If we look at what is happening in the world and spend our time focused on the evil, we can be fearful. One of the things that is happening is that “woke” individuals are okay with gathering to riot and loot (called peaceful protests that are violent and destructive), but are against the gathering of the brethren in churches across this nation.
I’ve been listening the last couple of days to the message Jesus had for the church at Smyrna (Rev 2:8-11), the church experiencing tribulation because they wouldn’t bow to Caesar instead of the Lord. I encourage you to listen to Dr. Evan’s message on A Challenge to Faithfulness in Part 1 and Part 2 for yourselves.
Jesus spoke to them to let them know that He saw the tribulation they were under, and to encourage them not to fear what they were further about to suffer, and to let them know that there trials would have an end. He further encouraged them with His promise of reward: “Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.” He has the same promise for us.
Then towards the end of the second message I heard something that resonated with me that I want to share with you. He was speaking on the last verse in this letter, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt by the second death.” (v 11)
The overcomers (those who do not walk away or quit when it becomes painful to stand for Christ) will not be hurt by the second death, which refers to hell – eternity in the lake of fire. Keep in mind that Jesus is talking to believers, who are not going to hell; they’re going to heaven. So why is Jesus telling believers that they won’t be hurt by hell when He has already said He has gone to prepare a place for us in heaven?
Here it is, and it’s very relevant to the times we are currently living in. Don’t let folks who are going to hell (second death) keep you from getting your reward — all of which Jesus has awaiting us in heaven. Said another way, don’t let the hell-bound folks keep you from maximizing heaven’s opportunity. Don’t let the sinners mess us up and break our fellowship with Jesus.
This resonated so strongly with me this morning because there are a few people in my life who are difficult for me to be around, talk or even think of because I become filled with anger. As Christ followers we are told, “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” (Eph 4:31-32) I know at this moment I am unable to be around a few people, but I also know “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil 4:13).
Thank You, Lord, for this message today to encourage me that I am an overcomer through You and Your strength. My part is to take everything to You in prayer, humble myself before You and ask for Your healing touch on my heart and mind. Lord, when I become angry I know that I am to cast “down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, (and) bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor 10:5). Lord, I cannot do this on my own, but I know that You can do this through me for Your glory. Thank You, Jesus!