Wednesday, January 4, 2017

What the Pros and Cons of the Letters to the Seven Churches Teach Us

It seems that more and more God is giving me object lessons, using a few other people and their relationships with me, to show me how far short I am falling in working on my relationship with Him, by letting me experience the same kind of treatment that I am giving Him. It has not been pleasant, and in fact has been hurtful. The most obvious place that I am failing is in giving Him the time and attention that any relationship needs if it is to succeed. So many people take relationships for granted and do not realize that you have to actually put in the time and effort, and work diligently to keep the relationship alive. It doesn't just happen. You need to spend time with that person. Nothing replaces your time and attention. And so it must be with our Lord. I have been spending a lot of time examining myself and looking at what the Scriptures say as to how I should be living my life to make sure that I am abiding with Christ, so that I can, as Peter says, “...give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall.” (2 Peter 1:10).

It is a given that the first place to start is to give God your time and attention, as said above. Without that the rest of what follows is a moot point. Christ and the Father should be a constant presence in our life, and we should be talking to Him whenever we can. There is no such Christian as a Sunday Christian. Nor even a Sabbath one for that matter, (for us Sabbath observers). We also need to be spending time in His Word on a daily basis, as much as possible. If you aren't beginning with that, then you have already lost the battle and can only expect that you will drift further away with each passing day. The only way back is through repentance and a diligent effort to change your ways.

So many teach that all you have to do is say a pray accepting Jesus and you are all set for heaven. They do a disservice to many people, for while at the moment of accepting Christ we are given justification and are secure, from that moment on everything we do can either jeopardize it or continue to secure it. Salvation is the prize for which you have to run to win. 1 Corinthians 9:24 “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.” Paul said in Philippians 3:10-14 that he had not yet attained that state of perfection and the security of eternal life. He still had to press toward the mark to apprehend it. “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead (to eternal life). Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” We do not have the security of eternal life until we pass from this life, and to gain it we must still be in good standing with God at the time of our death. There are so many things that can cause us to get off the path. And it does not help that so many teach that once you accept Christ, you can put Him up on a shelf like a trophy and live however you please. It does not work that way, and the Bible does not teach that. I have several articles addressing different aspects of this issue, starting with the subject of eternal security. That article can be found here.

What I want to do in this article is go over each of the churches of Revelation to see the pros and cons of what they were doing, so that we might be careful to look at our lives and see if we have the pros and need to get rid of the cons. The first church mentioned is Ephesus.

Revelation 2:1-7 “Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent. But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.”

The pros listed in this church are: 1) works, 2) labor, 3) patience, 4) not tolerating evil, 5) assessing people who say they are apostles (or any type of teacher, preacher, prophet, etc.) to see if they are truthful or liars by double checking what they say and what they do against the Word of God, 6) longsuffering with patience, 7) labored without ceasing, 8) hates the deeds of the Nicolaitans. Notice that patience and labor are mentioned twice, as is basically hating evil deeds, those in general and the Nicolaitans in particular. Whatever those deeds may have been, Christ saw them as particularly bad. This group would not tolerate that evil. This gives us a list of things which should be evidenced in our lives if we are living correctly. We should have good works to our credit. And they should not be done out of a wrong attitude or motives or be works that are not really of or for God. They need to be works that will glorify God, and be done with a cheerful heart out of charity, not out of selfishness. We should labor. Not only labor for our daily bread, but labor to bring in a harvest of people for God, and it should be always ongoing. We should be slow to anger, patient in tribulation, and longsuffering with others. We should not tolerate evil, especially within the church. It needs to be exposed, not hidden, not tolerated, and not condoned. We need to be Bereans and check everything against Scripture that leaders, teachers, and others teach and say, to catch false teachings.

The cons consist of 1) leaving their first love, 2) repent and do the initial works that one did when first saved, 3) repent in general of sins of commission and omission. What is the first love? I never understood it until the first time I fell head over heels in love. Those first few months were ones where every moment of the day, my every thought and desire was for the person I loved. I wanted to be with him all the time. I wanted to do everything to please him, as I wanted him to be as happy as I was. I floated on a cloud, as they say, and I was told even by people who did not know the reason for it, that my face was radiant. No matter what bad things happened during that time, I never was unhappy, for the happiness I felt in my love overwhelmed any sad feelings I might have had. I knew happiness and joy every minute of the day for days on end. Then there was that first moment of disappointment in the other person when they were less than perfect and deeply hurt my feelings, and reality hit and the bloom was off the rose. For those few months, I had seen the other person as perfect and their love for me as perfect and had an unrealistic view of them. It was the sense of perfection that had given me that “high” that I was feeling, and when that perfection was shattered, so was the “high.” Usually when that happens with people, they tend to forget that they, too, are less that perfect and might have contributed to the perfection of the love being shattered. 

