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Repentance From Dead Works (25)

In our last broadcast, we looked at one of the promises or assurances which the Lord Jesus Christ gave to those in the church in Sardis who kept themselves from being defiled, as well as those who would repent of their dead works, and return to God. This promise was the assurance that all such people will definitely be in heaven with the Lord Jesus, and that they would walk with Him in white; which we noted is the garment that is given to all those who maintain a stainless garment of righteousness while here on earth. We noted that this requirement for entry into heaven has always been Gods standard, and He will not lower it for anyone whatsoever. Hence, we counselled that all believers in Christ must ensure that their garments of righteousness are not stained with sin, iniquity, or dead works. Just as the king in the parable of the wedding feast, narrated in Matthew 22:1-14, inspected the guests to the wedding feast before allowing them entry into the wedding hall, so will God inspect everyone who seeks to enter into heaven for the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. And just as the king had the man who did not have on a wedding garment thrown into outer darkness, so also, will all who have on defiled or filthy or inappropriate garments be thrown into hell! May God help us!

In this broadcast, we shall be looking at another of the promises which the Lord made to all those who would repent of their dead works in the church in Sardis. So, let us take a look at Revelation 3:5: He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. The phrase, He that overcometh in respect to the believers in Christ in Sardis, referred to anyone who would conquer, or, gain victory over the hypocrisy, spiritual lethargy, and spiritual insensitivity, of the church; as well as those who would be victorious over the appeal of the flesh to engage in dead works, and those who overcame the temptation not to heed the word of God. He that overcometh relates to a person engaged in warfare! Brethren, if you are truly born again, by now you should know that you are in a war, and the devil, sin, the flesh, and the world, are all on the opposing side. The bible says, in 1 Peter 5:8-9, Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. We are called to resist the devil steadfastly, because he is an adversaryhe is not your friend! And the Lord Jesus said in John 16:33, In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. The believer in Christ overcomes the devil, the world, the temptations of life, and so on, through Jesus Christ. In 1 John 4:4, the bible says, Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them [that is, false prophets, the spirit of anti-Christ, and such like]: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. That greater One in you is the Lord Jesus Christ, who takes up residence in you by the Holy Spirit, the moment you are born again. And in 1 John 5:4-5, the bible says, For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? As long as you are born again, and your faith in Christ remains steadfast, you shall be an overcomer. With reference to the believers in the church in Sardis, many of them had not overcome the things that had come upon them. But the Lord assured those who would overcome, that their names will not be blotted out of the book of life, among others. The same promise applies to every believer in Christ who overcomes the devil, sin, the flesh, and the world!

For this reason, the issue of names in the book of life not being blotted out is very crucial and deserving of our attention! Revelation 20:11-15: And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

There are two sets of books in heavenone set is simply called the books (plural); and the other set is called the book of life (singular). The books are the volumes of documentation of everything that people appearing before God did during their lifetime on earth. Each individuals life is documented in a set of volumes, and as he stands before God, his acts are reviewed in his presence. A special note is made of all the times when the individual was told about Jesus free gift of salvation, and his response. Every individual appearing before God will not be able to defend himself with an excuse for why he lived contrary to Gods standard, because, the evidence before him and God will be as clear as though, the individual was watching a video recording of the events of his life. Please note that the individuals who stand before God at the Great White Throne Judgment are described as both small and great; that is, people who will appear before God will include, kings, queens, presidents, governors, billionaires, millionaires, gardeners, bricklayers, bus conductors, prostitutes, homosexuals, pastors, bishops, imams, gurus, grand mastersindeed, people of every nation, of every religion, of every socio-economic strata; in fact all those whose names are not found in the book of life. The book of life is just one book within which the names of all the people who had accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour are written. Please note that all that is written in the book of life are just the names of all those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour. Also note that, it is those who have made the Lord Jesus Christ both their Lord and Saviour, whose names are written in the book of life. The Lord Jesus Christ does not save a person, only for that person to live as he chooses. No! He must be Saviour as well as Lord! The bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:15, he [that is, the Lord Jesus Christ] died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. Friend, the Lord Jesus did not die so that after you come to Him in repentance, you can then live for yourself, or as you like! No! He died so that those who live because of His death on the cross; that is those who are born again, should live for Him and for Him only; that is, live according to His wordall that He asks them to dofrom the time they are born again! Someone said, If Jesus is not Lord of all in and about your life; He is not Lord at all! and we concur!

All those whose names are written in the book of life are spared the agony of appearing before the Great White Throne Judgment! They will enter into heaven, because there will be no record of their past sinful life. But if a persons name is not found in the book of life, then he will stand before God at the Great White Throne Judgment, and all his activities, which shall have been documented in the books, shall be for a testimony against him, particularly, in that he heard the gospel of salvation, but refused to receive Jesus into his life!

Now, a very pertinent thing to note about those whose names are written in the book of life is that, those names will remain in the book of life for as long as the individuals whose name are written therein, overcome the devil, sin, the flesh, and the world, till the end! If anyone does not overcome till the end, but gives up and backslides, without repenting, then his name will be blotted out from the book of life! Some people have erroneously believed that once they are born again, their names are written in the book of life; and that is all there is to it. Well, the truth is that, it is one thing for your name to be written in the book of life it is another thing altogether for your name to remain in that book. In Exodus 32:33, God said to Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book. If anyone should continue to live a sinful life after he or she is born again, then it is clear that his or her name will be blotted out of the book of life! Brethren, if a persons name is blotted out of the book of life his name automatically reappears in the books along with all his evil deeds in that he did not glorify God; and that, is a very frightening prospecthence, if you are already born again, you must do all that is within your power to remain in Christ! The Lord Jesus says in John 15:14, If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love That is, for as long as you are obedient to the word of God, you shall continue to live in Christs love, which means that He will neither leave you, nor forsake you. It is also true that if you are disobedient, and refuse to repent, then Gods wrath is all that abides on you! In Ephesians 5:3-6, the bible says, But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. If you think that the house of God is a place for comedians, think again! If you think that the gospel is for the pursuit of money, think again! If you think that God does not frown at seductive dressing and flirtatious mannerisms, think again! If you think that God does not know your thoughts, think again! Remember, the wrath or displeasure of God is upon all who disobey Gods word; and hence, His eternal judgment is that they spend eternity in hell; which is, for ever!

When a person begins to live contrary to the word of God, and his name is about to be blotted out of the book of life, God, Who is merciful, will be urging him through several messages to repent and return to Him. If, after years of persistent urging and pleadings from the Holy Spirit, he still refuses to repent; in which case, he has made up his mind not to heed Gods call to repentance, then his name is blotted out from the book of life, and it will then re-appear, along with all his deeds, in the books!

My sister, is your name in the book of life? My brother, is it possible that it is about to be blotted out from the book of life? And, perhaps, that is why you are listening to this broadcast now! If you dont know what Im talking about, then it is certain that your name is not in the book of life. But if you want your name to be written in the book of life, or if you know that you have been living contrary to Gods word, and dont want your name to be removed from the book of life, then, you should unconditionally, accept Gods offer of salvationeven now! You should, with a truly penitent heart, ask God for forgiveness of your sins and dead works, and receive the free gift of salvation, with determination not to sin again, or be engaged any more in dead works, and you will find the peace and joy of God in your heart from that instant. Just as those who repent enjoy what those who are undefiled enjoyeternity in heaven; so, unfortunately, will those who do not repent after they have turned away from God, though they were once born againthey will find themselves in hell along with those who had never repented before God. Repent now and be saved!

Let us pray!