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I Know Thy Works, And Thy Labour, And Thy Patience– Revelation 2:2
The Lord Jesus Christ does not write to the world, to people in general; he writes to his saints, his elect, those who have believed the gospel of sovereign grace and particular redemption and he tells them that he knows every detail of their condition, he commends some things, he warns against others, he exhorts and encourages and he promises an eternal prize.
He Knows . . .
The glorified Lord Jesus Christ, our God-Man Redeemer, speaks now from heaven and tells his churches, his believing people, his saints in this world, that he knows their works. He knows the situation, the trials and the efforts of his people in his service, then and now. The infinite, omnipotent, sovereign God even now, today, knows everything about our situation as we seek to maintain a witness to the truth of the gospel in this sin-corrupted world; nothing is hidden from his view. Therefore we need to consider these letters (to the seven real, historical but symbolical, churches) as personally relevant to us as we gather together to worship and hear his word preached, whether that be in large or small congregations, or even as individual believers with no physical fellowship make use of the internet to join with brethren to worship and listen to preaching.
What characteristics of the life of believers, of churches in this world, does our Lord Jesus Christ commend? He commends dedication to his cause, to the cause of his Kingdom, evidenced by works arising from true faith in the heart. Half-heartedness has no place in the kingdom of Christ especially in these days when the battle-lines between the world and the truth of God are drawn ever more clearly. The church is in a ‘wilderness’ of separation from the world, its philosophies and values, but it is the place prepared of God for the church (Rev12:6). It is a place of trials, hardship, loneliness and opposition but the place of God’s appointing, the place where Christ prayed the Father that we should be kept from the evil (John17:15). And so Christ commends his people in this world when they have patience in the face of trials of providence and of spirit. He commends them when they are diligent to maintain correct doctrine and will not tolerate primary gospel error and the precepts that arise from it. We must beware of any that teach that the flesh is so corrupt that the outworking of our faith in these bodies does not matter; Christ sees all and he commends the good. – Allan Jellett, Pastor, Knebworth Grace Church, Knebworth, England
“This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners;
of whom I am chief.” -- I Tim. 1:15
AITHFUL sayings ought to be faithfully delivered; and if those who profess to be the servants of God would faithfully deliver this saying, “that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners,” we should hear no more about His offering them salvation, or proposing salvation or putting them into a salvable state, and the like Popish nonsense. He “came to save sinners.” Did he fulfil His errand – or did He not? Did He fail in His mission – or did He succeed? That is coming to the simple point of the question.
Well then, if I am to deliver this “faithful saying” – and I do not know that I shall have strength enough to deliver half-a-dozen sentences upon it – I must tell it as it stands; that as He “came to save sinners,” He either failied in His mission, and left it unaccomplished, unfinished, partly done, or else He did it completely – and then there is nothing more to be done. I must come to the point. I cannot bear with half-way measures in the things of God. I never like them in the things of man – I never like them in matters concerning the world – but in the things of God they are quite in sufferable. It is either grace or works, as Paul has it – and if it be of one it cannot be of the other. If the salvation of sinners were entrusted to Christ, and if He was accomplished it, there can be nothing doubtful, nothing contingent, nothing uncertain; and if men will tell us that salvation depends upon repenting and believing, I will tell them that their assertion is false. Repenting and believing depend upon salvation, and not salvation upon repenting and believing.
From the last sermon preached by Joseph Irons, pastor of Grove Chapel, Camberwell, England -- 3/21/1852
God hath in Himself all power to defend you, all wisdom to direct you, all mercy to pardon you, all grace to enrich you, all righteousness to clothe you, all goodness to supply you, and all happiness to crown you. – Thomas Brooks, England (1608-1680)