VIDEO A Few Names – A First Century Message to Twentieth Century Christians: Sardis Letter

A Few Names

 

You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. Revelation 3:4

In speaking to the church in Sardis in Revelation 3, Jesus said bluntly, “You are dead.” Visitors to the church noticed a lot of activity, but in terms of spiritual life and doctrinal truth the congregation was dead in God’s sight. Yet not everyone. There were a few true Spirit-filled believers in the city of Sardis who were commended by Jesus.

It’s discouraging to see churches die, church buildings abandoned, and ministries struggling to keep their doors open. It’s even worse to see apparently thriving churches that have abandoned the truth of the Gospel. Yet every generation has “a few names”—a handful of faithful servants of God who are committed to following Christ without turning back.

In 1 Kings 19, the prophet Elijah complained he was the only prophet left in Israel, “and they seek to take my life” (verse 14). But the Lord told him, “Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal” (verse 18).

Let’s be among the few who say, “Though none go with me, still I will follow.”

I have decided to follow Jesus. No turning back, no turning back. Sadhu Sundar Singh


A First Century Message to Twentieth Century Christians: Sardis Letter – G. Campbell Morgan

Fearless Giving

Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Malachi 3:10

When my son Xavier was six years old, a friend brought her toddler to visit and Xavier wanted to give him a few toys. I delighted in our little giver’s generosity, until he offered a stuffed animal my husband had searched several stores in different cities to find. Recognizing the high-demand toy, my friend tried to politely decline. Still, Xavier placed his gift into her son’s hands and said, “My daddy gives me lots of toys to share.”

Though I’d like to say Xavier learned his confident giving from me, I’ve often withheld my resources from God and others. But when I remember that my heavenly Father gives me everything I have and need, it’s easier to share.

Fearless giving to God and others reveals our trust in the Lord’s promises and provision.

In the Old Testament, God commanded the Israelites to trust Him by giving a portion of all He had supplied to the Levite priests, who would in turn help others in need. When the people refused, the prophet Malachi said they were robbing the Lord (Malachi 3:8–9). But if they gave willingly, showing they trusted the Lord’s promised provision and protection (vv. 10–11), others would recognize them as God’s blessed people (v. 12).

Whether we’re managing our finances, our schedules, or the gifts God entrusted to us, giving can be an act of worship. Giving freely and fearlessly can show our confidence in the care of our loving Father—the ultimate generous Giver.

Lord, please help us live with full confidence in Your faithful provision, so we can give freely and fearlessly to You and others.

Fearless giving to God and others reveals our trust in the Lord’s promises and provision.

By Xochitl Dixon 

INSIGHT

The command to give a tithe (one-tenth) of one’s income to God was central in ancient Israel (Leviticus 27:30; Deuteronomy 12:5–6; 2 Chronicles 31:4–5). In Israel’s God-ruled government, the tithe helped to provide for the Levitical tribe, which offered sacrifices to the Lord and assisted in temple work (Numbers 18:21, 26), as well as provide for the poor. Today’s passage gives us a stirring warning about the neglect of giving to God, calling it robbery (Malachi 3:8–9).

When Christ came, He fulfilled the demands of the Mosaic law (see Galatians 3:10–13), and there is no longer a required tithe. Instead, believers are encouraged to regularly give to the Lord in proportion to their income and with an attitude of generosity (1 Corinthians 16:2; 2 Corinthians 9:6–7). Giving is an act of worship and generous giving can show our confidence in the God of grace.

In what ways can you worship God this week through your generosity?

For further study see odb.org/2013/11/08/the-blessing-of-giving.

The Power of Christ Over the Flesh

Romans 6:14-18

Bookstores devote entire sections to self-help titles. However, the self-help concept is flawed, since people cannot get rid of their fleshly nature. We can clean up our attitudes and actions temporarily, but lasting change is possible only through the Lord Jesus Christ. When His Spirit is living within us, we can be shaped into successful followers of God.

It’s critical to realize that the Law wasn’t intended for salvation. The commands given through Moses were designed to teach us what sin is and how mankind violates holiness. To lead a God-pleasing life, we must follow biblical principles, but doing so isn’t enough to get us into heaven. The Law was created to drive us to the Savior for salvation; through it, we understand our inability to adhere to the Lord’s rules without His help (Gal. 3:24).

The Law warns that the penalty of sin is death. (See Gen. 3:3; Rom. 6:23.) Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the Law since He took our sin upon Himself and died. When we accept His sacrifice on our behalf, we’re covered by divine grace, and the Holy Spirit comes to permanently indwell us.

Using Scripture, God’s Spirit challenges Christians to bring fleshly habits and thought patterns under submission. He illuminates the believer’s mind with regard to biblical meaning and application. Therefore, the Word is useful for “teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16). The Lord doesn’t want us to go to the self-help section of the bookstore; He wants us to trust Him and surrender to the work of His Spirit. We are to depend on God’s strength, not our own, to conquer the flesh.

Shall Be No More Tears

“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” (Revelation 21:4)

Surely this is one of the most glorious promises in the Bible! No more suffering, no more sorrow, no more death! In this present life, in this present world, every one of us must endure suffering and sorrow in various degrees, and eventually death. But our gracious Savior “hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows,” and because “the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. . . . he was cut off out of the land of the living” (Isaiah 53:4, 6, 8), and He endured for us the awful suffering of death on the cross.

In dying, however, He defeated death, rose from the grave, and is now alive “for evermore” (Revelation 1:18). Thus, He can promise immortal physical bodies that will never die again to all who trust Him.

How can He do this? He “shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself” (Philippians 3:21). “The dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:52).

The believers of pre-Christian days will also share in these blessings. Isaiah recorded a beautiful promise to them, as well as us, hundreds of years before Christ came to make it possible. “He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: . . . And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for him . . . we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation” (Isaiah 25:8-9). HMM

Be Still and Know That I Am

Be still, and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10)

Prayer among evangelical Christians is always in danger of degenerating into a glorified “gold rush.” Almost every book on prayer deals with the “get” element mainly. How to get things we want from God occupies most of our space.

Christians should never forget that the highest kind of prayer is never the making of requests.

Prayer at its holiest moment is the entering into God to a place of such blessed union as makes miracles seem tame and remarkable answers to prayer appear something very far short of wonderful, by comparison.

We should be aware that there is a kind of school where the soul must go to learn its best eternal lessons. It is the school of silence. “Be still and know,” said the psalmist.

It might well be a revelation to some Christians if they were to get completely quiet for a time—a time to listen in the silence for the deep voice of the Eternal God!

 

Truth Established

“The lip of truth shall be established for ever; but a lying tongue is but for a moment.” Prov. 12:19

Truth wears well. Time tests it, but it right well endures the trial. If, then, I have spoken the truth, and have for the present to suffer for it, I must be content to wait. If also I believe the truth of God, and endeavor to declare it, I may meet with much opposition, but I need not fear, for ultimately the truth must prevail.

What a poor thing is the temporary triumph of falsehood! “A lying lip is but for a moment!” It is a mere gourd, which comes up in a night, and perishes in a night; and the greater its development the more manifest its decay. On the other hand, how worthy of an immortal being is the avowal and defense of that truth which can never change; the everlasting gospel, which is established in the immutable truth of an unchanging God! An old proverb saith, “He that speaks truth shames the devil.” Assuredly he that speaks the truth of God will put to shame all the devils in hell, and confound all the seed of the serpent which now hiss out their falsehoods.

O my heart, take care that thou be in all things on the side of truth, both in small things and great; but specially, on the side of Him by whom grace and truth have come among men!

 

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