Revelation 2:19, "I know thy works, and love, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first."
Here again we find the same introductory remarks, "I know thy works." The Son of God, Himself, said, "Believe Me for the very works' sake." He put an emphasis on His own works while on earth. The works that He did were ordained of God to inspire faith in Him. It was a great part of His ministry. His Holy Spirit in the apostle Paul said, "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath ordained that we should walk in them." Ephesians 2:10. These works were to inspire faith in Him as they would show forth that relationship to Him that Paul described as "created in Him".
Now works will never take the place of faith in God for our salvation. But works will show forth our faith already placed in Him. Good works won't save you, but they will come forth out of a saved life as fruit unto the Lord. I believe in good works. Even if a man is not saved, he ought to do good works and do the best he can. What is horrible in the sight of God is for men to do evil works and then say that they are doing the will of the Lord. That is what the bishops and popes and the hierarchy of Rome were doing. They were killing, maiming, and doing all manner of evil in the Name of the Lord. They lived out lives exactly opposite to what the Word teaches. In that evil day those true believers shone like a light in a dark place as they continually did good; for they returned cursing with blessing, and did the truth to honor God even though many died for it.
In this verse He is commending His children because they were living changed lives. Their works testified to a new Spirit within. Men saw their good works and glorified God. Yes sir, if you are a Christian you are going to do what is right. Your works will show that your heart is right. And it won't be something that you put on, for you will do His will when no one but God sees you, and you will do His will even if it costs you your life.
"I know your love, service, faith and patience." You will note that their love is placed between 'works' and 'service.' And that is the right place for it, because without love our works are not accepted before God and neither is our service. Paul speaking to the Corinthians said, "Without love, I am nothing, and whatever I do is without profit unless it is done in love." Now you can see right here that these believers weren't in that Nicolaitane class that did works as a means of salvation or to be admired by men. They did their works out of the love of God that was shed abroad in their hearts by the Holy Ghost. That love in their hearts was God's love for His own. Jesus said, "By this shall all men know that you are MY disciples, that you have love one for another." The pagans who saw the lives of the early Christians said, "Behold how they love each other". John said "Everyone that loveth is born of God." I John 4:7.
I want to give a warning right here. It says concerning the last days that because of abounding iniquity the love of many will wax cold. In the Laodicean, or last age, self love, and love for material things will take the place of the true love of God. We need to guard against the power of sin in these last days. So many are getting so hard because they haven't realized the effect of this last day spirit. It is time to draw nigh to God and let him fill our lives with His love, or we will feel the coldness of the last day church, and reject the truth of God which alone is able to help us.
In those dark and dreadful years the true vine held its love for God and love of the brethren. God commended them for it.
"I know your service." Jesus said, "He that is greatest of all is servant to all." A wise man commented on that saying. Here is what he said, "Only history will prove the truth of that dictum." That man was right. All the truly great men of history have been servants. They who demanded to be served; they who oppressed; they who sought to always be at the head, have gone down in shame. Even the very rich are condemned by God when they have not used their wealth right. But look into history and you will find that the truly great were those who served others. History can never acclaim those for whom much was done, but it will forever praise those who did much for others. Now let us apply that to ourselves. Even as the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, so we are to follow that example. See Him as He bows Himself over the feet of the apostles and washes their tired and dirty feet. He said, "You don't know now what I am doing, but you will know hereafter. But what you see me doing, you ought also to do." He became a servant in order that God could elevate Him to the highest heights. And one day in the judgment of the saints we are going to hear Him say, " Well done, good and faithful SERVANT, enter thou into the joy of the Lord." It is hard to be always a servant. But those who spend and are spent for others will one day be seated with Him in His throne. It will be worth it all, then. "Let us labor for the Master, from the dawn till setting sun, Let us talk of all His wondrous love and care, And when all of life is over and our work on earth is done, And the roll is called up yonder I will be there."
"I know your faith." Now he does not say here as He did to the church in Pergamos, "you hold MY faith". He is not talking about His faith now, but He is commending them for their faithfulness. And as He does He also mentions their 'patience.' Now faithfulness and patience go together. In fact patience is the outcome of faithfulness, for it says in James 1:3, "The trying of your faith worketh patience." There is absolutely no other way in which to gain patience. It has to come by the trial of our faith. Romans 5:3, "Tribulation worketh patience." How highly God regards this outworking of our patience is seen in James 1:4, "But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire lacking nothing." God's will for us is Perfection. And that perfection is patience - waiting on God and waiting for God. This is the process of character development. How highly God has commended these saints of the Dark Ages. Patient as lambs led to the slaughter, lovingly, faithfully they served God. That is all they wanted out of life, just service to their Lord. How great was to be their reward.