With Christ, when we accept Him, we feel that same “high” of being in love. And in this case our view is not unrealistic, as Christ is perfect and will never disappoint us in His love or behavior toward us, but what happens is that we are the ones who sin and ruin the perfection of the relationship. Somehow we expect the love that Christ has for us to be perfect in its protecting us from anything bad, or not being upset with us when we are not perfect ourselves. We become disappointed that it does not protect us from the evils of life that sin has wrought, and so we tend to shift the blame to the one who does not deserve it, Christ, and lose that sense of that first love, where our every thought of every minute of every day is to please them. We feel disappointed that He doesn't overlook our sin, even if we aren't repentant. The bloom comes off the rose, and while we continue to love Him as we love other people, even though they are not perfect, it is never quite the same. Christ is telling us to get that first love back. And since the problem is us, not Him, it is our behavior that needs fixing. We need to draw closer to Him and make Him our priority every day, thinking of Him all the time and spending the time with Him.

Next we need to do the initial works that we did when we were saved. If you have been around brand new Christians the one thing that seems to be common is that just as a person new in love wants to shout their love and share it with the world, so does a new Christian want to share their new-found faith. They seem to have no concern over the reaction they might get from the people with whom they are sharing it. As time goes by, Christians tend to be much more selective as to when and with whom they will share their faith. They worry about people's reactions. Christ wants us to get back to that initial work of sharing the gospel in the same way that we did at first. And lastly we need to not just repent of our sins off commission, which Christians have less problem doing than repenting of those sins of omission, which we tend to ignore. We need to be far more cognizant of the things we could have done and did not do and repent of those things as well.

The second church in the list is Smyrna. Christ has little to say to them, because they are abiding with Him. Revelation 2:8-11 “And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive; I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.”

The church as Smyrna is unusual as a people in that Christ finds no fault with any of the people in this church. The pros of this group are 1) their works, 2) their tribulation, 3) their poverty, and 4) their faithfulness in suffering persecution. This teaches us that again, works are very important, as they are the evidence of our faith. James 2:17, 24 “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.” We are to be faithful in tribulation, even unto death. And while poverty is not a sign of faith, those who are poor need to rely on Christ for their daily bread far more than those who are rich in material wealth. And so because of this, their faith is stronger, so they are actually richer in that they are rich in spiritual wealth.

There are no cons in this church as far as their Christian faith is concerned. The bad news for this church is that they are martyred. This occurs in spite of their almost perfect faith. They are not going to be protected from persecution and death. They will be thrown in prison and killed. This is one of the churches whose example we should emulate. They are doing the works they should, they are enduring tribulation with faithfulness, and they are rich in spiritual things.

Pergamos is the third church in this list. Revelation 2:12-17 “And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges; I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth. But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.

Pergamos has the following pros: 1) works, 2) holds to the faith, and 3) does not deny Christ. Once again we see that works is the very first thing mentioned by Christ, as it was in the previous two churches. Christ sees our works as a very important part of our walk with Him. They do not earn us salvation, but they secure it by glorifying God and evidencing our faith in Him. Without the works, we show no evidence that we love or have faith in Him, for words without actions are meaningless words. When you tell someone you love them, and then do not show it in the least way, why should they believe you? Our love is borne out by our actions toward the person. If there is no tangible evidence of our love, then it really only exists in the imagination of the one saying that they love you. There is no reason for the one who is told they are loved to believe the person when they say it. The same is true of faith. Love and faith go hand in hand. They have held fast to the faith even in the face of martrydom coming to one of their own, and have not denied Christ. They are willing to face death if necessary, and will not deny Christ if it comes down to it, and it could very well come down to it considering where they live. They live where Satan has his earthly headquarters (at that time).

Again we should recognize that we should have works to our credit, for they are very important as evidence of our faith. We should also not be ashamed of Christ. Too many are afraid of offending others, or afraid of being mocked or disliked, if they were to parade their Christianity. We cannot hold back, for Christ has told us that if we deny Him, He will deny us. We need to be willing to let our Christianity be known, even if we live in an area that is very anti-Christian.

There are some serious cons in this church. 1) They tolerate those who practice the doctrine of Balaam, and 2) they tolerate those who hold to the doctrine of the Nicolaitans. The doctrine of Balaam was that he advised that the Israelites could be conquered by getting them to live licentiously with the pagan women. So this church is tolerating all sort of moral and sexual sins with the idea of “freedom in Christ,” as so many are doing today. They are indulging in worldliness, probably going to worldly venues, hanging out with worldly people, and indulging in worldly pursuits. They would claim, as so many are doing today, that obedience to the commandments of God is trying to work your way to heaven, and that their freedom in Christ allows them to partake of these things. Added to that is the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which is something that Christ particularly hates. There is nothing in Scripture that tells us what this sin is. There are several theories. One, due to the root derivatives of the word “Nicolaitan” (meaning overcome the laity), is that there were those who were saying that only the clergy and leaders could understand Scripture, so were the wolves in sheep's clothing that were teaching apostate doctrines, and withholding the truth from the people. Another theory is that they were Gnostics, as there was a Gnostic group later in time who were referred to as the Nicoliatans. But according to what I have found written, they did not adopt this name at that time, so it seems that this might not be what is referred to. The third possibility is that there is one reference to a Nicolas in Scripture. He was a deacon, a proselyte from Antioch. It is possible that he was teaching some very bad teachings and was getting a following. Again, whatever these deeds were, they were bad, and unlike Ephesus, they were tolerating it here.

