Revelation 2:12-29 (NRSV)
Call to faithfulness
"And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: These are the words of him who has the sharp two-edged sword:
"I know where you are living, where Satan's throne is. Yet you are holding fast to my name, and you did not deny your faith in me even in the days of Antipas my witness, my faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan lives. But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the people of Israel, so that they would eat food sacrificed to idols and practice fornication. So you also have some who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. Repent then. If not, I will come to you soon and make war against them with the sword of my mouth. Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches. To everyone who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give a white stone, and on the white stone is written a new name that no one knows except the one who receives it.
"And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: These are the words of the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like burnished bronze:
"I know your works - your love, faith, service, and patient endurance. I know that your last works are greater than the first. But I have this against you: you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet and is teaching and beguiling my servants to practice fornication and to eat food sacrificed to idols. I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her fornication. Beware, I am throwing her on a bed, and those who commit adultery with her I am throwing into great distress, unless they repent of her doings; and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am the one who searches minds and hearts, and I will give to each of you as your works deserve. But to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not learned what some call 'the deep things of Satan,' to you I say, I do not lay on you any other burden; only hold fast to what you have until I come. To everyone who conquers and continues to do my works to the end,
I will give authority over the nations;
to rule them with an iron rod,
as when clay pots are shattered -
even as I also received authority from my Father. To the one who conquers I will also give the morning star. Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.
Recently I've been thinking a lot about my life story and my ultimate legacy. I now believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that "only what I do for Christ will last."
Since this is true, it is my heart's desire to live in love, faith, service, and patient endurance." It is my sincere goal to go from "glory to glory" in Christ Jesus, used by Spirit to do greater works every single day.
I know that it is not works that gets us into heaven! It is ONLY the love of God revealed to us in Christ Jesus who lived and died and rose again to make atonement for our sin and gift us with eternal life.
But, I also know that scripture teaches us that, "faith without works is dead and without faith it is impossible to please God."
Our good works flow out of a heart overflowing with love and gratitude for God whose Unconditional Love and Amazing Grace makes room for us at the Eternal Banquet Feast.
As I live day by day, hour by hour, second by second, I want to be growing in love, faith, service, and patient endurance.
This is only possible as the Spirit works in and through us making us more like Jesus!
Today, won't you yield your body, mind, and spirit wholly to God so that your last works will be greater than the first?
If so, let us pray:
Oh God! How I desire to be used by you to advance the work of the Kingdom of Love! I know that I can do NO good thing without you. Please move in me by the power of your Holy Spirit to share love for you and others in all that I do! I pray this in Jesus' Name, Amen.