CHRIST EULOGIZES THE CHURCH
Revelation 2:13 "I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is: and thou holdest fast My Name, and hast not denied My faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth."
"I know thy works." These are the identical words uttered to each of the seven messengers relative to the people of God in each age. As they are spoken to the two vines (true and false) they will bring joy and gladness to the hearts of one group, but they ought to strike terror in the hearts of the other. For though we are saved by grace, apart from works, true salvation will bring forth works, or deeds that will please God. I John 3:7, "Little children, let no man deceive you; he that DOETH (worketh) righteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous." If this verse means anything at all, it means that what a man DOES he IS. James 3:11, "Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?" Romans 6:2, "How shall we that are dead to sin live any longer therein?" Matthew 12:33-35 "Either make the tree good and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt and his fruit corrupt; for the tree is known by his fruit. O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things." Now if a man is born of the Word (Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God which liveth and abideth forever. I Peter 1:23) he will produce the Word. The fruit or works of his life will be a product of the kind of seed or life that is in him. His works, therefore will be Scriptural. Oh, what an indictment this truth is going to be against the Pergamean Age. There stands that Matchless One, and in His hand the sharp sword with the two edges, the Word of God. And that Word will judge us in the last day. In fact the Word is judging even now, for it is the discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. It cuts asunder the carnal from the spiritual. It makes us living epistles read and known of all men to the glory of God.
"I know thy works." If a man fears that he might not please God, then let him fulfill the Word. If a man wonders if he will hear those words, "Well done, good and faithful servant," let him fulfill the Word of God in his life, and assuredly he will hear those words of praise. The Word of truth was the criterion then; it is the criterion now. There isn't another standard; there isn't another plumb line. As the world is going to be judged by one Christ Jesus, even so it is going to be judged by the Word. If a man wants to know how he is making out, let him do as James suggested: "Look into the mirror of God's Word."
"I know thy works." As He stood there with the Word, examining their lives in the light of the blue print He had laid out for them, He must have been pleased in a goodly measure, for they, like the others who had gone on before, were enduring the persecution of the unjust and still joyfully cleaving unto the Lord. Difficult though it was at times to serve the Lord, yet they served Him and worshipped Him in Spirit and in truth. But with the false vine it was not so. Alas, they had repudiated the life that is built upon the Word and were now going further and further away from the truth. Their actions bore witness to the depths to which they had sunk.
THOU HOLDEST FAST MY NAME
"To whom can we go? Thou alone hast the words of eternal life!" They held fast then; they were holding fast now, but not with fatalistic dread as men who live out barren lives. They were holding fast in His strength, in the assurance of the Spirit that they were one in Him. Theirs was the sure knowledge of sins forgiven and they bore the name of 'Christian' in testimony to it. They knew and loved that Name that was above every name. Their knees had bowed to that Name. Their tongues had confessed to it. Whatsoever they did, they did it all in the Name of the Lord Jesus. They had named that Name and departed from evil, and having taken their stand they were now prepared to die for that Name, being assured of a better resurrection.
Take the Name of Jesus with you, Child of sorrow and of woe. It will joy and comfort give you. Take it then where ere you go. Precious Name, O how sweet, Hope of earth and joy of heaven.
Already in the second century those words "Father, Son and Holy Ghost" had spelled out 'Trinity' to many, and the polytheistic idea of three Gods had become a doctrine in the false church. It would not be long until the Name was taken away, as indeed it was in this age, and in its stead the titles of the ONE GREAT GOD would be substituted for the NAME, Lord Jesus Christ. While the many apostatized and embraced a trinity and baptized using the titles of Godhead, the Little Flock still baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ and so held to the truth.
With so many dishonoring God, turning Him into three gods, and changing His gracious Name to titles, one would wonder if the signs and wonders that attend such a great Name would still be visited amongst the people. Indeed those signs were mightily and wonderfully manifested, though certainly not in the false vine. Men like Martin were greatly used and God bore them witness both by signs and wonders and gifts of the Holy Ghost. That Name was still effectual as it always has been and ever will be where the saints honor Him through the Word and faith.
THOU HAST NOT DENIED MY FAITH
In Acts 3:16 when Peter was asked how the mighty miracle had taken place upon the crippled one at the Gate Beautiful, he explained it on this wise, "And His (Jesus) Name through faith in His (Jesus) Name hath made this man (former cripple) strong, yea, the faith which is by (from) Him (Jesus) hath given him (the man) this perfect soundness in the presence of you all." See, there it is. Jesus' Name, and Jesus' Faith brought about the miracle. Peter did not claim it was his own human faith any more than he claimed that it was his own name. He said that Jesus' Name used in the faith which is from Jesus performed that great work. This faith is what the Lord was speaking about in Revelation 22:13. It was HIS faith. It was not faith IN Him. But it was HIS OWN faith that He had given to the believers. Romans 12:3b "According as God hath dealt to every man (according to verse 1 the men are BRETHREN) the measure of faith." Ephesians 2:8, "By grace are ye saved through faith, and that (Faith) not of yourselves, it is the gift of God." And it also says in James 2:1, "My brethren (notice he, too, is talking to BRETHREN) have not the faith OF (not in) our Lord Jesus Christ with respect of persons."
In this Pergamean Age where men were humanizing salvation, having turned from the truth that "Salvation is of the Lord," - having cast aside the doctrine of election and opened wide the church door and their fellowship to any and all who subscribed to their tenets (never mind the Word), in this age of rapid degradation, there were still the few who had the measure of that faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, and not only used that faith in acts of power but withstood those who dared to say that they were saved simply on the grounds of joining a church. They knew that no man could truly believe unto eternal life and the righteousness of God apart from the measure of the faith of the Lord Jesus, Himself. As today's church is filled with mental believers who endorse the virgin birth, the shed blood, going to church and taking communion, and are not reborn at all, even so in that third age was the same problem. Human faith wasn't enough then and it is not enough now. It takes the very faith of the Son of God to drop into a man's heart so that he can receive the Lord of glory into the temple not made with hands.
This was a living faith. "I live by the faith of the Son of God." Paul did not say that he lived by faith IN the Son of God. It was the faith of the Son of God that had given him life and kept him living in Christian victory.
No, they had not denied that salvation was supernatural from start to finish. They kept alive the truth of His Name and His Faith and they were blessed by the Lord and accounted worthy of Him.
ANTIPAS MY FAITHFUL MARTYR
There is no other record in the Word or in any profane history concerning this brother. But surely there need not be. It is more than enough that he was fore-known and known of the Lord. It is more than enough to see his faithfulness unto the Lord recorded in the living Word. He was a Christian. He had the Name of Jesus. He had the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ and he was amongst those who lived by it. He had responded to the words of James, "Have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ with respect of persons." Full of the Holy Ghost and faith as was Stephen, he respected no one, he feared no one; and when death was pronounced upon all who would take that Name and walk in the faith of Jesus Christ he took his stand with those who would not turn back. Yes, he died, but like Abel, he obtained a witness from God (his name is written in the Word), and though dead, his voice still speaks in the pages of God's Divine Record. Another faithful martyr was carried to his rest. But Satan did not triumph then, even as he did not triumph when he killed the Prince of Peace, for as Satan was despoiled at the cross, even so now will the blood of Antipas cry out to hundreds more who will take up their crosses and follow Him. 7ch022.htm
.../Back to Index