Trials

We will all have difficulties in our lives whether we are believers or unbelievers.  Everyone experiences illness, economic distresses, relationship difficulties, work problems, housing issues, transportation woes, and the list can go on and on.  We, as believers, who are not immune to these life difficulties, have our own unique set of trials that we experience because we are the redeemed of the Lord Jesus Christ, and love and live for Him.  God’s word warns us through many passages about the trials that we must deal with as we traverse this fallen world on our way to our home with our glorious and holy God Almighty, our Father.  I would like to present some of these trials that we can experience that are recorded for us, the members of His church, in Revelation chapters 2 and 3.  I want to start with the church at Ephesus and end with the Laodicean church.  This will be a multi-part series of posts.

1 “To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, ‘These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands:  2 “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil.  And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; 3 and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary.  4 Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.  5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place-unless you repent.  6 But this you have that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.  7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.”  Revelation 2:1-8

 To overcome this trial we must serve our Lord Jesus Christ out of sincere love and devotion to Him.  We can serve the Lord out of duty or out of deep love and devotion to Him and to others.  Our commitment to His truth can also arise from a desire to do what is right and good, which is commendable, or because of our zeal for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and vehement dedication to guarding His glory and truth.  Jesus perfectly exemplified a life of loving devotion to God the Father, His glory and His truth, because He is God the Son.  As the children of God, we also can live for His glory and truth because of our love for Him.  Jesus Christ has made us new creatures through faith in Him and we can obey and honor our Father and Jesus Christ through loving devotion to them because they first loved us.

4 “I have glorified You on the earth.  I have finished the work which You have given me to do.  5 And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.  6 I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world.  They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word.  7 Now they have known that all things which You have given Me are from You.  8 For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You and they have believed that You sent Me.  John 17:4-8  

 This trial that we face as believers is to do God’s will because we love Him, and for no other reason.  Doing the first works that we did as new believers means we rejoice in God’s love for us, marvel at His goodness, grace and mercy given to us in Christ Jesus, and joyfully follow Him, obeying Him with glad hearts.  Jesus commands that we repent from doing His work because of duty and either/or a sense of obligated self-righteousness or importance.    He commands that we serve Him with loyal loving devotion.  Those who do not repent, proving they are not His, forfeit being His witness and eating from the tree of life in midst of the Paradise of God.  Overcomers love Jesus Christ and serve Him because of His love for them.

12 “And to the angel of the church of Pergamos write, ‘These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword:  13 “I know your works, and where Satan’s throne is.  And you hold fast to My name, ad did not deny My faith even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.  14 But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality.  15 Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.  16 Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth. 17 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.  To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat.  And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.   Revelation 2:12-17

Believers can expect to endure trials that arise from false teaching and ungodly living embraced within the visible church.  False teachers will seek to lead those called by the Lord astray and away from pure devotion to Him.  Wicked workers within the visible church are ever laboring to lead God’s children into godless doctrine and living.  They use various means, but the main methods involve contradicting God’s Word, and denying the person and work of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and His gospel of salvation.  The trial we endure is witnessing the reproach that is brought upon our glorious Savior because of their reprehensible lies and godless behavior.  Those who love the Lord Jesus Christ will turn from all error and embrace God’s Word as their beacon of truth regarding faith and practice.  Those who never reject the wickedness of false teachers prove they are not the redeemed of Jesus Christ.

18 For when they speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through lewdness, the ones who have actually escaped from those who live in error.  19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage.  20 For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning.  21 For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them.  22 But it has happened to them according to the true proverb:  “A dog returns to his own vomit,” and, “a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.”  2 Peter 2:18-22

Those who belong to Jesus Christ through faith in Him by the power of the Holy Spirit will serve Him with love and gladness, even if at times they become caught up in a myriad of distractions.  Those who are saved through faith in Jesus Christ by the supernatural work of God in their hearts may be fooled by false teachers for a time, but the Lord will deliver them out of their snares.  Those who belong to Jesus Christ are overcomers because of their faith in Jesus Christ and their powerful hold upon the Word of God, the Bible, as the only source of truth for their faith and growth in the knowledge of Jesus Christ.  May God bless us as we withstand these trials by holding fast the faithful Word as we have been taught and relying upon the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth and so prove to be overcomers as we face the trials that are unique to the children of God.

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9 Responses to Trials

  1. Sherry says:

    FTA: Those who are saved through faith in Jesus Christ by the supernatural work of God in their hearts may be fooled by false teachers for a time, but the Lord will deliver them out of their snares.

