This message is meant to encourage my brothers and sisters in the faith. It owes a lot to the sermons by Pastor Kring on Revelation that Daisy has been posting.
There are many sources of pain. We may be painfully aware of our own failures. It may seem that our lives mean nothing, that all our efforts have accomplished nothing. Sometimes people we care about wound us deeply, intentionally or not, wrong or right. Wounds like these are sometimes so deep, or our own sense of our inadequacies so bitter, that our soul is in terrible pain.
Worst case scenario, it may have been necessary for God to discipline us.
But God sees everything. He knows the handicaps we labor under – the time and money pressures, the climate of hostility that surrounds us, the fear of losing everything due to being a faithful witness, the acquaintances and families that don’t support us, the poor church leadership – God doesn’t miss one little detail. In King Jesus’ messages to the churches in Revelation, He says one identical thing to all seven churches: “I know…”
There’s an old hymn which says, “Jesus knows all about my trials…” Yes He does.
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”
That bitter disappointment, that undeserved slander, that consciousness of our own failures – all of those things God is using for our own good. How could pain possibly be good for us? The specifics differ, but the goal in all cases is the same: we are being re-shaped into “the image of King Jesus”. Our character, our very souls, are being changed to be like His.
All genuine believers in Jesus Christ have this assurance: our records will be cleared of any sins or failures, because those sins and failures been forgiven and forgotten by God. They are no longer important when we get to Heaven, and will not be held against us here, if we ask forgiveness.
As for inadequacy? God says, “My strength is made perfect in weakness.” The apostle Paul was so convinced of this that he declared, “Three times I pleaded with the Lord about [the ‘thorn in the flesh that had been given me] that it should leave me. But [God] said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2nd Corinthians 12:8-10)
Notice that Paul included insults and persecution in that list. Not just his own weakness, but the unkind or hostile words and actions of others against him.
God knows our intentions. He knows how much we long to honor Him, to be a faithful witness to Him. He knows how much it hurts when we are slandered, when our intentions are misunderstood by others, when it seems that our efforts achieve nothing. But keep in your mind that when we are weak or mistreated, we may be accomplishing results that will make us shout for joy when we see them fully in Eternity. God’s Word does not return to Him void, and if we are trying to share it, we are planting seeds. There is no telling this side of heaven’s gates what God is doing through us. “Now we see through a distorted glass, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now we see only a part, but then we will know as fully as we are known.” (1st Corinthians 13:12)
In one of the latest sermons Daisy posted by Pastor Kring, he was teaching from Revelation chapter 3. He pointed out the most amazing encouragement from Jesus to the only church of the seven addressed about which Jesus had not one good thing to say. After thoroughly rebuking the Laodicean church for everything, King Jesus says this to them:
“Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.”
Do you hear that? Not one good thing could Jesus say about this church, but He loves them! And He doesn’t tell them, “You’re finished. You have embarrassed Me and compromised your witness. I’m coming to take you out of circulation.” NO!
He says, “I love you! Repent, and look what I will do for you: to the one who overcomes, I will grant to sit on My throne!”
As Pastor Kring pointed out – who is an “overcomer”?
“… everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1st John 5:4-5)
And just so there’s no misunderstanding, King Jesus adds, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Those words were spoken to every believer in every time.
If you have been misunderstood or misrepresented, you don’t have to explain to God. His word to you is, “Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie—behold, I will make them come and bow down before your feet, and they will learn that I have loved you.”
If you think you have accomplished nothing, this is His word to you:
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ “
Amen. Thank You, Lord Jesus!
H/T to Heather for finding this song that fits the post so well.