Amos 7:1-9:15, Revelations 3:7-22, Psalms 131:1-3, Proverbs 29:23
Today is the 12th day of December. Welcome to the Daily Audio Bible. I am Brian and it is, indeed, a joy to be here with you today in the heart of the Christmas season. And we’re working our way through the book of Amos in the Old Testament. We will conclude the book of Amos today. And, of course, in the New Testament, we’re working our way to the book of Revelation. So, we’re reading from the Holman Christian Standard Bible this week. Amos chapter 7 verse 1 through 9:15.
Okay. So, we are several days into the book of Revelation and we’ve been just kind of looking at its layout because it begins with seven small letters to seven distinct and individual churches. And we’ve moved through five of those. And we read the two remaining ones, the letter to the church in Philadelphia and the letter to the church in Laodicea today. So, with the previous five little letters that we’ve read, Jesus affirms the different churches for things that they are doing well and then corrects them on some other things. Some churches are holding true to the faith but have basically gone underground while others have been very engaging in the culture but have been shaped more by culture than the other way around, them shaping the environment they’re in. So, with his letter to the church in Philadelphia, it’s a little bit different. Jesus starts out saying the holy one, the true one, the one who has the key of David, who opens and no one will close and closes and no one opens. So, that’s how he’s describing himself. So, this language, the one who has the key of David, we talked about that one when we were reading the book of Hebrews. This servant, King David, who also was a priest in the order of Melchizedek, even though he was not from the tribe of Levi. This kind of understanding, when applied to Jesus, pretty much in the entire New Testament, is messianic language. And we see that show up for the first time here in the book of Revelation, in this letter to the church in Philadelphia. So, Jesus is saying He’s holy, He’s true, He possesses the key of David, He opens and no one can close and closes and no one can open. And then He tells them, I know your works, which is what He tells the other churches. Because you have limited strength, have kept my word, and have not denied my name, I have opened a door and no one is going to be able to close it. It’s open to you. And He tells them to take note. So, pay attention. Those who are claiming to be Jews but are not, they’re lying. They’re from the synagogue of Satan and I will make them come bow down at your feet. And they’re going to know for sure that I have loved you, which would be very, very encouraging words to this church at Philadelphia. But it also harkens and it causes us to remember some of the things that we were reading and for second, third, John, and first, second Peter and Jude. But this forces us to acknowledge and see the debate that was going on. Who were the real and true Jews? On the one hand, you have a people who were born this way. So, they could say, I’m Jewish by ethnicity. The majority of those Jews, who were practicing Judaism, did not recognize Jesus as Messiah or anything else but a rabbi, and many wouldn’t even acknowledge that. So, you have Jewish people, who were born Jewish, who had been practicing Judaism in one way or another, rejecting God to his face, basically, as they reject Jesus. And you have other writers of the New Testament basically saying, those people aren’t true Jews, they’ve rejected God to his face. And on the other side of that coin, you have practicing Jews who are doing all that they can to distance themselves from these people who follow Jesus. Because in the wider culture, the Christians are just, they’re looked at as, people who have come out of Judaism, who are part of the Jewish community, even though in most cases there were more Gentiles in a family of faith than the Jewish people. The religion itself is looked to be an offshoot of Judaism, as part of Judaism. And the Jewish people are trying to say no that’s how it is, they have nothing to do with us. And this language that we find in that little letter to the church of Philadelphia seems to affirm that idea. And it’s a big idea. Because what we see taking shape here is that God is forming a new family, a new people. And you come into this family, this door that can’t be shut, through Jesus, and are welcomed into this new thing that God is doing. And it doesn’t matter your ethnicity. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a Jew or a Gentile. So, we can see some of the conflicts that we’ve been looking at throughout most of the New Testament finding their way here into the book of Revelation. And Jesus is affirming the church of Philadelphia, in spite of all the marginalization and conflict that they been enduring both from the Jewish community and from the culture at large. They are staying true. They are staying engaged. They are bearing witness to the gospel of Christ, and they can walk through this door that no one can close. And then He encourages them further – ‘because you have kept my command to endure, I will also keep you from the hour of testing that is going to come over the whole world to test those who live on the earth. I am coming quickly. Hold on to what you have so that no one takes her crown.’ What we can’t say for certain about this is, is it planet Earth? That’s what it seems to be written as. Or is it the world as they understand it? Is this a planet earth tribulation or will this testing take place in the Roman empire or simply the known world? Scholars continue to debate that. And what kind of tribulation are we talking about - a spiritual one, a physical one? And how will the church of Philadelphia be spared? On the one side, you have those who are like, Jesus will come back and they will be spared. He tells them He’s coming quickly. So, He will come. And this has been called the rapture, which is a word that is not used in the New Testament. Which is not to say that the concept can’t be formed. It’s just to say that word is used in the New Testament. Or were they going to be spared spiritually, protected spiritually, but perhaps would have to endure physical hardship? Because so much of the New Testament deals with endurance, and suffering, and staying true in spite of it. So, like, even John, in John’s Gospel, when we have the high priestly prayer of Jesus. Jesus says to the Father, I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, I’m asking you to protect them from the evil one. And, so, this leads others to believe that this is about spiritual protection that takes place in our union with Christ. But no matter what this looks like, Jesus tells them if you’re victorious, if they will hold on, if they will endure, they will be made pillars in the sanctuary of God and they’ll never go out again. The name of God will be written on them in the name of the city, the new Jerusalem, that will come down out of heaven. And we’ll hear more about that later. And then we get to the final of these seven little letters, the letter to the church at Laodicea. And Jesus introduces himself by saying, ‘the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the originator of God’s creation says.’ So, this faithful and true witness language has been a theme to all the churches. What are they doing with the light that’s on the lampstand? What is their witness to Christ saying? And then He says that He’s the originator of God’s creation. That has been debated. Was He saying that He was the originator of the creation of the world as we know it? Or is see He originator of a new creation, this new family of God, where all are welcome through faith and not because of the origin of their birth? There are commentators and scholars on both sides of that. But getting into the letter, we see that the note to the church in Laodicea is more pointed than any of the other letters. As Jesus said to other churches, He tells them, I know your works. But what their works are is that they are neither cold nor hot and he wishes that they were cold or hot, but because their lukewarm and neither cold or hot, he’s going to spit them out of his mouth, which probably under any circumstances isn’t a good thing to be hearing from Jesus. So, it’s not a good thing. The metaphor of hot or cold or lukewarm has also been a point of debate. So, traditionally, you know, if you’re on fire, if your hot. Right? Then that’s a good thing and if you’re cold then that’s not so much a good thing. And if you’re lukewarm you’re a mixture of the two, that’s even the worst thing. And I basically grew up here hearing it like that. But there are scholars who would say, no, this is rooted to the place of Laodicea itself, the situation of the city itself. It was a good place for a city, in terms of geography, but they didn’t have a good freshwater supply. So, they had to a pipe it in. So, on the one hand they were getting some of their water supply from places that had hot springs and then maybe they were getting their water from other places that had, you know, fresh, cold, clean, life-giving water. But by the time it piped its way to another city it wasn’t cold anymore, it was it was lukewarm. And, so, it wasn’t a palatable. The hot water coming in had become lukewarm. The cold water coming in had become lukewarm. In other words, it had gone from its original state to this kind of lukewarm, less palatable, less usable form, which would more accurately describe the state of the church at Laodicea that Jesus is speaking of. And Jesus assessment of the church at Laodicea contrasts, pretty sharply, with their own view of themselves. Jesus says, ‘because you say; – so, like, this is their assessment of their condition – ‘I’m rich, I have become wealthy and need nothing.’ So, they think they’re doing pretty good. And Jesus is telling them, you don’t know that your wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked. So, they seem to be about as blind to their situation as we often find ourselves to be. They found a way to be economically prosperous, assimilating into the culture, and probably reaping the benefits of that and they think they’re doing pretty good. And Jesus is advising them that they need to get their gold. Right? So, they need to get their wealth from a different source. Him. They should buy gold from Him because it’s a different kind of riches. They may think that they have material wealth and that they’re doing pretty well, but they’re actually blind and poor spiritually and they need to come to Jesus where they can get true wealth. So, Jesus is being pretty pointed toward the church in Laodicea, but He does have a kindness. He tells them, look, I rebuke and discipline those that I love. So, He’s telling them, even though we’ve got some pretty serious problems here, and you’ve put yourself in pretty grave danger, I wouldn’t be telling you this if I didn’t love you. So, He tells them, listen, you’ve got to be committed and you’ve got a repent. Which brings us to one of the famous passages in the book of Revelation. ‘Listen, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and have dinner with him and he with Me. And if you’re victorious I will give you the right to sit with Me on my throne, just as I also won the victory and sat down with My Father on his throne.’ I kind of always grew up thinking, behold, I stand at the door knock, this was language used to describe a person coming to Christ. But we can see that this is more language to the people who had kind of lost the plot. They had heard the good news but had become lukewarm. So, they started out one way and then had become another. But Jesus was saying that He still loves them and they can come back, they can repent, they can recommit themselves. He’s been standing at the door and knocking and if they’ll hear His voice that will be opening the door and He’ll come, and they can be victorious. So, that that gives us a little bit of a look at these seven letters to seven churches that give us our introduction into the book of Revelation. And I have to tell you, every word of this book has been looked at from an academic and scholarship and theological perspective for so long that we could spend a good portion of our lives trying to unravel all of the nuances. Even in what we just talked about today, there are many cross-references to many places in the Bible, many places in the Old Testament, like the book of Ezekiel or the book of Daniel or the book of Isaiah, that provide the backdrop for all of this. So, there’s no way to touch on everything. What I’m trying to do is just keep us on track because most biblical scholars would agree the book of Revelation is one of the more challenging books to follow. So, I’m trying to keep us moving forward and pointing out some things that you can dive in as deep as you want to go in your personal walk. Because a lot of people think a lot of things about this book and we would do well to pay attention to what it is actually saying and what it is actually bringing up in us and inviting the Holy Spirit into that and following where the Holy Spirit leads us in that.
So, that’s our prayer Father, that Your Holy Spirit would come as we continue to move forward day by day toward the end of the year. And as we watch those days dwindle down to where we only have a few weeks left, we invite You to speak as strongly to us now as You have since the beginning of the year as we’ve gone through the entire Bible and lead us into all truth as You have promised. Come, Holy Spirit. We pray in the mighty name of Jesus. Amen.
dailyaudiobible.com is the website. It’s home base. It’s where you find out what’s going on around here.
Several things are going on around here and they all relate to the holiday season that we’re in.
You can call in your holiday greeting for the annual Daily Audio Bible family Christmas, which is our kind of Christmas party that we have as a community each year, as we go through the Christmas story, and hear each other. It’s a beautiful thing. So, you can call in your holiday greeting by using any of the prayer lines that we have 877-942-4253 is the number here in the United States. If you’re in the UK or Europe 44-20-3608-8078. If you’re in Australia or that part of the world 61-3-8820-5459. The only rule about this is don’t combine a holiday greeting and a prayer request in the same call. Make them separate. We’ll only be doing this for a couple more days. So, don’t procrastinate.
Another thing going on is the Daily Audio Bible Christmas Box for 2017, chock full of goodies as all of the Christmas Boxes are. And you’ll find things that you’ll want to keep in things that you’ll want to give away in the Box. You can get them now at the Daily Audio Bible shop at dailyaudiobible.com. And if you’re in the United States, there’s definitely still time to get them in time for Christmas. If you’re outside the United States, not as much, not so sure. But you can certainly still order a Christmas Box. So, grab one while we still have them.
