Devotion 257 – Saturday of Pentecost 2

Text: Revelation 2:8–11

“And to the angel 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 hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.”‘”

Devotion

A struggle and trial every day for every follower of Jesus! Faithfulness to the end  – and then eternal victory and glory! The devil hates us terribly and is constantly after us with consuming anger. He brings hard misfortune over faithful Job. He follows Paul everywhere and strikes him with slander. He is the cause of scorn and shame and trouble for the saints in Smyrna. But the Lord who loves us with fervent love allows “us to be tempted,” so that our faith and patience can increase and lusts die. Jesus went through death ahead of us and has opened the way, but now He lives and watches our every step. Your deeds He also sees, and praises quiet faithfulness which the world mocks. He sees your tribulation and poverty  – the true riches, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to you. “He watches faithfully day and night to guard His poor flock. He has them as in a mother’s hand in loving guidance.” So do not be afraid that you shall suffer. Suffering is brief and easy compared to glory. Suffering is good and necessary for being glorified. Suffering is Christ’s own, and it shall never be greater than you can bear. Be faithful unto death! Let the heart completely and forever belong to the Lord! The devil wants to allure and draw you away from your God, so he tries to kindle greed, he wakens unbelief, impatience, and other sins. But the Lord uses it to humble you, so that you continue in your first love and love Jesus as the Friend of sinners, so that the devil himself must serve you, and everything that seems to cause shame must simply give you new life. So be faithful! “God works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure,” but for that very reason you should watch and work out your salvation,  – nothing is lacking that you certainly can do it. But for that reason it is also horrible in every way when many still divorce their heart from the Lord. They could have remained with Him, but they plunge themselves into condemnation.

Dear friends, if you have been unfaithful, but desire mercy, then come back, receive forgiveness, and be renewed with the Lord. Hear Jesus’ own voice: “Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life!” Doesn’t your heart burn within you when you hear Him say this to you? Be faithful  – faithful “unto death” for My sake! He expects that you are willing to offer your life for Him. So do not fail, He Himself shall give you grace to be faithful and then will make you partaker in His glory. “I shall give you glory for shame, the palms of gladness for sorrow, an eternal throne in My kingdom instead of the lowest place on earth. The fruit of your meekness shall show itself, death’s bitterness shall bring joy, and humble submission the crown of glory” (Kempis). Trial and suffering “for a time”  – victory and life forever! Faithfulness, dear brethren, the heart completely and forever the Lord’s! Holy bridal love!

Closing Prayer

Lord Jesus, I feel Your heavenly fire in my soul, but it burns only weakly, and many things want to quell it. Guard it, and let it burn purer and higher every day to my last hour. O if only I could die for You! Yes, precious Lord Jesus, by Your grace I shall be able to do it. Amen.

Hymn

Stand fast, my soul, stand fast,
In Christ, thy Savior:
Lose not the war at last
Through fain behavior.
It is of no avail,
That thou hast known H
im,
If, when the foes assail,
Thou shalt His banner fail,
And thus disown Him.

When Jesus’ love I see,
It me constraineth,
So that from carnal glee
My soul abstaineth,
When heav’n to me is dear,
Its joy attractive,
Of hell I have no fear,
For Christ, my Lord, is near,
In battle active.

Within a little while,
My strife is ended;
From Satan’s craft and guile
For aye defended,
I rest in heav’n content,
In peace and glory,
Where all the saints are bent
To sing without relent
Salvation’s story.

Brorson: Staa fast, min Sjæl L 284.1.7.8 HCH 223:1.4.5 tr. P. C. Paulsen; Translation © 1930, 1958 Lutheran Intersynodical Hymnal Committee. Used by permission of Augsburg Fortress.;
tune: Nu rinder Solen op (ELH 83); alternate hymn: Soldiers of Christ, arise ELH 520:3-4

0 Comments

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.