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Looking Unto Jesus

Sunday Morning 01/08/2023 – Pastor Eric Davis

Back in Revelation again this morning. And I know it’s going to sound like an unusual message for the, the day that we’re living in the news that we’re getting and, and different things. But I believe, I really believe after studying it and looking through it, that this is what God would have for us this morning. Revelation, chapter number two, and starting verse number eight, this is the second letter that the Lord wrote to the churches. And as we said before, there were, there were seven letters that the Lord gave to the churches and there was a threefold application that had a local application to the church there. And at the beginning that actual physical, local church had a message directly to them. And I believe, looking now, I don’t think the Apostle John was able to know this at that time, much like the Old Testament prophets when they pinned down things that they didn’t understand. But I believe, looking back, we can see that there were seven distinct church periods where each letter represents a certain period during church history from the time of the beginning of the church all the way until the rapture of the church. But there’s also a third application. Look down with me to verse number eleven. He that hath in the ear, let him hear what the spirit saith unto the churches. It’s an individual application. You and I can learn even from this letter, there’s something in here for us and I believe there are some things that are still true with certain churches from this church in Smyrna all throughout the world. There are some things that we can learn from this later, so we’ll get into it. But let’s pray first and thank the Lord for the day. Heavenly Father lord, we thank you for your word. Thank you for your not throwing the clay away, Lord, keeping us working on us. Lord, thank you for second chances, third chances, fourth chances. And Lord, thank you for the opportunity to serve you. Lord, I pray that you would help the messenger this morning to deliver the message that you would have us to hear and help us to receive it and to what? Encourage the hearts that need encourage comfort, those that need comforted, and do the work that only you can do. In Jesus name we pray. Amen. Revelation, chapter two, verse number eight. And under the angel of the church in Smyrna, write these things, say it the first and the last which was dead and is alive. No matter how many times you read dead, isn’t it a blessing who was dead and is alive? I know thy works and tribulation and poverty, but thou art rich, and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer. Behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried ye shall have tribulation. Ten days be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. He that hath the ear, let him hear what the spirit saith under the churches. He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death. A little bit of background for this local church. We know that. Bear with me a little bit this morning. You pray for the preacher this morning. Okay. The first letter that was given was sentenced to the Church of Ephesus. And the message there we dealt with last Sunday night. I believe the Lord is saying to the church today, you and I as Christians, do you love me? Have you left your first love? And just as a reminder, we come to church and we can put on an outward appearance, we can go through the motions, we can sing the songs, but are we doing it out of heart, full of love, out of love for the Lord? Are we doing it just out of habit, out of ritual, tradition, fear of what somebody may say? Do we love the Lord like we once did? And if we don’t, he says, remember from where you’ve fallen, repent and do the first works. He said, Come back to me. He said, I’m not going to throw the clay away. Sister Terry sang, I’ll give you another chance. I want you your fellowship, I want your service. I want your heart to be back with me. Do you love me? I think that’s why he asked Peter three times. Peter, do you love me? And we kind of switched gears a little bit. It seems like verse number eight when we go to the church of Smyrna. But really it’s a similar message. The word smyrna comes from a word that means bitter. The root word means bitter. It means myrrh. And it’s an ointment that’s often associated with death. When they buried the body of our Lord and Savior, they brought a mixture of spices and one of them was myrrh. It’s interesting, we’ll get to that in a minute. But when the wise men brought gifts to the baby Jesus, remember what they were? His gold frankincense and myrrh. The gold would speak of either his deity or his royalty. I get those mixed up sometimes. But as his being king, didn’t the frankincense, he was a high priest then the murder though his suffering because it would point to his death. And at his death they offered him wine mingled with murder. It has a picture of suffering, of sorrow. And this local church was going through the heat of persecution in their church. You and I know nothing of persecution like the early church knew in church history. This period would run from about Ad. 54 to Ad. 312. And the Roman Empire would persecute the churches in ways