We should not be tolerating worldliness and licentious behavior, nor any deeds that are evil, or doctrine that is unscriptural. Too many Christians think today that living in holiness is trying to work their way to heaven and they don't want to become “legalistic,” so they embrace the world, its pleasures, and its people and are unequally yoked to it. They see no harm in living that way, not realizing that Christ does not see it the same way. He has told us that we must abide in Him and produce good fruit, not bad.

The fourth church to come under scrutiny is Thyatira. Revelation 2:18-29 “And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass; I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first. Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works. But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden. But that which ye have already hold fast till I come. And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. And I will give him the morning star. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”

Once again, the first thing mentioned is works. Not only once, but at the end of the list of pros, their works are listed once again, for they continue to grow in works reaching out further and further into the community. So for this group, the list of pros is 1) works, 2) charity, 3) service, 4) faith, 5) patience, and 6) works again. The list of works, charity, service, and faith is very reminiscent of the type of behavior that one finds in the churches today who focus on working one's way into heaven. They have good intentions and believe they are doing them for God, so He gives them some credit. There are some denominations who do have a head belief in Christ, and try to live for Him, for whom works is the key to getting into heaven, rather than a vital personal relationship with Christ. It would seem that this church is a forerunner of those type of churches. The thing with this is, we should have all these things. They are very important, and are vital things that we should be doing. And of course patience is something which we should always practice. The problem was, this church had those things without the relationship. Without the relationship they are done for man's purposes, not God's.

Besides the churches who focus on works to earn their way to heaven, we have those who teach that salvation is by grace, but pervert the rest of the Bible. One of the practices of the mega-churches these days is to have more ministries than you can shake a stick at. They reach out into the communities to service people who have all sort of problems and addictions. Their works are more than those at first, where they mainly saw to the needs of the saints in their congregation. But with that also seems to come apostate teachings, the prosperity gospel, the purpose driven church, etc. This is a problem of the church at Thyatira also.

The cons of this church are so bad that they are said to be the depth of Satan's teachings, and Christ says He will throw them into great tribulation. The phrase “great tribulation” is used in only one other context in the Bible, and that is during the 70th week of Daniel. This church is allowing a woman, one who is so evil that God calls her Jezebel after the queen in the Old Testament who was evil, to teach. It is not only that they allow her to teach the entire church, against what Scripture teaches about women not being pastors of churches, but she is actually advocating and encouraging people to commit fornication and adultery of all kinds. It is not bad enough that they tolerate people in their ranks acting this way, as was found in other churches, they have elevated the ringleader of this kind of sin to the rank of leader. All of the good deeds which they do, does not hold a candle to the evil that is going on in their church. God will purge them of their sin by giving them the worst persecution ever, that will result in their deaths. Just as we cannot tolerate the sins of Balaam or the Nicolaitans, we cannot allow our leaders to teach that sinful behavior is okay with God. We need to check their teachings against the Scriptures.

Sardis is the next church on the list. Revelation 3:1-6 “And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. 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. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”

Sardis has the following pros 1) none. They don't even have works, for their works are not perfect before God. They are strictly the works they want to do, not works for God. They have a name that they are Christian, but they have reached the point of almost death, as far as faith is concerned. They do not have a living faith at all, it is just the remnant of glowing embers ready to be extinguished. They basically have nothing more than the name of Christians. I know some liberal churches like this. They have discontinued their belief in the Bible as the inerrant Word of God. They don't even believe much of what is in it is actual history anymore. They treat it as a mythological book. They do not see Jesus as the Son of God, born of a virgin, and a part of the Trinity, but ascribe a lesser position to Him. They do social works for the world. They are essentially almost unbelievers, but there are still some in the church who are true believers. They have not defiled themselves with the unbelief that is rampant in their church. We must be careful to not be entangled in churches like this, for the people we keep company with will corrupt us, if they are the wrong kind of people.

The cons of this church are 1) everything. They have no faith, no doctrine that is good, no works, nothing. They are on the point of being unbelievers and probably most of them actually are. Church is a ritual for them. Again, this is a serious warning to us to cling to the truth of Scriptures and believe in what they say, for if you do not, you end up in unbelief.

