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Repentance From Dead Works (28)


We begin today as we read our scripture text: Revelation 3:7-13; And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name. Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee. Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

In our last broadcast, our focus was on the door which the Lord Jesus said He had already opened unto the church in Philadelphia. In our discussion on open doors, especially as it applies to the New Testament believer, we noted that open doors refer primarily to the access which God gives to those who seek to glorify Him, into the hearts of men with the mystery of the gospel of Christ; as well as the revelation of the truth about the gospel, which was hidden, but which is now revealed, so that all can hear and be saved through Jesus Christ, from Gods judgment. We also noted that open doors refer to the gift of utterance which God gives to those whom He has called to present the truth about the gospel, with boldness. Based on this, we saw that teachings that suggest that open doors are access to wealth, and the acquisition of material possessions, are not only wrong, but they are grossly misleading, and from hell! With this in mind, let us now prepare ourselves to see why the Lord opened the door of ministry unto the church in Philadelphia; and by the grace of God, we will be able to turn away from the dead works, which we have unfortunately, been calling ministry, and turn unto good works!

The eighth verse of our scripture text, gives us the reason why the Lord opened the door of ministry unto the church in Philadelphia: He said, behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name. The Lord said that He was opening the door of ministry unto the Christians in Philadelphia because they had little strength. The word strength as used here means wealth, resources, power, or abilities. So, the church in Philadelphia had little wealth, little resources, little power, or little abilities. They were probably a small congregation that ordinarily did not have the wherewithal to pay the rent of their meeting venue, or even print tracts. But regardless of their small numbers, their lack of financial resources and their other inabilities, they kept the word of God; that is, they adhered to, or, lived according to the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christteachings which taught them to put their trust in God, not in man, not in methods, not in means; teachings that taught them to patiently wait for Gods timing; among others. Also, in spite of their inadequacies, they did not deny the Name of the Lord; that is, they did not contradict or negate what the Lord stood for; neither did they tarnish the reputation of His name, by doing something that was completely out of character with the Name of the Lord. How does this apply to us today?

Today, there are churches that desire to build a sanctuary for the worship of God; they never ask God, but go a-begging for funds from unbelievers. This is at variance with the word of God, and contrary to the nature of Christ! Such actions bring disrepute to the name of the Lord. When Christians go a-begging for fundsin fund raising envelopes or through appealsfrom people who dont know the Lord, they are denying the name of the Lord, which is mighty to save; they are bringing the name of the Lord into disrepute. When Christian leaders go about with bodyguards and pay for the services of police escorts, for whatever reasons, they are acting in a manner that is contrary to the name and nature of the Lord Jesus Christ. Nowhere in the Scriptures do we read of the Lord Jesus, or any of the early apostles, going about with bodyguards. And I hear someone saying, That was then; this is now. Well, brethren, the bible says that safety is of the LORD. (Proverbs 21:31)! We are secure in Him; not in bodyguards or in police escorts! When we employ the services of comedians and other supposedly renown names just so that we can have people attend our meetings, we are bringing shame to the name of the Lord, and saying in essence that Jesus words which says, And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. (John 12:32) and, no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father. (John 6:65), are not true! No wonder, we have people who come to our services for everything under heaven, but not for things in heaven above; people who come for earthly deliverance, but never for eternal salvation!

