“ESTABLISH THE THINGS THAT REMAIN”
“And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. BE WATCHFUL, AND STRENGTHEN THE THINGS THE THINGS WHICH REMAIN, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. He that overcomes, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels”
God is calling us back into a godly commitment, we must be totally dedicated to the Lord’s cause and totally adhere to do the works as ministers in order to please the Master who called us. We must have a strong sense of intention to please God, be totally dedicated to Him, and be totally focused to do His bidding with all our heart. We must be binding like with an oath to God’s cause of action or totally obligated and restricted in our actions, deeds and thought hereby restricting our freedom of action [doing God’s will from our heart] in order to please the Master. We must begin to serve God out of commitment to His cause and not out of compulsion or convenience. Such are only free to do as God commands.
Ministry is not a means to an end but the end of all means serving God out of a pure heart [2 Chron. 25:2], having the right motives and diligently or ardently pursuing doing God’s will according to the prescription and the specification that God set as a pattern to do the works. Committed ministers are always willing to give all their time and energy only to the Lord’s cause or request. Commitment is a willingness to give our time and energy to God in whom we believe and wholly dedicated to His cause.
“But take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law, which Moses the servant of the LORD charged you, to love the LORD your God, and to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and to cleave unto him, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul”
Joshua 22:5 [also Mark 12:30]
The strongest commitment to God is found in the above statement by Joshua the Son of Nun. Loving God with all our heart is priority to Kingdom service [also in Matt. 22:37-38]. Every fiber of our being, every facet of our lives and diligence in godly service must be focused on diligence in the service of the Master. Such lovers of God willingly agree to serve and obligated to take up responsibilities given to them in such services unto the Lord. Good attitude, loyalty and dedication important in such commitment unto the Lord.
Our service must be selfless, sacrificial and diligently accepting, following and heeding Christ who is our sole authority, guiding light and our unmistakable compass. Jesus strongly spoke that such commitment demands putting Him in first place over father, mother, father, brother and sisters [Luke 12:51-53]; and seeking first Christ and His kingdom with a guarantee that all other things shall be added unto us.
“And thus did Hezekiah throughout all Judah, and wrought that which was good and right and truth before the LORD his God. And in every work that he began in the service of the house of God, and in the law, and in the commandments, to seek his God, he did it with all his heart, and prospered”
2 Chron. 31:20-21
Picking up on our key text [Rev. 2 and 3], in other addresses to the Seven Churches in Asia Minor our Lord began with commendation, but no such word to the Church in Sardis but rebuke. Christ is described in the fullness of His glorious nature, but this church is full of unfulfilled, compromised and dead works. This is so true of the Church today! We begin and do not finish aright, skirt the edges but do not penetrate to the heart, are superficial and disconnected, lazy and not devoted, behave like hirelings when we are sons of God and have been chosen to do the works of Christ.
We do not only fall by the way side but encourages others to join the queue leading to hell fire by our works. The love and deceitfulness of wealth and riches and what money can buy, the cares of this world, little bit of afflictions, persecutions and tribulations choke and strangulates pure, decent and moral love and services to the Lord from such heart.
“Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are: Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets. But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity”
Imagine Jesus Christ saying to the five-fold ministers depart from me for I know you not. In the other rendition of this text [Matt. 25:31-46], Jesus called some of us self-centered by not taking good care of the sheep when we as shepherd has been appointed to care for them body, soul and spirit but we deserted them when they were sick, hungry and under the attack of the enemies.
But he will tell you, ‘I don’t know where you come from. Get away from me, all you who practice evil!’
Luke 13:27 ISV
How few can say with the Master, “I have finished the work”; and of how few it can be said, as by Paul of the Baptist, “He fulfilled his course”! [Acts 13:25]. We must become like Jesus in image and likeness, full of Christ-like behavior or fruits of the Spirit [Gal. 5:22-23]. Part of our responsibilities is to totally become like Christ, be loyal to His cause, strong sense of intention and totally focused on the Lord’s work.
