he has seen— the seven lampstands, the seven stars, the sharp two-edged sword, the Lord Jesus in all His glory, for example. All this takes place in chapter 1.
Next, John is told to write “the things which are”— the current church situation, the seven letters to seven churches in what we would now call Asia Minor. He is to write what the Lord says to the churches at Ephesus (Rev. 2:1-7), Smyrna (Rev. 2:8-11), Pergamos (Rev. 2:12-17), Thyatira (Rev. 2:18-29), Sardis (Rev. 3:1-6), Philadelphia (Rev. 3:7-13), and Laodicea (Rev. 3:14-22). When we look at these seven letters to these ancient churches with strange sounding names we often see them as something mystical, something confusing, and something that we don’t really need to bother ourselves about except maybe in a purely academic sense. But that would be a grave mistake on our part. These seven letters are anything but dry, academic and boring. As stated before, chapters 2 and 3 reveal to us all of church history, our history, from the Apostles to the coming rapture of the church. They show us why we do the things we do, good or bad, in the name of Christ. They show us why we worship the way we worship, why we “do” church the way we do, and why we live the way we live. These letters show what the Lord commends in His church and what about His church He abhors. And they also show us what about His church literally makes Him sick on His stomach. But I am getting ahead of myself again. We will talk more about that later.
Finally, John is told to write the “things that will take place after this.” He is to write about events that will take place in the future, the incredible events that make up chapter 4 to the end of the Revelation. These events speak of great tribulation, of two witnesses, of the throne of God and the scroll sealed with seven seals, it speaks of the Lamb as if slain, the woman and the dragon, the Whore of Babylon and much more.
As you can see, John is given the outline for the entire book of the Revelation and of human history. In fact, the Revelation is the only book in the Bible that promises a special blessing to those who read it. It begins with these words, “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things that are written in it; for the time is near.”1 Or, as Chuck Missler would say, “Read me, I’m special!”2
Tomorrow we will look at the seven letters in detail and show how they reveal to us past church history and, amazingly, our current church situation. These letters from the Lord to His church are as timely as any news blog and as prophetic as the book of Daniel or Ezekiel. In fact, you will learn more about yourself from these letters, especially the last one, than you would have thought possible. And finally, you will see how God views His church, and you and I, compared to how we view ourselves— and the difference will take your breath away and drive you to your knees.
Are you ready for an incredible journey? Then let’s begin.
1. Revelation 1:3
2. Missler, Chuck. 2002. Learn the Bible in 24 Hours. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 271.
A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children,
But the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous.
I was recently the recipient of an inheritance. My first.
On Wednesday, May 23, 2012 my mother, Delores McCranie, passed away while vacationing at Myrtle Beach. We knew, for the last couple of years, that she was in declining health but her sudden death caught us all by surprise. She closed her eyes at the beach listening to the sounds of the waves, feeling the heat of the sun on her skin and the smell of salt in the ocean air and quietly passed into eternity leaving all her earthly possessions behind.
Over the next month or so her will was probated, her life insurance redeemed, her bank accounts closed, her final bills paid and her estate settled. And what was left became the inheritance my mother left to me and my brother.
Now don’t get me wrong, the inheritance I received from my mother’s estate was a great financial blessing. We paid off our mortgage, gave money to our children, remodeled our kitchen and became, for the first time in my 35 years of marriage, debt free.
But as wonderful as those blessings were, they are temporary at best. You see, what my mother left me I will someday leave to my children. When I close my eyes for the last time they will probate my will, pay my bills, close out my accounts and divvy among themselves what is left. That will be their inheritance. And when they die they will pass their inheritance on to their children and then on to their children’s children— and the cycle just goes on and on and on.
In our culture, we pass on to our children houses and money and toys. All the stuff we spend our life accumulating but never having the time to enjoy. And, if we consider ourselves good parents, we will strive to leave them more than our parents left us. Why? So our children can enjoy the life we were not able to and we can rest easy in our graves knowing we left them better off in the beginning of their lives than we were at the onset of ours.
But what an incredible short-sighted view of parental responsibility and the blessings of an inheritance.
All that my parents left me could only be used or spent in this life, the life of today, the temporary life of the here and now. But no inheritance was left regarding the real life, the life after death, the life that never ends, our eternal life with the Lord. All the trinkets and toys of this life will someday pass away and be left to another and we will enter the Kingdom empty handed having nothing to show from the lives that have gone on before us. This is not a true inheritance. It is simply the passing of wealth from one generation to another. There has to be more we can leave to our children that this.
Jesus spoke of these things when He said, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” 1
My desire is to leave you, my children and grandchildren, an inheritance that will last a lifetime and reap, not just temporary financial blessings, but eternal ones as well. My joy would be to be able to impart to you some of the wisdom I have gained from the many lessons I have learned walking with our Lord and to help you not make the same foolish mistakes I have made. After all, there is no need for us both to step on the same landmine. If it blew me up, then you would do well to walk in another direction.
Consider this book my inheritance to you— and to your children. And rest assured, you will also get all my stuff, the standard inheritance stuff, when I leave this body and have no more use of houses or money or toys. For you, it will be the best of both worlds.
As Solomon said, “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children.”2 And I want, with all my being, to be that good man that leaves a lasting inheritance to each of you and to your children.
My prayer is that what He is able to accomplish through you will eclipse the small things He was able to accomplish through me.
So, let’s begin.
1. Matthew 6:19-21
2. Proverbs 13:22
In the fourth of Zechariah’s eight visions we see the following prophetic words about Jesus:
For behold, I am bringing forth My Servant the Branch. For behold, the stone that I have laid before Joshua: Upon the stone are seven eyes.
Behold, I will engrave its inscription.
I think I’ve got the part about the Branch and the stone and the seven eyes. But what inscription is engraved on the stone?
The answer to this question will alter your view of Jesus… forever.
The following is a study on Zechariah 3:1-10.
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In the last verse of the second chapter of Zechariah we find the chilling statement that God will no longer stay silent while His people, the apple of His eye, are mistreated by others. The sleeping Giant has awakened. Momma bear is ready to protect her cubs. The time for the great awakening is upon us.
“Be silent, all flesh, before the Lord, for He is aroused (or, awakened) from His holy habitation!”
In other words, Aslan in on the move! And you’d better be ready.
This following is a study on Zechariah 2:1-13.
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