Philadelphia is akin to Smyrna in that they are not guilty of straying. 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.”

The pros in this church are 1) they have works, 2) they have kept God's Word, 3) they have not denied Christ, 4) they have kept the word of God's patience, and 5) they will be kept safe through the great tribulation. This group has several things in common with Smyrna. 1) Christ has nothing bad to say about them. They have the works that are always the first consideration. They have kept God's Word pure and unadulterated, and have not denied Christ. These are things which we want in our lives. 2) They also have some enmity with the synagogue of Satan who call themselves Jews. Both of these churches have had dealings with this group of people. Then there are two things that Christ mentions which have not been mentioned before in connection with any church. They keep the word of God's patience, and because they have kept it, they will be spared the suffering of the great tribulation which will purge the rest of the churches who have been chastised, and which will result in the deaths of the Smyrnans even though they are spiritually fine. Because of this many of this group will most likely live to see the rapture. To know what keeping the word of God's patience means, and what criteria this group must meet to get to the rapture, read my other article here.

Now while this article is about helping us to know some of the ways (not all, but some) that we must be behaving to have a right relationship with Christ, if one wants to actually make it to the rapture, I would advise not only doing the things that this article presents, but especially those things of the article just referenced, as well as any other of the many things of which we are told that we should be obedient.

The Philadelphians have no cons, just as Smyrna had none. This is the ultimate group to be in, for not only do they meet with Christ's approval, they will not have to die the death of the martyr.

The group that is the worst of the bunch is saved for last. The Laodiceans. Revelation 3:14-22 “And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because 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: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”

Laodicea has no pros. They have only cons. Even their works are useless for God. He can't even stand them. 1) They are rich in material goods, selfishly so, 2) they brag about it and are arrogant, and think that they are just fine not only with themselves, but with God also. They think because they have all this wealth that God must be blessing them, so believe that how they run their spiritual lives meets with God's approval. 3) They are so blind to the truth that they cannot see that in God's eyes they are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked. They don't even have dirty robes as the others do. They are totally naked. They need to get themselves some robes to begin with by truly having a relationship with Christ, and doing the good works that gives them that white robe. This is the church that I believe describes the American Church as a whole – wealthy (especially compared to the rest of the world in general, much less the Christian world), arrogant (they think that God will never let them suffer, while they see Christians around the world dying for their faith), and blind to their spiritual condition (they defiantly cry that trying to live holy lives is an act of works, and they do not need to earn their way to heaven, because Jesus did it all). They are so oblivious to the real gospel and what God expects from us in return that they don't even realize that Christ is not even a part of their lives or church. He is standing outside asking them if He can come in. This is a serious place to be, for this blindness is one that keeps them from seeing their condition and will result in their eternal damnation if they do not wake up. No Christian should want to fall into this condition.

There is an interesting progression among these churches. The first one is accepted by Christ as a whole as followers of His, although they are not perfect. But neither are they in flagrant sin or tolerating it in their church. Then there is a church which is walking in faith, but they are a persecuted church. The third church has many who have crossed the line, but the while church is not endorsing crossing the line, they make the error of tolerating those who do. So the church is dangerously trying to walk on the fence, but are still followers of Christ. The fourth church has totally crossed the line as a whole in setting up in the position of leadership those who would teach that they can and should cross the line. There are a few who do not go along with this though, so there are still some who are in Christ in this church. The next church is almost, for all intents and purposes, dead in faith or about to breathe their last. They have all, but for a few who still remain faithful, fallen away. Then we have another faithful church, who will not suffer the greatest persecution of all times, because they have qualified in a special way for that protection. The last church is one which has thrown Christ out the door, for He is standing outside waiting to get back in. The entire church is already lost. They do not even have some
among their ranks who are still faithful.

I have already written a couple of articles on how we should be making our salvation secure. I have already provided links above to those. Another article that might be useful for those who want to know how to walk with the Lord, was how to avoid being one of the people that Christ says, “I never knew you, depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matthew 7:23). That can be found here.

There are many more passages in Scripture that give us instruction as to how to live our lives in Christ. Most of the epistles in fact. It is not an easy thing to live out the life of a Christian in the best possible way, but we can only strive to do so. God is forgiving, and we must make sure we are repentant when we do walk off the path. The main thing is to try. For if we do not at least try, we risk everything, for salvation is not a trophy that you display on a shelf. It is something that you must work out and run the race to try to win. “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” Philippians 2:12. Christ took the penalty for our sins, and took us by the hand to lead us to His home, but we have to walk with Him to get to the destination. The words “fear” and “trembling” should indicate how serious this is. We can't take our own path and think it will get us there without His guidance and companionship, just because we accepted the invitation to go there. “Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” Matthew 7:14.

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