that you and I would be shocked to read about. Have you ever read some of Fox’s book of martyrs? And the things that they suffered for the Lord Jesus Christ. And may I say, that’s still going on today in other parts of the world. Think of Russia. Think of China, of India. These countries that are closed, and I know other countries as well, around the world, they have to worship the Lord in secret. The churches that they have that are public churches aren’t necessarily true churches. They have to worship the Lord in secret because of persecution. You and I, to a degree, have been a little bit callous to the fact, a little bit spoiled. We’ve grown content in our country because we can come and go as you please. The day may be coming where we’ll have to suffer persecution here, but regardless, there’s application here for us. But that’s what the word means. They were in the midst of great persecution here. The devil would love nothing else than to stop the work of the Lord, the work of God. He’s tried. He’s tried through persecution. He’s tried to bring in the world in through compromise. May I say, by and large, though he’s had a little bit of success, by and large, he has failed, right? I know he’s had success with individual churches, individual people. But Matthew 1618 tells me, upon this rock Jesus said, I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against him. So until the rapture happens, there will be a true remnant of Bible believing Christians still on this earth. I want to be part of that, don’t you? I want to be faithful unto death. So he’s saying, just let me set the stage a little bit with some of the persecution. Let me read a little bit to you from the Fox’s book of martyrs, just a couple of the individuals during this period of persecution. Polycarp, you may have heard of him. They say that he was the bishop of Smyrna. A little bit later on that he was the pastor. There, hearing that persons were seeking for him, escaped of what was discovered by a child. After feasting the guards, he made a feast for the guards who apprehended him. He desired an hour in prayer, which being allowed, he prayed with such fervency that his guards repented that they had been instrumental in taking him. He was, however, carried before the pro consul, condemned and burnt in the marketplace. The pro consul then urged him, saying, swear and I will release thee. Reproach Christ. Polycarp answered, 86 years have I served him, and he never once wronged me. How then shall I blaspheme my king who hath saved me? Amen. What a testimony at the stake to which he was only tiled, not nailed as usual, as he assured them that he should stand immovable. The flames encircled his body like an arch without touching him. And the executioner, on seeing this, was ordered to pierce him with a sword when so great a quantity of blood flowed out as extinguished the fire. He died. His body, at the instigation of the enemies of the Gospel, especially the Jews was ordered to be consumed in the pile and the request of his friends who wished to give it Christian burial was rejected. They hated him, but he was faithful unto death because of his Lord. Germanicus was a young man, but a true Christian being delivered to the wild beast on account of his faith behaved with such astonishing courage that several pagans became converts. And you could go on and on. And I’m not going through this morning, but I’d encourage you to get a copy of that book and read some of the accounts of young ladies suffering for the cause of Christ and standing immovable when that time came. The persecution and the shame that they’d have to go through. But their faith in Christ stood firm of young men doing the same. The author, Mr. Fox, has this to say said though persecuting malice raged yet the Gospel shone with resplendent brightness and firm as an impregnable rock withstood the attacks of its boisterous enemies with success. I like that, don’t you? It stood firm, let me tell you. Even today, the truth stands firm against the devil’s attacks. Now, you and I may not be going through persecution right now at this particular time. There may be a time when we do and we’ll be called upon to give our life for the Lord. I want to be willing to give my life for Jesus. Don’t you? It’s been said before. I want to remind us that we won’t get to that point. Be willing to give our life for the Lord. If we’re not willing now to give our life to the Lord, it comes as a habit of giving your life daily to the Lord. Suffering comes to all of us, whether or not we have persecution. And we can receive comfort from the letter that God gives to this particular church. First, he says, I want you to consider the author of the letter. Look at how he addresses each individual letter. He’s addressing himself in a different manner. That’s encouraging to me. Do you have a need? Maybe your need is different than somebody else’s need. But you find that need met in the same place that this other person finds their need met in the Lord Jesus Christ. He meets our needs. Amen. Verse number eight. These things, saith the first and the last, which was dead and is alive. A couple of quick things. He knows the situation. He knows the situation that you’re going through. There are no surprises to our Lord and Savior. He is