overcome: (1) to get the better of in competition, struggle, etc.; conquer (2) to master, prevail over, or surmount [to overcome obstacles] (3) to make helpless; overpower or overwhelm [overcome by pity] SYN: conquer
Look out, Old Testament! I'm almost finished with the New Testament and have started the book of Revelation. What an interesting book, huh? I think it is amazing that the disciple John was put away on the island of Patmos as punishment for his Christian beliefs and to squelch the word of God and yet what happened? He has a dream/vision and hears the very words of Jesus again!! When God wants to be heard, he will be heard!
In Revelation 1, Jesus tells John to write about the things he saw, both present and future. "Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it, for the time is near." (Rev 1:3) For the record, not that you haven't probably figured this out already, but I'm not a bible scholar, just someone doing the best I can to figure everything out. With that said, we won't be delving into the deep, deep, prophecy, but I do bet that you will be blessed by what God showed me today.
The first vision that John wrote about concerned the seven churches in Asia (Rev 2:-3). What is cool is that there is still something in these passages personally for you and for me. Each church, although mentioned by name specifically at the time, can represent different churches in today's world as well, each with their own strengths and weakness. What really struck me in my reading was that Jesus not only had advice for each of the churches, but also inc luded a promise to those who were obedient and overcame their issues. Let's take a look.
1) Ephesus - Left its first love, the love of God. Jesus commanded them to come back to their first love.
Promise: They will get to eat from the tree of life in the midst of the Paradise of God. (Rev 2:7)
2) Smyrna - This church was going through some persecution. Jesus told them to be faithful.
Promise: They will not be hurt by the second death. (i.e. they will have eternal life) (Rev 2:11, see also 1 John 5:4-5)
3) Pergamos - Was accepting Satanic influences in their church. Obviously, Jesus wanted them to change their ways.
Promise: Repentance would be rewarded by hidden manna and a new name personally for them, known only by Jesus. (Rev 2:17)
4) Thyatira - They were just plain corrupt. Again, Jesus wanted them to repent and hold on to the good things.
Promise: To the faithful who would stick to what was right, Jesus promised that they would rule over nations. (Rev 2:6).
5) Sardis - The dead church. Jesus told the few who were not corrupt to hold fast and repent.
Promise: Those who overcame problems in this church would be "clothed in white garments". Their names would not be blotted out of the Book of Life. Jesus would confess their names before God. (Rev 3:5)
6) Philadelphia - The faithful church. Jesus wanted them to hold tightly to what they had through the upcoming tribulations.
Promise: Those who were faithful will be made "pillars in the temple" of God. They will be identified with the name of God, the city of God & New Jerusalem.
7) Laodiceans - Lukewarm and spat out. Jesus wants them to repent and come back to Him.
Promise: If they became zealous for God again, they would be rewarded by being granted the priviledge of sitting with Jesus on His throne.
Can anyone see a common theme here? All of these churches had issues, just like all of us have issues. The good news is that if we humble ourselves before God and change our ways, we will be rewarded in the end for our obedience...no matter how far away we had drifted in the past. Isn't that awesome news?
So , my question is, are you an overcomer? What is it in your life that Jesus is asking you to overcome? We all can be through the power of Christ in us. Now that is some great news to me.