Hi everybody. I’ve been delving back into the book of Revelation, and this is the way it starts out, “The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him to show unto his servants, things which must shortly come to pass. He sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John who bear record of the word of God and of the testimony of Jesus Christ and of all things that he saw. Blessed is he that readeth and they that hear the words of this prophesy and keep those things which are written therein for the time is at hand.”
Now, just stopping right there we know it goes on into telling them to speak to the churches in Asia, but there are a few things that people are missing, and I believe we’re emphasizing some of the wrong stuff here. It’s the revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him. Granted it concerns a lot of this stuff, what’s going to happen at the end times, but this is the revealing of Jesus Christ to the world as in every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that he is the Lord, and it’s the revelation of Jesus Christ as the lightening is from the east to the west.
This is to us, to his church so we will know what’s going on and he explains how God the father is going to reveal Jesus the son through all of the following pages and books and the book of Revelation, all the following verses and chapters out there of how he is going to make His appearance and how God is gong to shake this earth in revealing so when we’re studying this book, or reading this book we’ve got to keep in mind that this is the way God is going to reveal his son, and this is going to shake everything that can be shaken in heaven and on earth so that people, when it is all over with, will say truly, He is the son of God, this is the Messiah, this is the one we’ve been waiting for and every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus is Lord.
A lot of times we get so caught up in the end-times aspect of it we miss these words; “Blessed is he that readeth and he that hear the words of this prophesy and keeps those things which are written therein for the time is at hand.” And we make all these jumps off into the future, but we’re blessed if we read and if we keep, and we say well, how in the world can we keep these words about the dragon and the beast with ten horns and all this kind of stuff, but there is so much stuff that’s written, and it’s written to us.
Okay, it says starting in Revelation chapter 2, “Unto the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These things sayeth ye that holdeth the 7 stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the 7 golden candlesticks, I know thy works, and thy labor and thy patience and how thou canst not bear them which are evil; and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence you have fallen and repent and do these first works or else I will come to thee quickly, and remove thy candlestick out of his place except thou repent. But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate. He that hath an ear let him hear what the spirit sayeth unto the churches. To him that overcometh I will give of the tree of life which is in the midst of the paradise of God.”
Let me try to find this again in a different translation because I want us to pick up on what it says in verse 2 especially. Here we are. “I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance.” I know your deeds, your heart and your perseverance. King James verse 2 says, “I know thy works, thy labor and thy patience that thou canst not bear them.”
Okay, thy works, thy patience and they labor, but hold that thought. I want to point out that it says he that hath an ear let him hear what the spirit says to the churches. Granted, everything I just read to you is to the church, or to the churches, but this one is specifically to the church of Ephesus, but if you’ve got an ear to hear what the spirit is saying to that particular church, then you hear it because it says to him, not to the church, but to him that hath an ear, to him that overcometh I will give to eat of the tree of life.
So it’s important that we as individuals read what he is saying to these churches, see what we can take from it and how we can hold onto it and apply it to our lives because if we hold these things like it says, if we hear and hold and keep those things which are written therein, then we are going to be blessed. We are going to be blessed, and here’s the thing that got the church of Ephesus in trouble. Listen, I know thy works, I know thy labor and thy patience, and that thou canst bear… but then he goes on to say I have somewhat against thee. Thou hast left thy first love.
Folks, how many of us have left our first love? When I first became a Christian, I was just wowy zowy, head over heels. I mean, I couldn’t get enough of this stuff. I almost flunked out of high school. I mean my grades fell like a rock. I’m not bragging, but I spent all my time trying to read, and the only Bible I had was King James. I’m trying to read Elizabethan English, and I have dyslexia on top of all of that, so I was just devoting all my time to reading the Bible, and trying to understand, and going to churches Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night, every chance I had to go to revival.
All I wanted to do was be in the presence of God, and then as I spent more time and went to church and listened to all these sermons, actually I started losing my first love. I went to the place that I thought I was being fed proper scripture. Don’t get me wrong, I learned a lot there at all those different churches I went to and the colleges and that, but the things they taught us isn’t necessarily the most biblical approach.