God. We mentioned that earlier. He knows the end from the beginning and so he knows the way through your trial. He knows the end of your trial. There’s no surprises to him. He also knows my suffering. Hebrews, chapter two, verse 18. I think we’ll revisit this in a minute. But for in that he himself hath suffered, being tempted, he’s able to secure them that are tempted. He can comfort you. It is a blessing. When I remember small and maybe silly examples in my life, but when I was in school seeing older students graduate and say, if they can get through this, maybe I can too, right? And as you grow up and you experience other things in life, you see somebody else going through difficulties in life, say they made it through. That’s an encouragement to me. I can make it through, too. And that’s what the Lord is telling us here. He said, I’ve already been there. I’ve got victory over that suffering, over that situation. He which was dead and is alive. Look back over to chapter number one, verse number 17. When I saw him, John speaking, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, jesus speaking, fear not. I am the first and the last. I am he that liveth and was dead. That’s the same thing he just told the Church of Smyrna, right? Fear not, don’t be afraid. No reason to be afraid. And behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And have the keys of hell and of death. Jesus went through greater suffering than you and I will ever go through, than this church ever went through. Say, that which happened to polycarp was awful and I don’t know what I would do in that circumstance. I pray that my faith would be as strong as his was. But you know what Jesus went through far worse than what he went through. No one suffered any more than our Lord and Savior suffered. Hold your place here. Turn with me to Hebrews chapter number two, verse number nine. Couple of pages back, hebrews two, verse number nine. But we see Jesus, who is made a little lower than the angels for suffering of death. Again, Jesus cannot be an angel. That’s a false teaching. They are in error, crowned with glory and honor that he, by the grace of God, should taste death for every man. Jesus tastes death for every man. We’ll just go ahead and kick out two false doctors here while we’re here. There’s not an individual that’s ever been predestined to hell. There’s salvation available to all mankind if they’ll just trust in Jesus Christ as their Savior. You can be saved, neighbor down the street can be saved, so on and so forth. For it became Him for whom are all things and by whom are all things. In bringing many sons under glory to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. I’m glad I know who my Captain is. Aren’t you? And my Captain, my leader, has already gone through the worst thing that anybody could ever go through. He suffered not only death for all of mankind, he suffered the wrath of God the Father. Point out his wrath upon his Son to save you and me. He suffered my hell and my death. Your hell and your death. And he was made perfect through sufferings for both he that sanctifies and they who are sanctified of all of one for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying, I will desire, I will declare thy name unto my brethren. In the midst of the Church will I sing praise unto Thee and go down with me. To verse 14. For as much then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same. God became man. Why? That through death he might destroy him that had the power of death. That is the devil. Not only has he defeated death, he’s defeated the devil. We are facing in this body a defeated foe. Though this body may die and may pass away, that is not the end. Jesus has already made sure that when I’m absent from this body, I’m with the Lord. And I’ll see this glorified body when he comes back and comes to call the Church out, that’s not the end. And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetimes subject to bonus. So here’s the thing. I don’t have to be afraid to die. I don’t. I’ve never died before. Have anybody in the here ever died before? Okay, I’d be afraid to raise your hand. Amen. And I wouldn’t buy any books that say that they’ve spent five or ten minutes in heaven. I don’t believe that. I believe God has given us his inspired word. And if anybody visited heaven and came back and told about it, it was maybe the apostle Paul and the apostle John who got a glimpse in the glory. Everybody else is looking to make a buck, so don’t believe what they say. Go to the scriptures. But I know when that time comes, the Lord is going to go through that valley with me, just as he’s been with me all through life. And I don’t have to fear what may lay ahead. I know we don’t want to leave our loved ones. We don’t want to see our loved ones suffer and grieve, but God will be with them too. Many of you that have loved ones in glory, you know that God’s been with you. There’s been times of sorrow, been times of grieving, and I’m sure that memories linger and stay with you. But I know you can attest that God goes with you too. And we haven’t lost them, and we will see them again. For verily. He took not on him the nature of angels because he wasn’t an angel, but he took on him the seat of Abraham, wherefore in all things it behooved