feast: A People Being Prepared to Pass the Rope
Given 29-Sep-10; Sermon #FT10-14; 41 minutes
Mark Schindler, reflecting upon the establishment of the Citadel in South Carolina, suggests that it has tried to train ethical and moral leaders. President Ronald Reagan praised one of its graduates, a passenger who had rescued many passengers from the icy waters of the Potomac River, only to lose his own life. We are, in one sense, students in a spiritual academy, something like the Citadel, learning to be leaders, learning to pass the rope to our fellow passengers. We need to learn duty, sacrifice, and honor. The Lord of Hosts will bring all of us through to completion and perfection, making the latter temple (His spiritual church) much more resplendent than the former temple. Jesus Christ has personally laid its foundation. God's hand has made the impossible possible. We need to be careful how we do the small things, the insignificant things charged to us to perform. If we do these small things in both spirit and letter (in the covenant agreement) with diligence, we will have the capability of performing the more demanding things we will experience as kings and priests in God's kingdom. As we make the right choices, God will become sure of our judgment as we continue making decisions based on His word, trusting us as His offspring. God is totally in charge of making the impossible possible.
Apple of God's Eye Arland D. Williams, Jr. - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Arland D. Williams Citadel Church of god in the Wilderness The Citadel - The Military College of South Carolina Day of small things Discipline Flying scroll Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi Haggai 1:2-5,7-9; 2:4-6 Leviticus 1: Lord of Hosts Malachi 3:7 4:1-4 Nothing to Fear but fear itself Pass the rope Revelation 2:3 Ronald Wilson Reagan: Commencement address 1993 | The Citadel ... II Peter 4:17 Seven angels Seven candlesticks Seven eyes of the Lord Zechariah 1:3-16; 2:8 ; 4:5-10 ; 5:1-4; 7:; 8:2-9 Zerubbabel Zion
The Citadel is a landmark college in Charleston, South Carolina; and although it is not a Military Academy, in the strictest sense of the word as West Point or Annapolis, each year at least one third of its graduates become commissioned officers in the United States Military. It was established in 1842, and the heart of its mission statement reads:
Throughout its history, The Citadel's primary purpose has been to educate undergraduates as members of the South Carolina Corps of Cadets and to prepare them for post-graduate positions of leadership through academic programs of recognized excellence supported by the best features of a structured military environment. The cadet lifestyle provides a disciplined environment that supports the growth and development of character, physical fitness, and moral and ethical principles.
Through its long and storied history the Citadel's primary focus has been to produce educated, moral, and ethical leaders.
To mark its 150th anniversary former President Ronald Reagan gave the commencement address to the class of 1993. I would like to quote a fairly lengthy part of that address today because it has very important principles that we—who are gathered here today, preparing for our roles as servant leaders under Jesus Christ—should take to heart. President Reagan said:
The Citadel's roll of honor today stretches unblemished from the Ardennes to the 38th Parallel, from Grenada to the Persian Gulf with name after name of those who have served our country bravely in time of war—names like General Charles Summerall, General Mark Clark, and your current president, General Bud Watts. Yes, countless soldiers have distinguished themselves on fields of valor and are part of the century-and-a-half tradition of duty and honor we celebrate today.
But for me, there is one name that will always come to mind whenever I think of The Citadel and the Corps of Cadets. It is a name that appears in no military histories; its owner won no glory on the field of battle.
No, his moment of truth came not in combat, but on a snow-driven, peacetime day in the nation's capital in January of 1982. That is the day that the civilian airliner, on which he was a passenger, crashed into a Washington bridge, and then plunged into the rough waters of the icy Potomac. He survived the impact of the crash and found himself with a small group of other survivors struggling to stay afloat in the near-frozen river. And then, suddenly, there was hope—a park police helicopter appeared overhead, trailing a lifeline to the outstretched hands below, a lifeline that could carry but a few of the victims to the safety of the shore. News cameramen, watching helplessly, recorded the scene as the man in the water repeatedly handed the rope to the others, refusing to save himself until the first one, then two, then three and four, and finally five of his fellow passengers had been rescued.
But when the helicopter returned for one final trip, the trip that would rescue the man who had passed the rope, it was too late. He had slipped at last beneath the waves with the sinking wreckage—the only one of 79 fatalities in the disaster who lost his life after the accident itself.