How many times have we seen a new Christian get saved? I mean, they are just like light bulbs, lit up and they are just singing the praises of God and it just seems like God is pouring out His blessings on them, and how many older Christians just say oh yeah, well they should enjoy this because there’s coming a time when all this is going to come to a screeching halt and then they are just going to have to learn to hang in there, grind it out. He that endureth until the end will be saved. They are going to have to learn how to endure. The kids come back from church camps and they’re all lit up and we are all smiling and we’re happy with them, but we have this in the back of our mind, “Oh yeah, one of these days the reality is going to catch up with these kids. Let them enjoy it right now but it’s going to come to a halt and they’re going to run into that brick wall just like the rest of us and they’re going to have to learn to endure.”
It just breaks my heart because that’s what I was taught also. But listen to what the Lord says, Psalm 37:4, “Delight thyself also in the Lord and He shall give thee the desires of thy heart.” Well, that explains it. New Christians, when we were new Christians and other people that we know are new Christians, when they’re just totally enamored and delighting themselves in the Lord, He is giving them the desire of their heart and He is just blessing their socks right off of them. Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited for these people. This is great, and this is how it’s supposed to be, and this is how it should continue to be, but we get taught that we reverse the emphasis. Yeah. We go from delight myself in the Lord and He shall give you the desires of your heart, and then when we run into problems people say oh, there’s sin in your life brother or sister, there’s sin in your life. You’ve got problems in your life. You’ve got to get right with God. You’ve got to get yourself in a position where God can bless you.
Well, I’ll tell you what that position is, it is being delighted in the Lord. It’s not bawling and squalling at an alter. It’s not out there trying and working your buns off trying to do all this “stuff” that the church has laid upon us, going “You’ve got to obey this and you’ve got to” … that’s not where it’s at. The blessing of the Lord, when He gives us the desires of our heart, is because we’re delighting ourselves in him. What was the first thing they did? He said, “I know but I have this somewhat against you. You have left your first love.” There’s the problem, we have left our first love which is that love that…I don’t know about you but anytime I fell in love with somebody I was in love. I mean, I was delighted and totally trusting that person. I was totally enamored with what they had to say and what they did, and I trust them without reservation, and that is delighting yourself in the Lord. That is that first love that he’s talking about, “Thou has left thy first love.” And he says remember from where you went, remember from where you’ve fallen or from whence you came and turn back to delighting ourselves in Him.
Instead, we were overtly taught you’ve got to make yourself so that God delights in you. It doesn’t say make yourself so that the Lord delights in you and He shall give you the desires of your heart. He already loves us. He loves us so much that he gave his only begotten son. What he wants us to do is be delighted in Him. So we need to put the emphasis back on and become totally enamored with Him. Forget all this other stuff and just say wowy zowy once again. The Lord is good to us, the Lord is great, He has forgiven me of my sins, the Lord has met my needs, and become that loving person where we just fall in love with Him again, renewing that awe that we had of Him. We’re just totally trusting, just totally delighted, and when we’re in that position it’s not in the good things we’ve done, but its in the great things that He has done, and when we’re there, well that’s where the blessing is.
I just go on and on and on about this, but let me find the other scripture. Revelation 2:2 says, “I know thy works, and they labor and thy patience that thou canst not bear them.” Okay, he knows these 3 things, thy works, thy labor and thy patience, but He wants them to go back to that first love situation that they had with Him. Now, I’ll read to you from what the apostle Paul wrote.
Now, remember the apostle Paul, his writings didn’t originate with him. He spent time with the Lord Jesus also. He went to Arabia and there he was taught by Jesus himself the teachings that he hands down to us in his words. So these words you accept just like you would take Peter’s or John’s and we say well, those people walked with Jesus Christ and He taught them. Well, Paul walked with Jesus Christ also and Jesus taught him.
Now, he’s writing to the Thessalonians, and listen to the words that he says, “Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of God and our father. Jesus said, “I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience.” Paul says remembering without ceasing your work, Jesus said I remember your works and labour, and Paul says labour of love, and thy patience, and Paul says patience of hope.
Now, so when Jesus talking says I know thy works, that means I know thy occupation, and when he says I know thy labour it’s a different word and it means I know the weary troubles, the weary toils I should say, the weary toils that you’re putting in, and I know thy patience. I believe since these people left their first love in the letter to the Ephesians, since they left their first love they have went back to what we were taught in the churches of trying to make ourselves delightful to God.
Adam and Eve, from the very beginning had an occupation they were supposed to do. They were to tend the garden, but these words here are words of I know thy works, I know the toil of thy effort, and the other one is I know thy laborious toils, and here when Paul is talking it says I know your work of faith. Well, the work of faith, is not the straining effort of trying to keep the laws and so we become delightful to Him. The work of faith is that joyful loving trust that we have in God, and that’s what we’re called to do.
