Jesus knows His Church.
In the message to the congregations, Jesus assures the believers that He knows His Church; He does not only know about her. To know His Church means He is with her and among the congregations wherever they are. To each of the seven assemblies, Jesus says, “I know your works, your labor, your perseverance.” Revelation 2:2, NIV. Jesus is not criticizing the assemblies for their actions and labor. He, in a way, commands the congregations for their efforts. Revelation 2:2 – 3. They did not accept anyone who came to them with a good-sounding story. They investigated those who claim to be apostles and found they are liars. The Judaizers were relentless in their attack on those who accepted Jesus Christ but did not practice the rules and rituals of traditional Judaism. It is the same today. Many clever and self-proclaimed experts promote well-sounding theories that do not present Jesus Christ as He is.
Jesus does not condemn the churches, denominations, and congregations for what they do. Jesus objects to the attitude in which the Christian perform their works. He objects to what the various Christian congregations think of themselves. Often, Christian groups promote themselves as ones who “got it,” they have figured it out correctly. They have the only viable answers to all the troubling questions. They have inside knowledge because they are the “remnant” whom God has given the right Spirit, and He favors them. However, they forget that God loves all people equally. Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, not of one group only. There is one Jesus Christ; therefore, there is one Gospel. Anyone who proclaims a gospel different from what Jesus passed on to the Apostles is a liar.
Jesus wants Church to obey the two commands He gave while still in the body on the earth. One command is “Remain in me.” John 15:4. The works believers do while remaining in Jesus Christ are the works devoid of self. Even the best possible and the noblest deeds we could do with our efforts is not good enough and do not deserve the praise. To remain in Jesus Christ, we must die to self. Only the born-again who have the life of Jesus Christ can remain in Him. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17.
The second command Jesus gave us is, “Love each other.” John 15:12. The works devoid of self are the fruit of Christian attitude often emphasized by apostle Paul. “For by grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not to think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.” Romans 12:3, NKJV. Unity in the Gospel, and acceptance in diversity is the real sign that yielded believers are in Jesus Christ. The yielded believers are Christians by nature; they are not only a proper religious person. The religious people do their good works to show they are good Christians. However, the Christians, by nature, do their works while sitting at the feet of Jesus. Luke 10:38 – 41.
Jesus knows our deepest thoughts and our motives; therefore, He knows the basis of our benevolent works before we even perform them. Right actions performed in the flesh could not be a substitute for a converted and changed mind. A new creation must display a new way of thinking, by new nature in Jesus Christ. The “new birth” is the radical change in attitude. It is not a change in what and how we do, but a fundamental change in the way one thinks. When such a radical change takes place, the deeds of flesh will reflect the conformity to it. When a believer performs the “good works” with a wrong attitude, he has fallen in a snare of self-deception.
Be on guard against the self-deception — next blog.