Amid all the disappointing lifestyle in the world today, there were a few living souls who fulfilled their works and did not defile their robes [Holy, righteous and committed]. Men today have become lovers of money and the smallest persecution triggers backsliding of many. Lying, un-forgiveness, immoralities and bitterness made many to draw close to hell than paradise!
Does not this suggest the Transfiguration or transformation to become like Christ is negated? Our white linen of right standing with God must be evident. Our holiness must be impeccable! On the holy Mount, the holy garments of Jesus shone with light; and so the inner purity of the saint MUST shine through and glorifies Christ simplest acts of holiness and righteousness. The holiness we adhere to in this life shall be rewarded by the white robes glistering with the glory of God.
DO NOT BREAK THE COVENANT
“Thou shalt not sacrifice unto the LORD thy God any bullock, or sheep, wherein is blemish, or any evil favoredness: for that is an abomination unto the LORD thy God. If there be found among you, within any of thy gates which the LORD thy God give thee, man or woman, that hath wrought wickedness in the sight of the LORD thy God, in transgressing his covenant, And hath gone and served other gods, and worshiped them, either the sun, or moon, or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded; And it be told thee, and thou hast heard of it, and enquired diligently, and, behold, it be true, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought in Israel: Then shalt thou bring forth that man or that woman, which have committed that wicked thing, unto thy gates, even that man or that woman, and shalt stone them with stones, till they die”
Non commitment to spiritual matters and serve unto our God especially working contrary to the covenant or the terms of service stipulated by God is rewarded by spiritual death. To be carnal is death [Jer. 44:22; Ezek. 6:9, Ezek. 18:21-22]! To do the works according to heaven’s stipulation results in life and peace.
“But he refused, and said unto his master’s wife, Behold, my master know not what is with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand…And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph’s hand all the prisoners that were in the prison; and whatsoever they did there, he was the doer of it”
Genesis 39:8, 22
Like Joseph in Egypt, Jesus has committed all things for Kingdom exploits in our hands, we must keep those things committed into our hands by God then He will stir from heaven to take us up to the next level and commit much more into our hands just like the keeper of the prison committed much more into Joseph’s hand. Take note though that we must have the same attitude and nature of Joseph by sticking to our gun and say “How can I do this evil and SIN against my God”. We must like Joseph and Timothy “…keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called” [1 Tim. 6:20]
MERCY SAY NO!
“And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. And the LORD said unto Satan, The LORD rebuke thee, O Satan; even the LORD that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire? Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel. And he answered and spoke unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused your iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment. And I said, Let them set a fair mitre upon his head. So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the LORD stood by”
The greatest virtue is to live and be committed like Christ so that men can see our good works else if we live otherwise, we will drive men that ought to come into the kingdom away to live a carefree life and become sons of perdition.
I pray that we will contact with the divine mercy of the Lord just like Joshua the High Priest did so that our filthy garment can be exchanged for white linen and a new miter can be placed on our head with the inscription
“Holiness unto our God”.
“ESTABLISH THE THINGS THAT REMAIN”
Jesus is described in the fullness of His glorious nature, but this church is full of unfulfilled, filthy and un-commendable works. What a striking phrase and how true! We begin and do not finish, hear the living word but it does not penetrate to our hearts; we are insincere and disconnected from spirit led life.
There are four evidences of spiritual life. In a living church there will be growth, compassion, unity, and love; and the Lord missed all these in the Sardis Church and bitterly lamented their absence. Of what use was the fig tree to abate His hunger, when it bore leaves but no fruit? Un-fruitfulness is the magnet that draws one towards hell fire.
Amid all this disappointing lifestyle, there were a few live souls who fulfilled their works and did not defile their robes. Does not this suggest that these have been purged, cleansed, set apart and consecrated to God’s holy use? Their righteousness or right standing with God is not as filthy menstrual rags! The inner purity or beauty of the committed saint shines through and glorifies and does the acts of our Lord Jesus. The holiness we love in this life shall be rewarded by the white robes.
Remember Lot’s wife.
“Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it”
“Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee”
1. How you received the Word
You exchanged the bad for the good
“Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves”
2. How you heard the Word
You treated the word as your lifeline
“But he that received seed into the good ground is he that HEARD the word, and understand it; which also bears fruit, and bring forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty”
3. Holdfast to what you hear
You cling to the word
“Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwells in us”
2 Tim. 1:13-14
4. Repent of your evil deeds or immoralities
Acknowledge the fact that you have fallen from Grace and repent
“Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord” [Act 3:19]
HINDERANCES TO COMMITMENT
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind”
2 Timothy 1:7
Fear is False Evidence Appearing Real. Fear brings torment and negates faith without which we cannot please the Lord. God who sent us is most powerful and creator of all things. So if we are on this mission by His commissioning, then we should maintain that no weapon fashioned against us can prosper.
Lack of Confidence
“Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward”
Jesus Christ who called us is the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. Confidence in His Lordship should cause us to stand strong and be bold like a Lion.
“For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end”
We must have confidence in our calling and who called us. No stress or opposition can overcome us for we are fortified to succeed.
Unawareness of Divine Mandate
When men are ignorant of divine mandate and what they are anointed to do, it will be hard to fulfill kingdom mandate. Moses was told seven times “see that you build the tabernacle according to the pattern shown to you on the Mount”. When we know what to do on behalf of the Lord, we will be able to connect with divine wisdom and finances needed to do the works. Until the day that Jehu knew that he was anointed a king, he remained a captain of the army. [1 Kings 19:15-16; 2 kings 9:1-2]
COMMIT THOU UNTO FAITHFUL MEN
“Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that wars entangles himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully”
2 Tim 2:1-5
Such faithful men must leave everything else to follow Master Jesus, but most of us do not. Until Peter got rid of his boat and John and James got rid of their net the POWER of the anointing did not come upon them. [Acts 2:1-12]. It was only borrowed anointing of Christ that worked until then.
“And the [instructions] which you have heard from me along with many witnesses, transmit and entrust [as a deposit] to reliable and faithful men who will be competent and qualified to teach others also”
2 Tim 2:2 AMP
Faithful men …
1. Hear, live and teach Christ principles and patterns
2. Endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ
3. Does not entangles himself with the affairs of this world
4. Strive to please the Master who chose him [It is a privilege to be chosen]
5. Strive lawfully [do not cut corners, walk and work legitimately and do all things agreeably to the rules, ordinances, ways, commandment of the master]
PATTERNS OF FAITHFUL MEN
There are three allegories that Paul the Apostle used to depict faithful men; that is soldier, athletic and husbandman
Soldier: 2 Timothy 2:1-4
There is grace enough in Jesus for every need, but we must avail ourselves of it. We can expect nothing less than hardship or suffering in the process of coming up to Mount Zion, since life is a battlefield and we encounter contending powers on the way. Our one aim should be to please Him who chose us to be soldiers. In order to be all that he would have us be, we must avoid entangling ourselves in the carnal conditions around us. We must resemble a garrison in the town where it is quartered, and from which it may at any hour be summoned away.
“Demas loved this world too much. That is why he left me. He went to Thessalonica”
2 Timothy 4:10 ERV
Relevant scriptures: Luke 9:61-62, Luke14:26-27, Luke14:33, Luke16:13, Luke17:32; Phil. 2:21; 1Tim. 6:10
The less encumbered we are with the affairs of this life [carnality and worldliness – materialism, greed, copy catting others, filth or ungodly riches or seems to be making it after the world’s pattern but has lost their position in God and have the “acquiring all” mentality], the more easily shall we be able to execute the least command of our Great Captain. How high an honor it is to be enrolled among His soldiers!
“Don’t love this evil world or the things in it. If you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. This is all there is in the world: wanting to please our sinful selves, wanting the sinful things we see, and being too proud of what we have. But none of these comes from the Father. They come from the world. The world is passing away, and all the things that people want in the world are passing away. But whoever does what God wants will live forever”
1 John 2:15-17 ERV
Soldiers are trained to fight. So are all Christians, we have the devil constantly engaging us in warfare in order to fall us from glory. Him and the demons we must resist after submitting wholly unto God else we will make a shipwreck of our Christian faith or race.
