Well done! - 7 June 2023
By Ben Fourie
Jesus knows these congregations by heart, he knows who they are and what they are doing. In the seven letters that he addresses to the churches, we see that in five of the congregations, he finds a lot that is praiseworthy. Although the letters are sent to churches, everything that is said is also applicable to individual believers. The church is, after all, only constituted when the faithful gather to worship God.
The things that Jesus found to be praiseworthy is characteristic of the true church and, therefore, each church and every member should ask themselves if Jesus will also find these characteristics when he looks at us. What is praiseworthy in his eyes? Certainly, not beautiful buildings and grand tithes. What he is looking for in churches and the lives of believers is strength of faith, and love for God and neighbours.
We believe that it is not our deeds that will give us entry into heaven, rather, we enter by the grace of God alone. However, this does not mean that we can sit back, spiritually, and relax. Jesus especially mentioned it praiseworthy when he sees churches and believers diligently busy with the kingdom of God. He sees our achievements and perseverance, and as he said to Ephesus, “How hard you have worked.”
The next positive characteristic that is important to Jesus might sound a bit strange to us. We live in a society where we are so anxious to accommodate all people and all viewpoints, that we might frown upon what Jesus said in Revelation 2:2: “I know that you cannot tolerate evil people.” Are we not supposed to try and convert evil people? Certainly, but that does not mean that the church, including individuals, should not speak out against the evils and evildoers in our society. In connection with the above are the “apostles” that are found to be liars. They should not be allowed to spread their dissenting teachings about Jesus.
We should not condemn other people, as Jesus set the example to us on many occasions, but on the other hand, he never allowed a twisted version of his message. That is all that he asks of us as well.
Prayer: Our Father, please help us not to condemn other people, but also make us strong in our faith to help us proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without fear. Amen