Here's something I was inspired to write couple of weeks ago when I was meditating on Rev 12:11. Most or all Christian young and old would have made this verse one of their memory verses and would have heard more than once a preacher speak on this verse. Well here it is again, I hope I can present to you this verse in a different light.
"Rev 12:11 And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb, and because of the word of their testimony. And they did not love their soul to the death." I believe there are 3 key points here to observed in order to be successful in ministry.
The first is "the blood of the Lamb"
We have to be redeemed by Christ. I believe it's not only acknowledging that we are sinners, but living in realization that every second we are still alive it's because of God's grace and mercy upon our lives. This is a reminder to us that we cannot rely on our own strengths and understanding. We cannot bring the world to it's knees in reverence of God, but it's by availing ourselves for God to work through us that can do that.
The blood of the Lamb also signifies the ultimate sacrifice. Remember! There is nothing you can sacrifice that will match up to the sacrifice Christ made for you. Never, ever calculate with God ... "If I do this, then You do that for me". If this is ever in your prayers while in your service to God, then you've missed the entire meaning and relevance of Christ death on the cross. It's out of love that Christ sacrificed himself on the cross, it's out of love for Him that we serve.
Many times because so many of us serve God unconditionally, they call us fanatics, devotees, people practicing blind faith. But Christian Faith is not blind! It's because we can see and have experienced the redeeming grace and mercy of God that we choose to do the extraordinary things that He wants us to do.
The Second "The word of our testimony"
Noticed it's singular, the word 'testimony', it's not many, but one. Why is that? It's because the only testimony that is worth talking about is the testimony of Christ. Everything that we boast about should only lead back to one thing and one thing alone ... Christ! Ephesians 2:8-9 8 For by grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.
Also, for the testimony to be effective, the testimony of Christ in our lives has to be our own, not someone else's. I'm not saying that you shouldn't talk about other people's testimonies to encourage one another. But the world has enough of looking at perfect 10s in magazines while they look around them, no one actually looks like that. Many are looking for something real. Not the success story of someone else who's now making millions with a best seller, but someone living next door, sitting next to them on the train ... your neighbor is looking for something real, the guy or girl sitting next to you on the train to work is looking for something real ... Your testimony of Christ in your life will be so much more effective. Don't you think?
In order to have His testimony in our mouth, we have to live it out. John 8:31-32 31 Then Jesus said to the Jews who believed on Him, If you continue in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. This is one of the most used verse for evangelist. But none of them ever fully explained it properly to the people (as least not the ones that I've been to). It is not as simple as just 'knowing'. The original text for 'know' in Greek is the word 'ginosko'. Basically what it literally means is 'to recognize the truth by personal experience'. So memorizing and reciting the bible is not enough. I have personally met Imams (Muslim spiritual leaders) who can recite the bible better than most Christians I know. Why haven't they found the truth? Why are they still not free? It is because they didn't choose to live it out, experience it themselves. Psalms 34:8 Oh taste and see that the lord is good. Therefore Christ's testimony in our lives are not only to be heard, but to be lived out or experienced.
But WAIT!! There is more ... It's not just about experiencing Christ. There is a prerequisite to it. Remember, when we read the bible it has to be in context, don't just take the verses you like and omit the parts where it doesn't sound so good to you. The Word of God does not work like that. In order for us to live it out or experience Him, we must first be His disciple (verse 31). Many take the term disciple very lightly. It's just not about saying the sinners prayer, it's not about praying at every meal, it's not even about your daily devotions. Those are the results of being a disciple. Disciples are people who are fully convinced, committed and all sold out into what the master says and do to a point where they are willing to give up their lives for it. Only then the word of our testimony is effective.
Last but not least "Did not love their soul to the death"
In my opinion, this has got more to do with just dying to self, but it also speaks about living a life of a worshiper. The first time the word worship was mentioned in the bible was an act of sacrifice, Gen 22:5-10 5 And Abraham said to his young men, You stay here with the ass. And I and the boy will go yonder and worship, and come again to you. It's ironic that the first time worship was mentioned was about sacrificing your most precious and greatest of possession, hopes, dreams and desires. Here's my definition of worship (without all the Christian symbolisms) "to acknowledge the absolute matchless worth and importance of something to make it the center of my life and to order my life accordingly" ... That's dying to self! Because you love Him more than you love life itself ... that's an act of worship.
There are more verses I can share, but since we've all been Christians for donkey years, I would assume that you know where I'm coming from. Here's my conclusion to it all, if we are willing to live out these 3 key points in our lives, I believe we will have a successful ministry, but more importantly a successful life in the Kingdom of God. Amen!
Please continue to pray for us as we continue to be obedient to what God has called us to do and that we will lack nothing doing it and keep those that you know we are ministering to in prayer whenever they come across your hearts and mind. Also would like to request for you to pray for my recording project, that God will continue to send sponsors, be it financially or providing their services.
For my next post, I will be sharing something that was inspired through a message preached last week by Pastor Joel Chelliah. It was a message on the Lord's Prayer. I won't be re-writing what he preached, you can go to http://www.centrepointchurch.com.au to listen to the message. However, I would like to add to what he's already presented that may just blow your mind. Till then ... meditate on Matt 6:9-13. In all things, praise the Lord! Blessings to y'all!