For months thereafter, we knew him only as the "unknown hero." And then an exhaustive Coast Guard investigation conclusively established his identity. Many of you here today know his name as well as I do, for his portrait now hangs with honor—as it indeed should—on this very campus; the campus where he once walked, as you have, through the Summerall Gate and along the Avenue of Remembrance. He was a young first classman with a crisp uniform and a confident stride on a bright spring morning, full of hopes and plans for the future. He never dreamed that his life's supreme challenge would come in its final moments, some 25 years later, adrift in the bone-chilling waters of an ice-strewn river and surrounded by others who desperately needed help.
But when the challenge came, he was ready. His name was Arland D. Williams, Jr., The Citadel Class of 1957. He brought honor to his alma mater, and honor to his nation. I was never more proud as president than on that day in June 1983 when his parents and his children joined me in the Oval Office—for then I was able, on behalf of the nation, to pay posthumous honor to him. Greater love, as the Bible tells us, hath no man than to lay down his life for a friend.
I have spoken of Arland Williams in part to honor him anew in your presence, here at this special institution that helped mold his character. It is the same institution that has now put its final imprint on you, the graduating seniors of its 150th year. But I have also retold his story because I believe it has something important to teach to you as graduates about the challenges that life inevitably seems to present—and about what it is that prepares us to meet them.
Sometimes, you see, life gives us what we think is fair warning of the choices that will shape our future. On such occasions, we are able to look far along the path, up ahead to that distant point in the woods where the poets' "two roads" diverge. And then, if we are wise, we will take time to think and reflect before choosing which road to take before the junction is reached.
But such occasions, in fact, are rather rare—far rarer, I suspect, than the confident eyes of one's early twenties can quite perceive. Far more often than we can comfortably admit, the most crucial of life's moments come like the scriptural "thief in the night." Suddenly and without notice, the crisis is up on us and the moment of choice is at hand—a moment fraught with import for ourselves, and for all who are depending on the choice we make. We find ourselves, if you will, plunged without warning into the icy water, where the currents of moral consequence run swift and deep, and where our fellow man - and yes, I believe our Maker—are waiting to see whether we will pass the rope.
These are moments when instinct and character take command, as they took command for Arland Williams on the day our Lord would call him home. For there is no time, at such moments, for anything but fortitude and integrity. Debate and reflection and a leisurely weighing of the alternatives are luxuries we do not have. The only question is what kind of responsibility will come to the fore.
And now we come to the heart of the matter, to the core lesson taught by the heroism of Arland Williams on January 13, 1982. For you see, the character that takes command in moments of crucial choices has already been determined.
It has been determined by a thousand other choices made earlier in seemingly unimportant moments. It has been determined by all the little choices of years past—by all those times when the voice of conscience was at war with the voice of temptation—whispering the lie that it really doesn't matter. It has been determined by all the day-to-day decisions made when life seemed easy and crises seemed far away—the decisions that, piece by piece, bit by bit, developed habits of discipline or of laziness, habits of self-sacrifice or of self-indulgence, habits of duty and honor and integrity—or dishonor and shame.
Because when life does get tough, and the crisis is undeniably at hand—when we must, in an instant look inward for strength of character to see us through—we will find nothing inside ourselves that we have not already put there.
I would like to add one more thought that President Reagan expressed toward the end of this speech regarding the responsibility of those gathered there, but should ring more loudly for us.
He said, "When I was about your age, President Roosevelt said we had 'nothing to fear but fear itself.' Today, in much different times, our prosperous nation has little to fear but complacency itself."
Zechariah 4:9-10 The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this temple; His hands shall also finish it. Then you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent Me to you. For who has despised the day of small things? For these seven rejoice to see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel. They are the eyes of the LORD, Which scan to and fro throughout the whole earth.
Here we are in the midst of the book of Zechariah; in the midst of God's final direction, correction, and encouragement, preceding the first coming of Jesus Christ, through the prophets Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi. But in reality this is more importantly to those upon whom the end of the age is come! Remember, brethren, these things were written for our admonition! And I believe, especially these three books. We are given a very stern and yet wonderfully encouraging warning. Be careful not to become complacent and think that what we do now, in every tiny aspect of our lives, does not make a difference in our part in God's plan and purpose.
