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The Ability to Deliver

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December 12, 2023

In Psalm 140:6-13, we see David’s declaration of faith in God and his cry for mercy. Saving faith can never be effectually accused of being a leap in the dark. Biblical faith is objectively rational because its object possesses the ability and provides the evidence necessary to “deliver and to shield” the believer from his or her enemies (i.e., “the wicked & their plans,” verses 6-8). Our culture has completely overlooked this truth. David calls upon God to thwart their “pride and their mischief” and to judge them (verses 9-11) because the Lord “upholds the cause” of those who need and seek His help (verse 12).

In Revelation 2:18-3:6, we see two more of our Lord’s letters to the early, first-century churches – to Thyatira and to Sardis. Although the church at Thyatira was commended for its love, faith, service, and perseverance, nevertheless it also received a rebuke by the Lord for its toleration of false teaching and its subsequent sexual sin. This rebuke is a clear warning for us to heed because today’s church has become infiltrated by the practices and the perversions of the world around us. Instead of the church influencing the world, the world is influencing the church. This is the lesson we learn from Thyatira today. To be victorious over the problems caused by tolerance, we must guard against the false teachings of our culture - especially those which seek to impose on the church unbiblical thinking and practices that contribute to perversion.

In Revelation 3:1-6, we have Christ’s letter to Sardis. Jesus indicated that the church there “had a reputation of being alive, but it was dead” (verse 1). What could be more misleading than believing that a certifiably dead person or entity is still alive? Who does that? Yet, this was what the church at Sardis was communicating. Jesus simply tells this church to “wake up!” (verse 2). Today, we have a lot of “dead” (i.e., sleeping) churches that need to “wake up.” The only good thing Jesus could say about Sardis was that “a few worthy people there had not soiled their clothes” (verse 4). We learn from Sardis that complacency leads to spiritual stupor; to counteract stupor, we need to stay awake.

We also come today to the book of Esther - one of the most beautiful and wonderful stories in the Bible, and indeed, in all of literature. The book is filled with allusions, relationships, intrigue, biblical principles, and elegant literary symbolism about the salvation of a needy people, and God’s work behind the scenes to accomplish His will to save them through the independent activities of agents and agencies who simply operate on their own recognizance - doing what they ordinarily would do. God stands behind it all, achieving His purposes. We see that He will work sovereignly and providentially through a uniquely rare and beautiful young Jewish girl. God will use her innocence and her obedient willingness to serve His ultimate, good purposes “for such a time as this” (cf., 4:14).

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