PODCAST – An informal home Bible Study on the Church at Sardis – PART ONE. (Revelation 3:1-6)
Seven Spirits of God
October 21, 2018
First Half – 34 Minutes
Second Half – 28 Minutes
“But I say unto you,
that every idle* word that men shall speak,
they shall give account thereof
in the day of judgment”
The Greek word translated “idle” used here (see below) portrays the weight of God’s desire for His people. These words from the lips of Jesus speak of authenticity and the need for us to walk circumspectly in our daily lives; it is in these scriptures we are made aware of His constant watch over our words and thoughts. There are several words we need to consider in the light of our accountability:
1. “Every idle word” – No word that passes our lips will be unaccounted for in the day of judgment.
2. “Every idle word” The Greek word used here refers to words spoken without a corresponding doing or a performing; religious words that are not backed up by the doing and being in the life of an individual. (See the Greek exposition of this word below; also James 2:12)
3. “Shall give account” Contrary to the modern day Gospel in our land there is a day coming in which every believer will give an account unto Him for how we lived out our lives here on earth. This account will be required of us for every word we have spoken and every deed we have done. How unaware we have become of our accountability. It reveals a lack of our sensitivity to the conviction of the Holy Spirit.
4. “In the day of Judgment” May God press upon us a new awareness of our accountability to Him. Let us seek Him for a new sensitivity in our daily lives so we will walk an authentic walk. The day of Judgment for the true believer is not one of determining salvation. It is one in which we reap the eternal consequences of rewards and judgments for how we lived our lives. Even a cursory reading of scriptures show us this and are easily understood: the parable of the talents/pounds, the promises to the overcomers in the letters to the seven churches in the Book of Revelation, and the parables of Jesus in the Gospels.
The day of Judgment for the true believer is not one of determining salvation; It is one in which we reap the eternal consequences of rewards and judgments for how we lived our lives.
The more we learn of Him, grow in Him and walk with Him the more we are impacted by His desire to make us genuine and true. Words are a reflection of the heart. It is as the heart becomes pure that the words become pure and are backed up by the life lived.
“So speak ye, and so do,
as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty”
The “Law of Liberty” is the Law by which we will be judged. John speaks of the “Law of Life” while James refers to this “Law” as one of liberty. Through the transactions of Christ on our behalf we have been set free and because of this freedom to act and speak we will be held accountable at the end of our time here on earth. Law speaks of government and accountability. God’s word speaks of His Kingdom wherein righteousness, equity and holiness is the atmosphere of His presence. As we become compliant with the workings of Christ in our hearts we will partake in corresponding measure of His eternal rewards. (For those who seek to look into this vital truth please do a simple search on the word “reward” in the New Testament). We must realize that it matters on an eternal level how we live and conduct our lives.
“And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me,
to give every man according as his work shall be”
1 The Greek Word translated “idle” ἀργός is a compound word comprised of “ergon” (ἔργον) translated as works and deeds and is used 176 times in the New Testament; “ἀ” (the letter alpha which is often used in the Greek as a negative). A simple transliteration would be “words without the corresponding works”. (Words without power, fire or purpose. Words which do not inspire change in the hearers).
Thayer’s Greek Lexicon: ἀργός
ἀργός, -όν, and in later writings from Aristotle, hist. anim. 10, 40 [vol. i., p. 627a, 15] on and consequently also in the N. T. with the feminine ἀργή, which among the early Greeks Epimenides alone is said to have used, Titus 1:12; cf. Lob. ad Phryn., p. 104f; id. Paralip., p. 455ff; Winer’s Grammar, 68 (67) [cf. 24; Buttmann, 25 (23)], (contracted from ἄεργος which Homer uses, from α privative and ἔργον without work, without labor, doing nothing), inactive, idle;
a. free from labor, at leisure (ἀργὸν εἶναι, Herodotus 5, 6): Matthew 20:3, 6 [Rec.]; 1 Timothy 5:13.
b. lazy, shunning the labor which one ought to perform, (Homer, Iliad 9, 320
Vines Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words connects this word with James 2:20 “Faith without works is dead”
ἀργός argós, ar-gos’; from G1 (as a negative particle) and G2041; inactive, i.e. unemployed; (by implication) lazy, useless; barren, idle, slow.
