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“I know all the things you do. I have seen your hard work and your patient endurance. I know you don’t tolerate evil people. You have examined the claims of those who say they are apostles but are not. You have discovered they are liars. You have patiently suffered for Me without quitting. But I have this complaint against you. You don’t love Me or each other as you did at first! [you have lost your first love.[1]] Look how far you have fallen! Turn back to Me and do the works you did at first. If you don’t repent, I will come and remove your lampstand from its place among the churches. But this is in your favour: You hate the evil deeds of the Nicolaitans,[2] just as I do. Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what He is saying to the churches. To everyone who is victorious [who overcomes] I will give fruit from the tree of life in the paradise of God.”[3]

This was sent to the messenger or angel, meaning the appointed head, of the church in Ephesus, and for us it has intensified its meaning in that we first understood it to mean that we had lost our first love for Jesus, that love that we manifested when we first believed in Jesus and the redemption He bought for us, our salvation. Then we also came to understand that it had a deeper meaning; that we had forsaken our first love,[4] the first of the four commands of love,[5] which Jesus gave us to practise, that of loving our enemies. And now the Holy Spirit opens up for us that we “don’t love [Jesus] or each other as [we] did at first! What could He mean by that? Doesn’t it seem almost a little insulting that we have come this far, for we are ones who have received a lampstand yet have slipped in our love for Him and each other? Surely, our love for Him particularly should have deepened and anchored itself into an immovable place deep within Him, The Rock? And as for each other, shouldn’t our love have grown as we grow in the Lord, the Lord and the Lord?

Yet we have to humble ourselves and stop to pay close attention to what we hear and listen to what He is saying so that more understanding will be given us.[6]

When we first came to Jesus, we gave Him our all, and in our childlike state, many of us would even die for Him, for we had no comprehension of the requirements of our heart-felt exuberant gushing, pouring out from our thankfulness in response to His great mercy to us. Yet God’s super-abundant amazing grace covered all of our weaknesses and our immaturities, for He nurtured us and fed us until it was time to push us out of our nappies and baby foods into learning to do things His way for ourselves. We appreciated those around us for we were in the humbled state of being new-borns, and we recognised that others were more mature than us and so we were grateful for their loving support. But as we began to grow, we also began to see the immaturities and weaknesses in those around us who we once thought so mature, and we began to lose the fullness of our love for them, and so we began to judge them and even began to lord it over them as we ourselves grew ever stronger. For we did neither fully appreciate nor understand the depth and sheer weightiness of God’s grace covering over our many sins and weaknesses that we would grow sturdily and assuredly. And neither did we comprehend how much of His favour He covered us with as He poured His Spirit into us, to not only baptise us with the Holy Spirit but into the Holy Spirit. Nor did we perceive how much of His gifting was freely given to us by the Holy Spirit directly as well as through others, and how little of ourselves there actually would be if we had not freely received. If we understood this, we would not be able to judge another, ever, but only love each other in humility, for this accounting has not yet been shown us, even though we may know a little.

And please, please, rejoice graciously in whatever effort your brothers or sisters make, no matter how feeble, not judging it as below your worth or your ability, or even as fake, for they would not make an effort if it was not coming from a heart which is striving, for even if it is a stumbling effort, no matter how weak, it is a step forward towards God-likeness nevertheless.

For we cannot be truly one with Jesus until we have become one with each other. This is an enigma, but it is true, for until you have become one with each other, Jesus cannot come to you and say, “Now you are truly one with Me.” For if we think we are one with Jesus, yet are not one with our brothers, sisters and mothers in Christ Jesus, then we are not in truth one with Jesus, for as we aspire to become one with Jesus and humble ourselves in the ongoing imperative work of continuous repentance and the practise of His words to that of hearing what the Holy Spirit reminds us of and corrects us in, and in this becoming one with Jesus, we will at that stage of laying down our lives become one with each other and complete our oneness with Jesus. For He is One with His Father and the Holy Spirit, and They are ONE, and He is looking for ones who will use the glory He gave to us that we may become one, for it is His prayer that we will become one as He is One with the Father and the Holy Spirit.[7] We should not be satisfied with small success, but persevere with patient endurance until the many to the fullness of the desire of Jesus’ heart that all of the disciples become one with each other, and not rest secure that someone has made themselves one with us yet we ourselves do not urgently strive to achieve making ourselves one with them and the others. This is an ongoing unceasing work that requires humble continuous maintenance just as we practise humble continuous repentance.

