Summary: The works of every congregation and that of each individual member are known by God and shall be rewarded by Him.
I KNOW THY WORKS
STUDY TEXT: Rev. 2:1-7
- A letter was written by the Lord to each of seven churches about their conduct and to either commend their actions or condemn them with a call for repentance.
- In the introductory part is the comment “I know thy works”. Every one’s works are open to God and known by Him. It is foolishness for anyone to think that he will do something under the sun without God knowing about it. Both our actions and our motives behind those actions are known and weighed by God.
- Our works are critically evaluated and accurately documented, so that reference could be made to them at any time. These are what will form the books of records that will be used in judgment on the last day, and that will determine whose name will be found in the book of life.
- Commendations are given where the works are found acceptable unto God as an encouragement and motivation for consistency. Any good thing we are approved for, we should seek to grow and improve on them and not be weary in well doing.
- Condemnations are issued as a call to genuine repentance and godly amendment. God would prefer a turning away from sin and a turning unto His will at any time. If your actions are condemned, it is to give you the opportunity to repent and turn to God. Cain was told that he would be approved if he changes from his wickedness, but rather than repenting, he grew worse. Isaiah 55:7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
- Let us consider this study under three sub-headings:
1. Critical examination of general conduct.
2. Commendation of faithful conduct.
3. Condemnation of unacceptable conduct.
1. CRITICAL EXAMINATION OF GENERAL CONDUCT
- Our works are critically examined and documented at all times.
- The examination is majorly congregational but specifically individualistic. Revelation 2:20-23: Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.
- Individual members within the congregation are examined for their:
1. Faithfulness in living in obedience and holiness unto the Lord. How faithful they are in walking in obedience to the instructions giving in the word of God, and how they are living according to God’s standard of holiness
2. The motives behind all their actions. The motives behind their actions are examined whether they are genuine, of pure intentions or of selfish interest that will not glorify God.
3. Ability to show love and live peaceably with others. Believers are required to follow peace with all men in addition to their holy living unto God. They are also to love their neighbors as themselves. We shall give account of our relationship with men in terms of the love we showed onto them and how effective we can be in living peaceably with others.
4. Commitment to the service of God. They were examined for their faithfulness in the service of God, the sacrifice they could make in making themselves and their money materials available.
- Congregation are examined for their:
1. Faithfulness in teaching the truth of the word of God. How faithful they are in teaching the sound doctrine and guiding against error and falsehood.
2. Vigilance in recognizing satanic agents within the church and resisting them. There are satanic agents creeping into the church unawares and are transforming themselves to angels of light in order to deceive innocent souls. The congregation must be sensitive to identify and resist this hidden works of darkness.
3. Commitment to the preaching of Christ and his gospel to the lost world. Any congregation that is not faithful and committed to the preaching of Christ and Him crucified to the lost world has a name that she is living while she is actually dead.
4. Their ability to maintain intra and inter congregational peace and unity that Jesus prayed for. There must be love flowing among the brethren to show that they actually belong to God, and this must manifest as a peaceful relationship without strife, envy, bitterness, backbiting or hatred.