Revelation 2; No Fear

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Jesus gives seven churches in Asia some relevant instruction for their time and place, but it is also relevant to us as well. The churches also represent different time periods of the Christian era. Jesus loves His church and gives them special instructions to help them with the trials that they will be encountering. Read what He tells the church of Smyrna.

Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast [some] of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.  Revelation 2:10

Usually when someone says, “Don’t be afraid,” we take it to mean that they are going to save us from death. While Jesus is telling His church not to fear, He is not promising them they won’t die. He is just telling them don’t be afraid to die, because I will still give you eternal life. As Christians there are things we should fear a lot more than death, like sin and compromising with the world. Christ promises to save us from evil, and one of the ways He may do that is to let us die and rest until He returns. Those who are asleep in Jesus are eternally beyond the annoyances of sin and evil! And yes, Jesus promises us a crown of life if we are faithful. Not just faithful as long as it does not cramp our style. Not just faithful as long as are lives are saved, but faithful until death. Is that not how faithful Jesus was to us?

 Jesus is not promises us a bed of roses. He is not saying we will never be cast into prison, or die. He is just saying, Hey don’t worry about it. I will still give you eternal life.

Jude; A Warning Against Thinking Grace Covers Immorality

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. Jude 1:4 NIV

There is nothing new under the sun. There have always been people trying to rob the cross of Christ of all its glory. Many people want to use God’s grace as a cloak for sin. But God’s grace is powerful and does way more than cover sin-it gets rid of sin! In Zechariah 3 we read of how Joshua has his filthy clothes of sin removed before the robe of righteousness is put on him. God does not cover sin-He removes it! God’s grace not only frees us from the penalty of sin but also frees us from the power of sin. Grace not only gives us a title to heaven, but it also fits us for heaven. Grace is more than just Jesus dying for me, but me also dying with Him!

For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering.  And so he condemned sin in the flesh,  in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Romans 8:3-4 NIV

Notice the cross does not meet the requirement of the law for us but in us.

Through him we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith for his name’s sake. Romans 1:5 NIV

Grace calls us to obedience.

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins,  in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.  All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.  But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.  And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,  in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.  For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—  not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:1-10 NIV

Grace saves us from more than the penalty of sin, which is death. It saves us from a sinful lifestyle and gives us good works.

For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age. Titus 2:11-12 NIV

Grace enables us to live Godly lives right now!

To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy—  to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.  Jude 1:24-25 NIV