him to be made likened to his brethren that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God and make reconciliation for the sins of the people. And I want you to look at verse 18 again. For in that he himself hath suffered, being tempted, he is able to secure them that are tempted. What is it you’re going through, not making light of your situation, but what is it that you’re going through? Your trials, your tribulations? Sometimes things come into our life. It may not seem big to anybody else, but it’s sure it’s big to us. Relationships don’t always pan out the way that we intended them to. The paycheck doesn’t always last as far as you need it to. There are things that come up, there are family situations that come up. There’s trials. What is it you need? You can go to the Lord who has the answer. He knows what it’s like to suffer as you and I suffer. He became us not only to take on Him the sins of the world, but so he could know what it is going through. This life that you and I go through. I know that’s not proper grammar, but you put it in his proper order, okay? And put the right words where they go. You know what I mean? Okay. Go back with me to Revelation, chapter number two we mentioned Myrrh was at his birth. The wise men brought it at his death. It was at his burial. Nicodemus brought a mixture of mir. Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea brought a mixture of mir and alos. You know what’s interesting? At his second coming, he’s presented with gold and frankincense. Isaiah, chapter 60, verse six. But not mer. He is our sovereign, mighty sovereign. He’s no longer our sufferer. Amen. He’s conquered death, hell in the grave. No more. No more. For that to have sway over him, he rose victorious and alive forevermore. Matthew 28 20 lo, I am with you always, even until the end of the world, said Jesus. Amen. Always, no matter what it is you go through in this life, jesus said, I am with you. When these early Christians would suffer, and these Christians today in other parts of the world that we don’t hear about and we won’t hear about till we get to heaven, when they suffer for their faith in Christ, the Lord stands with them. Send out what Paul said. He said, Every man forsook me, but the Lord stood with me. You can be assured that when it comes time for you to face something that’s greater than you, jesus is standing with you. He’ll always stand with you. He’s present with you. Look at verse number ten, his presence through suffering. Also at the last part of verse ten. Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. Who is it that welcomes you home after that? Jesus. Jesus himself hands out the reward. Wouldn’t that be a consolation and a comfort to somebody facing death for their faith in Christ? Here’s the message look unto Jesus mentioned at Sunday school hebrews twelve two looking unto Jesus. The title of the message could be a number of different things. And we still got a little bit more to go, so don’t get too excited. But I’ve thought of a different thing, maybe the cost and reward of being faithful, or looking to the faithful. One victory through suffering. I think here’s what the Lord’s telling us. Are you willing to be faithful to me unto death? Can I remind you he was faithful to death for us? Revelation One Five unto Him that loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood, he was faithful to death for us. Now, because he’s faithful, he said we could be faithful. How do you get through difficult things in life? How do you get through this persecution, this suffering, the tribulations that come our way? We consider who Jesus is. That’s why he started out the way he did these things say it the first and the last. Listen, I know the end of your life. I know the beginning of your life. I’ve been there. I’ll be with you all through life, even when your life is done. I too pass through that valley and I’m going to go with you. When that time comes, you know what, I’m alive and you shall live too. He said, You’ve got to remember who Jesus is. I think that’s the answer to all these letters. That the Lord’s right, remember who Jesus is. Have we left our first love? Do we remember what Jesus did for us? Look at his admonition. He said verse number nine. He says to every church, I know thy works, some of their works. Think about with me, if you will, if you’re suffering. Many of you have heard about the catacombs. They’re in the Roman Empire and there’s Christians buried, many of them buried under the catacombs. There’s lost people buried there too. And it’s amazing to see the inscriptions on the burial places of those that were saved and those that weren’t saved. There’s no hope for the ones that weren’t saved, but the ones that were saved. There’s talks of hope, there’s talks of resting in peace, of passing in peace. And they suffered cruel and horrific death. But God went with them and God helped them. He said, I know that works. Now, if you’re living in that time frame, if we were under threat of persecution here and we had to meet secretly for fear of our life, some of our works would be hidden, right? We wouldn’t declare that, hey, we’re meeting at such and such a time at this particular place. We might talk privately. Some of the things that we do, we may try to leave a