“They did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death” (Revelation 12:11b).
A conversation with someone I love very much, earlier this week, prompted me to do some thinking about how I communicate with people who are not saved in the Blood of the Lamb. Like any other group of people, Christians tend to speak to each other in a sort of jargon, a kind of ‘shop-talk,’ as it were. Mature Christians who constantly study the Bible don’t have to explain, for example, “The Blessed Hope” to others of like mind. It will be understood that those words point to the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ (Titus 2:13). But that’s just one aspect of what I’m talking about here. In speaking with non-Christians, we ought never to presume that they understand what we mean. Some things probably need to be spelled out.
Those not familiar with the whole story of the Bible, especially if they are not yet in the Body of Christ, can have a tendency to mock our desire to be with Our LORD. This person told me that something I had written was very dark, indeed, and that he, on the other hand, though not born again, had more of a tendency to see things in an uplifting and joyful way than I did. And then he said, “It is why I don’t go to church. I’d rather feel lifted up and joyful. I don’t get that in church.”
After careful consideration of this conversation, I had to agree with my challenger somewhat. His observation of my worldview is indeed accurate to a certain degree. It’s true that while I still see the amazing beauty of God’s creation, I also see the darkness of the “evil that men do” descending over it. While I still enjoy a hearty belly laugh, a beautiful song to hear and sing, watching a hummingbird feed, feeling the texture of a lily, petting my oh so soft cat, looking into a newborn baby’s eyes, hearing the laughter of little children, and the love of my husband, I can, at the same time, know that there is something, Some One even more wonderful than all these, and He is coming soon. And when He comes, Jesus will vanquish the evil and restore all things to the way Our Glorious God intended them to be.
You see, the darkness I see coming over the world cannot touch the peace I have found in Christ, which will last an eternity. And my quiet joy, which in the world, is the anticipation of meeting my LORD and Saviour in person one day soon.
As we wait for this Blessed Event, the eyes and hearts of the lovers of Jesus Christ are noticing that the things of earth are losing their clarity and sway. Let’s pause here and go to the hymn …
TURN YOUR EYES UPON JESUS
O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Savior
And life more abundant and free
Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face.
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.
Through death into life everlasting
He passed and we follow Him there
O’er us sin no more hath dominion
For more than conquerors we are
His word shall not fail you, He promised
Believe Him and all will be well
Then go to a world that is dying
His perfect salvation to tell
SCRIPTURE READINGS: 1 John 2:15-17, 3:13, Revelation 12:10-12
1 John 2:15-17 “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires are passing away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever”
1 John 3:1-3 “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God. And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. All who have this hope in Him purify themselves, just as He is pure”
Revelation 12:10-12 “Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: ‘Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of His Messiah. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. Therefore rejoice, you heavens, and you who dwell in them!'”
All the apostles and disciples of Jesus are filled with joy, especially with the expectation of the reappearing of Jesus. But none seems more joyful than the seemingly ever-youthful Apostle John. In this first of three letters, John exposes the light, the truth, the life at the heart of the Good News of Jesus, and does it with heartfelt love for his fellow believers.
My Student Bible explains that this letter was aimed at a new generation of believers who appeared to be twisting the original meaning of certain Christian words and phrases. While people were familiar with and were using the Christian jargon – phrases such as “knowing God,” “walk in the Light,” and so on, they were using them with new distorted meanings. Even today, with 2,000 years of Christianity behind us, people borrow words and apply quite different meanings to Scripture. One example is the misuse of the text: “Judge not that you will not be judged.” The world takes this verse out of context and makes it mean that no one is to judge anyone at all for anything. But, indeed, whole sermons have been devoted to this passage, and it is not so cut and dried as that.
John instructs these first century believers, as well as us, to not get caught up in how the world lives. The lusts of the world – and there are many – are not of God but of the one who is trying to pull us away from God. As people embrace the world and its pull, the desires of the flesh, the attraction for heaven diminishes. Conversely, as we lose the desires, the attractions of what the world offers, our love and desire for the things of God and His kingdom increase. John says that’s the better way to go since the world and its desires are passing away, but whoever does the will of God will live forever.
In this day and age, people have a hard time with this concept. The present-day understanding of the spiritual realm is so limited that things of the world are triumphing over it. The world sees Christians as out of step, and so we are!
