Thursday, July 23, 2015

BIBLE | The Study Notes of a Demoniac [Revelation 1-2]

“Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.”
‭‭I Timothy‬ ‭6:18-19‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

The Worker for the Lord Job Performance Self-Evaluation Criteria
These notes are based on quotes from Jesus Christ, as recorded in Revelation, that describe His future assessment of the quality of the work of those He calls His own. The purpose of assembling and analyzing them is to create a checklist for workers for the Lord, which they can use to evaluate whether their work will meet Christ's approval on that Day.

The purpose is also to take the ooga-booga out of a book of the Bible that usually only garners attention from seekers of "signs of the times," which is the most irrelevant and improper and impractical use of this the most important estimator of your worth to Christ.

Each note is comprised of two parts: first, the verse; then, the note, which suggests how the verse could be interpreted by the modern reader as a means to qualify the proper quantity of work and the sufficiency of its quality.

This is only a draft—the first one, in fact—only covering the first two chapters so far.

Even as a draft, the message will be clear to most—even for "signs of the times" seekers

Even still, it will give you more than enough to think about; it does not fail to deliver on the bottom line, which is: you better know how you measure up with Jesus in fact—not theory—particularly if you're going to take me and this blog on. I would also stop quoting Jesus on your Facebook, your Google+ and your Twitter feed unless you've qualified yourself according to His standards as set forth in these notes. Holier-than-thou doesn't work in any setting, for any reason.

How closely does Jesus look at your work for Him?
I know your industry and activities, laborious toil and trouble, and your patient endurance, and how you cannot tolerate wicked [men] ...
— Revelation 2:2
Christ keeps track of how much work you do for Him, as well as the meaning of the work as is implied to you. The Lord's work is to fight evil with good. You must take an active stance against evil deeds and evil people—both inwardly and out—as a worker for the Lord. You have to constantly look for it, and call it out when you see it.

How involved in your particulars does He get?
I know you are enduring patiently and are bearing up for My name's sake, and you have not fainted or become exhausted or grown weary." ... "I know your affliction and distress and pressing trouble and your poverty–but you are rich! and how you are abused and reviled and slandered...
— Revelation 2:3, 9 AMP
Work for the Lord is exhausting; if it's not, it's not the Lord's work. God created you for his purpose and pleasure; and, He gave you everything you need to fulfill it, even though He also gave you the choice whether to do so. Much effort in using what God gave you to do His work is the most significant qualifier of your worthiness as a future citizen of Heaven.

Is one person's work any better in His eyes than someone else's?
But I have this [one charge to make] against you: that you have left (abandoned) the love that you had at first [you have deserted Me, your first love].
— Revelation 2:4
The work you do is for Christ, for strengthening your relationship with Him and other Christians; keeping this fact in the forefront of your mind should be a constant effort in order to not only guide your work, but to compliment your own spiritual growth. Working for Christ is meant to appropriate the free gift of His blood; your work for the Lord tells Him what you think that is worth.