Notwithstanding that the Christians in Philadelphia did not have the resources to do the work of God, they just held on to the word of God. They lived by the principles contained in the word of God. They did not use gimmicks to do the work of Godthey just waited for Him! Beloved, if God has called you into Ministry, note that He is not like Pharaoh who asked the children of Israel to go and look for the resources with which to build his pyramids. No! God does not ask you to do something, and then expect you to go and provide the means with which to accomplish it. No sir! God does not do that! If God wants to do something, He will provide all that is needed to accomplish that task, and all that He requires of you is that you submit yourself to Him! As you surrender yourself, and your desires to God, He will first work in you, and then, work through you, to accomplish His assignment! For example, God will not ask you to go to a place for ministry, and not provide the means of transportation. When Joseph was sent to Egypt by God, it was God who provided the transportation, which was, the Midianites who took him into Egypt as a slave. But when God sent Jonah to Nineveh, and Jonah went in a different direction, it is was Jonah who paid his fare to the wrong place. When God wanted Paul, the apostle, to go to Rome, to preach the gospel to the high and mighty in Rome, God not only provided the transportation, He also arranged for Paul to be brought before Caesar, albeit, as a prisoner. Brethren, God will use His own means to take you to the place where He wants you to do His work. Whatever assignment God wants you to do in the kingdom, know that He has already provided the means for executing the assignmentwhat you need to do is to wait patiently, until He says it is time, and has equipped you for the work. This was what the Lord Jesus did, when in Luke 24:49, He told His disciples to wait in Jerusalem until they be endued with power from on high, before going out to preach the good news of the kingdom of God. And they waited patiently, studying and applying themselves to the word of God, and praying, until, on the day of Pentecost, the Holy Ghost came upon them! Brethren, when God has a work for you to do in His kingdom, He does not expect you to use your own abilities, or human methods; instead, He expects you to follow His word, regardless of the hardship and ridicule you may have to go through. When you hold fast to the word of God, and labour in His kingdom according to His principles, He will Himself open the door of ministry unto you. But when you refuse to wait for God, He will leave you to your own devises, and whatever you then do, is dead works. There are many people who claim that God called them into Ministry, but they have not waited for God to mould them into the image of Christ; they no sooner give themselves titles like; pastor, evangelist, bishop, apostle, etc. Brethren, the bible says in 1 Samuel 3:20 that all Israel knew that Samuel was established to be a prophet of the LORD. Samuel did not go about calling himself prophet; indeed, it was as Samuel was hearing from God and relaying same to the people of Israel, that it became clear to them all, that God had called Samuel to be a prophet to the nation! Have you given yourself some self-styled title, like, Prophet Doctor or Apostle Barrister or Ambassador Pastor or just simply, Evangelist? Brother, you need to repent of this dead work, and rely on God to establish you.

Some people who claim to be Christians but who really have not learnt about Christ, claim that wealth is a mark of Christianity. This would then mean that only Christians are rich in a worldly sense! This is clearly false! Hear what the Lord Jesus said about this: thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: (Revelation 3:17). Brethren, wealth is not the criterion that God uses to call people to do His work. Indeed, Gods work has majorly been done by men who had next to nothing, and men who did not have enough for themselves. When God called Gideon to deliver Israel, in Judges Chapters 6 and 7, Gideon was from the poorest clan in Manasseh, the least in his own family, and a frightened man; yet God used him to bring deliverance to Israel; not with wealth, military prowess or force of strength. Rather, God hand-picked and rallied 300 men around Gideon; and as they obeyed God, by blowing trumpets, and breaking pitchers within which they had placed lit torches, deliverance came to the nation of Israel. They did not carry swords or any other weapons; they simply obeyed Gods word and put to flight and overcame 300,000 Midianite soldiers! This, my brothers and my sisters, is how Gods work is donethrough obedience; not by methodology! Others may be using human sense to gather people; you just obey God, and His work will be done; and this is what is called good works! The bible says that the Christian does not war or work with weapons or techniques of human origin; but with weapons that originate from God. Christians dont use mans principles of advertising to publish the good news of the kingdom of God; they simply follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. The Lord Jesus and the early apostles never used billboards or posters, yet they preached the word of God, and were heard all over the world; neither did they raise funds, as we do today, and yet they went all over the world with the gospel. When God calls you, He also provides the means, lest any man boast that he did it in his strength! So, if like the church in Philadelphia, you have little strength, dont go a-begging; live by Gods word; dont deny His name, or live contrary to His nature; wait patiently for Him, and in due season, He will open the door to you to do good works, and He will establish you. And who God establishes, is indeed established!

Friend, the Lords message to you today is that, when God calls, He also equips, empowers, and provides for His work. The work of the Lord can only be done by God; and if God is going to use you to do His work, He must first transform you into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ, thereby making you to have His nature. It is only after this that you really can do good works and do Gods work; which is what is truly good works! If the nature of God is not yet in you, you cannot do good works. But if you wait patiently and endure the crucible of Gods training, you will become a good work in the hands of God, set to do good works! Gods ways are not our ways; He does things in ways that the carnal mind cannot understand; things that the natural man cannot comprehend. If you are one that must first understand what God is doing, it is unlikely that you will be able do Gods work. Gods work is a work of faith! Any work that does not have the life or approval of God is dead works! Repent, turn and follow Gods word, and you will be equipped to do good works in no time!

Let us pray!