Seeking Christ's Approval
"Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord."
-Matthew 25:21, emphasis added
The approval of those we love means so much, but there is an approval that far surpasses what anyone on earth can offer us. When our lives are over, our last breaths have been taken, and time has ceased to exist for us, all things on earth fade away quickly. In fact, as we weaken and approach death, the fading starts even before we die. At such a time, our thoughts ought to center more and more on the joy of seeing our beloved Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and hearing Him say, "Well done!" Is that what you are living for?
We have come to Revelation 3:7-13 the sixth of seven letters our Lord Jesus wrote to seven literal, historic churches. Each church was given a powerful message from Christ. Each letter closes with an application to all to "hear what the Spirit says to the churches" (Revelation 2:7, Revelation 3:11, Revelation 3:17, Revelation 2:29; Revelation 3:6, Revelation 2:13, Revelation 3:22).
Before we begin our study of this sixth letter, ask yourself: Why did Christ not admonish this church for any error? There are only two churches out of the seven that received the approval of Jesus-the assemblies at Smyrna and Philadelphia.
The reason for Christ's approval of those two churches is this: Smyrna was purified by obediently suffering persecution; Philadelphia was purified by obediently fulfilling God's commission and winning souls. Smyrna was triumphing through adversity; Philadelphia was ministering through opportunity. Smyrna was a suffering church; Philadelphia was a serving church. Smyrna was a church that stood alone; Philadelphia was a church that spoke out.
Like the Smyrnians, are you being purified as you obediently suffer persecution? Is God enabling you to triumph through adversity? Are you willing to stand alone for Christ in any situation? And are you, like the Philadelphians, obediently and joyfully telling people about Christ's offer of salvation? Are you ministering Christ to others in need? Do you speak out for Christ every chance you get?
Which of the six churches we've studied so far most represents your life right now? The two who received Christ's approval or the others who were subject to hearing His "I have this against you . . . "?
I pray that you are longing for His approval--to hear His "Well done, good and faithful servant!"
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