Church at Smyrna-2

The risen Christ’s testimony to the Church at Smyrna is for the churches under pressure anywhere in the world. He is no more on the earth but his promise, ‘Lo I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world(Mt.28:20)’ is true. He reveals himself now in a series of contrasts, and it is, obviously in keeping with his own Alpha Omega aspect.
“These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;…(vv.8-9)
Let us examine what would this signify: He knows their works and the circumstances under which they are persevering. So what is sustaining them? Consider this verse:”My Father worketh hitherto, and I work (Jn.5:17)”. By Principle of Association the church at Smyrna is not working by their own strength and devices; nor are they working because of material provisions the world has in store for them. It is grace a sign of which is signified by the seven stars in his hand. The Church can only be preserved because grace of God through the Son has empowered the angel in charge of the church to go on. (One may imagine what is the level of any church if the anointed head of the church were to rely on histrionics and sales pitch of the worldly hucksters?) Grace that the TV preachers speak before the arc lights and grace of God that springs forth for anyone who has put his shoulder to the yoke of winning souls are different things. “I know thy works and tribulation…”
“…And poverty but thou art rich”
When we consider a verse like this:”Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world(1 Jn.4:4),” we ought to realize our calling. Nothing that the world can offer, or what a sentient being make much of can equal than being a child of God. God has reserved for us far more precious that can only the blood of his Son equal. “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all–how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?(Ro.8:32)”It is what Alpha and Omega mean in practical terms and it is called salvation. God adopted us in his Son and we have also transcended the timeframe of our material bodies. Salvation of our bodies ushers the glory of Christian Living into its own.
We have been foreordained to glory. So what shall we make of this body? or material circumstance under which we plod on to be economically viable and build a home-life for which needful things carry price tag. If we our qualifications, expectations and the work do not match how do we face uncertainties in life? Without grace we would be the most pitiable in this world. Can we say with Paul”Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,(Phil.3:8). So we are poor and are sustained as birds in the air and beasts of the fields, nevertheless by the mercies of God.”Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah:/ “Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan./ You will drink from the brook, and I have directed the ravens to supply you with food there.(1 Ki.17:2-16-NIV).” He similarly promised Abraham the land which would only be given for possession at His time. Till then it was for the patriarch to build up his faith. For one through whom all families on the earth were to be blessed God laid the condition. Similarly the Son of man had no place to lay his head upon but salvation of the whole world depended on the way he manifested the love of his Father. Similarly God has raised the bar ever so high for every one of us called to be saints and priests. So our earthly circumstances ought not worry us but our Father which art in heaven knows what we require for our lives and godliness.
(To be continued)

About bennythomas

I am a Dutch citizen. An architect by profession I am married and have six grandchildren. I am still keen on expressing myself and each day is new and an occasion where I might bring out from within something worthwhile.
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