The Reins of our Hearts

Dear Brethren,

The end-time is upon us.  Time is very short, and Jesus Christ is returning soon to establish the Kingdom of God over this earth.  God’s people are not yet of one mind and one heart.  Some of the brethren are putting their faith in the wrong place.  Jesus says that at the end, all the churches will know that He searches the hearts of everyone.

Revelation 2:23  ... All the churches shall know that I am He that searches the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

Adam failed to overcome Satan and save his wife, Eve, but Jesus overcame Satan and has become the Savior of the Church brethren (John 16:33, Matthew 4:1-11).  We too, must follow Jesus’ example and overcome Satan if we are going to be in the Kingdom of God.

Revelation 3:21  To him that overcomes will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in His throne.

Everyone who overcomes Satan and his evil ways will be the recipients of Christ’s seven promises in the Book of Revelation.  Each of the seven promises is prefaced with this statement: “To him that overcomes…”

Seven Promises

“…To him that overcomes will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

“…He that overcomes shall not be hurt of the second death.

“…To him that overcomes will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written.

“…He that overcomes, and keeps my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:

“He that overcomes, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.

“Him that overcomes will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God… and I will write upon him my new name.

“He that overcomes shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.”  (Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12; 21:7)

How do we overcome Satan, the accuser of the brethren?  We are given the answer:

Overcoming Satan

Revelation 12:11  They overcame Satan by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

Jesus enumerated three things that are necessary to overcome Satan:  First, the blood of the Lamb becomes effectual only after one repents of breaking the Ten Commandments.  That is when our sins are covered by the blood of Christ.  Second, the word of their testimony is the testimony of Jesus Christ.  Third, they loved not their lives unto the death.

A small number of the saints – those who have already overcome Satan – will be protected by God from Satan and his agents during the tribulation in a place of safety.  Somehow, in God’s great providence, He will protect that little flock from the horrors of the tribulation.  Jesus says to those Christians who have overcome Satan:

Revelation 3:10  Because you have kept the word of my patience, I also will keep [protect] thee from the hour of temptation [tribulation and adversity], which shall come upon all the world, to try [tribulation and testing] them that dwell upon the earth.

From their protected place, this small body of saints will be an example and encouragement to their Christian brethren who are being martyred by the beast power because they have not yet overcome Satan by laying down their lives.  When Satan is unable to attack the saints in the place of safety, he turns his attack on the remaining saints who have been caught in the tribulation.

Revelation 12:17  The dragon was wroth with the woman [Church brethren], and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

Notice that those Christians who do not make it into the place of safety only fulfill two of the three things required to overcome Satan:  They come short.  These saints are missing the third necessary component for overcoming Satan which is – “they loved not their lives unto the death.”  That is why they must be tested in the tribulation.  God will graciously present one last opportunity to those Church brethren who have not yet learned to lay down their lives, to do so.  Those who are not willing to lay down their lives as living sacrifices – now – will, in the tribulation physically lay down their lives in martyrdom for having neglected to be spiritual sacrifices prior to that time (Romans 12:1, Revelation 12:11).

Brethren, right now we can choose to serve one another with a brotherly love, and avoid the tribulation.  Very soon it will be too late.   The choice is ours.  During the tribulation, those church members who find themselves caught in the wrath of Satan will have one last opportunity to exhibit the love of God – just as Jesus did in laying down His life.  It will become abundantly clear to them that they have not yet met the criteria for God's deliverance and protection.  They will finally realize that God wanted them to show that they believed Him by laying down their lives as Jesus gave us example.  Those brethren in the place of safety will be a witness that God has a level of performance that must be met.

Revelation 7:14  … These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

During the tribulation, physical martyrdom and death will be the only way to overcome Satan and gain eternal life.  For those brethren caught in the tribulation it will be too late to escape with their lives because they had been unwilling to lay their lives down for the brethren the way God intended.  They will have never truly learned to be their brother’s keeper.  They had not yet done the third thing necessary to overcome Satan – so they must face him again.  If we have not learned what it means to lay down our lives for all the brethren we will go through the tribulation.

Many seem to think that we are more privileged than the other church eras, and that we will just breeze into the Kingdom of God without learning to put God’s Will into our lives.  When Christ returns there will be a people whose consideration for their fellow brethren – with a true Christian concern – distinguishes them from those who confuse their social life for Godly service.  Jesus does not want anyone to miss out.  He wishes for everyone to partake of the wonderful promises He has made to the Church.

Today's Sermon:  "The Reins of our Hearts"