Revelation 11-13

"I know your deeds: You have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead."  Revelation 3:1, NIV 

I don't know about you, but this passage bothers me. I wonder sometimes if we get comfortable with the good reputation we enjoy with others, and fail to see that we may not have a good reputation at all in the eyes of the only One who really matters.

I think those of us who preach can have a greater challenge with this aspect of Christianity than is true with most Christians. The reason I say that is because people are generally kind to preachers, whether we deserve it or not.

And, unfortunately, far too many people are willing to take at face value anything that the preacher says. This means that preachers can have a very good reputation in the community for no other reason than the simple fact that they preach.

But what happens when preachers are wrong? I believe that people should seriously consider that possibility, if for no other reason than the fact that there are so many different teachings out there. The reason that it is so important for you to be studying the Word of God on your own is in part due to the high likelihood that your preacher is wrong about more than one thing.

Because of this, I continually remind those I preach to that they need to be studying for themselves. Further, should they even suspect that I might be mistaken about something, they would be doing me a great favor by bringing that concern to my attention. I have to tell you that God's warnings to false teachers are quite clear and the penalty for such an offense - intentional or not - is quite severe. Since this is true, it is critical to me for someone bring up the possibility of my being wrong (when they think that I might be) in order that both of us can make certain.

 It is much more important to me to discover when I am wrong so that I can correct my error, than it is for me to be perceived as being right and possibly be misleading souls to a very unpleasant Judgment. If you agree with this, whether preacher or not, then doesn't it make a lot of sense for you to be studying on your own?

You have to be certain (at least as far as humanly possible) that you are understanding and obeying God's Word, because your very eternity is at stake!

One more thing: If we find that we have been comfortable with our religion, despite not studying and therefore having no justification for this comfort, then Jesus has a final warning for us:

"Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of My God. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it and repent.

 

But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you."   Revelation 3:2-3, NIV