track discreetly. Not that we’re afraid of death, but we’re trying to prolong the ministry as long as possible. And so there would be some hidden words. But you know what Jesus says, men may not see, but I see. Think about Sunday school teachers, a junior church teachers, master club teachers, those that work with our young people. You may only have one or two or just a handful. And you may think I’m studying. I’m giving my heart and my life into this lesson, into this message. And it doesn’t seem like there’s much fruit from it. Where’s the fruit may not seem like it’s doing much, but God sees. God sees. Aren’t you glad of that? You may be trying to live for the Lord at your workplace and nobody else is living for the Lord. You may be the only honest one there and could get by with anything in the world, but God sees God’s taking note of it. Excuse me. God sees even our hidden works. God sees our faithful works. Be faithful. Just be faithful. And I believe our works are recorded not to get saved. You know that. But I believe he’s going to reward us. Reward you? Reward you for your faithful service to Him. You wish you were more faithful to Lord. I do. If we were honest, I think we would all say that. I look at how he’s been faithful to me and I say to myself, why couldn’t I be more faithful to him? Is it that hard? I’ll tell you this morning, I’ll just be honest with you. Who I have the most trouble with in the church is this fellow right here. He gives me more problems than anybody else. So you’re okay. You’re safe, okay? You’re not the worst one. It’s right here. He said, I know thy works knowledge. He said, I know thy tribulation. I know what you’re going through. I know your trials. We sing that song choir does. I know what you’re going through. He knows what we’re going through. He who suffered calvary knows our suffering. But look also he said, I know thy poverty. These were individuals that gave everything that they had. Their social standing was gone. Today we reverse it. We leave Christ so we can keep our social standing. There are people that stand up in our government, and maybe they’re saved, maybe they’re not. But they would not dare name the name of Christ in public unless it helped them because of fear of what it might cost them. I hope that’s not anyone in here. But they sacrificed the loss of all things. They lost possessions, they lost employment, they lost social standing. They lost their lives. They were separated from family members. These were poor individuals, much poorer than you and me. They gave all that they had to the Lord. But you know what Jesus said? Thou art rich. I want you to compare that. We’re going to jump ahead. Revelation, chapter three. Turn over there, hold your spot. Revelation, chapter number three, verse number 17. This is the church of Leona Sin. I believe this is the church age in which we are living. We’re increased with goods, he said, 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. He said, Listen, you think you’ve got everything that you need. You think you’re wealthy because you got beautiful church building. Bless the Lord for Brother Gary that maintains it. Brother Jim’s work on it, and Brother Bills work on everybody’s. Work on it. But we’re not rich because we got a beautiful church building. We’re not rich because maybe we have money in the bank or we support missionaries. True riches are following the Lord Jesus Christ. We may be the poorest church around, but if we’re following the Lord Jesus Christ, we’re rich. That’s what he’s saying. He said, you may be poor, but I want you to know you’re not poor. You’re rich. You’re rich in me. What a welcome home they received. When they’re standing before the Lord and they have nothing, they have nothing left. And Jesus says, welcome home, thou good and faithful servant said, you’re rich. You’re much richer than you think you are. Look at the spiritual blessings. What’s the Bible say? Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth where moth and rust ARETH corrupt and where these break through and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven where moth and rust doth corrupt. These individuals had treasure in heaven. That’s what I want. Say what you want. Listen, you and I, okay, I’ll leave you out of it. If it applies, you put yourself in it. Get so tangled up with the things of this life, whatever it may be, that the distractions of this life. Get so enamored with the things of this life that I don’t lay up for myself, treasure in heaven like I ought to. I’m more concerned there are times I’m more concerned with things here on this earth, with temporal things that ought not be, because that that’s all going to pass away. It’s all going to leave one day. Luke 1215. A man’s life consists, if not in the abundance of the things which he possessed. This was a church that knew that it was a rich church, though they were poor. I want our church to be considered rich in the sight of the Lord. I don’t want to have a rich bank account. I want to make sure we have enough in our account to meet our needs and have a little bit extra to meet the needs again in case something were to happen. I don’t want to sit on a large bank account. Amen. I want it to use it for the glory of God and the missions account. I thank the