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Failure of King Saul

One of the great dangers of life is being worried more about what people think than what God thinks. A good example of this was King Saul. He started out well. He looked good. He was tall and good-looking, and he rescued the people of Jabesh-gilead. But as time went on, it became clear that he was more concerned about his image than he was about trusting God. When the people started deserting him, he offered the sacrifice rather than waiting for Samuel. When he failed to carry out God’s orders with regard to the Amalekites, he blamed the people. Though rejected by God and Samuel, he then pleaded with Samuel to honor him before the people. And he ended up pursuing David from pillar to post, a man who had never done him any harm other than being more greatly admired by the people.


The Lion and the Lamb

It is common in the world to see Jesus Christ as simply a great teacher, not the coming King. But sometimes even believers can fall into that type of attitude. We can start to see Jesus as the Man of Sorrows (Isaiah 53) and not the ultimate Conqueror. We can remember that He is God, who humbled Himself (Philippians 2:5-8; John 1:1-18; Hebrews 2:9-18) to pay the price for our sin (1 Peter 2:24,25; Colossians 2:13,14; 2 Corinthians 5:21). But we also need to remember He will be coming as the true Ruler (Revelation 5:5-14; 19:11-18; Philippians 2:9-11). Otherwise, we can end up with a picture of “gentle Jesus, meek and mild” (apologies to Charles Wesley) that is drained of His true majesty.


God the Glorious King

God is in control of the world, even though it does not sometimes seem so. Scripture makes it clear that God is in control (Ephesians 1:11; Isaiah 43:13; Psalms 135:6). He uses the events of the world to accomplish His purpose (Romans 8:28; Genesis 50:20; Daniel 4:34,35). And He is able to bring about specific events, even if the people involved may not be intending to serve Him (Acts 4:27,28; Isaiah 44:28; 2 Kings 17:6-8). But while God uses evil to accomplish His purposes, evil still exists. How do we deal with this?


Christ Light of the World

Christ is the light of the world (John 1:4,5; 8:12; Isaiah 9:2). And He has called us to be lights reflecting Him (Matthew 5:14-16; Ephesians 5:8; Philippians 2:15). But what does that mean? Light is the revelation of God’s truth (2 Corinthians 4:4-6; Luke 2:32; Acts 13:47). This light not only enlightens, but it opens the eyes of the blind and sets the prisoners free and gives life (Isaiah 42:6,7; John 9:5-7; Isaiah 58:8-10). It also reveals evil and guides us into righteousness (John 3:19-21; Ephesians 5:11-13; 1 John 1:5-10). This is rooted in the fact that Jesus paid the price for our forgiveness (Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 2:13,14; 1 Peter 2:24,25).


The Open Door

We live in a culture where bigger is considered better. Where what appears great and powerful is seen as great and powerful. But this is not how things work in God’s economy. The church at Philadelphia (Revelation 3:7-13) was small and weak, but God promised it an open door no one could close. In 1 Corinthians 1:26-31 it says that God chooses the weak and foolish things to confound the wise. Paul claims that when he is weak, then he is strong (2 Corinthians 12:7-10). But ultimately, God chose to save the world by becoming a man and dying a criminal’s death (Philippians 2:5-11; Hebrews 2:9-18; Isaiah 53:1-12).


The Death of a Church

How does a church die? The church in Sardis (Revelation 3:1-6) is pronounced dead. We are not really told why. Was this a result of following one or more of the errors of the churches round about? Had they accepted false teaching, like Pergamum and Thyatira (Revelation 2:12-29)? Had they lost their first love, like Ephesus (Revelation 2:1-7)? Had they become lukewarm, like Laodicea (Revelation 3:14-22)? We are not explicitly told. Perhaps we are not told to prevent us from jumping to the conclusion that if we just avoid this one particular thing, we are safe. How then do we avoid going down that road?


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