Everyone whom God has chosen and given understanding must absolutely come to grips with the idea that there is nothing that is done within the Body of Christ, as a group or individually, that is insignificant in God's developmental plan to suit His purpose. God is carefully watching what we are doing, and He is redirecting our steps so that we will learn to "Pass the Rope!"
These three books that close off the history of the "Church in the Wilderness" speak not merely to those who were given charge to rebuild the second temple, but more importantly, they are authoritative proclamations by God to those within the Body of Christ! They are judgment messages of correction, direction, and the sure hope that is ahead of all those who know God has started a good work in us so that He can bring it to perfection at the return of Jesus Christ, as we are told in Philippians 1:6.
They are God's expression of His love and earnest desire to bless those He has set apart from the rest of the world at this time, if we ambitiously work at the little things He has set before us, in order to prepare us to "Pass the Rope."
Malachi 1:2 "I have loved you," says the LORD. "Yet you say, 'In what way have You loved us?' Was not Esau Jacob's brother?'" Says the LORD. "Yet Jacob I have loved;"
Malachi 4:1-4 "For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, and all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble. And the day which is coming shall burn them up," Says the LORD of hosts, "That will leave them neither root nor branch. But to you who fear My name the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings; and you shall go out and grow fat like stall-fed calves. You shall trample the wicked, for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day that I do this," says the LORD of hosts. "Remember the Law of Moses, My servant, which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments."
As we look at these prophets we see the tie that God makes between the individual effort in that temple work, service, and careful obedience as it was then, and our individual temple work, service, and careful obedience that He expects from us now. Each of these books, as we all know, were not just about the period in which they were written but about the coming of the promised Messiah, His death, resurrection, second coming, Millennial Rule, and the Last Great Day!
In all three books together, God paints a magnificent, hope-filled picture of the building, redemption, and reconciliation that He is working out all the way through the Day of Judgment. Through all three of these books, He is making sure that we know how much He loves us and that He is the One who makes it all happen! He is the One who is directing us to develop the habits of sacrifice, duty, integrity, and honor because He loves us and demands that we maintain the individual holiness that He gives to us.
Haggai 2:4, 11-14 "Yet now be strong, Zerubbabel," says the LORD; "and be strong, Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest; and be strong, all you people of the land," says the LORD, "and work; for I am with you," says the LORD of hosts. Thus says the LORD of hosts: "Now, ask the priests concerning the law, saying, 'If one carries holy meat in the fold of his garment, and with the edge he touches bread or stew, wine or oil, or any food, will it become holy?:'" Then the priests answered and said, "No." And Haggai said, "If one who is unclean because of a dead body touches any of these, will it be unclean?" So the priests answered and said, "It shall be unclean." Then Haggai answered and said, "So is this people, and so is this nation before Me, says the LORD, and so is every work of their hands; and what they offer there is unclean."
God tells us, His priesthood in training, to be strong and work while knowing that He is with us every step of the way, to maintain and develop His holiness within us; a holiness that He has already made available to us. Verse 12 is a reference back to Leviticus 6:18, where the priests were set apart as a possession of God by the very act of sharing in the eating of the sacrifice offered.
Throughout the Bible, the term "Lord of Hosts" is used to absolutely show God is in charge in bringing His work to its end. The term is used 245 times in the whole Bible. Of those 245 times it is used 91 times in these three short books alone. He leaves no doubt, through His prophets to His people, that He is the one who will bring His plan and purpose to completion.
As just a small sampling I would like you to turn to just a few of those scriptures.
Haggai 1:2-5, 7, 9, 11, 13-14 Thus speaks the LORD of hosts, saying: "This people says, 'The time has not come, the time that the LORD'S house should be built.'" Then the word of the LORD came by Haggai the prophet, saying, "Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, and this temple to lie in ruins?" Now therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts: "Consider your ways!" Thus says the LORD of hosts: "Consider your ways! You looked for much, but indeed it came to little; and when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why?" says the LORD of hosts. "Because of My house that is in ruins, while every one of you runs to his own house. For I called for a drought on the land and the mountains, on the grain and the new wine and the oil, on whatever the ground brings forth, on men and livestock, and on all the labor of your hands." Then Haggai, the LORD'S messenger, spoke the LORD'S message to the people, saying, "I am with you, says the LORD." So the LORD stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and worked on the house of the LORD of hosts, their God,
Haggai 2:6-9 For thus says the LORD of hosts: "Once more (it is a little while) I will shake heaven and earth, the sea and dry land; and I will shake all nations, and they shall come to the Desire of All Nations, and I will fill this temple with glory," says the LORD of hosts. "The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine," says the LORD of hosts. "The glory of this latter temple shall be greater than the former," says the LORD of hosts. "And in this place I will give peace," says the LORD of hosts.
