For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.
~ Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
In our Nation and with me personally it was been a rough few weeks. From the heart breaking news of the Church shooting in Charleston, the Church fires in the South, last weeks Supreme Court decision on redefining marriage and the passing away of my MawMaw last weekend. How do we process all of this? How do we respond? To what do we cling to? In the day and age of social media, you don’t have to look far to see how people are responding to these incidents, you also don’t have to look far to see what people have put their hope in trust in,.
Church family, can I remind you that this is not our home, our citizenship belongs in Heaven. The bible continually reminds us of this truth, and that things will become far worse before they get better. But Church Family, there is coming a day when all things will be made new. That’s where we are to place our hope, that is what we are to cling to. Our hope isn’t in a judicial system, a president, a nation, or the false notion that we live in a Christian Nation. Our hope is in Him who reigns, He wasn’t asleep during last Friday’s decision, He wasn’t away when our brothers and sisters were shot down while crying out to Him, and He isn’t up for reelection next year. He is on His throne, and we have the promise that He is coming back; will He find us faithful?
As I’ve thought through responding to all of this, as I’ve mourned the death of a MawMaw that I loved tremendously, I found myself studying the Letters to the Churches in Revelation 2-3, to teach last weekend. And in it I found hope, and in it I was encouraged to fight one and endure.
You see in it, all seven letters follow the same flow: Christ introduces Himself with a specific attribute to the condition of that church; He address the current condition of that church; calls for a response; and then offers a promise for the Conquerer (the one who endures to the end, or overcomer some of your bibles may say). It’s in this last section that I found hope, you see these letters were written to seven specific churches, but they also are written to the universal church, as they represent characteristics of churches. So what does the Lord have for those who endure to the end, to those who conquerer?
To the one who Conquerers:
- I (the Lord) will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God (Rev. 2:7
- Will not be hurt by the second death (Rev. 2:11)
- I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it (Rev. 2:17)
- I will give authority over the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father (Rev. 2:27)
- Will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father ad before His angels (Rev. 3:5)
- I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God, and the name of my God, and the name of the City of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven and my own name (Rev. 3:12)
- I will grant him to sit on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on His Throne (Rev. 3:21)
Church family fight on, as we are pushed to the margins, as we are ridiculed, endure. In the end will gain so much more home with the Lord, then we are asked to endure for for a short season. Whether we live 20 years or 120 years, that is short compared to entirety.
Remember, nations will fail you, judicial systems will fail you, presidents will fail you, but Christ Jesus will never fail you, and He has promised that He will be with us until the end of the age (Matthew 28:20).
And thats a promise we can hold on to!