“This order I give to you, Timothy my son, in harmony with the words of the prophets about you, so that by them you may be strong, fighting the good fight, Keeping faith, and being conscious of well-doing; for some, by not doing these things, have gone wrong in relation to the faith”
1 Timothy 1:18-19 BBE
Athlete: 2 Timothy 2:5
Athlete like Mike Tyson in his hay days have disciplined lifestyle and lives a regimented life. He goes to bed early in order to start training by 5 am. He eats certain diets and avoids other diets like avoiding a plague, trains six days a week especially when preparing for a fight, avoids alcohol, lifts heavy weights, run the tracks daily, labor hard training with a sparring partner that does not spare him but box him hard in order to prepare him for the fights ahead.
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but [only] one receives the prize? So run [your race] that you may lay hold [of the prize] and make it yours. Now every athlete who goes into training conducts himself temperately and restricts himself in all things. They do it to win a wreath that will soon wither, but we [do it to receive a crown of eternal blessedness] that cannot wither. Therefore I do not run uncertainly (without definite aim). I do not box like one beating the air and striking without an adversary. But [like a boxer] I buffet my body [handle it roughly, discipline it by hardships] and subdue it, for fear that after proclaiming to others the Gospel and things pertaining to it, I myself should become unfit [not stand the test, be unapproved and rejected as a counterfeit]”
1 Cor. 9:24-27 AMP
Life is an amphitheater or stadium, filled with spiritual spectators. Probably our worst opponent is found in our own heart. If we win the crown, we must observe regulations as to godly diet, exercise, purity and holiness [1 Cor. 9:24-27, 2 Cor. 7:1]].
Husbandman: 2 Timothy 2:6
We ought to be working for God in His vineyard or harvest-field; and we are allowed to partake of the fruits. It is imperative that we should be nourished while we labor. In all these positions we must remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead. We must draw upon the power of His resurrection, and to do this, we must live on the heaven-side of the Cross.
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live,” Gal. 2:20.
We have been given the seed of the word to sow in the lives of men such that they will grow as the planting of the Lord and so the LORD must find “fruit of the Spirit” on such branches as proof of the genuineness and worthiness of our labor. We must continue to plant the Word of Life in the heart of men, water it continually by way of reminding them the truth while we yet trust the Lord of the Harvest to bring increase and fruitfulness in the lives of those who we minister to.
COMMITMENT TO THE WORD
In order for the WORD of God to grow in our hearts and prevail over every circumstances of life, we must read, study, meditate and do the word of the Master continually. There are two memorable gifts from the heavenly Father first is the unspeakable gift called the Holy Spirit and secondly is the Word of Life. The Holy Spirit works tenaciously wherever we produce the word of life that comes from the lips of the Father. In the very beginning the Father make sure that the Spirit of Jehovah is brooding over the people [sea] in a chaotic situation and once He declared the word, boom there was light
“And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified”
Paul the Apostle admonishing the Church, committed us unto God and that WORD which is able to build us into godly maturity and guarantee our sanctification or excellent consecration. Desecration, pollution, contamination, defilement or unholy lifestyle cause impurity in our hearts and we will lose face with God. Constant eating of the Word of God causes us to put off all these pollutants and put on the garment of righteousness such that Satan dare not hinder us seeing he has no vices in us.
“Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that need not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
2 Tim. 2:15
It is only after you have read and studied the Word that you can now sit back and meditate like a ruminant animal [goat, sheep] and assimilate the Word so that you can have good success and prosper when you observe to do what is written therein.
“This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou may observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success”
God is still looking for faithful, loyal, committed, trust worthy and God fearing men unto who He can commit heavenly grace and gifts unto so that they can stand holy and righteous; doing the works of God from a pure heart like Moses. He is looking for the Mordecai and Esther of our days who can defy dignitaries in order to please the Master saying if I perish in the quest of this kingdom assignment, let me perish.
“My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house. With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the LORD shall he behold: wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?”
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