It may be great that we achieve oneness with our best friends, and though that is a start, it is not what the Holy Spirit is saying because we have not been victorious and overcome, for sometimes to make ourselves one, we have not only to overcome our own weaknesses and pride but also the other’s weaknesses and pride and that our personalities are at a completely different spectrum, which may make it difficult for us to reach out to them or respond to them and even to love them in a God-like fashion. For God is not looking for bosom buddies, shopping mates, cricket and football mates, telephone and coffee tête-à-tête friends, or friends of like interests or minds, but a group of people who are so willing to die to their own will, desires and aspirations, (hearts and minds), that they will practise submitting themselves in true humility because the Lord, the Lord and the Lord are the First, Foremost and Only-most in their own lives, that they will unceasingly and incessantly strive to put aside any and all differences and overcome all barriers to become one, the higher goal of perfect unity.

Perfect unity for what? One in heart, mind, soul and spirit in our motive and focus to bring glory and honour to our Lord God Almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, so that the world will know that the Father sent Jesus and loves us as much as He loves Jesus.[8] One in seeking no glory or honour or even reward for ourselves, for we have been given and received much and we are only servants doing that which is much expected of us, and one because our Lord God Almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, deserve so much more than any single one of us can give Them, and because we truly, madly, deeply, obsessively love Them, that it will drive us to whatever depths it takes to return to Them as much as we impossibly can, no matter the effort or how oppressive the cost may appear to be, for perfect love drives out all fear.

If this is not yet your motive, which drives you and enables you to become one with each other, then the glory has been given for this purpose, that it will change your heart, mind, soul and spirit, and even your motive and focus for the glory and honour of the Ones who have sent you that you would become men and women of truth.[9] We may call it maturity, we may not; we may see it as an imperative necessity of no nobility, for we have nowhere and no one else to go or turn to but where the Light of our life does light the way. For we do not fully know or yet understand how far ‘down’ we must travel, how much we must continue to put to death and die to, before we understand what maturity truly is in Christ Jesus, but we do know He is not only our Example, but our Teacher and our Leader, the only One whom we follow. And so we do give thanks to the Holy Spirit for patiently and sacrificially leading us on the path to maturity, the Way of the Christ.

“This is the message from the One who is the First and the Last, who was dead but is now alive: “I know about your suffering and your poverty—but you are rich! I know the blasphemy of those opposing you. They say they are Jews, but they are not, because their synagogue belongs to Satan. Don’t be afraid of what you are about to suffer. The devil will throw some of you into prison to test you. You will suffer for ten days. But if you remain faithful even when facing death, I will give you the crown of life. Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what He is saying to the churches. Whoever is victorious [who overcomes] will not be harmed by the second death.”[10]

This was written to the church in Smyrna. I have no insightful understanding on the ten days at this time, but the message written to the church in Philadelphia follows regarding the synagogue belonging to Satan, meaning their place of worship may feign to worship Jesus Christ, but in fact is controlled by Satan and is led astray by his teachings, which are not the teachings of Jesus Christ and neither are they the teachings of the Father, for those who were true Jews, sons of God, who had come to Christ would be listening to the one command that the Father gave to the disciples of Jesus Christ, and that is: “Listen to Him, My dearly loved Son, who brings Me great joy!”[11]

“This is the message from the One who is Holy and True, the One who has the key of David. What He opens, no one can close; and what He closes, no one can open: “I know all the things you do, and I have opened a door for you that no one can close. You have little strength, yet you obeyed My word and did not deny Me. Look, I will force those who belong to Satan’s synagogue[12]—those liars who say they are Jews but are not—to come and bow down at your feet. They will acknowledge that you are the ones I love.”[13]

