Lessons Of A Lifetime


In an earlier lesson entitled “Ever Increasing Enemies Or Our Far Reaching Branch”, we made reference to a verse from Isaiah chapter 11, where Isaiah was speaking prophetically of Jesus Christ as a far-reaching Rod and Branch. Today we want to take a closer look at Isaiah’s message.

Scripture To Consider:
“There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of His roots. The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD.”

“His delight is in the fear of the LORD, and He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, nor decide by the hearing of His ears; but with righteousness He shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt of His loins, and faithfulness the belt of His waist.” Isaiah 11.1-5

Something To Consider:
Isaiah, which means salvation of Jahu, [a short form of Jehovah], lived seven hundred years before the birth of Jesus Christ. He was used by God as His mouthpiece of warning to the nation of Israel. He prophesied of the destruction and desolation of Israel, as well as the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. Isaiah had been called the “Prince of Prophets.” His leadership career as a prophet lasted approximately sixty years. He was married and had two sons.

Isaiah was one of the many faithful clouds of witnesses spoken of in Hebrews chapters 11 and 12 that by faith, by believing the promises of God, obtained a good report. Jewish tradition claims that at the age of ninety Isaiah was placed in a hollowed-out trunk of a carob tree and sawn in half by a wicked king. Isaiah died as a faithful mouthpiece for God. Not every believer in God will be relieved of his or her earthly duty in such manner. To Isaiah and others, such a parting of this earth was an honor.

How will we handle the persecution that is coming to America? Will we honor God with our death in whatever way the will of God allows? Are we today honoring God with our lives? Has the church honored God with their lives down through the many centuries since the time of Jesus? In the book of Revelation Jesus dictated seven letters to seven churches in which I believe the many lessons of a lifetime He taught apply to all true churches in every generation.

Something Else To Consider:
In Revelation chapters 2 and 3, Jesus admonished seven churches that represent issues and concerns in all churches in every generation. Jesus dealt with Ephesus the loveless church, Pergamos a compromising church, Thyatira the corrupt church, Sardis the dead church, Philadelphia the faithful church, and Laodicea the lukewarm church. But in verses 8-11 of Revelation chapter 2, Jesus had nothing evil to say concerning the Smyrna church, and instead spoke of His knowledge of their enduring to the end of past, present, and future coming persecution due to the wickedness of this world.

Beginning in verse 8 Jesus announced, “And to the angel [messenger] of the church in Smyrna write, ‘These things says the First and the Last, who was dead, and came to life: I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich); and I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. He who has an ear, let him [or her] hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He [or she] who overcomes [endures to the end] shall not be hurt by the second death.’”

Persecution, as in the past and in the present, will continue and will increase in its reach and in its intensity. Let us with God’s help not become known as the Pergamos church who was willing to compromise at the first sign of trouble. Let us never be likened to Thyatira as being corrupt and unwilling to repent. And God forbid we ever become labeled by Jesus as a dead church as was Sardis who on the outside appeared to be alive and vibrant but according to Jesus had no spiritual life to speak of.

And finally, may God help us by the power and presence of His Holy Spirit to refrain from obtaining a lukewarm status of neither being hot or cold toward the things of God, as was the church of the Laodiceans!

If persecution is coming with a vengeance to the true end time church, let us be inspired by the life and death of men and women such as Isaiah and those who were living among the church in Smyrna. Let us not fear any of whatever things we may be called upon to suffer in the name of Jesus. If we are faithful until death, according to Jesus we will receive the crown of life. If we remain overcomers and endure unto the end, also according to Jesus, we shall not be hurt by the second death which is due to eternal judgment and punishment upon the wickedness of this world.

Something More To Consider:
Isaiah, speaking of the coming of Jesus and the coming of Christ’s righteousness, wrote, “His delight is in the fear [or reverence] of the LORD, and He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, nor decide by the hearing of His ears; but with righteousness He shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth…”

Therefore, we have an advocate in the heavens seated at the right hand of the throne of God whose delight is in the reverence of His Father to the point that He cannot judge by the false evidence that is presented by the father of lies Satan against God’s children. Nor will Jesus judge according to what evidence is spoken against His people because of their willingness to honor Him even in the midst of the wickedness of this world.

When the time comes for judgment to be pronounced, Jesus will judge according to righteousness, unlike the many judges of our generation who have for years judged according to unrighteousness and human wickedness. Look at the level of widespread legalized wickedness America has been subjected to by corrupt judges and evil law makers in just the last few decades. Abortion legalized, and the right to hold biblical convictions of Christians has been stripped away, and worse, the livelihood of those same Christians has been destroyed.

The country that was first founded on Christian biblical principles is now being divided both politically and religiously and fractured from within. The politicians of recent and present continue to kick the can of America’s economic future down the road to other generations that will never know a free America under God with liberty and justice for all. Most in power whether that is in the political arena or the religious realm appear to be looking out for what is best for themselves and how best to cook the books in order to hold open the flood gates of their own financial prosperity just a little while longer.

And most who are in power in America do not rule in righteousness, but there is one who is coming that will reveal them as the thieves and robbers as they continue to take from the working class to enrich the wealthy. And when the Antichrist is revealed, he will not judge in righteousness either but will unleash his fury upon the righteous like never before, according to Jesus, Paul, Peter, Daniel, and others.

A Few Final Words:
And yet, in God’s perfect timing, according to Isaiah, “He [Jesus] shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked.” And at that time also according to Isaiah, “Righteousness shall be the belt of His loins, and faithfulness the belt of His waist.” Whether we are thrown into prison, whether we are surrounded by tribulation, or sorely tested, let us be as those early true present tense Christians living in Smyrna. Let us be found faithful even unto death, and we will obtain the crown of life. Let us be found by Jesus willing to overcome rather than being found succumbing to the wickedness of this world.

And who knows for sure! Maybe the coming rising tide of persecution has already begun and we for whatever reason have been to this point protected from much of its evil onslaught. Either way, what are we seeking while in this world? Are we seeking health, wealth, and prosperity at any cost? Or are we seeking the true righteousness of God that will never come until Jesus Christ Himself comes again?

Spiritual leaders and spiritual leaders in training should seek to clothe themselves in the righteousness and faithfulness of our far-reaching Rod and Branch, Jesus Christ, rather than bowing to the wickedness of this world.

Our Father in heaven, help us in our attempt to be in this world and yet not of this world. Give us a hunger and thirsting for Your righteous kingdom. In Him Always, Amen!

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