Zechariah 1:3-6, 14-17 Therefore say to them, "Thus says the LORD of hosts: 'Return to Me,' says the LORD of hosts, 'and I will return to you,' says the LORD of hosts. Do not be like your fathers, to whom the former prophets preached, saying, 'Thus says the LORD of hosts: "Turn now from your evil ways and your evil deeds."' 'But they did not hear nor heed Me,' says the LORD. 'Your fathers, where are they? And the prophets, do they live forever? Yet surely My words and My statutes, Which I commanded My servants the prophets, Did they not overtake your fathers?' So they returned and said: "Just as the LORD of hosts determined to do to us, According to our ways and according to our deeds, So He has dealt with us."' So the angel who spoke with me said to me, 'Proclaim, saying, "Thus says the LORD of hosts: 'I am zealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with great zeal. I am exceedingly angry with the nations at ease; For I was a little angry, And they helped—but with evil intent.'" Therefore thus says the LORD: "I am returning to Jerusalem with mercy; My house shall be built in it," says the LORD of hosts, "And a surveyor's line shall be stretched out over Jerusalem." "Again proclaim, saying, 'Thus says the LORD of hosts: "My cities shall again spread out through prosperity; The LORD will again comfort Zion, And will again choose Jerusalem.""
Zechariah 2:8-9 For thus says the LORD of hosts: "He sent Me after glory, to the nations which plunder you; for he who touches you touches the apple of His eye." For surely I will shake My hand against them, and they shall become spoil for their servants. Then you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent Me.
Zechariah 4:5-10 Then the angel who talked with me answered and said to me, "Do you not know what these are?" And I said, "No, my lord." So he answered and said to me: "This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: 'Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' Says the LORD of hosts. 'Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain! And he shall bring forth the capstone With shouts of "Grace, grace to it!" Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying: 'The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this temple; His hands shall also finish it. Then you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent Me to you. For who has despised the day of small things? For these seven rejoice to see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel. They are the eyes of the LORD, Which scan to and fro throughout the whole earth.'"
I could go on to many other scriptures within these three books, where God shows it is His hand as Lord of Hosts, that is making the impossible possible for us, but I think you get the point. We are not the ones who are single handedly determining that special character being built within us that takes command in the moments of the crucial choices that we will be making for eternity. All of our growth is under God's direct supervision.
But what are these "small things" that God expects us to do on our part, day in and day out, to prepare us to make the right choice to pass the rope?
In the space of twenty chapters, God is giving us a very graphic example of how impatient and short sighted our human nature really is and that without the constant focus on the big picture, and a determined effort to complete all the "so called" little things, we will never change to be the rope-passers that all of God's creation is counting on!
Haggai came on the scene some twenty years after the first enthusiastic returnees from the Babylonian captivity. They had started to rebuild the temple; but under pressure from the world around them, they had lost their common desire to do the work of God. Moving into a self-preservation mode in the face of trials, they neglected the work and slowly became selfish, apathetic, and disillusioned! As we see in chapter 1:2, they were into the "My Lord delayeth His coming" mode.
Zechariah came on the scene a couple of months after Haggai, and although he and Haggai were prophesying at the same time, this lasted only a couple of months, and then Zechariah continued on alone for about two years. Haggai had gotten the people started on rebuilding again, and then Zechariah focused the people on spiritual renewal. He was to prepare the people for proper worship in the Temple once the project was completed.
Some time later, after the temple was rebuilt and a number of years down the road, Malachi came along to prophecy to a people that were so lacking in a proper fear and love for God, that they had become haphazard in their response to the word of God! The people graphically showed this to God, who was carefully watching them, as they went about their lives carelessly doing the so called little things in priestly service, family relationships, and relationships within the community of those He had set apart to be holy as He is holy!
