Journal Rev 3 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: [To the church at Sardis] “I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up and strengthen what remains…for I have not found your works complete in the sight of God.” Rev 3:1b-2
[To the church at Philadelphia] “I know your works. Behold I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.” Rev 3:8
[To the church at Laodicea] “I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” Rev 3:15-16
Observation: “I know your works.”
Application: When I started as a Christian way back when, Revelation was a big deal. I was fortunate enough to fall into a group of guys and subject matter experts that God used to emphasize the pragmatic side of Revelation and slightly de-emphasize the sensational side.
Yesterday, I looked at Ephesus and Pergamum. Sterile and shallow, I called them.
Today, looking at Sardis, Philly, and Laodicea, it seems that the descriptions would be Plastic/fake, powerless (not exercising what power they have), and uncommitted to a direction.
All three of these churches have this prophetic word consistent among them: “I know your works.”
I have gotten older (that’s what happens as time slips by), but hopefully I am wiser as well—I have navigated the issues of life (not very well I fully admit) but have kept in my grasp my “first love.”
All five of the descriptions of these churches describe me as well. I have struggled with being sterile and shallow years at a time. Plastic/fake, weak and powerless, and uncommitted. Many times, I have had to pull myself up by the scruff of my neck, slapped myself around a bit…only to find that I had to do it again an hour later and continue that for months.
David did as well. “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God for I shall again praise him, my salvation, and my God.” (Ps 42:11)
This is not just a church review; this is a “face in the mirror” review. If I don’t start with the “mirror”, I am part of the problem, and not a part of the solution: “…this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God (who created all things), so that through the Church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.
This was according to the eternal purpose that he realized in Christ Jesus our Lord…” (Eph 3:8b-11)
Prayer: Lord God, thank you for allowing me to work at a large corporation. My place was never among the hierarchy, but to be able to work faithfully at what was given, I think I made a difference and in your Name.
I pray for those you know I am thinking about. I pray and ask You give them a fresh confidence that you have used them faithfully and will continue to use them to the End of Days.
Help us to surrender more…
Ricky Two Shoes