This Greek word is used in the following scriptures:
“But I say unto you, That every idle (G692) word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.”
“And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle (G692) in the marketplace…”
“And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, (G692) and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle? G692“
“And withal they learn to be idle, (G692) wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, (G692) but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.”
“One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow (G692) bellies.”
“For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren (G692) nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
“A wise son heareth his father’s instruction:
but a scorner heareth not rebuke”
The wise hear the Father’s correction and instruction. A proud scorner cannot hear the reproof of the righteous. It is the heart’s condition that determines hearing.
“Keep thy heart with all diligence;
for out of it are the issues of life”
The issues of life are determined by our hearts; for life is about affection, desire and love. What the heart pursues determines the course and end of each person’s life. Those who love truth, will hear the truth. The self-seeking will hear only that which will promote them and their agendas.
Judas heard the words of Christ, he saw the wondrous works of the Father, and the love and grace of Christ, with no effect.
It is within the confines of loving truth, embracing truth and becoming true that His Own show forth the verity of His Salvation. Those who are of the truth desire it; even if it means receiving correction, admonition and rebuke. To love truth is to seek it out.
David cried out in the Psalms:
“Let the righteous smite me; it shall be a kindness:
and let him reprove me; it shall be an excellent oil…”
The proud, the religious and the self-seeking do not heed the corrections of the Father. Those who love truth receive graciously the words of truth from foe and friend alike; therein is the promise of life and honor. God can use even the words of our foes for our benefit; words that search our hearts and cause us to take heed to our ways. The hungry in heart find instruction in all things for they know that all things are ordained of God for their learning.
“Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee:
rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee”
The scorner (the proud of heart) hates reproof and correction whereas the wise one loves truth enough to receive those words as from the Lord.
“My sheep hear my voice,
and I know them, and they follow me”
“For this cause, when I could no longer forbear,
I sent to know your faith…”
1 Thessalonians 3:5
The love of God in the life of Paul initiated inquiries. Faith, seen in its proper light, is a living thing; an attitude with which one faces the battles of life. Faith is the gift of God. It is not an intellectual understanding but truly an impartation of Christ Himself. Paul was inquiring about the state of their living faith. Were they keeping it alive, pertinent and growing within their hearts?
“…lest by some means the tempter have tempted you,
and our labour be in vain”
1 Thessalonians 3:5
Paul goes on to say that his labour of love for them would be in vain if their faith was not a living dynamic. We have little comprehension of this love in our day. Do we reach out to others to inquire about the status of their faith? Do we feel the love of God pressing us to encourage one another to remain in the hold of faith’s power?
“For this cause, when I could no longer forbear,
I sent to know your faith…”
The Love of God pressed Paul to check the temperature of their hearts to see if they were growing in Christ’s dominion in their lives. It is easy to see the lethargy of this hour; the heartbeat of God’s love is so low that there seems little concern over the status of the FAITH in the lives of others. God’s Love is revealed in its concern for others.
We live in a day of unprecedented communication yet there is an apathy and lack of God’s love concerning one another. Faith and Love are to be the hallmarks of our relationships with one another; these are the glue and the bonds of the Body of Christ. When we care so little for the state of each other’s hearts we clearly reveal the lethargy of the hour in which we live. It is no wonder that the world is not greatly impacted by us.
“By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples,
if ye have love one to another”
Love does not ignore the life of another. Love inquires and seeks to know the faith of God’s own. It is nothing less than the Heart of the True Shepherd reaching out to all who are His.
“Whoever claims to abide in Him
must walk as Jesus walked”
1 John 2:6
In this Epistle John kept truth very simple. His teaching, his life and his depth of knowing Christ produced an unpretentious presentation of Christ. There is little attempt to soften the blow of truth. Grace is not presented in an obscure, generic fashion. Truth is depicted as the verity of one’s walk. Eternal life is set forth as the “now” life, wherein the actions, thoughts and intents of an individual’s heart IS the revelation of their relationship and life in God.
With the simplicity of the Spirit of God the truth in these powerful statements declare that what one does reveals the spirit in which one walks. There is no escaping these blunt statements regarding our condition. In the reading of this Book we are forced to face the authenticity of our own character.