    This I know is the truth! Praise be to our Lord Jesus! Lord God, lead us into all truth…deliver us from all of the lies we believe to be the truth. May we “come out from among them.” ~amen~

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  2. Eliza says:

    Thank you for your comment Sherry. Praise God that He has given to us His precious Word the Bible and Has given us the Holy Spirit to indwell us through faith in His Son Jesus Christ, Who leads us into all truth. Praise God that we can know His truth through His Word by His Spirit and live for His honor and glory. God bless you:)

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  3. fredswolfe says:

    These are great examples but the “churches” mentioned in Revelation are not churches; they are synagogues. There are no born again believers in the book of Revelation and no Church of the Body of Christ members. We are all Raptured before the prophecies of this revelation to John begin. You know that the word church is translated from the Greek word ekklesia which has also been translated as a “mob.” It is any group of people organized together for a specific purpose. When you read this Revelation think of Israel and the Jews when you read it and it will make much more sense. Also, read it in the NASB translation.

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    • Eliza says:

      You are making many assumptions that are not supported by Scripture. Jesus Christ calls them churches, how can anyone contradict Him and call them synagogues?

      Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea. And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength. And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter; The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches. Revelation 1:11-20

      These were actual churches which existed in Asia as attested to by the Word of God and mentioned by the church fathers.

      He wouldn’t be addressing synagogues since they are not part of His Body. He is addressing those who belong to Him since He emphasizes the gospel in the opening to Revelation. To the church of Pergamos He commends those who hold fast His name and do not deny the faith. That sure sounds like born again belief in the Savior. By the way, the way of salvation has always been the same since Adam and Eve fell in the Garden of Eden, belief in the Savior and looking to Him for salvation, and will be the same during the tribulation. Just because the church is not present during the tribulation doesn’t mean that sinners are not saved through faith in Jesus Christ.

      The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand. John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne; And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. Revelation 1:1-6

      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. Revelation 2:12-13

      Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever. Revelation 5:12-14

      After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen. And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Revelation 7:9-14

      And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Revelation 14:6

      And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Revelation 12:10-11

      And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Revelation 20:4-5

      These verses are sufficient to prove that what you said is wrong. Don’t bother responding, unless you are repenting of your false teaching, because I will just delete it.

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  4. Bob Wheeler says:

    Fredswolfe,
    Where in the Bible does it say that the church will be raptured before the Tribulation?
    Eliza,
    Let’s be gentle! — one of the benefits of blogging is the opportunity to engage in frank and open discussion — this is the modern version of Mars Hill! “And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves . . .” (II Tim. 2:24,25).

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    • Eliza says:

      The tribulation is God’s judgment upon an unbelieving world from the revelation of the Antichrist to God’s final bowl judgement poured out upon the earth. We are not appointed to wrath. Additionally, the church is nowhere mentioned in Revelation, but we see God’s chosen workers who are taken from the nation of Israel, and they are the ones who share the gospel for the salvation of the lost during the tribulation.

      But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. 1 Thessalonians 5:1-10

      We will be raptured before God’s pours out His judgment upon this earth. God bless you:)

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      • Bob Wheeler says:

        Read the passage carefully and follow the sequence of events. He begins by describing what will happen to the unsaved during the Day of the Lord (vv. 2,3) and mentions a “sudden destruction” that will come upon them (v. 3). He then goes on to say that “that day” (i.e. the Day of the Lord) will not overtake the Christians as a thief (v. 4), and exhorts us to live righteous lives in the meantime. Thus, in the context, when he says “For God hath not appointed us to wrath,” he is evidently referring to the “sudden destruction” that will overtake the unsaved at the Second Coming. The text implies that we will still be here on the earth when it happens — it will not take us by surprise (v. 4).

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    • Eliza says:

      God’s Word says: 2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desire, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. 1 Timothy 4:2-4

      13 This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke the sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, 14 not giving heed to Jewish fables and commandments of men who turn from the truth. Titus 1:13-14

      He was attacking the truth of the Scripture and the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. My response was appropriate. This isn’t about discussion this is about proclaiming the truth of the Scriptures. I do that without apology.

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      • Bob Wheeler says:

        Well, I hope to demonstrate on my own blog in the weeks to come that you are both wrong about the Rapture and the Tribulation. In the meantime, ask yourselves one basic question: why is the Book of Revelation in the Bible? What is the practical lesson that we are supposed to derive from it? And then notice carefully what Christ says at the end of each letter to the seven churches of Asia.
        The idea of a Pretribulation Rapture is utterly without Scriptural foundation whatsoever. I challenge you both to show me even one verse of Scripture that says otherwise!

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