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Revelation 14:12-13 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. 13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them.
The Christian Serves A Living Savior
Not An Idol
When I say the word “Idol” many of you will think of the television show American Idol. Some of you will think of a carved Buddha, or a statue of Mary or some strange Egyptian deity. I read an article the other day where the pastor postulated that perhaps that I-Phone everyone is so entranced by is an idol. It could be. The average American – I am told – looks at his or her I-Phone every 10 minutes … but rarely at the Bible.
What is an “Idol”? Herbert Schlossberg wrote in his book Idols for Destruction: “Idolatry in its larger meaning is properly understood as any substitution of what is created for the Creator.” (emphasis mine)
We as the Children of God are to love our Lord unreservedly.
Deuteronomy 6:4-5 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord: 5 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
God emphasizes to His people there is but ONE God Who is LORD of all. This God is majestic in Being. He is all encompassing. He is all mighty. There is no other God but Him. He is unique in His Tri-Unity – Father, Son, and Spirit. To put anything or anyone in place of this amazing, gracious and kind God is a form of insanity.
I entered a Christian owned business the other day.
It’s now open on Sunday.
Many Christian schools have sports events on Sundays.
Is this is what God has called us to do?
A Youth Minister was fired for requiring his young charges
to leave their phones in a box outside the classroom
while he was teaching the Bible.
We who are His are to be salt and light. We are …
Bought from out of the world by the Blood of the Son of God.
Born again out of the world by the Holy Spirit of God.
Bestowed with irrevocable citizenship in the Kingdom by God our Father.
Blessed with all the promises of this glorious Book.
We are to be patient and focused upon out Lord.
Revelation 14:12 Here is the patience of the SAINTS
We worship no idols, but only our God. We serve Him. We are SAINTS, ἅγιος hagios, those set apart from the world as God’s Kingdom. We are not idolaters, but followers of the Most High God.
Revelation 14:12-13 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.
God’s children by faith in Christ are overcomers. Being changed by God we “keep the commandments of God” …
… and His commandments are not grievous (1 John 5:3)
“and the faith of Jesus”. Our faith in Christ does not wane. We follow His example. We heed His command. It is no Christian who does not do both keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. We follow our Risen Savior.
Write So It Can Be Seen By All
God wanted John to do something. Listen. Listen.
Revelation 14:13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write…
These words are so very important. There is a life beyond this one. There is a judgment yet to come. You will ALL be effected by this. Write…!
Revelation 14:13 BLESSED ARE THE DEAD WHICH DIE IN THE LORD from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that THEY MAY REST FROM THEIR LABORS; and THEIR WORKS DO FOLLOW THEM.
There are three truths stated in this text. The three statements are:
1. Blessed are the dead that WHICH DIE IN THE LORD
2. THEY will REST from their LABORS
3. The dead will have their WORKS FOLLOW THEM.
Let’s look at each of these points. First:
Blessed Are The Dead That DIE IN THE LORD
Heaven does not tell John to write “Blessed are the dead”. Not all of the dead are “blessed”. Every time someone dies who, in the latter part of their lifetime, suffered some type of affliction, I will inevitably hear these words from someone:
“They are better off where they are now.”
Are they? Is there any place in Scripture that tells us EVERYONE is better off on the other side of this life? No, not at all. It is promised to the Christ follower:
Romans 6:23 … the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The follower of Christ has eternal life. Jesus Christ is not only the key to Heaven, but He is the key to life itself. Jesus promises that …
John 11:25-26 … I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: 26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?
Jesus Christ IS the RESURRECTION. Dying on the Cross of Calvary, being crucified for our sins, Jesus finished that which the Father gave Him to do. JESUS DEFEATED DEATH AND SIN. Because Jesus died for our sins we can – by faith and obedience to Him – have our sins forgiven. When we who are His children by faith die Jesus has promised whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall NEVER DIE. This is true for all who believe on Him and receive Him as Lord and Savior. As Jesus died on the Cross of Calvary the Bible says that there were two thieves who died with Him, one on either side. One thief did not believe in Christ. The other thief believed in Jesus. He pulled himself up on his bloody station and said:
Luke 23:42 … Jesus, Lord, remember me when Thou comest into thy kingdom.
Jesus told this repentant man:
“Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise”
As the day came to a close the soldiers went about breaking the legs of those on the torturous crosses. When they came to Jesus He had already died. Piercing His side with a spear blood and water ran out of our Lord (John 19:34).
I can imagine that executioner coming to the two thieves. As he prepares to break the legs of these two men I can imagine him comforting them by saying:
“You will be better off when you die.”
For ONE of those thieves this was a true statement. For the one who cried out “Lord, Remember me”, he DIED IN THE LORD. He served the Lord by believing on Him even in his suffering. THIS is the work of God, to believe on HIM that God the Father has sent (John 6:29). Though his hands and feet were bound his heart belonged to Jesus. He died horribly – but awoke in glory and in the splendor of Heaven.
