GNB 2.96

April 25, 2023


Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth. I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown.”(Revelation 3.10-11)


Let’s review the first five “connections”:

Put on the belt of truth and keeping it in place” with the charge of Christ to the Ephesian faith community which said “return to your first love.”

Put the breastplate of righteousness in place” with the call of Christ to the Smyrna faith community which we could reference with Psalm 119.11, “The word of God I will hide in my heart that I might not sin against Him.

Put on your feet shoes fitted with the gospel of peace” with the call of Christ to the Pergamum faith community which said “Repent of tolerating the teaching of Balaam and Nicolatius in your midst leading you to idolatry. I am coming with a double-edged sword to fight against all those who stand allow it.

Hold fast to the shield of faith” with the call of Christ to the faith community in Thyatira which said “Do not hold to false teachings and ‘hidden truths’ of Satan but have ears to hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

Take [with you] the helmet of salvation, …which is the word of God” with the call of Christ to the faith community in Sardis which said “Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.”

The connection is two-fold today in that, as I pointed out, Paul’s description of being fully armed/equipped for the service of the Lord includes two pieces of the armament with one identity. He urges the believer in Christ to “take the helmet of salvation” along with “the sword of the Spirit” which is the word of God. Well, it is Tueday today, after all, and what is Tuesday known for but “Two-fer Tuesday!” All joking aside, we dare not ignore that the word of God which is given to us is two-fold: salvation and covenant. When Jesus prayed to God for His disciples, over His disciples and in His moment of truth in the Garden of Gethsemane, He was adamant about God hearing His request to pour out His own Spirit on the disciples. Ultimately, it was a request to be honored by God and offered to all who would be disciples of the Christ of God. Covenant means “a promised word.” God’s covenant is His promise to all creation in general and His people in particular. We know of several Old Testament covenants. There is the covenant to Adam and Eve that while they will not be able to again enter the Garden of Eden and enjoy the innocence of bliss, they will triumph over evil in the world through the One who will “crush the head of the serpent.” We know of the covenant made to Cain following his murder of his brother Abel which was God’s protection that no harm would come to him by vengeance. We remember the covenant of the rainbow to Noah and the rest of the world that a flood would never be used as a judgment against God’s people regardless of the extent of their wickedness. We know of the promise to a wandering Israel following another exile, this time in Babylon, that “I will be your God as you are My people; repent and turn away from wickedness and I will bless you and cause you to prosper.” There are others, to be sure. We also know of the covenant which Christ made to us in the presence of God His Father. It was a covenant made in His blood that those who call upon His name and repent of their sins shall be saved and made ready to dwell with Him forever in His Father’s House. He also covenanted with His disciples in the Great Commission saying “Lo, I AM with you always to the end [of the age.]” Forever linked is the “word of God” with salvation and the covenant of The Spirit.

Yesterday, I reflected on the “taking of the helmet of salvation” and related it to Christ being the head of the Church and all our relationships that they be “righteous.” Christ’s blood and promise of His presence is meant to sanctify us, make us holy, in preparation for His work on earth until His return from Heaven. We are His representatives as friends, servants, co-workers and collaborators as well as family. He said to His followers “Who is My family but those who do the will of My heavenly Father? Those who commit to follow His will are My mother, my brothers and my sisters.” (Matthew 12.50 and Mark 3.35) The “helmet of salvation” is in our hand to signify to whom we belong. We take it in hand because we do not cover our heads in the presence of the Lord. But, when we “do battle against the evil one(s)” we put it on and it is not we but Christ in us who fights for what is right and true. This was the urging to those in Sardis in a battle for truth against the enemy of half-heartedness. Jesus went all the way to the tomb. The cross did not stop Him and more than death could overcome Him. He put on the helmet of righteousness and salvation so that the work in Him and through Him would be completed. It is now our work, too.

But, leaving our work to bearing the “helmet of salvation” would be only a work partially done. We need the “rest of the story” which comes with the sword of the Spirit. The sword of the Spirit is also a part of God’s word revealed to us in an everlasting truth. I spoke of the difference between the double-edged sword referenced in the word to the church in Pergamum. It was a sword of judgment and discernment which truly divided and revealed right from wrong, good from bad, righteous from evil. It cut both ways so that even those who were “right, righteous and good” were aware of the “evil, bad and wrong” that remained within them. Until it was fully excised, then their work would be incomplete. But, the truth was and is, that such work cannot be done by our own effort. Truly we see the power of the word here as it said “What is impossible with human beings is totally possible with God!” The reference here is not worldly miracles as the first priority but the purpose of all things working together for good. And what is that “good” if it is not for our salvation. What is needed must be provided to us. That provision is nothing less than the Spirit of the Resurrected Christ who rules victoriously as the light of truth! So, Jesus imparts His Spirit to His disciples. In small portion when He commissioned the “seventy-two” to go out into the land and preach the gospel and do good works. They returned reporting the success they experienced. In greater portion, on the Day of Pentecost, He commissioned His disciples who would make other disciples with the full measure of His Holy Spirit. The covenant which He made by His Word was fulfilled. And we have been the benefactors of it since. Well, at least when we allow ourselves to believe in and truth the Word that has been given.

That brings us to the word given to the community of faith in Philadelphia. The Resurrected Christ who is revealing the truth of the present and the future to John said, “I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.” (Revelation 3.8) Are you making the connection yet? When our strength fails because the onslaught of the enemy seems overwhelming, Jesus points us to the “open door” which cannot be shut. Why can it not be shut? Well, by faith, when Peter professed that Jesus was indeed the Christ, the Son of the Living God, Jesus granted to him the “keys to the door which opens up to the Kingdom of God.” He told him that such opportunity carries with it a promise of power which the enemy cannot overcome and shut the door against God to keep the people from God. Regardless of what the enemy may say (as he has from the tempting word of confusion in the Garden of Eden), we shall not be removed from the saving grace of God. Not even death can separate us from the love of God. Significant, is it not, that Philadelphia means “brotherly love.” Jesus said, “No greater love is there than this that one would lay down their life for another. And they will know you are My disciples because you will love one another” as brothers in spirit, in truth and in faith. This is the word of the Lord which fully equips us to do His work on earth as we will work in heaven fulfilling the expression of true worship serving one another and God without compromise. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding! Love one another!


Thank You, Father, for loving us in the Son of Man and God. Thank You for showing us so great a love as that so we, too, might walk in its light of truth and find our lives bounded as with a belt of truth, protected by the breastplate of righteousness, fitted for our walk to be peacemakers, shielded by faith, helmeted with salvation and empowered by the Spirit of the Word which is from God and is of God and is God indeed. We go now into our spheres of influence girded with truth and fitted for service to bring the word to others and glory to You in Jesus’ name. AMEN.

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