God’s Assurance by Oswald Chambers

Hebrews 13:5-6

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say,

“The Lord is my helper;
I will not fear;
what can man do to me?”

God’s Assurance by Oswald Chambers

My assurance is to be built upon God’s assurance to me. God says, “I will never leave you,” so that then I “may boldly say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear’ ” (Hebrews 13:5-6). In other words, I will not be obsessed with apprehension. This does not mean that I will not be tempted to fear, but I will remember God’s words of assurance. I will be full of courage, like a child who strives to reach the standard his father has set for him. The faith of many people begins to falter when apprehensions enter their thinking, and they forget the meaning of God’s assurance— they forget to take a deep spiritual breath. The only way to remove the fear from our lives is to listen to God’s assurance to us.

What are you fearing? Whatever it may be, you are not a coward about it— you are determined to face it, yet you still have a feeling of fear. When it seems that there is nothing and no one to help you, say to yourself, “But ‘The Lord is my helper’ this very moment, even in my present circumstance.” Are you learning to listen to God before you speak, or are you saying things and then trying to make God’s Word fit what you have said? Take hold of the Father’s assurance, and then say with strong courage, “I will not fear.” It does not matter what evil or wrong may be in our way, because “He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you….’ ”

Human frailty is another thing that gets between God’s words of assurance and our own words and thoughts. When we realize how feeble we are in facing difficulties, the difficulties become like giants, we become like grasshoppers, and God seems to be nonexistent. But remember God’s assurance to us— “I will neverforsake you.” Have we learned to sing after hearing God’s keynote? Are we continually filled with enough courage to say, “The Lord is my helper,” or are we yielding to fear?

From Oswald Chamber’s My Utmost for His Highest

The Church of Thyatira

Song: This I Believe

Artist: Hillsong


18 “Write this letter to the angel of the church in Thyatira…19 “I know all the things you do. I have seen your love, your faith, your service, and your patient endurance. And I can see your constant improvement in all these things. 20 “But I have this complaint against you.You are permitting that woman—that Jezebel who calls herself a prophet—to lead my servants astray…”

from Revelation 2:18-29


In a world…

Trade guilds were a major feature of life in Thyatira, an economic hub. And every guild had a patron deity. Christians who were in this world of commerce would be expected to pay homage to these gods – festive occasions characterized by all sorts of immoral activities. To abstain could lead to economic persecution and hardship. To participate fully was to compromise Christian conviction and witness.

No surprise, then, that the teaching of ‘Jezebel’ was so appealing (v 20). This group of false teachers were preaching a Christianity that allowed for a bit of compromise with the idolatrous aspects of pagan society.

They claimed a kind of insider knowledge that allowed them to juggle their pagan practices with their Christian convictions. They called it “deeper truths;” Jesus called it the “depths of Satan” (v 24).

Compromise is slippery like that. In this case it masquerades as a bit of Christian liberty.

These letters – and the book of Revelation as a whole – are a vivid picture of our lives as Christians. We’re like whales in the ocean – there’s water all around us, but we breathe a different air.

Maybe we’ve forgotten. Maybe we’ve grown comfortable with the systems and priorities of the world around us. After all, it’s the water we live in. But these letters in Revelation invite us to reexamine our lives and our Christian community. Water may be the world we live in, but it’s not the air we breathe. We breathe Jesus (v 25-26).

The Church of Sardis

Look Can Be Deceiving

“Write this letter to the angel of the church in Sardis. This is the message from the one who has the sevenfold Spirit of God and the seven stars:

“I know all the things you do, and that you have a reputation for being alive—but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what little remains, for even what is left is almost dead. I find that your actions do not meet the requirements of my God.  Go back to what you heard and believed at first; hold to it firmly. Repent and turn to me again. If you don’t wake up, I will come to you suddenly, as unexpected as a thief.  Yet there are some in the church in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes with evil. They will walk with me in white, for they are worthy. All who are victorious will be clothed in white. I will never erase their names from the Book of Life, but I will announce before my Father and his angels that they are mine.  “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches.

 

Sardis was a very loose-living and immoral society.

William Barclay calls Sardis  “…a city of the decadence”.

He also says this in describing the church at Sardis: “The church of Sardis was at peace – but it was the peace of the dead.”

What is interesting about Sardis is that it was built high on a hill and was very difficult to overtake by force.  The reason it was overtaken by attacking armies was not by overwhelming force but by overconfidence.  This “overconfidence” caused those in Sardis to stop being watchful.

I came across this devotional from Rick Renner, and here is a little of what he had to say:

“Unfortunately, the city of Sardis is like so many of us. We become so busy with life, so tossed about by everyday cares, or perhaps so confident of our own abilities, that we become unaware of our own spiritual need. We go on in life as though we have no need to deal with the foundations of our lives, not realizing that tiny cracks are starting to form.