Religious obscurity offers a shelter with enough ambiguity to give the illusion that things are fine. There is a dimming of the light and the promise of a bright future with no correlation to the life now lived. There is a compartmentalization which disconnects our current walk from our future end. Such a concept is a lie.
Whenever and wherever truth is obscured, and teachings and precepts cloud the current state of one’s condition, grace becomes a sentiment which comforts an individual rather than a ministration which empowers them to arise and live godly in Christ Jesus.
The cry of the sincere heart is one of embracing truth, loving truth and desiring the piercing revelation of all Christ is in order to bring change into our current life, our “now” life. The true in heart seek no alternative. They pursue no hiding place from the Light of God in their own hearts. They find no comfort in anything other than His power producing within them the life of Christ. The true in heart love the simplicity of truth and seek the Living Word of God to reprove, correct and cut away all that is not of Him.
Truth is come to make us free. This freedom brings not only an emancipation from sin but a life unfettered and spontaneous which unconsciously expresses the verity of Him. May we find the joy of His Word as it illuminates, reveals and burns away the dross and contagion of self. Let His Truth be simple, powerful and above all evident in the life we live.
Authenticity is simply the fruit
of being free in Christ.
“And the children of Israel did secretly those things
that were not right against the Lord their God”
(2 Kings 17:9)
Truth searches out the deep things. Its ministration is one of illumination and revelation. The secret things are not hidden from the “eyes of Him, with whom we have to do”. These secret things determine our true standing before God. It is here, within the inner workings of our heart, that we find the authenticity of our lives. The desire of the sincere is to guard and protect the condition and the verity of one’s own heart. If there is darkness there it will taint our ability to deal in truth with all those around us.
Compromise brings us little by little into deception and the life of a hypocrite. It is a slow process of the Light of God within becoming dim while one gives way to self-deception. If the light within becomes darkness, how great is that darkness! The Holy Scriptures are full of examples whereby we are to be instructed and warned of this deadly malaise. We must continually set a watch upon our own hearts and pray with intensity that the Lord make known to us the secret things of our own hearts. Many a life has fallen within long before it falls without. It is the gradual decay of neglect, lethargy, and trust in something other than the fire and searching of God within our hearts. Comforting ourselves with doctrine rather than confronting the contradiction within of what God has called us to, is the darkest of all deceptions. The true in heart pursue authenticity as the prize that it is: the power to walk in His light and to know the confidence which comes from a pure and simple walk with God. The Peace which radiates from right-being is profound and liberating but the fear of exposure ever haunts the hypocrite.
“Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks,
and look well to thy herds.”
It is the inward part of our lives where God seeks to impart His truth to make us free from every impediment to becoming His light in this world.
“Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts”
“If any man among you seem to be religious,
and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart,
this man’s religion is vain”
The mystery of religion is that there exists, embedded within its own truths, an ease with which one can slip into a deep and dark deception. In this verse we are warned of a deception which is fatal in terms of our life in God; one of which I need a constant reminder. The tongue reveals our walk. It is by this member that the seemingly religious are ferreted out and fully exposed. Lately I have been struck with my own carelessness in this matter. It is easy to get caught up in the religious rhetoric of discussion rather than the expression of Christ. How blessed we are to have His word to cut through the vanity of words and bring us back to the real purpose of life.
Let us consider the power of this piercing word. If we do not bridle our tongue our religion, our profession and our hope of conveying His life to others is pointless. It matters little how much we know His Word, how often we pray or how well we can teach others; if we do not master the tongue we are walking in vain religion.
“I said, I will take heed to my ways,
that I sin not with my tongue:
I will keep my mouth with a bridle…”
The tongue is merely the spout through which the inner waters of our heart flow. It takes very little to discern what kind of waters flow from an individual for they proceed from the abundance of the heart.
“…for out of the abundance of the heart
the mouth speaketh”
The tongue is like a mirror of the heart; it simply expresses what is there. The bridling of the tongue, though a good place to start, is not the cure. The real issue is the state of the heart. Salvation is all about the change and transformation of the heart. It is not about modifying our behavior; it is about the crucifixion of this unruly, unholy and untamed self. It cannot be fixed, managed or made right (Romans 8:7) other than through the inner working of the power of Christ.