How does my work for Him complement the working of my salvation?
Remember then from what heights you have fallen. Repent (change the inner man to meet God's will) and do the works you did previously [when first you knew the Lord], or else I will visit you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you change your mind and repent.
— Revelation 2:5
To reinvigorate your zeal and desire for salvation, change anything ungodly about your life, and remember where the state of decay and the sense of eternal peril you felt before Christ found you. Then, with an attitude of repentance, get back to work to retain your place among the elect.
Fear nothing that you are about to suffer. [Dismiss your dread and your fears!] Behold, the devil is indeed about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested and proved and critically appraised, and for ten days you will have affliction. Be loyally faithful unto death [even if you must die for it], and I will give you the crown of life.
— Revelation‬ ‭2‬:‭10‬ AMP
Everyone is a target of the devil—even those who purport to work for him; so, a common degree of fear is expected and understandable. Here, Christ must be referring to another kind or a higher degree of fear that is unique among His workers, and which is derived from the work itself, and not based on the same concern for one's welfare as anyone else. This could be the fear of making the intent of your work known, doing your work wherever needed, whenever needed, and to the degree and quality to which it is needed. It could also mean the fear of calling out the particulars of the problem that created the need, and doing so unabashedly, and until all concerned acknowledge the problem, too. Christ is saying that, any problem you work on must be addressed completely, even when that involves identifying the particulars, and making them known. (If the problem comes from so-and-so, name so-and-so; if the problem is caused by such-and-such, identify such-and-such). In sum, hold nothing back that would expedite the completion and enhance the quality of your work; fearing the repercussions of doing so in any kind of way impedes the Lord's work.
I know where you live—a place where Satan sits enthroned. [Yet] you are clinging to and holding fast My name, and you did not deny My faith, even in the days of Antipas, My witness, My faithful one, who was killed (martyred) in your midst—where Satan dwells.
— Revelation‬ ‭2‬:‭13‬ AMP
In spite of the situation in which a worker for the Lord lives, Christ expects faithfulness to Him. No excuse will be accepted in that Day for having acquiesced to danger or fear.

Back it up, you say? Gladly:
[Jesus said] Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled].
— John 14:27
That means Jesus left you with a tool for keeping fear at bay, and that He expects you to know how to wield it whenever you need to.

The verse from Revelation clearly implies possible direct contact with Satan, his angels and other agents of the anti-Christ. Obviously, you are meant to be faithful and industrious even still; much less obvious, but worthy of mention—especially today—is your obligation to acknowledge the times and its peoples. Ignoring, acquiescing, compromising (see note re Revelation 2:14, below), and otherwise failing to call evil out is not at all Christ-like [“O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” Matthew‬ ‭12:34‬ ‭KJV‬‬]. He not only fingered his own people as the snakes they were during his earthly life, but commended his Followers for doing the same [“I know ... 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: ... But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.” Revelation‬ ‭2:2, 6‬ ‭KJV‬‬].

A Christian worker dichotomizes acquiescence, complicity and resignation to evil times and evil people and a failure to actively stand against evil in both word and deed. In addition to speaking out, Christ warns followers to avoid adopting or imitating or participating in any part of or with any persons known for acts of evil. Such persons who devise and practice evil as a matter of course and policy are unwelcome in all ways and in all places, their repentance notwithstanding.
But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.
— Revelation‬ ‭2:14‬ ‭KJV‬‬
Christ will punish swiftly and severely for the absence of a no-tolerance policy in your life:
Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. [But] 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.
— ‭‭Revelation‬ ‭2:16-17‬ ‭KJV‬‬
Resisting evil every time, everywhere and in whatever circumstances is a hurdle so arduous, Christ compares it to climbing a mountain peak by and through His use of the word, "overcometh." Moreover, He counts it as suffering for His sake, and promises a unique reward for success for this the only type of suffering identified specifically by Christ (versus the general use of the term suffering elsewhere). Clearly, making the distinction between the children of God and the sons of Belial is highly important to Jesus.
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.
— Revelation‬ ‭2:19‬ ‭KJV‬‬
Worthy citizens of Heaven don't get old, tired or stagnant in their work. Christ not only appraises to the quality of your faith by good works, acknowledges and rewards you for the hardships you endure insodoing, and provides guidance on your conduct in any and all extraneous circumstances that may hinder that work, but He also sets expectations for an ever-increasing volume of work over time.

Now, this may sound like Christ expects you to pile work on top of work, but He actually means that the work you do should evolve into one that requires an ever-increasing amount of skill, and one that continually expands in scope (the number of people served, the quality of the service). In other words, work for the Lord should compel continuing education and training in any area relevant, and should be expanded just as a business-for-profit might.
[All] the assemblies (churches) shall recognize and understand that I am He Who searches minds (the thoughts, feelings, and purposes) and the [inmost] hearts...
— Revelation‬ ‭2:23 AMP
God wants you to learn to stay focused on the right things while you do His work, and He keeps an eye on your inner motivations and thoughts to see what, if any, distractions lure you away from the kind of right-thinking His workers must have to do His work correctly and best.
[And] I will give to each of you [the reward for what you have done] as your work deserves. [Ps. 62:12; Jer. 17:10.] But to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not explored and known the depths of Satan, as they say–I tell you that I do not lay upon you any other [fresh] burden.
— Revelation‬ ‭2:23-24‬ ‭AMP‬‬