But for the other man, the unbelieving thief, what of him? He is not blessed. Not believing in Christ he went from the hell of that cross to the hell of hell. He went to a place that the rich man of Luke 16 said:
“I am tormented in this flame!” (Luke 16:24)
Oh Beloved, there is a difference between those who DIE, and those who DIE IN THE LORD. There is no blessing for those who die. No matter how bad your life was, it is much worse if you die apart from Christ.
They Will Rest From Their Labors
Revelation 14:13 … Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that THEY may rest from their labors
The Child of Christ is called to labor in this life with our Lord. Do you notice that it is the Holy Spirit that says of the believers they may rest from their labors.
The Spirit of God labors with us as we do His work.
The Spirit empowers us. Jesus described the Christian way of life as being influencers. When Jesus first called His disciples He said:
Matthew 4:19 … Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.
When you follow Jesus you will become a fisher of men. Christ will make you a fisher of men, someone who catches souls for His Kingdom. This is a labor. What does a fisherman do? A fisherman catches fish. He draws the fish from one world into another. You cannot be a fisherman and a fish. You can be one or the other. Jesus calls us to labor for Him, to draw others into the Kingdom of God and away from the kingdom of darkness.
Jesus also used the images of salt and light to describe the Christian way of life.
Matthew 5:13-16 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. 14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Both salt and light are influencers and illuminators.
Salt enhances flavor, whereas light enables clear vision. The Christian works for Christ, being like Jesus, shining for Him where ever they go. We are not to be like the world, but we are to imitate our Lord Jesus.
The following passage is unique in all the Gospels … it is only found in the Gospel of John. Jesus wanted to show His disciples how we are to live our lives. In Christ’s day most people walked through dirty streets with bare feet or sandaled feet. Because of this it became a tradition that when you went into someone’s home you washed your feet. The rich often had servants to do this for you, but most people washed their own feet. As Jesus and His disciples entered a home one day Jesus washed their feet. We read:
John 13:12-17 So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? 13 Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one anothers feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. 16 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. 17 If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.
Now some have taken this passage and ritualized it, as if it were a sacrament. It is not a sacrament. We do not – in American society or in most civilized nations today – need to wash feet. Washing feet was a sanitary requirement of Christ’s day. To ritualize this or make it a sacrament is to miss the point. Jesus said I have given you an example. The word translated example (ὑπόδειγμα hypódeigma, pronounced hoop-od’-igue-mah) means “a pattern to follow”. The Christian is to serve others as Christ served us. We are to imitate His humility, His willingness to stoop and do the hard things so as to benefit those around us.
This is the problem in many Churches today. Professing Christians – like grasshoppers – hop from Church to Church until they find an assembly that will serve them. Many want to be waited on. But the Christian is called to a life of willing service, being salt and light in a world that is tasteless and dark. We are to serve one another and lift up others, and so serve Christ. Jesus Christ, our Lord and Master, showed us the way of righteousness. We are called to labor for Him until we reach the end of this life. Only in glory can we rest from our labors as salt and light. Until then,
Galatians 6:9 … let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
The Dead Will Have Their WORKS Follow Them
I heard our evangelist Bob Pitman use an illustration about John D. Rockefeller, one of the richest men in the world. When Rockefeller died two men were talking. The first asked, “I wonder how much money Rockefeller left when he died?” The second replied, “All of it my friend. All of it.” When you die everything you have stays behind. Everything that is but ONE thing. What is that one thing that goes with you? Look at our text:
Revelation 14:13 … Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them.
The Bible makes it clear that you are not saved by your works, but you are saved because of the finished work of Jesus Christ. The Scripture is clear:
Titus 3:5-7 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; 6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior; 7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
We are not saved by works, but by HIS WORK. But Beloved once we are saved Jesus calls us to labor for His Kingdom. We are called to be like Jesus. We are imitators of Christ, and imitators of God. We are to do good, not evil. When we die we are to remember their works do follow them. What you did, or did not do, will follow you. Your bank account, your home, even you own body will stay on this earth. But your works – their works do follow them.
If you are NOT saved by faith in Christ, if you have not been changed from darkness to light, if you are not a member of His Kingdom and a follower of His commandments … even so their works do follow them. The dead who do NOT die in the Lord are mentioned in Revelation 20:11-15. In this passage those who are idolaters stand in front of the God that they spent their entire lives ignoring. How are they judged?
Revelation 20:12-13 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
What happens to the dead who died NOT in the Lord? They failed to work the work of God. What is the “work of God”? Jesus said:
John 6:29 … This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.
Those cast into the Lake of Fire have never done THE work of God. They have not believed on Jesus. So God shows them that their names are NOT written in the Book of Life. They are the DEAD who DIED IN THEMSELVES. They are not blessed, but cursed. Oh Beloved, do not be one of these poor creatures. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Trust in Him. Follow Him. Your works will follow you.
Heaven awaits those who belong to Jesus. Your works will follow you. Rewards will come. Live for Him today – now – so that you can live joyously in eternity.
May God touch your hearts with His Word!