In their weariness and impatience, they had not only grown apathetic but contemptuous of the little things that were their duty and service before the Great God who had chosen them from all the nations on the earth! Just as He has chosen you, sitting here today, from all the nations of the earth.
They had settled into a "God will have to accept me as I am" attitude! Because of this attitude, they had lost a great deal of any understanding that they may have had about a right covenant relationship with God and each other! They treated the little things of God's Holy word as common and instead of availing themselves of the holiness God had given them, they were pushing away a God who repeatedly says throughout these books, "I have loved you, and set you apart from all those around you."
So here in these three books God gives His end-time church and His chosen people our marching orders towards the perfection of His holiness and reinforces what those things are that we are to do. Those choices tell Him a great deal about our future ability to make the choice to "pass the rope."
Haggai 1:4-8 "Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, and this temple to lie in ruins?" Now therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts: "Consider your ways!" You have sown much, and bring in little; You eat, but do not have enough; You drink, but you are not filled with drink; You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm; And he who earns wages, Earns wages to put into a bag with holes." Thus says the LORD of hosts: "Consider your ways!" Go up to the mountains and bring wood and build the temple, that I may take pleasure in it and be glorified," says the LORD.
Haggai 2:4-5, 12-14 'Yet now be strong, Zerubbabel,' says the LORD; 'and be strong, Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest; and be strong, all you people of the land,' says the LORD, 'and work; for I am with you,' says the LORD of hosts. 'According to the word that I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt, so My Spirit remains among you; do not fear!'
Are we strong in doing all of the "little things" of the covenant agreement that we made with God at baptism?
Are we strong in doing all the little things of the covenant agreement we made with God at baptism, under the direction of, and by the power of, His holy spirit? Are we really trying to avoid the unclean things of this world while working to maintain our individual part of the holiness that God has shared with us?
In Zechariah 5, God brings this again right down to the individual:
Zechariah 5:1-4 Then I turned and raised my eyes, and saw there a flying scroll. And he said to me, "What do you see?" So I answered, "I see a flying scroll. Its length is twenty cubits and its width ten cubits." Then he said to me, "This is the curse that goes out over the face of the whole earth: 'Every thief shall be expelled,' according to this side of the scroll; and, 'Every perjurer shall be expelled,' according to that side of it." "I will send out the curse," says the LORD of hosts; "It shall enter the house of the thief and the house of the one who swears falsely by My name. It shall remain in the midst of his house and consume it, with its timber and stones."
Here is this giant scroll, which is the document of covenant—our part of the covenant agreement we made with God—written on both sides and moving swiftly across the sky over the whole world for everyone to see and bringing judgment down into the individual homes of the covenant breakers. This should bring a shudder unto us all who know what God tells us, through the Apostle Peter, in I Peter 4:17, about His judgment now being on those within the house of God! He is bringing this down to the individual, right down to each and every one of us, and our part in keeping the covenant, the statues, and the laws.
How seriously do we take our responsibility to live as God lives and make the choices that He would make, by living according to His law of love as codified in His commandments? Because this is what He is showing He expects from His end time church!
Brethren, do we really understand that keeping the letter and the spirit of the Law, under the direction of God's Holy Spirit, in even the smallest of things, is the gift from God that is the key to developing our individual character that takes command in the moments of the crucial choices we will be making for eternity?
Do we understand that the only way we will be able to fit into the place that God has prepared for us within His family is by using this key that He has given us to make all those seemingly unimportant decisions, when the voice of conscience is at war with the voice of temptation whispering the lie that it really does not matter?
Brethren, we need to fully appreciate that this is God's gift to His people so that the decisions can be made now, piece by piece, bit by bit, in order for God to develop within us habits of discipline, not laziness; self-sacrifice, not self-indulgence; habits of duty, honor, and integrity, not dishonor and shame for the family name.