This kind of negligent thinking is usually accompanied by prayerlessness and insensitivity to the Spirit of God. A Christian who is too busy to get into the Presence of God is a Christian who will soon find himself in trouble, just like the city of Sardis.”

Similar to what Paul mentions in 1 Corinthians 10:12

Therefore let the one who thinks he stands firm [immune to temptation, being overconfident and self-righteous], take care that he does not fall [into sin and condemnation].

We need to be watchful and tend to our hearts.

Notice the phrase I highlighted from Revelation….Wake Up!!

This is what Jesus tells us to do:  Awaken from our slumber.  Quit putting our Christianity on cruise control.  Quit looking and judging ourselves by what we are doing, but make sure what we do is an overflow of a close relationship with Jesus.

Let’s not forget whose we are.  Let us not get too busy with our lives, even our church lives, that we don’t rest in the knowledge of who God is and what He has done for us.

Sometimes it does us well to get back to the basics:

God loves you.  The first truth we taught our kids about God.  And in the busyness of life, we sometimes forget the basics.

GOD…..LOVES…..YOU.

As we go today and this weekend, let’s wake up to the fact that God loves us.  That God yearns for a true, genuine relationship with YOU!!  What a comforting thought.

At VBS this week, the first night the kids were taught the simple fact that Jesus Knows Who I Really Am.

And guess what?  He loves you!!

So let’s wake up and not take our relationship with God for granted!

The Church at Pergamum

In studying this passage of Scripture, this church is often referred to as the “Compromising Church.”

The church had become lazy in allowing false doctrine to permeate the church.

The problem is the people were eating food sacrificed to idols, which was religious compromise.

They were also committing sexual immorality, which is moral compromise.

“One compromise here, another there and soon enough the so-called Christian and the man in the world look the same” AW Tozer

As followers of Christ, this is something we need to be aware of and fight against in our personal lives.

I came across this story when studying this:

Winter was coming on and a hunter went out into the forest to shoot a bear out of which he planned to make a warm coat. By and by he saw a bear coming toward him and raised his gun and took aim. “Wait,” said the bear, “Why do you want to shoot me?” “Because I am cold,” said the hunter. “But I am hungry,” the bear replied, “so maybe we can reach an agreement.” In the end, the hunter was well enveloped with the bear’s fur and the bear had eaten his dinner.

What an apt picture and description of compromise.

What I have noticed about compromise is how it has a tendency to creep slowly into our lives. It usually doesn’t work quickly, and if we are not careful, like this bear, compromise will consume us.  It will become a part of us.  Worse yet, we will fully give in to sin, and allow it to consume us.

There is one simple remedy given for the problem of compromise: REPENT!

Repent is a command that applies to Christians, not only to those who first come to Jesus.

What this brings about is change, a change of the inner man, particularly with reference to accepting the will of God.

This causes us to think differently afterwards.

I want to end with a quote from Keith Green:

“No Compromise is what the whole Gospel of Jesus is all about… ‘For I tell you…no man can serve two masters…’ (Matt. 6:24). In a day when believers seem to be trying to please both the world and the Lord (which is an impossible thing), when people are far more concerned about offending their friends than offending God, there is only one answer…Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Him!”

Let’s examine our hearts, and allow God to show us any areas where we may be compromising in our lives, in our relationship with God.

And, like the beginning of this passage reads, “remain loyal” to Jesus–in all areas, at all times.

 Have It All // Brian Johnson      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3WPbs7N-E0Q

The Church of Smyrna – by Pastor Matt Shirley

Song: When the Fight Calls

Artist: Young & Free


8 “And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: ‘The words of the first and the last, who died and came to life. 9 “‘I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10 Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. 11 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.’

Revelation 2:8-11


Jesus, the first and the last, the one who died and came to life. The One who knows the beginning from the end. The One who died – who absorbed all that sin and evil could hurl at a man. And the One who came to life – who overcame evil with good, death with life.

Jesus…knows.

He knows their context: Smyrna. It was a city that had been destroyed and rebuilt, a city once dead now come to life. It was a prestigious and wealthy city, chosen ‘first’ among cities to house a temple for Emperor Tiberius.

He knows their present struggle. Poor in the midst of wealth. Persecuted by religious and pagan enemies alike. He knows their future struggle, which for some means martyrdom. But, as the One who died and came to life, he also knows their future glory – the crown of life.

It’s meant to be an encouraging word to a group of believers facing incredibly challenging circumstances. We may not know exactly what He knows. But we know that He knows. And that knowledge calms fears, fosters courage, and builds enduring faith.

Take a moment to rest in His knowledge today. Know that He knows. The One who knows the end from the beginning, who who knows life after death – He knows your context, your present and future challenges, and the life that comes through your faith in Him.