Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Asia (02/26/09)
TITLE: He Who Has An Ear
By Frank Parrino
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The sound of gulls faded. The orange orbed sun sank deeper along his daily western retreat. Twilight began to draw the curtain on the fading autumnal light. Thick blue-black clouds rimmed with a deep red-orange hue hung low above the horizon. It was chilly. The accompanying air was in its usual mode of dampness. The white headed apostle pulled his tattered cloak tightly around his ancient body. The last subdued glow of the greater light finally went to his chamber. So did the humble Son of Thunder.
John began the careful twenty minute trek along the rocky shore back to his detention cave. He thought back to the revelation of Jesus Christ which he recoded a fortnight ago. He wondered if the messenger arrived with the precious needed scroll. Needed? Why? John heard the words of Jesus echoing in his mind, “…the things that must soon take place…the time is near.”
John was not referring to calendar time but to the time for a decision. The great spiritual war that has raged since the fall is part and parcel of this present evil age. In these last days, the seven churches of Asia will soon experience the conflict in all of its scope. The time of waiting is over. The “last days” of Old Testament prophecy had been inaugurated with first coming of Christ. The resurrection and enthronement of Jesus Christ were its guarantee. The Lord has begun the final phase of His victorious warfare against the forces of evil. It is the “last hour” in God’s time frame. The cap stone of divine revelation had been put in place. The final revelation had given to all His servants.
John stopped. Turning around, he looked a longing love and hopeful optimism towards the Asia Minor mainland. John’s heart and prayers were with the seven churches.
John thought about the church at Ephesus. Ephesus was special too him. There he had made his home and ministered. Now he the last original apostle of the Lord was banished by the Roman authorities to this bleak rocky isolated island. How will they fare in the fray? Ephesus was zealous for truth. The elders were careful to weed out false teachers. But their love had grown cold like the night air surrounding his island prison. Their initial love for the Lord and His people was on the wane. Their function as a gospel light bearer was in danger of going out.
He fixed his mind on Smyrna. The local Jewish congregation was causing them all sorts of trouble. The Lord warned that a brief yet intense storm cloud of persecution would soon burst upon them. Would they be faithful t the end?
John’s thoughts raced. He turned, quickening his pace. O Perganum! Our brother Antipas has given his life for the cause of Christ. Who will be next? Reamin steadfast! False teachers trouble the church. Some were hooked on erroneous ethical and moral practices. Your witness is soiled. Repent!
O Thyatira! You have been ‘black listed’ in the workplace and community. Some of you were even fired from your jobs because you refused to compromise your Christian convictions. You shunned the drunken and immoral activates of the local trade guilds. Shunned in return, you ask, “How will I feed the family and pay the bills”? Trust the Lord brothers!
O Pitiable Sardis! Far too many of you hold to a form of Christianity and the cause of Christ is at a standstill. S Wake up before it is too late.
Philadelphia, you are a small struggling but faithful church. Like your brothers at Smyrna, the local Jews persecute and bring false accusations against you before the authorities. As you keep to the road of faithfulness the Lord will keep you from evil.
O lukewarm Laodicea. You have become quit the fashionable church. Large church membership, various programs, and material possessions have bathed you in a sickening lukewarm-ness to the things of the Lord. Be zealous for Me!
Secured in his rocky cell, the soft crackling of the wood fire traded voices with the loud intermittent roar of Patmos’s mighty breakers.
Asia is the largest and most populous continent on the face of the earth. The Lord tarries. The time is near. Gospel light is but a flicker yet it is still the day of salvation. Pray and work that Asia be won for Christ.
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