The tongue then is simply the revelation of the depth and verity of our salvation. It is in the crucible of everyday life, in our most unguarded moments, that our true relationship with Christ is revealed.
Jesus is God’s spoken Word, He is the summation of God’s being and the matrix of all creation. His purpose is to bring us to the place of such abiding in Him that His words become ours by virtue of relationship. It is here where we become like Him in word and in deed.
Years ago the Lord told me that if I do not watch over my words
He will not entrust me with His.
The things of God are measured out to us according to the development of our life in Him. He may give spiritual gifts without measure and without condition; however, His authority will never be given apart from Himself. He is our salvation. It is not my belief in a teaching about Him whereby I am saved. It is His presence and His person keeping me from sin and iniquity wherein lies the power and substance of my salvation.
In order for us to speak the words of life we must in fact be governed by that ONE who is the Word of life. The Words He speaks are spirit and they are life (John 6:63). To the measure we walk with Him will be a corresponding expression of the very life and power of Christ Himself.
“Let the words of my mouth,
and the meditation of my heart,
be acceptable in thy sight,
O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer”
“Remembering without ceasing your work of faith,
and labour of love, and patience of hope
in our Lord Jesus Christ”
1 Thessalonians 1:3
Authenticity in a believer is substantiated by the life it produces. Paul is remembering the evident character of the believers in Thessalonica. He is gripped by the substance of their walk and life in Christ! The Apostle is bound by the Spirit of God in him to the authentic expression of Christ in them. Life ever calls out to life, deep calls out to deep as we are inextricably joined to the verity of His life in another. This is the power of the true Body of Christ. The call to relationship, fellowship and active love is the binding agent of all who live and walk in Him. If the Spirit of Christ is ruling within, our heart will be drawn to true relationship with others in Christ. When carnality rules, people are content with exclusive*, powerless and shallow relationships in their lives. In contrast, the threefold cords of love to be found in the true Body of Christ are set forth here with clarity and precision.
Faith, in order to be living, active and pertinent in the lives of His own, will always be expressive of the person, the glory and the substance of the Living Christ. If there are no works of faith it is because the faith of the individual is dead; it is a faith in word only. It is a faith in a doctrine or a teaching which has no life or power. It is stagnant and sterile. One cannot be vitally connected to the Living Christ and live a non-effectual life in this dark world. The Greek Word used here for “work” is where we get the English word “energy”. There is vitality and power associated with a true and living faith within the lives of His own. The Work of Faith is simply the doing which springs forth or originates from the power of His Faith in our lives (Galatians 2:20).
The Greek Word used here for “labour” is literally translated “the beating of the breast”. It is a burden which can only be known by the love of God beating within our hearts over the condition of others. It is the very Love of God producing prayers, intercessions and words of encouragement and admonition. It is a labour to see the Kingdom of God arise in the earth and especially in the household of faith. Those who do not have the love of God beating within their hearts will not know this travail of Spirit over the condition of God’s people in this Day.
The word “patience” is much better translated “endurance”. Endurance speaks of faithfulness, consistency and self-sacrifice. It communicates a life which is committed to the goal or purpose of God regardless of the obstacles and the apathy of others; it holds true to the mark set before it. The beauty of this grace is born out of a complete abandonment to the promises of God. It is a life which does not falter for it holds the character of God as its surety of recompense. It disciplines the heart to the works of faith and the labour of Love. It is the anchor from which the other graces of faith and love remain constant. The word declares that hope is the “anchor of the soul” to which the wandering tendencies of the human heart is held firm to the end.
This threefold cord is the true revelation of the living Christ ruling and reigning within the lives of His own.
“…a threefold cord is not easily broken”
“So will I break down the wall that ye have daubed with untempered mortar, and bring it down to the ground, so that the foundation thereof shall be discovered, and it shall fall, and ye shall be consumed in the midst thereof: and ye shall know that I am the Lord.”
