Tuesday, 13 October 2020
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Revelation 3:13
Again, as with the previous churches, the Lord calls out for those of the church (and thus all who will hear during the church age) to “hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” But in order to hear, they must have an ear, meaning an ear willing to listen. Like the fourth and fifth churches, this call comes at the very end of this letter to Philadelphia.
Nothing negative was conveyed to those at Philadelphia, and great promises were given to them. This was highlighted in the words, “I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.” Great spiritual blessings are promised to those who overcome as well, just like all of the churches.
The Lord is perfectly fair in His dealings with all people – in how He metes out punishment and in how He hands out rewards.
Life application: This is the sixth of seven times that the Lord repeats this advice – “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
Hearing, in these cases, implies more than just sound going into the ear and causing the little ear-bones to resonate. It implies understanding leading to faith and faith leading to obedience. Hearing without acting upon Jesus’ words would be no different than smelling a gas leak in the house and lighting up a burner on the stove anyway. When the stove is lit, you will find yourself making an unanticipated and forced exit through the kitchen window and out of the house.
In the same way, there are people in the seven churches, and in all churches since, who have heard the words of the Bible that were given through the Spirit, but who will find themselves unexpectedly, and against their will, tossed into “outer darkness” where “there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” The question for each of us as we read these verses is, “Have I read and thought through the admonition given to these churches?”
Are you in a church that condones homosexuality, even from the pulpit? Are you in a church that is doing “good stuff” for people without giving Jesus the credit? Are you in a church that has idols that people service in one way or another? These things have been addressed in the first six letters and Jesus does not tolerate them.
It is time to really evaluate where we stand and take to heart what the Spirit is saying. We have one more letter to go, and then we will be off of the subject of the state of the churches. When Jesus returns, if you haven’t taken to heart what has been relayed to you, then why should He return for you? He is coming, and when He does, may He find each of us ready for that unexpected and sudden moment.
O God, turn our hearts to the voice of Your Spirit as it speaks to us through Your word. Help us to be attentive to what is said, and to be obedient to the words we have been given. May we faithfully act upon them. May You receive the glory You are due as we live our lives in Your presence each moment. To Your praise and honor we pray. Amen.