As you fight evil by doing good, you will find certain aspects of evil very enticing, and may feel tempted to explore them. Refuse to give in, and Christ will reward your steadfast and unfettered focus on His work.
Only hold fast to what you have until I come. And he who overcomes (is victorious) and who obeys My commands to the [very] end [doing the works that please Me], I will give him authority and power over the nations.
— Revelation‬ ‭2:25-26‬ ‭AMP‬‬
Your work is lifelong; there is no end to it. So, plan and make choices today that keep you work-capable for as far into the future as you can foresee. That means not only taking precautions to avoid problems such as poor health, but actions which build strength and stamina, such as proper diet, exercise and rest on a habitual basis. The best workers are healthy workers, and to realize the reward Christ has laid aside for those who cross the finish line requires nothing less than a physical prowess on a par with any athlete you could name.

Think I stretched a little more meaning out of that one than is there? Then, consider the demands of your role as an authority and power over the nations as described by Christ in the next verse:
And he shall rule them with a sceptre (rod) of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, and [his power over them shall be] like that which I Myself have received from My Father... [Ps. 2:8, 9.]
— Revelation‬ ‭2:27‬ ‭AMP‬‬
A weak, frail worker isn't going to rule anyone with a scepter of iron; rather, only a strong, able-bodied and sharp-minded one. You can't carry the strength of Christ with poor mental and physical hygiene. So, shape up—literally—or ship out, and enjoy the fact that a proper fitness regimen is a form of acceptable worship to God, when done for the right (aforestated) reasons:
I appeal to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship.
— Romans 12:1 AMP
AND TO the angel (messenger) of the assembly (church) in Sardis write: These are the words of Him Who has the seven Spirits of God [the sevenfold Holy Spirit] and the seven stars: I know your record and what you are doing; you are supposed to be alive, but [in reality] you are dead.
— Revelation‬ ‭3:1‬ ‭AMP‬‬
Christ expects His workers to evaluate their own work, warning them to do so according to God's standards—not their own. Just because it's called charity doesn't necessarily mean it is, and failing to engage in comprehensive work can kill the soul.

This verse also implies that you're dead to Christ if you're not a top-quality worker.a
Rouse yourselves and keep awake, and strengthen and invigorate what remains and is on the point of dying; for I have not found a thing that you have done [any work of yours] meeting the requirements of My God or perfect in His sight.
— Revelation‬ ‭3:2‬ ‭AMP‬‬
By contrast, using your God-given graces to their fullest extent keeps the best parts of you alive.
So call to mind the lessons you received and heard; continually lay them to heart and obey them, and repent. In case you will not rouse yourselves and keep awake and watch, I will come upon you like a thief, and you will not know or suspect at what hour I will come.
— Revelation‬ ‭3:3‬ ‭AMP‬‬
A significant portion of your walk with Christ during your earthly life is learning what He expects of you as His worker. These lessons are immutable; you cannot add or take away anything from them without falling short.
I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept My Word and guarded My message and have not renounced or denied My name. ... Because you have guarded and kept My word of patient endurance [have held fast the lesson of My patience with the expectant endurance that I give you], I also will keep you [safe] from the hour of trial (testing) which is coming on the whole world to try those who dwell upon the earth.
— Revelation‬ ‭3:8‬ ‭AMP‬‬
Public benefits is charity the same as distributing to the poor from the church coffers in one sense; but, should be quite different in another, in that one provides an opportunity to spread the gospel. An integral part of your charity work must be exactly that. Doing so will be rewarded in this life by Christ's strength to help us during the most difficult times of our lives.

More to come...