Our works under the New Testament is the work of faith, and our labour is the labour of love which is going out there and showing this love that He has for us and demonstrating it to the lost and dying world as the old song goes, but that’s our labor. Then we have this patience of hope in our Lord. Remember hope theologically speaking is the idea of something that we haven’t seen yet, but we’re absolutely, positively, beyond a shadow of doubt know is going to happen in the future. We have this hope that we will be redeemed. It’s not I wish or cross my fingers and I hope that I’ll make it to heaven. These things are written so that you may know that you have eternal life.
Therefore, you can have patience because you say “It’s coming to me and I can wait”, but it’s absolutely a sure thing. So the stress, the emphasis that Jesus has in the book of Revelation seems to be more of the working under the law system that he redeemed us from, where Paul is saying I remember you, the Thessalonians, because of their work of faith. Jesus said that he knows their work, but he left off the word faith. He knows their labour, but he left off the word love, and he knows their patience, but he left off the word hope.
So there is a difference between what was going on in the Ephesian church and what’s going on in the Thessalonians church. The Thessalonians had it right. We are to be doing the work of faith which is that trusting in Christ, knowing. People think it’s some kind of a big mystical thing that happens. Faith is a choice. A lot of times it’s just a downright choice saying I know that this is the way it’s supposed to happen, I know that this is what the word of God says, and I choose to operate on the basis of what the word of God says. That is what faith is, is that choice.
And that labour of love up there, it’s just thy labor. We’re grinding it out for Jesus in the book of Revelation, but in the book of Thessalonians it’s a labour of love. It’s something we enjoy doing. Yeah, there is effort in it, but we just love to do it. They say if you ever find a job that you love to do you’re truly not working, so go into that field. So this is what the Christian is supposed to do is labour in love where we love what we’re doing. I love talking, I love sharing the word of God, I love reading the scripture and then going out and trying to teach this to other people. I just enjoy that, and there are promises I know that are going to happen. I know that this is the word of God and it will happen just as sure as the east is where the sun rises.
As we drop on down through here, there’s something else I want to try to get across. “He that hath an ear let him hear what the spirit said unto the churches, to him that over cometh. Now, the overcomer is the one who says oh, I’m not here trying to work my tushy off to make myself delightful to God. Instead, I’m to go back the way it was. I’m just to be totally enamored with him and let the devil take the hindmost. I’m right there just being thrilled with him.
That’s what Mary was doing when He went to the house of Mary, Martha and Lazarus. Mary came out and was sitting at his feet listening to him teach, and Martha came out, she was labouring where Mary was sitting there labouring in His love totally enamored doing this work of faith, trusting that He is the almighty God. He has already healed people, raised the sick, raised the dead, walked on water, fed the thousands, and she is trusting Him if there is anything that really needs to get done. I’m trusting you with the most important thin, that I be in your presence Jesus. That’s what Mary was going for, while Martha was going for I’ve got to make myself delightful to God, to Jesus, so He will bless and be wowy zowy’d by me, where Mary was just saying oh, forget all that. I’m just going to sit right here and soak it up.
The person who overcomes is the person that resumes, or goes to the position of Mary where what you want to do is be in the presence of Jesus Christ. Then you’re an overcomer, and if you’re an overcomer He said I will give to eat of the tree of life. Remember the whole thing that got us all in trouble to begin with was in the book of Genesis and God, this idea of the tree, Jesus said I’ll let them eat of the tree of life. When God in the beginning said in Genesis 1:11, “And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass and herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after it’s kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.” So we have the creation of the trees.
Now, there were two trees that were put there. Every tree was pleasant to look at and looked good and there was a tree that was good for food. There was the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. He didn’t want us to eat of the knowledge of good and evil. Notice it’s the word knowledge there, and knowledge means to have intimate communion with, that’s not quite the right word, an intimate relationship with…and the only way you can have an intimate relationship with evil is to get right there in it. It’s like a husband and wife having an intimate relationship. You get to know them completely. And so if you want to have an intimate relationship with good and evil, you are going to have to jump into it and get to know evil and that’s what eating of that tree caused mankind to do is to have an intimate knowledge of evil and what evil truly is.
