Weekly Devotional 8-28-23 Accountability
Being Christian is wonderful, there is no greater blessing. We have been brought into fellowship with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We have the indwelling Holy Spirit of God who previously convicted us of our unrighteous standing before God, who softened our heart toward repenting of our sin and a willful surrendering of our lives to Jesus’ lordship. Presently, He aids our understanding and enhances within us a desire to serve our Lord. In the traumatic times we live; He gives us peace and assurance. Assurance that our sins have been forgiven and that we are indeed God’s children. He continually reminds us that even though we are beset with many calamities of life, God has everything in control. He reminds us that we will someday (perhaps soon) be in His presence and will be there for eternity. An eternity where God will have wiped away all tears and there will be no more death, nor sorrow and no more pain (see Revelation 21:4). God has done a wonderful work on our behalf. The amazing thing is these things are unmerited by us. There is nothing we could have done to deserve such blessings. The Apostle Paul wrote of this blessing in his letter to the Ephesians, consider:
“1And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the [a]course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Ephesians2:1-10).
According to verse 1 God made us spiritually alive even when we were spiritually dead toward Him… (spiritually separated from Him). With these things in mind I now want to get to the intent of this devotional, our accountability. Even though our salvation is free and secure, God has purposed that we produce good works (Vs.10) among which is doing our part in maintaining the purity of the church. One of the best places of determining our part in the maintaining such purity is found in Jesus’ letter to 7 representative churches found in Revelation 2 & 3. In that letter Jesus commended certain of their practices but also condemned certain practices. Consider…
“To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, ‘These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands: 2 I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; 3 and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. 4 Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent. 6 But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.’
18 And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write, ‘These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass: 19 I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first. 20 Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. 21 And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent. 22 Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds. 23 I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works. 24 “Now to you I say, and to the rest in Thyatira, as many as do not have this doctrine, who have not known the depths of Satan, as they say, I will put on you no other burden. 25 But hold fast what you have till I come. 26 And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations—27 ‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron; They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’—as I also have received from My Father; 28 and I will give him the morning star.29 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
Chapter 3: 1And to the angel of the church in Sardis write, ‘These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. 2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God. 3 Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you. 4 You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. 5 He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. 6 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’
14 And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: 15 know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come into him and dine with him, and he with Me. 21 To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. 22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’”
These 5 churches were bringing dishonor to the Lord and were poor witnesses of His person and glory. The Ephesian church had lost their love for Him, putting other things first. The church at Pergamos allowed false teaching. The church at Thyatira allowed people of the flesh (non-Christians) to infiltrate with their worldly lifestyles (including immoral living). The church at Sardis acted like they were alive and productive but inwardly it was dead, and non-productive. The church at Laodicea was indifferent to the cause of Christ and in fact had turned Him out.
Of the seven churches, only two (Smyrna and Philadelphia) received no condemnation for their conduct, they instead received commendations.
To be pleasing to the Lord and effectual witnesses we must be like those two churches.