We live in a day of information overload; books, blogs, writings, conferences and multimedia resources. Much of this data remains ethereal and untempered in the lives of those who are offering these things. The lives of many who travel in ministry would not measure up to the established criteria for deacons and elders within the local assembly! It is a day filled with many voices all clamoring for the affection of the hearts and souls of men and women.
Paul in the wisdom of the Holy Spirit wrote this advice to his son in the faith…
“The husbandman that labors
must be first partaker of the fruits”
2 Timothy 2:6
In other words, the fruit we seek to impart to others must of necessity be reaped within the confines of our own personal life. Character and righteousness are as important as the message itself. In reality the person is the message; Paul called himself a living epistle known and read of all people. The words he spoke were evident in the life he lived. The call is great and those who bear in their lives His living word must know the necessity of abiding within the vast resources of Christ Himself. Paul described the ministers of the Body of Christ in his day as those who manifested the truth in how they conducted their lives.
“But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty,
not walking in craftiness,
nor handling the word of God deceitfully;
but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves
to every man’s conscience in the sight of God”
2 Corinthians 4:2
The untempered mortar and the whitewashed walls of man’s own makings will not withstand the rigors of moral decay in our day. Truth ministered apart from character and integrity robs God’s Word of its force and power. This is why the people were astonished at the Word which proceeded from the living Christ.
“And they were astonished at his doctrine:
for he taught them as one that had authority,
and not as the scribes”
It takes little discernment to know whether the things someone shares are the untempered mortar of the intellect or the pure gold of Christ Himself. The depth of truth which proceeds from the individual life will always be in proportion to the extent of their identification with the words they share. It is in fact a part of their very lives. Information and truth are very diverse from one another; so is the impact they have upon the human heart.
It is in the touching of His presence that the Glory of God impacts, transforms and breaks the pride and shallowness of all we are by nature. No one can get a glimpse of God and remain the same. It is from this encounter that the truth of Christ flows unhindered into the world around us. We cannot invite others to taste and see of that which we have not eaten ourselves.
“O taste and see that the Lord is good”
“My one aim in life is to secure personal holiness,
for without being holy myself I cannot
promote real holiness in others”
“How are the things of Esau searched out!
how are his hidden things sought up!”
(Read the whole chapter)
Esau was a religious man yet a profane man. He sold his birthright for a mess of pottage in a moment of perceived need. He was a man who relied greatly on his own strength. He was an earthly man; he walked in the things of this world and loved the things of this world. Esau was a picture of a man who looks good and speaks with the language of the redeemed but walks in the ways of the world.
“If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes,
and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
And the world passes away, and the lust thereof:
but he that doeth the will of God abides for ever.”
1 John 2:15-17
Esau was a self-righteousness man; he looked upon the calamity of others with callousness and pride. He distanced himself from the afflictions of his brother. In his pride he said, “Who shall bring me down to the ground?” When Jacob was being carried away into captivity Esau was unmoved.
“For thy violence against thy brother Jacob
shame shall cover thee, and thou shalt be cut off forever.”
God considered Esau’s indifference to Jacob’s trouble an act of violence and His recompense was severe. We see throughout the history of God’s people that indifference and complacency brought great injury and judgement to His House. It was the Levite and the Priest who passed by the beaten man; it was the Pharisee who looked at the woman who wept at Jesus’ feet with contempt; it was the Pharisee who prayed thanking God that “he was not like other men”.
The indifference of our hearts to the needs of others who have fallen, been beaten and are suffering will result in us missing the blessings of our God. We reveal our hearts by what we do.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy”
For the believer the way to receive is to give. The way to live a life filled with His Blessing is to give of what we have to those around us. The loaves and fishes from a child can feed the multitudes. A word of hope to one that is struggling or an act of kindness to a stranger should be the daily outflow of a life lived in Him.
“And there are also many other things which Jesus did,
the which,if they should be written every one,
I suppose that even the world itself
could not contain the books that should be written.
Jesus’ life here on earth was active; He was constantly about His Father’s business. His life was neither passive nor uneventful. Neither should our life be one of faithless inactivity. Let us provoke one another unto love and good works.
“Faith, like light, should always be simple and unbending;
while love, like warmth, should beam forth
on every side and bend to every necessity of our brethren.”
Martin Luther (1483–1546)