We not only looked at it with disdain, we have experienced it and we also have committed it with ourselves, committed evil ourselves in some way. So there was this tree of life. By partaking of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, we died. Then notice what it says in 1 Peter 2:24. “Who His own self bore our sorrows in His body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes we were healed.”
Adam and Eve partook of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Jesus hung on a tree. Just like they took what hung upon the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and consumed it and therefore had a perfect understanding of evil. Jesus’ body was hung on a tree, and He tells us, like at the Lords Supper, this is my blood which is shed for you, this is my body which is broken for you, take and drink, take and eat. A different place he said I am the bread of heaven. He who eats of my body and drinks of my blood, so as he is hung on the tree, we are to take of Him, from Him, and we are to eat. By that action we are coming into intimate knowledge with righteousness. We are coming into a perfect relationship again through Jesus Christ because it says he bore our sins in His body on the tree. Being dead to sin so we eat and that is what is killing our sin.
Now, I don’t want you to think it’s in the cup or it’s in the bread. Some people think well if I eat the bread, or I drink the cup, that’s what causes it. But listen to what it actually says in 1 Corinthians 22:26. “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.” We do this in remembrance of Him, but it’s the death that we are to be emphasizing. The bread and the cup is to cause us to show His depth that He took our sins, that His blood washed away our sins. He paid the price, and by His stripes we were healed.
Yeah, that’s what it says in 1 Peter, we were healed by His stripes, and as we come to understand and trust this stuff, I believe there will be more and more healings in the church of Jesus Christ as we understand that His body was broken so that our body wouldn’t have to be broken. He suffered our failures which includes our diseases so that we wouldn’t have to suffer with these diseases, and as we understand, become totally enamored and delighted in Him, He gives us the desires of our heart. So I believe we will have more not just miracles, but more healings and things like that happening as we are more and more delighted in him.
The interesting thing also in 1 Peter 2:24, is where it says He bore our sins in His body on the tree, that is the same word as used by Jesus in Revelations 2:7, “I will let them eat of the tree of life.” So we are back to eating of the tree of life. This is what’s given to those people who overcome. It becomes efficacious because we’re totally enamored with Jesus and what He did, and we’re delighting ourselves in Him and we understand just like when we first became Christians. My sins are washed away! This is just amazing to me. My sins are washed away, Jesus did it while I was imperfect and yet He thought that much of me. This is the greatest man in the whole world. I don’t understand it, but I want to be in His presence, I want to understand Him, and that’s what He says the people of Ephesus have fallen from, and that’s what I believe most of us have fallen from mostly because that’s what we were taught in the churches we went to.
Instead of saying everybody has problems, you just keep focused on Jesus Christ. Go take communion, focus on his death and realize what He did for you. He washed your sins away. He washed those failures away. You have righteousness by association. Not by earning, but by the fact that He gave it to you. It doesn’t matter how you get it, just as long as you got it, and if He gives it to you as a gift it’s yours just as much as if you earned it, and since you have not the ability to earn it you’re only hope of having righteousness is to be gifted that righteousness.
So trust in Him and he will give you the gift of righteousness, and whenever we’re totally delighted in Him, then all the blessings start coming to us. We need to have ears to hear what the Bible says. We need to do what Paul said which is to go back to work of faith, not just works; labor of love, not just working; and patience of hope, not just sitting there going we’ve got to grind it out. We need to go back to what the Thessalonians had, what they still understood, what the Ephesians had lost. Work of faith, and that’s trusting in Jesus Christ. Labour of love, we do it because we love it. Patience of hope, we know that there’s a sure promise coming our way because we’ve delighted ourselves in Him. He will give us the desires of our heart.
Shall we pray? Father, in the name of Jesus, you are so great because while we were still imperfect and really didn’t care what you thought about us, and while we were out there experiencing evil by our own deeds or watching it or cheering other people as they did evilness, you still thought that much of us that you said I want those people for my children. Thank you for being patient with us. Thank you for calling us into the presence of your son, and Father we ask that you help us because we’ll fail in turning this back around and saying Jesus, you’re great. God, you’re wonderful for what you did. So I ask that you work within us through your Holy Spirit and bring that change back into our lives where once again we are totally enamored with you and your son. All glory and honor to you through Jesus Christ. In his name I pray. Amen.
Once again, thank you everybody for listening or reading. May God bless you in each and every way, each and every day. Have a good one.