Zechariah 7:5-10 "Say to all the people of the land, and to the priests: 'When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months during those seventy years, did you really fast for Me—for Me? 'When you eat and when you drink, do you not eat and drink for yourselves? 'Should you not have obeyed the words which the LORD proclaimed through the former prophets when Jerusalem and the cities around it were inhabited and prosperous, and the South and the Lowland were inhabited?'" Then the word of the LORD came to Zechariah, saying, "Thus says the LORD of hosts: 'Execute true justice, Show mercy and compassion everyone to his brother. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the alien or the poor. Let none of you plan evil in his heart against his brother.' "But they refused to heed, shrugged their shoulders, and stopped their ears so that they could not hear.
Are we taking full advantage of the time that God has created for us, to prepare us to make the right choices in the smallest areas where we are to execute true judgment? "Show mercy and compassion, every man to his brother." These are the little things that God is using as part of our character development for the times to pass the rope.
Malachi 3:7-12, 16-18 Yet from the days of your fathers You have gone away from My ordinances and have not kept them. Return to Me, and I will return to you," Says the LORD of hosts. "But you said, 'In what way shall we return?' "Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, 'In what way have we robbed You?' In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, for you have robbed Me, Even this whole nation. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this," says the LORD of hosts, "If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it. "And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, so that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field," says the LORD of hosts; "And all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a delightful land," says the LORD of hosts. Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, and the LORD listened and heard them; so a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the LORD and who meditate on His name. "They shall be Mine," says the LORD of hosts, "On the day that I make them My jewels. And I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him." Then you shall again discern between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him.
As we learn to make the right choices, according to His word, and share our lives with one another, God becomes just as sure of us as He was of Abraham. He knows that we can be His children, to rightly discern for eternity between righteousness and wickedness, trusting His way always, and knowing how to think and act like the God family should in every situation.
Even though we will not go back there now for lack of time, Zechariah 4 is a chapter remarkably similar to the first chapter of the Book of Revelation. In Revelation 1:20, God identifies the seven churches as the seven candlesticks, and the seven stars as the angels of those churches. In Zechariah 4:10, we may possibly see God alluding to the presence of the angels to the seven churches, who had been God's eyes reporting back and forth to God of the small things that God's people were doing throughout His plan for them, and now rejoicing as Jesus Christ was setting those people in place according to what He knew of each and every one of us.
Zechariah 4:10 (Amplified version) Who [with reason] despises the day of small things? For these seven shall rejoice when they see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel. [These seven] are the eyes of the Lord which run to and fro throughout the whole earth.
Brethren, what does God know about us individually within the church? He knows everything! What does He say to each of us individually in Revelation 2 and 3?
To paraphrase Revelation 2 and 3: "Jesus Christ, who stands in the middle of all the Churches of God, says unto each individual under the watchful eyes of the angels of the church of Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodicea, 'I know your work, your labor, your patience, your tribulation, your poverty, your faithfulness in the face of false teachers, blasphemy, and martyrdom. I know your works, your charity, your service, your patience, your faithfulness to the doctrines of the holy word of God.' 'I know your works and whether or not you are strengthening the things that remain, and whether or not you are taking advantage of the opportunities I give you to keep My word and not deny My name. I know your works and if you are lukewarm, I will spew you out of my mouth.' 'Be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man will hear My voice, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.' 'To Him that overcomes will I grant to sit with Me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne.'"
Brethren, it is our responsibility and duty to use all the so-called "small things" that we are called to do, to develop the same mind in us that was also in Jesus Christ. The same Jesus Christ who has passed the rope billions of times in order that we may be saved.
In closing I would like to leave you with one more thing of what our Great God says to us from the book of Zechariah, and I will be reading this from the New Living Translation.
Zechariah 8:2-9 This is what the Lord of Heaven's Armies says: "My love for Mount Zion is passionate and strong; I am consumed with passion for Jerusalem. And now the Lord says: I am returning to Mount Zion, and I will live in Jerusalem. Then Jerusalem will be called the Faithful City: the mountain of the Lord of Heaven's Armies will be called the HOLY Mountain. This is what the Lord of Heaven's Armies says: Once again old men and women will walk Jerusalem's streets with their canes and will sit together in the city squares. And the streets of the city will be filled with boys and girls at play. This is what the Lord of Heaven's Armies says, All of this may seem impossible to you now, a small remnant of God's People. But is it impossible for me, says the Lord of Heaven's Armies? This is what the Lord of Heaven's Armies says, Be strong and finish the task!
Brethren, make the right decisions according to God's word, and learn to "Pass the Rope!"