Also, early registration for the More Gathering that is coming up this April, our annual women’s conference is open. And we have early registration pricing for that. Makes for a great gift. Hope you can come, if you’re a woman that is. Hope you can come. All the details about the More Gathering are at dailyaudiobible.com in the Initiatives section or you can just go to moregathering.com and that’ll take you straight there.
Also, in the Daily Audio Bible shop is the Daily Audio Bible journals, along with all of the Black Wing pencil stuff that we have that makes for a great kit, a great thing to be carrying around and writing down what’s happening in your life as you Journal your way through the Scriptures and Journal your way through life in a year. And we have a number of bundles that make for great gifts or just a great opportunity to set yourself up for the new year. And those can be found in the Daily Audio Bible shop, in the lifestyle section. So, check that out.
If you want to partner with the Daily Audio Bible here, as we approach the end of the year, I can’t thank you enough. Thank you for your partnership. We wouldn’t be able to do what we do if we didn’t do this together as a community. So, thank you. There is a link on the homepage at dailyaudiobible.com. If you prefer, the mailing address is PO Box 1996 Spring Hill Tennessee 37174.
And, as always, if you have a prayer request or comment or holiday greeting right now, 877-942-4253 is the number to dial.
And that’s it for today. I’m Brian I love you and I’ll be waiting for you here tomorrow.
Community Prayer Requests and Praise Reports:
Hi this is Bonnie from Virginia. This message is for Joyce in California. I heard your story, which is similar, somewhat, of mine. As my dad also left me near the temple to die but somebody found me and started taking care of me. It’s a long story, so, I do not want to share, but I wanted to encourage you not to give up on your test. As you mentioned, you failed twice, and you are attempting to do the test on December the 29th and 30th. If you don’t get through that time also, I would ask you not to get discouraged and be strong and pray to God. Maybe God may have some other plans for you. And I would encourage you to read Jeramiah 29:11. That verse has really helped me because I am also doing the job which I was not even thinking or didn’t even like before when I started. But God has plans for everyone and now I enjoy doing this job. I do the ___ job, which is very difficult but God is helping me. So, I would encourage you to pursue what God has planned for you. Love you sister. Bye.
Hello. This is Sharron. Not Sharron in California, not the original Sharron that called before. So, I’ll call myself The Rose of Sharron. I’m calling asking for prayer for myself and my family. We’re going through a tough time right now, financially. My daughter…I have 2 daughters and 2 sons…and they are not living to their potential. So, I pray God’s grace and I pray for His presence in our lives, that they all would find church homes. And love you guys. This is my first time calling, but I’ve been listening for three years. So, I love this podcast. Thank you. Bye-bye.
Hi Daily Audio Bible. This is Beloved from Texas. I’m a 4 year listener and I just want to say thank you, Brian and Jill and all the others behind the scenes at DAB. Thank you for all that call and who agree in prayer. I’ve never called in before. I’m requesting prayer for my son. He’s a prodigal. He has a great calling on his life and I’ve praying for his great destiny for years. He walked away when he was 18 and he’s been through a lot of hurt and pain and rejection. And the enemy just used it to distract him from what God has for him. He is mighty warrior in the making. I’m grateful what the Lord has taught me in these 17 years to be fighting for my son, learning about spiritual warfare and drawing close to the Lord. But I’m praying for my son and hoping that you would pray with me. His name is Michael. And I’m asking my DAB family to lift him up. And not just him, but for all the prodigals to come home. I know as prodigal parents we’re all hurting. And, so, I pray the harvest of the prodigals. I pray that you would just agree with me in prayer for their destiny in Christ. I love you all.
