The Greatest Accomplishment
DATE: 25 Nov, 2001
PLACE: BBC Blarney
Introduction (John 21:19,22)
A. The seven churches of the Book of the Revelation are a real eye-opener, as far as what Jesus expects of His churches, and what He finds! Reward
B. We have looked at our Greatest Need – to keep our First Love (which is love for Jesus), always FIRST, and foremost in our daily walk through life!
C. Jesus now focuses on what our greatest accomplishment could ever be – the characteristic of “faithfulness”
D. Let me describe what faithfulness is. Being faithful, means being:
2. Constant, dependable
3. Authentic – not one way in public, and another behind closed doors
4. Strict performance of promises and vows – as in wedding vows!
E. Here are some remarks about faithfulness
1. “Even if I knew that tomorrow, the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my little apple tree, and pay my debts” Martin Luther
2. “If I cannot do great things, then I can do small things always in a great way” Anonymous
3. “Genius begins great works; faithful and consistent labour alone finishes them” Joseph Joubert
F. We need this attribute! We need to be known as “faithful brethren” – not Sunday only hypocrites! The devil, and the world would just love for us to give up
Message – Faithful, All the Way (Rev 2:8-11)
A. Christ’s Example for the Church (2:8)
1. Yes, people killed Jesus, but He kept His word, and got up the 3rd day!
2. People hated Jesus because He stayed the same – faithful
3. Faithful in two ways:
a. Unto death – if it cost Him His life
b. Until death – from conception, until the cross 33 ½ years later
4. THAT’S our example, praise God!
5. He is the BEST example – the first and the last example we will ever need (Dt 7:9; Ps 89:11; Isa 42:1-4; Heb 11:11)
B. Christ’s Examination of the Church (2:9)
1. Turns attention now upon this church, called Smyrna
2. Notices the following characteristics about this church
a. The people had works (James 2:18-20) – it was not just a few in the church, but the entire church
1) Good works – like:
a) Be in church, Sunday AM, PM – supposed to be here all day
b) Do right in your home
(i) Not screaming at kids and husbands
(ii) Not lying EVER
c) Doing your best at work – even though not compensated
d) Coming out of the closet, and talking about Jesus, and what GOD thinks about things in the world today, and how people need to get saved, etc!
2) Things they did just for Jesus – not for a show, but because they LOVE Jesus, as we saw in the church at Ephesus
3) Not things they did to earn forgiveness, or heaven
4) Used their energy for the Lord, instead of self, and the devil
b. The people also had tribulation – troubles. As we shall see, Christians DO have troubles in their lives, and many times it is not because they are IN trouble!
c. They had POVERTY (suffering strips us down) – what a thing to have – NOTHING!
1) And yet Jesus knew these Christians were RICH! RICH! RICH!
2) How is THAT possible? To have nothing, and yet possess everything? Easy!
a) They had their children, and health, and a future!
b) You are going to out live all your problems and enemies
c) This world is going to be inherited by the meek – not mighty
d) God has a mansion for every believer, with their name on it
e) God had given them a group of believers, called the church! Oh, how rich we are!
d. They had some enemies
1) False religious people
2) People claiming to be something they are NOT
a) Like most churches today – filled with fakers
b) Heaven will NOT have any fakers
C. Christ’s Concern for the Church (2:10)
1. Clearly, this was a persecuted church (Heb 11:32-38)
2. Jesus was concerned that their FEARS would be greater than their FAITH
a. How big are our fears?
1) Fears are often much bigger than reality, AND God
2) Satan’s greatest tool in the world is FEAR
a) Fear of war, torture, hardship will bring people in submission to the antichrist – the devil won’t have to do bad things, just threaten
b) Fear of losing prestige and power cause people to do anything to protect themselves instead of doing right!
b. Do Christians ever have troubles, and suffer? (1Cor 6:7)
1) 2Cor 11:21-33
2) 2Tim 3:12
3. That their FAITHFULNESS would be only short-lived
a. It is easy sometimes to stand up for Jesus – or at least to think we will when push comes to shove (as with Peter).
b. But it is so much harder…
1) If there is a cost attached – a price to pay – sacrifice to be made that might be your life!
2) If there is time mixed in – if it went on and on for a while, if not until you do die – for some that may be 30 – 50 years more!
c. Question? Will you be…
1) Faithful unto death – if it would cost you your life?
2) Faithful until death – if nothing were to change until you did finally die?
d. Let’s look at what the Lord is asking for? Great deeds, or faithful deeds?
1) 1Cor 4:2 - Stewards
2) 1Tim 3:8-11 - Workers in the church
3) 1 Pet 5:12 - being a faithful brother – consistent, dependable
e. It’s the concept of staying at something until the finish line (Ac 20:24). Peter said he was ready to die, but because he was not yet faithfully faithful, he was not able to be faithful unto death!
1) Faithful to forgive (Mt 18:21,22)
2) Faithful to be a light for Christ – a witness, testimony – not diminishing God’s message one word
3) Faithful in little things (Lk 16:10-12) - like a schedule, Bible memorisation, walking with God all day every day
4) Faithful in the big things – standing up for RIGHT and for RIGHTEOUSNESS, preaching, not compromising
D. Christ’s Rewards (2:10b, 11)
1. The crown of life – the cost of faithfulness may be your life, but the Lord will amazingly make it up to you 100 fold. You see, death for a Christian is not a failure, but a promotion! (Mt 25:21)
2. To miss the second death!
a. You may experience a not so grand death here, but praise GOD, if you are saved, you will miss the SECOND DEATH (Rev 20:14)!
b. Salvation means just that – being SAVED from something so horrible, and eternal as the death that never ends!
c. To be born once, will result in two deaths, yet to be born twice, will result in only one death!
d. Oh what a great reward we have already! Enjoy, and press on dear Christian
A. How long are you going to follow Jesus?
1. Until the road gets rocky and hard?
2. Until there is a price to pay?
3. Until it becomes unpopular to believe the Bible at all?
4. Until someone threatens you physically?
5. Until death – which may be 70 years from now?
B. In order to be able to say that we are prepared to be faithful to the Lord no matter the cost, we must be faithfully faithful in the little things! It is a special determination of the Christian, to be like Jesus – that is the beginning of true greatness!
C. The greatest growth of God’s people, occurs not when there are NO troubles, but when passing through the trials and afflictions, they find the grace and strength of Christ, and are bold testimonies to the world