I listened to a sermon this morning from the book of Revelation. It’s a prophetic book about the end of days. I always imagine how difficult it was for John to describe the things he saw. There would have been flying machines that John could not envision. We can imagine today that what he would describe as fire falling from heaven could easily be nuclear weapons.
There’s a phrase that John uses quite frequently: “He who has an ear, let him hear…” Pastor David Jeremiah said today we might say, “If the shoe fits, wear it”. Another way to say it would be, “If this applies to you, heed this warning… or accept this encouragement.”
So when people are being persecuted as the church in China or Islamic countries are today, they can be encouraged by the words written to the church in Smyrna in Rev. 2:10-11, “Do not fear what you are going through…Be faithful even unto death…He who overcomes will not be hurt by the second death.” If this applies to you, be encouraged.
When people are compromising and bowing to the sin of the world as many in the church in America are today, some of us see the warning given to the church in Pergamos about committing sexual immorality, etc., and we want to shout, “Repent, or else…” (Rev 2:16). If this applies to you, heed this warning. And if you overcome and hold fast in this compromising generation, be encouraged that He will sustain you. (Rev. 2:17)
There’s no doubt we are living in a time in America when people do not want to hear anything other than what they agree with. We are rarely convinced of anything anymore. It’s why politicians can’t work things out. It’s why people leave one church for another or leave the church all together. We know how we feel and we only want to be affirmed. And I have to wonder if God has granted many their desire to believe they are right even when they are wrong. In other words, they so want to believe they are right that God allows them to believe a lie. Paul writes about this very thing in Romans 1:18-32.
“If this applies to you, heed this warning… or accept this encouragement.”