Hello Daily Audio Bible. This is Duane from Wisconsin. All praise and glory to God. I’m calling in for Joyce in California, who called in, who is going to medical school and has some exams coming up at the end of the month. Joyce, I just wanted to say to you we are calling in for encouragement for you. My wife is a nurse. Her daughter is a nurse our daughters husband, our son-in-law, is a doctor. So, we know how hard it is to be in the medical field. So, it is amazing that you chose this profession and that you are attempted and to get into that. And you will succeed. I don’t doubt that at all. So, I just wanted to call in and give you encouragement, Joyce, to give you comfort, peace. And you can’t be a disappointment. All my fellow Daily Audio Bible, fellow members here, we are all lifting you up Joyce, we are all with you. You can’t disappoint us at all. You can’t disappoint God at all. So, I just wanted you to know that is a blessing that you’re going into that field because I assume you want to help people and I have no doubt that you will pass your exam. You’ve forgiven your parents, what an uplifting story that was. Thank you for that story, Joyce. So, I just want you to know that we are lifting you up and we will be with you. And, please, keep us informed on those exams and we’ll keep you in prayers, always. Calling in for Patricia in Minnesota also. She wanted to just call in about her son Tony. He is taking a trip to Vegas. We want you to know, Patricia, that we pray that the Lord be with your son and that he will stay on the right side and be safe. So, like to lift that up along, independent on him ___ with your husband and your marriage. Lifting that up as well. Lifting this all up. In Jesus’ name. Amen. God bless and love you.
Hi. This is Victoria S. I’m just calling to pray for some of the DABbers. Sorry I haven’t been able to call. My calls have been getting blocked, but I just thank God that tonight that God has allowed it to be unblocked so that I could reach Amy. Oh my God, Amy, my heart goes out to you. You’re beautiful mom that somebody hit. The Bible says, in the last days the heart of many will be wax cold. But we are faithful. God is faithful and God is able. We need to pray to God that they find who it is. But I’m sorry that your mom died. I pray that God would be with her, that she’s at peace now, and not in pain. Lord, in the name of Jesus, You touch Amy and You touch her Lord, in a mighty and special way. You touch that family. Oh, Father, in the name of Jesus, You rebuke the enemy on every hand and cast them out of their lives. Oh, Father, we pray in the name of Jesus. Lord, You have Your way Father, in the name of Jesus. Lord, I also want to pray for our sister on last night. She was going through with her husband and was going through a divorce. I don’t remember her name, but Lord, I ask you to touch her Lord. I ask You to touch her and I ask you to touch that marriage. You touch that husband Lord. You touch that heart and you open up his blinded eyes and let him see what he has in the wife that he has. Lord, You have Your way. I thank You for touching the DABbers. Touch those that need You Lord. Touch those that feel like they are about to give up. Touch those that feel like they need a man Lord. You bless them and show them the man that You have for them. Oh Lord, in the name of Jesus. Lord, You touch my sister Gloria and You open up doors on her mom Lord. You bless her that her mom be able to come and spend Christmas with her and that she’ll be able to be with her permanently. Lord, You have Your way Father. I thank You for this broadcast and I thank You for Your people. I give You the glory and the honor and the praise. In the mighty name…
Hello Daily Audio Bible family. This is Nathan from Bloomington Illinois. I know it’s been several months before I called in but I listen every day and I pray along with most of you guys. So, I just want to let you know. When I first started listening to the DAB, which was…I don’t know…several years ago….six of seven years ago…my goal was to just get through the Bible. I just wanted to read through the bible and be done. And, so, I was skipping the prayers and all those kind of things. But, you know, I reached my goal. I got it done. And then I still felt just as empty because I felt like I did it for the wrong reason. It’s December. It’s already…this year’s almost over and…which means we have a choice. December 31st rolls around to January 1st and are we going to stick with it? Are we going to continue on? Because this isn’t just about getting through the bible in one year. It’s about community through the bible. And, I don’t know about you all, but I’m going on. I don’t know how many times I’ve been through the bible. I don’t even count, but this is family and I’m here for the family. So, that’s my word for today. I hope to see around in the middle of the year 2018. So, have a great day. Make it a great day.