John says, ‘The reason the world does not know who we are is because it did not know Jesus.’ Still doesn’t! Jesus, for so many, is merely a myth, a fairytale. They would do well to consider this quote from 2 Peter, “For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our LORD Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty” (1:16).
In this passage, Apostle Peter tells the world that he SAW Him, saw the power of Jesus, His majesty. The apostle is speaking, of course, of having witnessed Jesus’ transfiguration on the mount, where in power and glory Our LORD was affirmed by the Father.
Peter saw it. John and James saw it, as well. Not only saw but heard God the Father affirming, “This is My Son, Whom I love. With Him I am well pleased. Listen to Him!” (Matthew 17, Mark 9, Luke 9). You just couldn’t make up a supernatural event such as this. It must have stayed with the three apostles for their whole lives.
In the Revelation text, Apostle John hears a loud heavenly voice telling him that the time has come for the Salvation and power and kingdom of our God and the authority of His Messiah. Messiah has conquered the accuser of humankind and sent him to the abyss.
The accuser is Satan, and those he was bedeviling have overcome their temptation by their faith in the blood of the Lamb. In another passage from Revelation, Jesus says, “Blessed are those who wash their robes that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates of the city.” Those who believe in the Lamb of God, Who shed His precious blood for their salvation, are said to have washed their robes in His blood. They are ready for eternity in the eternal city of God.
They have taken their eyes off the things of the world and fastened them on eternal life in Christ. Revelation 12 says, “They did not love their loves so much as to shrink from death.”
True followers of Jesus Christ do not see the world as non-believers see it.
We know that this world will pass, and so will every person who is alive right now. No matter how much money a person can throw at staying youthful and even at trying to stay alive, there comes a day when it is all for naught.
“When human beings began to increase in numbers on the earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. Then the LORD said, “My Spirit will not contend with humans forever, for they are mortal; their days will be a hundred and twenty years” (Genesis 6:1-3).
It is rare that anyone lives even that long. In fact, according to Wikipedia, only one person EVER has survived to 120, actually living to 122-1/2. No matter how attached we might be to this world, we will have to relinquish it at some date.
Facing death ought not to be something we run from. If we know for certain that we are entering eternal life with Jesus, why would Christians ever be afraid or even reluctant to face death? Of course, that is not to say that we ought to be foolhardy and cavalier with our lives, which are precious gifts from God. But that’s it … our lives are not our own. We are alive because of the Grace and Goodness of the LORD God Almighty. Our lives are in His hands whether we believe in the Creator or not.
Job 1:21: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the Name of the LORD be praised.”
This world is not our forever home. It is a temporary residence, at best. When this world passes away, there will be two places to dwell: the Kingdom of God and the Lamb, that is, eternal life in the new heaven and new earth, OR eternal damnation. Choose wisely, beloved, for God’s gift of free will makes the choice yours.
Have a good look at the world through God’s eyes. See it for what it is – and then “turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.” AMEN!
LET’S PRAY …
Heavenly Father God:
Our beloved brother Apostle Paul wrote, “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Father, Your children are groaning in anticipation of that day, when we will stand before Your throne and are able to worship You face-to-face. It is too wonderful for our human minds to fully comprehend the scope of Your majesty. But You sent Jesus as the Mediator between You and Your creatures; You sent Him to reconcile us with You. Be praised forever, LORD Almighty. Thank You for eternal life in and through Yeshua Ha’Maschiach, our LORD and Saviour forever.” Amen.
If anyone reading this article has not yet received Jesus as their Saviour, but God has touched your heart by His Holy Word, please email me (email@example.com) or find a Bible-believing local church and ask the Pastor what you must do to be saved in Grace.
In the meantime, please consider the ABCs of Salvation:
A – Admit
Admit what you have done wrong and ask forgiveness.
Romans 3:23 “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
Romans 6:23 “The wages of sin is death.”
I John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
B – Believe
Believe that Jesus died on the cross and rose again as payment for your sins.
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
1 Corinthians 15:3-4 “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.”
Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates His own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
C – Confess and Choose
Confess and choose to allow God to be in charge of your life.
Matthew 16:24 “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”
Romans 10:9 “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
Romans 10:13 “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
This article, based on God’s Holy Word, was written by the inspiration of God’s own Holy Spirit. All glory to God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.