Jesus has a lot to say about service through His teachings, His parables and also His exhortations to the 7 churches in Revelation. We know the foundation of our faith in Christ that we are saved by grace not works, but we must not neglect our service to the King of Kings and are called to let our light, His light in us, shine before the world. These are the days that the Lord is exhorting His church to rise and shine.
Jesus said that we are the light of the world and as a light on a lamp stand gives light to the whole house so should our light be visible to all so that men will see our good works and give glory to God. Matthew 5:14-16. I am also reminded of John’s vision of Jesus in Revelation as He walked amongst the 7 churches who were shown as 7 lamp stands, the reminder that each church is a lamp stand for His light to shine. Representatives of Jesus. To each church, Jesus said “I know your works”. He is saying the same to us today. I know your works.
As Jesus encouraged and called those churches to account so we too can learn lessons from His words. His exhortation to the church of Ephesus is not to forget our first love, Jesus. We can so easily get caught up with works of themselves and become so busy that we can neglect our relationship with Jesus. If it is not our love for Him and His love in us that motivates us then Jesus says we are to repent and return to our first love. To remember the fervent love we had for Jesus when we first encountered Him and His love for us. To be zealous for Him and not lukewarm and indifferent as the church in Laodicea.
The church at Sardis had a reputation for being alive but Jesus said this was not actually the case. Jesus had tested their works and found them not perfect before God. This was a wake up call. To recognise things as they really were so that the church could repent and then take what was still alive and nurture it so that it could grow. As Jesus said to the church at Thyatira, who had corrupted themselves by allowing false prophecy, false teaching and sexual immorality, that He is the one who searches each mind and heart and will give to each one according to their works. Jesus warns against following false teachings and false doctrines. They will distort the light and corrupt our works. Jesus wants us to wake up and recognise false and corrupt things which influence us. To anoint our eyes with His eye salve so we can see clearly.
Jesus is calling us to examine ourselves, prepare ourselves so that we can shine. As disciples of Christ we have much to offer the world, not just in being good citizens and doing good things but also in terms of Godly wisdom and knowledge, insight and understanding. In the bible we are told that the sons of Issachar had the ability to understand the times and seasons that they lived in which enabled them to give the right advice to the people of Israel so that they knew what to do. 1 Chroncles 12:32. We so need that Godly ability in the body of Christ today for the days we live in. Understanding the times and seasons and recognising what God is calling us to do and hearing His voice so that we can advise others whether in our families, work lives, businesses or other positions of influence.
I believe that the Lord is reminding us in this season, where such great needs and injustices are evident in every part of society and in the midst of this global pandemic, to take every opportunity to trust God, obey God and do good because when Jesus comes again, which He will, then He will test our works in this life and reward us accordingly. The question is what we have done in obedience to His calling and according to the measure of gifting and opportunity that have been given to us. What has motivated us in our minds and hearts.
Many years ago, I had a vision of Jesus which impacted me greatly. I saw him stood in front of me and as He held His hands out to me I heard him say very clearly “well done my good and faithful servant”. He then gestured for me to look behind him and I saw this incredible amount of amazing things. I couldn’t describe them in detail to you but I knew they were items of incredible value and beauty and I couldn’t believe how much there was. I remember being completely overwhelmed and asked the Lord what they were for as I couldn’t imagine they were for me. I had done nothing exceptional with my life to deserve such a rich reward. Jesus simply said “ For you, for your faithfulness”. Then He gestured again, and I saw another amazing amount of things and He said “but all this could have been yours as well”. I knew that Jesus wasn’t disappointed in me but He was saddened that He could not give me all that was mine to obtain. I had missed opportunities for service either through disobedience, fear or countless other things which had stopped me. The little foxes which I had allowed to ruin my vineyard.
It would be a trap for me to use that vision to do lots of works for works sake. It wasn’t the message that the Lord had for me. He was encouraging me to remain faithful to Him and His call on my life. To persevere and not give up until My race is run. Jesus reminds me that He is My first love and My heart belongs to Him. I pray that when He calls I will answer and be bold to do all that He calls me to do in service of Him. One day when I do stand before Him I trust I will hear those words “well done good and faithful servant”.
I just want to finish with the following words of encouragement to us.
I heard the Lord say the following in the Spirit. It is time for My church to examine itself. To look carefully at what it is doing. The example it is setting. I am coming and I come first to My church. May they be found ready when I come to test their works with fire. Let him who is doing good continue to do so but examine the heart. For out of the heart comes every selfish thing and motivation. Let My Spirit guide and lead you. Let My Spirit be the one that breathes life into everything you do for Me as then you will reap a harvest, not just in this life but in the life to come. Let your good works be seen by others so they may glorify your father in heaven. It is time to rise and shine like the stars in the sky. This is the day for the church of My people to be the source of nutrition and goodness for others. To give freely out of an abundant storehouse, for I am the bread of life and the pure living water. I will never run dry and I will never run out of provision for My people. To those who are called and chosen by Me and whose name is written in My book of life and My name is written on their foreheads for all to see. Arise and shine for your light has come and the glory of God my Father has risen upon you.
Blessings to you in Jesus name. Amen 🙏