How will He achieve forcing those liars who say they are Jews but are not to come and bow down at the feet of the church that the Philadelphian church represents to acknowledge that these are the ones He loves? He will be able to do so because their perfect unity in oneness brought to the world the knowledge that “God loved the world so much that He gave His One and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent His Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through Him.”[14]

And this is their reward: “Because you have obeyed My command to persevere, I will protect you from the great time of testing that will come upon the whole world to test those who belong to this world. I am coming soon, quickly, suddenly. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take away your crown. All who are victorious [who overcomes] will become pillars in the Temple of My God, and they will never have to leave it. And I will write on them the Name of My God, and they will be citizens in the city of My God—the New Jerusalem that comes down from Heaven from My God. And I will also write on them My new Name. Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what He is saying to the churches.”[15]

Now a warning for those who have become rich in Christ and in the anointing and power of the Holy Spirit: “This is the message from the One who is the Amen—the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning, the Ruler, the Source of God’s new creation: “I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth! You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. So I advise you to buy gold from Me—gold that has been purified by fire. Then you will be rich. Also buy white garments from Me so you will not be shamed by your nakedness, and ointment for your eyes so you will be able to see. I correct and discipline everyone I love. So be diligent and turn from your indifference. Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear My voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends. Those who are victorious [who overcomes] will sit with Me on My throne, just as I was victorious and sat with My Father on His throne. Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what He is saying to the churches.”[16]

There is a time that we are in suffering and poverty, yet are rich as was spoken of about the church in Smyrna, but at that point, we who have received much of the riches of God and His Kingdom are in great danger of witchcraft. We are in danger of taking the tremendous anointing we have received to draw others to ourselves to satisfy our own hidden desires, which we may not have yet put to death, or even to control others and manipulate them at our will or desire or simply to solicit their approval. We must always understand that it is an urgent imperative necessity – which is an absolute – that we unceasingly practise to remain humble by continuous sincere repentance. Do not stand alone but urgently strive to be and remain one with each other, for this is also a safety guard for us. Where one is weak another is strong, not that it is our strength that we draw on, but it is and always will be the strength of the Lord, the Lord and the Lord that has been graciously and generously given to us. And when one is in sin, another will in humility forgive without remembrance and cover any damage with the healing we draw on, which comes directly from the Sanctuary of God, as we are shown in the prescribed way for each situation. We must buy from Jesus gold that has been purified by fire with the treasures that we have earned and are stored in Heaven, as well as the white garments of His righteousness, and ointment for our eyes, so that when we have become blinded by our waywardness, we may once again see so that we do repent in all sincerity.

For the reward for the victorious overcomers is: Then I saw a New Heaven and a New Earth, for the old Heaven and the old Earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. And I saw the holy city, the New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of Heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. I heard a loud shout from the Throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among His people! He will live with them, and they will be His people. God Himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” And the One sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then He said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” And He also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. All who are victorious [who overcomes] will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be My children.”[17]


 

[1] Greek

[2] Those who mix the Old Covenant Law with the New Covenant Laws as given by Jesus Christ

[3] Revelation 2:2-7 NLT [NIV]

[4] Revelation 2:4 NIV

[5] 1. Matthew 5:44; Luke 6:27,35. – 2. Mark 12:30. – 3. Mark 12:31. – 4. John 15:12.

[6] Luke 8:18; Mark 4:24 NLT

[7] John 17:21-22

[8] John 17:23

[9] John 7:18

[10] Revelation 2:8-11 NLT

[11] Matthew 17:5 (also Mark 9:7 & Luke 9:35) NLT

[12] see Revelation 2:9

[13] Revelation 3:7-9 NLT

[14] John 3:16-17 NLT

[15] Revelation 3:11-13 NLT

[16] Revelation 3:14-22 NLT

[17] Revelation 21:1-7 NLT

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