"I know thy works; and the last to be more than the first." This is certainly remarkable. As the darkness of the age increased; as the honor roll of the martyrs grew lengthier day by day, they worked all the harder, they served all the more, and their faith increased. How tragic it was that in the Ephesian Age love waned. And truly nothing is said of the increased labor of love in the other ages; but in this age, in the darkest of all ages, they served Him even more. What a lesson that is. There is no ceasing of this gracious service of love unto the Lord, but rather an increasing of it. That is the secret. Let the enemy attempt to thwart our service to the Lord - our reply is increased service. When the faint are crying in fear, that is the time to shout the victory.
"I know thy works, and the last to be more than the first." Now as we have already said, this age is called the Dark Ages because it was indeed the darkest period of all history. It was the age of Pope Innocent III who claimed that he was the "vicar of Christ - supreme sovereign over the church and the world," who instituted the INQUISITION which under his direction shed more blood than at any other time except in the Reformation. It was the age of Pornocracy, the rule of harlots. Sagarius III had a mistress and "filled the papal choir with paramours and bastard sons and turned the papal palace into a den of robbers." Anastasius III was smothered to death by Marozia who was mistress to Sagarius. John XI was Marozia's illegitimate son. John XII was the grandson of Marozia and he "violated widows and virgins and was killed while in the act of adultery by the woman's enraged husband." It was the age of Papal Schism for two lines of popes (one ruling from Avignon and the other from Rome) cursed and fought each other. These popes were not only guilty of immoral sex acts (fathering scores of illegitimate children, committing sodomy etc.) but were guilty of selling priestly offices to the highest bidders.
It was the age when the light glowed ever so faintly, yet the few believers labored more fervently as the darkness increased until toward the end of the age many arose attempting reforms. Their labors were so fervent that they paved the way for the oncoming reformation. Therefore as the Word says concerning that age, "your last (end of the age) works are more than the first".
The word, Thyatira, has various meanings amongst which is "Continual Sacrifice". By many this is believed to be a prophecy concerning the use of the Mass which is a continual presentation of the sacrifice of Christ. That is an excellent thought, but it might also mean the continual sacrifice in lives and labors of the true believers of the Lord.
Surely these Thyatirean saints were the cream of the crop, full of the Holy Ghost and faith, created unto good works, showing forth His praise, holding not their lives dear unto themselves, but gladly giving their all as a sweet sacrifice unto the Lord.
Revelation 2:20, Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest (tolerate) that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed to idols."
Now with this verse I want you to drop down to verse 23 and see the proof of a great truth I have been bringing to your attention all along. "And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am He which searcheth the reins and hearts." I have been saying right along that there are actually two churches, though the Spirit speaks to both of them in each age, as though they were but one. Here it is plainly stated that there are churches, and it states just as plainly that some of those churches most evidently do NOT know that He is the One Who searcheth the reins and the hearts. He is going to prove to them that is so. Now then, what churches will be those that do not know this truth? Of course it is the false vine group because the true believers certainly know that judgment begins at the house of God, and they being God-fearing, judge themselves that they be not judged.
Now why does God call these churches His churches even though they are the false vine? The truth of the matter is that they are Christians. But they are not Christians of the Spirit. They are Christians of the flesh. They are bearing the Name in vain. Mark 7:7, "Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." But indeed they are Christians for what else could they be? A Mohammedan is a Mohammedan. That is his religion no matter how he lives it because he subscribes in theory to what the Koran teaches. In the same way a Christian is a Christian as long as he subscribes to the fact that Jesus is the Son of God, born of a virgin, was crucified and died and rose again, that He is the Saviour of mankind, etc. (In fact, in the Laodicean Age there will be those who call themselves Christians because they subscribe to the fine qualities of Jesus, while reserving to themselves the right to deny His Deity. Christian Scientists have done that already as well as multitudes who preach a Social Gospel). He is a nominal Christian and belongs to the church. But He is not a TRUE or Spiritual believer. That kind of a believer is one who has been baptized into the body of Christ and is a member of Him. But nonetheless, it is in God's order that the tares grow up with the wheat and they are not to be uprooted. That is the command of God. Their day for binding and burning is coming; but not yet.
So the Spirit is speaking to this mixed group. On the one hand He is praising, and on the other He is rebuking. He has told what is right with the true believer. Now He warns what the false vine must do if it is to stand justified before the Lord. 7ch030.htm
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