Lord. We send out missionaries. We give to missions, keep giving the missions, keep the money rolling through. Amen. What you give to the Lord’s work will not return void. You may not see that dollar again on this side of eternity, but I believe it’s. Multiplied not in dollars, but in spiritual blessings on the other side of eternity. I hope you know that. I hope you see that Saint Corinthians 16 as having nothing and yet possessing all things. Listen, I’d rather die a poor man’s death and have nothing left and have given my life to the Lord and having treasure in heaven, this church knew that, and what a commendation, what a praise from the Lord himself and say, you may be poor, but thou art rich. He said, I know your works, I know your tribulation, I know what you’re going through, I know your poverty. But listen, you’re really rich. I want you to know you are really rich. He said, I also know your enemy. I know who is coming up against you. I know the people that are coming up inside. They’re infiltrating inside. Maybe they’re claiming to be somebody that they’re not to catch you in your words. Maybe there’s false teachers out there. There’s enemy out there that’s directly attacking you. He said, I know the blasphemy of them would say there are Jews and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. He said, I see that, I see them for who they are. There may be others that don’t catch who they are, maybe following their wicked ways. But he said, that doesn’t escape me. Listen, nobody is pulling anything past the Lord Jesus Christ. He sees all and their day is coming. Brother RG. Lee I preached a message many years ago, preached it several times, called Payday Someday. If you’ve never heard that message, it’s an older message, I encourage you, go back and listen to it. Find it on YouTube, get you some earbuds. Look, you can look hip and cool and whatever the new word is, I don’t know, that was what it was when I was growing up. Whatever it is, you can be it when you get those earbuds in. But listen to that message. Payday is coming for them, he said. Payday is coming for you too. He said, you may suffer, but be faithful unto death. Look at verse number ten. Fear none of those things. You don’t have to fear what you’re going to suffer. You don’t have to be afraid of death. Behold, he said, I already know what’s going to happen to you. The devil shall cast some of you in the prison that you may be tried and ye shall have tribulation. Ten days be thou faithful unto death. He shall know what’s going to happen to you. But you just be faithful, you just be true. Because this is not the end. Our death is just the entrance that we have in the glory. When this body passes, we can’t take this body with us. We don’t want to take this body with us. This body is subject to sinus trouble. Can you imagine taking this body through space and catching all those mars bugs or whatever is up there and there’s nothing up there anyway, so don’t worry about that. But we’ve got to have a glorified body. We drop this body, get a glorified body, he said, but this is not the end. Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the spirit saith unto the churches. He did overcome us and not be hurt of the second death. The Lord’s charge be faithful unto death. I think we can be faithful when we look to Jesus and consider he’s faithful. The Lord’s reward triumph comes out of tribulation be rewarded by Jesus himself. And there’s a greater deliverance than what the enemy has. The ones that were doing the persecuting, they eventually died one day and they woke up in hell and they’re facing a second death. The ones that suffered because for the their faith in Christ may have suffered a little bit here, but there’s no second death for them. They’ve already entered into eternal rest, eternal joy with the Lord forever. That’s it. That was it. They’re with Jesus now. He said that persecution will have an end ten days. It’ll be a limited time, it won’t last forever. And there’s different interpretations what ten days means. But here’s the point it won’t last forever. What you’re going through has an end. Amen. And on the other side is glory. He didn’t have to hear. Let him hear what the Spirit faith in the churches he didn’t overcome with shall not be heard of the second death. What are you and I willing to pay for to be faithful to Christ? There’s a cost of faithfulness. There’s a price to pay for being faithful. It may not be our life, it might be. There’s a possibility it will be one day. There are laws already that are going out and assigned been enacted by our government that teaches contrary to the word of God and just waiting for punishment to be enacted for those types of things. But listen, you and I are to be faithful no matter what, until that time. Maybe we suffer a demotion at work, or maybe we don’t get the raise that we want at work. Maybe we lose friends, we lose our influence, so to speak. May I say, if you stand for the Lord, you’re never going to lose your influence. You may lose social standing. He said be faithful. Be faithful. John 1633 here’s the promise of suffering and tribulation these things have I spoken unto you that in me you might have peace in the world you shall tribulation sibet be of good cheer. I have overcome the world. I’ve