Cactus on Yellow Wall

Time is at Hand - 5

The Book of Revelation is written for you. This is the strongest message that comes to each one of us as we open its sacred pages. Future may be bleak and dark to the unbeliever but to the Christian all the present unprecedented happenings in the world signal "the coming of the Lord". "He that hath an ear let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches" is the refrain we read seven times. Though addressed to separate local churches in Asia minor they have relevance to every individual and all the churches.

It may come as a surprise to us as to why God chose only seven churches to receive His message. Were there no churches found in Asia minor apart from the ones found in Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis and Philadelphia? What about the assemblies at Hierapolis, Colosse and Troas? Was it an accident that God chose only seven and not more? It was not an accident when we see God's design in the rest of the books of the Bible. From the book of Genesis chapter one God's work is seen in cycles of seven. The opening account of creation inclusive of the final day rest took place in seven days. The number seven here stands for the entirety of the subject. Luke 19 speaks of a certain nobleman who had ten servants. Matthew twenty-five speaks of ten virgins who waited for the arrival of the Bridegroom. Luke fifteen speaks of a father and just two sons. Matthew 21 also speaks of a farmer who had two sons. Here the number ten and two and seven in the book of Revelation stand as representative numbers. Thus seven denotes perfection, fullness, entirety and this comes fifty four times in the book of Revelation.

The Apostle John uses two words -"grace" and "peace" to greet the readers and hearers of all the churches. Grace or "charis" is a distinct Greek form of greetings. Citizens of the Roman world greeted each other as "charis". Peace or "Shalom" on the other hand, is distinctly Jewish. By using "grace" and "peace" the apostle addressed to a new community called "churches" which is composed of Jews and Gentiles. Hence the greeting comes with an universal appeal" Secondly, "grace" and "peace" reminded the believers their "gift" and the cause of their gift. Grace is the cause and peace is the result. We have found peace only because God was gracious to us. It was God's mercy that He did not give us what we deserved. We deserved wrath and judgment. God in His mercy forgave our debt because Christ paid it all for us. Christ stands in defense of every condemned, guilty sinner and tells God the Father, "If he hath wronged thee, or oweth thee ought, put that on mine account" (Philemon18). While God's mercy forgave us, God's grace put into our account all that we never could earn. "Christ Jesus...who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification and redemption" (1 Cor.1: 30). All that is of Christ has become ours. Ruth the Moabitish widow came as a pauper, a nobody with a stigma that she belonged to the cursed race of Moab, but by marrying Boaz the kinsman- redeemer it was all changed. His wealth became hers. She was inducted into the mainstream of Judah's genealogy. For eternity she has carved out a name for herself as the great grandmother of king David through whom came our Lord Jesus Christ, the greater David (Ruth :21,22). This is grace. God offers us what we do not deserve.

The next thing that God offers us is "peace". The Bible speaks of two kinds of peace. Firstly, "Peace with God". This is reconciliation with God. Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace. With God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Rom.5: 1). Justification is God's act of grace and faith is human response. At the cross man is reconciled to God (2 Cor.5:18-20). The second is "peace of God". This expression found in Phil. 4:7 speaks of "rest" for a believer. God offers every repentant sinner, reconciliation and rest. For our reconciliation Christ paid the total cost but to come into the full enjoyment of God's rest one must pay a price. This "conditional rest" comes to us in seven descriptive terms in the Bible.

Firstly, Positional Peace. John 14:27 tells us, "my peace I give unto you" and John 16:33 emphasizes the same truth,"...in me ye might have peace". God's rest comes to us by remaining in Christ. By staying under the Headship of Christ, in His body we become partakers of His rest.

Secondly, Incomprehensible Peace. Phil 4:6 tells us not to be anxious about anything "but in every thing y prayer and supplication" we are told to make our requests "known unto God", Paul uses the Greek word "merimnao" here translated as "anxiety" or "care". Merimnao carries with it the idea of an unbearable weight placed on the head of a person to disintegrate him, Worry kills a man, God does not fault us for having worries but certainly holds us guilty for "keeping" them. We are asked "to pray our worries out",

Thirdly, River-Like Peace. "O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments! Then had thy peace been as a river..."(lsa.48: 18). Cities and civilizations have always been built on the banks of rivers. Rivers bring fertility to the soil. Through obedience to the commandments we become rivers of fertility to parched grounds around us.

Fourthly, Ruling Peace. "...let the peace of God rule in your hearts"(Col.3:15). The word rule here is the Greek term "Brabyoo" which means "an umpire". Used in Grecian games the umpire stood in the field as the deciding authority, we are saved from many a loss when we are guided and governed by God's Ruling peace. Allow the Spirit to prompt or prevent you.

Fifthly, Great Peace. "Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them" (Psa. 119: 165). Love of the Law of God is the condition for obtaining God's great peace.

Sixthly, Abundant Peace. "...The meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in; the abundance of peace" (Psa.37: 11). "Meekness" is not weakness. The word "meek" carries the idea of "taming" a horse. It stands for controlled strength. , Christ said, "I am eek" (Matt.11: 29) and thus humbled Himself to the death of the cross (Phil.2:8) and brought the greatest blessing to the world.

Seventhly, Perfect Peace. "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee" (lsa.26: 3). Our fiercest spiritual battles are fought in the citadel of our minds. We fall in thoughts before we fall publicly.

Dear friend, such a peace is yours for the asking, Is Christ your Savior? Is He the Lord of your life?

MY PEACE I GIVE UNTO YOU - 5 - BAKHT SINGH

The fifth kind of peace is healing peace. "Behold, I will bring it health and cure, and I will cure them, and will reveal unto them the abundance of peace and truth" (Jer.33:6). True peace will heal all your wounds. There are some wounds, which cannot be healed by ointment or medicine. They are inside. These wounds are caused by friends, relations, and strangers. When friends betray us, it causes very deep and painful wounds. In the same way, when children are unfaithful, it leaves a deep wound. When our enemies hurt us by words, they cause wounds and these wounds cannot be healed easily. They cannot be healed by any medicine. But God's peace heals every kind of wound caused by friends and enemies.

Sixthly, "Great peace have they which love thy law; and nothing shall offend them" (Psa. 119: 165). It is great peace. It gives you love for God's Word and says, "Nothing shall offend them". Many believers are offended very easily even over a cup of tea or coffee. If someone does not smile at them, they get offended. They keep away from meetings for many, many months. They say, "I will not go to Hebron, because that brother never spoke to me. I am not going there at all". Their peace has gone away. That is worldly peace. But here it says, "Nothing shall offend them" (Psa. 119: 165). Whether anyone gives us a cup of tea or not, it will not offend us. It is great peace.

Seventhly, "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee" (lsa.26:3). This is perfect peace. It, gives you strong faith in all situations. You can trust God's Word and His promises.

Now please tell me, "Have you got that peace?" You may ask, "How to find that peace?" Eph. 2:14 says, "...he is our peace". The Lord Jesus Christ Himself is our peace. Also "For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace" (Rom.8:6). When you are spiritually minded you find true peace. By dying to your old nature, you find true peace. By receiving divine nature, you find true peace. That is why the Lord Jesus Christ died, so that you may die to your old nature. He died to take away your punishment, and rose again to give you divine nature. And that nature gives you true peace. Then by hearkening unto His voice and obeying God, your peace will be multiplied. "O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments! then had thy peace been as a river and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea" (lsa.48:18).

May our Lord speak to you and give you that ", peace. If you have not received that peace ask for it' do not remain without it, you can have it right now

Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.   Matthew 24: 42