Garments of Grace; The Coat of Different Colors

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

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But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. Genesis 45:7 NIV-UK

As we take a look in this week’s SS lesson, on the life of Joseph, I would like to share something that I find very encouraging. While Joseph’s brothers treated him very badly, we see them make a complete change. They are repentant and converted. Joseph even refers to them in Genesis 45 as preserving a remnant? A remnant of what? Well in Revelation 7, Joseph’s family has characteristics that reflect God’s remnant church. Sure they had issues. In Revelation 3, God’s last day remnant church has issues as well. It is the only church of the seven churches that the True Witness has nothing good to say about! Yet Jesus calls this church to repent, and since there is no 8th church I have to believe that it does repent. Since Joseph’s family represents the remnant church, I believe they illustrate how God’s remnant people repent, and show us today what true repentance is.

Earlier, Joseph’s brothers had sold him into slavery in Egypt. They told their father he must have been attacked by a wild beast. This of course broke their father’s heart. Years later, when Joseph has made it to the throne of Egypt, his brothers come to buy food. Joseph tests them before revealing himself to them. His final test proves their repentance. Accusing Benjamin of being a spy and a thief, he attempts to lock him in prison. Benjamin is Joseph’s full brother, and son of the mother that Jacob truly loved and wanted to marry in the first place. The father did not want Benjamin to go on the trip after losing Joseph. Now, Joseph is threatening to put Benjamin in prison for spying and stealing. Read how Judah pleads to be thrown in prison instead. “Now then, please let your servant remain here as my lord’s slave in place of the boy, and let the boy return with his brothers. How can I go back to my father if the boy is not with me? No! Do not let me see the misery that would come upon my father.” Genesis 44:33-34 NIV-UK. Judah is showing true repentance. Earlier in Genesis 44 Judah explains how they broke their father’s heart when he lost his first son. Judah is saying that he has broken his father’s heart before, and he will not break his father’s heart again. In fact he would choose to die and rot in a prison cell before he would let his Father’s heart be broken again. So will God’s last day Laodicean people repent as well, when they say with all their heart, “We have broken our Father’s heart before, and we will not break His heart again!”

Revelation 3; Why Are We Lukewarm?

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.     Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and [that] the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.  Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.  Revelation 3:14-21

This is the last of the seven churches, and represents the last church of the Christian era. In every letter to every church, Jesus asks them to overcome, but in His letter to His last day church, He asks them to overcome, “even as also I overcame.” He is asking His last day church to do something beyond what He has ever asked any church to do before. He is asking them to perfectly reflect His character to a world dying for the hope only He can bring. This can only be done by casting away our so called righteousness for His true righteousness. That is what makes us so lukewarm, we are trying to be like God while still trying to be filled with self. We buy God’s gold and white raiment, by trading in our pride and self-righteousness.

We see in this letter, that there is hope! While Jesus does not paint a pretty picture of our condition, He implies that through His grace He expects to see us overcome! I remember when working at UPS once as a part time supervisor, my full time supervisor was rebuking me for a mistake I made. He seemed to be a little rough on me, but he ended the conversation by saying, “When you become a full time supervisor you will understand what I am talking about.” So while my boss did not paint a pretty picture of my current situation, he also implied he expected me to perform better and get promoted! If we study this letter to Laodicea carefully, we can see all the things Jesus can do for  and through us once we put self away.

God’s ideal for His children is higher than the highest human thought can reach. “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” This command is a promise. The plan of redemption contemplates our complete recovery from the power of Satan. Christ always separates the contrite soul from sin. He came to destroy the works of the devil, and He has made provision that the Holy Spirit shall be imparted to every repentant soul, to keep him from sinning.  {Desire of Ages, p. 311}