already defeated that. I’ve overcome the world. Then he later he defeats death and the devil. Yea, in all that will live Godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But we’ve got the love of the Lord to sustain us. He loved us unto death. And I don’t want to be ashamed before Him at his coming. When he returns, I want Him to say well done, thou good, a faithful servant. Let me ask you a question. Let me ask you this consider your life. Are you rich in the Lord Jesus Christ? Don’t worry about your bank account. Don’t even worry about what you give to the church. What is the motive? Let’s go back to chapter the first letter. What’s your motive? Are you loving the Lord like you ought to love Him? Has that wavered, has that waned. Get that straight. And then are you giving your life to the Lord? Listen, I don’t know. I hope this message came out the way that God gave it to me. I fell under conviction with this message. There’s more than I can do. There’s more of my life that I could give to the Lord. But it’s a daily thing and God wants faithfulness. He deserves it, don’t he? He expects faithfulness and he’ll give us the power to be faithful. So how are we going to do that? We got to look unto Him. Let’s go back to verse eight. You got to look under the author. Consider Jesus. Look to Him look to Him through persecution, look to Him through suffering. Love Him, give to Him not to the church. The vehicle may be the church. The vehicle may be the mission field. Going to servant on the mission field. The vehicle may be teaching a Sunday school class to one or two young people or to a rowdy bunch of junior church kids. Amen. Whatever it is, the object is the Lord Jesus Christ. Give all to him. You won’t regret it. Amen. We’ll look back one of these days and I don’t know what we’ll talk about. Do you ever just wonder, sit and wonders what are we going to talk about in heaven? And I don’t think we’ll bring back the time that brother Andy left for college and left his suits behind. I think that’ll be a passing moment. And we’ve made sure that he’s going to take his time. None of those trivial things. We mentioned it now, but we’ll mention it at the end. But we may mention you don’t remember that time when I went through such a dark time in my life and such a sorrowful time and a suffering time. I can look back on that now with joy. It was dark then, but the Lord went with me. And looking back now, it wasn’t as dark as it seemed at that time. I couldn’t see on the other side. So all I could see, as dad mentioned Sunday school was the shadow, was the nighttime. I couldn’t see the sun coming up just in another hour. I couldn’t see all that. But now I see it. And it really wasn’t that bad. That was light. And look at all this. We’re reunited again. We’re with the Lord again. And it’s worth it to serve Jesus Christ who gave all to us. That’s the message. Amen. Let’s stand.

Went a little bit long this morning. We’ll blame the medicine for that. But I hope that something that was said this morning struck home.

Is there anyone here this morning said, brother, I’m not sure if I died right now that heaven would be my home. Death happens to all of us. It’s sure it will happen soon. Just slip up your hand. I’m not sure you pray for me. That the Lord had helped give me that assurance that I’m saved on my way to heaven. Just pray for me. Anybody? How many you know you’re saved when you slip up your hand. Testimony the Lord slip up your hand. I know I’m saved. Amen. Amen. Put your hands down. We’ve got a wonderful future to look forward to, and I’m excited. I know this message seems like where there’s suffering, there’s persecution. That doesn’t sound very exciting, but look who goes through it with you as the Lord Himself. Look at the reward that comes from it. Look at the joy that others had as they were going through it. The victory that comes, the fruit that comes, your fire purifies. Sometimes we have to go through things to mold us and to make us know what God would have us be. I don’t know about you. I know in my heart

I want to give God more. I want to give the Lord more. The Lord spoken to you this morning. Would you come and pray? Ask God to help you.

Father in heaven. We love You, Lord, but because you first loved us, you’ve taught us how to love you. You’ve showed us how to love you. Lord, we get distracted and discouraged sometimes by the things around us. I know I do what I pray, that we would fix our eyes back unto you. And Lord, would you help us to be faithful. Help us to remember who you are, what You’ve done for us, how you’re leading us, your directing us. And, Lord, in those times where we may not hear you leading as we did, lord, help us just to be faithful, just to continue. Lord, I know I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it will be worth it all when we meet you. So Lord, help us, not just on Sundays when we gather together, but each and every day. Help us to live it for you. Lord, thank you for this message, really, of victory, of triumph, of help. And though we don’t want to go through this persecution of suffering, lord, you promise to go through with us. Help us be what we ought to be. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.

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