Malankara World

New Year

The End of This Year

by Ralph Bouma

"Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God."
Revelation 3:2.

As we think about how the world has just celebrated the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ, and we are coming to the threshold of another year, we see how the time that is given us is being marked with decline.

I want you to see the message to the angel of the church in Ephesus in Revelation 2:1-4: "Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my nameís sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love."

What is our first love? Verse 5 tells us: "Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent."

The Word of God, the Saviour of the world, the King of kings, cautions against the declension of the church. The church started out in such a blessed state, but it continues to decline.

The Lord warns us in our text. The Lord brings this to our attention at the end of another year. We liken the closing of a year to a funeral service. We put to rest a year for which we must account in the Day of Judgment, but which we will see no more.

The Lord Jesus Christ, after He ascended to the right hand of His Father, gave His Revelation to the Apostle John. Jesus Christ warns the seven churches in Revelation 2 and 3. He says that He sees a right spirit in us, but in our text He warns us to be watchful and strengthen those things that remain and are ready to die.

In the time in which we live we see that the church of Christ has declined and that the Spirit of Christ has been removed. The candlestick, the light, has been removed from much of the church of our nation today. Christ is the light, and the light reveals the corruption of our hearts. The gospel that is being preached today in the churches throughout our nation does not identify sin. The need for repentance is not being preached.

We read in Revelation 3:3: "Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee." We read about the gospel that Christ has authorized His apostles to preach in Luke 24:27: "And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem." This is the beginning of the gospel. The gospel begins with repentance.

As we approach the end of another year, we see many tokens of Godís displeasure in our nation. Satan is turned loose, and sin is rampant. Violence covers the earth, but we must confess as the Psalmist in Psalm 103:10-12: "He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us."

The Lord is merciful to us and allowed us to have the gospel. We still have His Word, and we still live in a land of freedom where we may have His Word, and we may assemble to worship Him as we please.

I want you to notice the difference between as far as north is from south from as far as east is from the west. If you go to the north pole, when you reach it you are no longer going north. From that point on you are going south. If you go south to the south pole, when you reach it you are no longer going south. From that point you are going north again.

However, you can go east, and you can go east, and you can go east perpetually and you are still going east. You can go west, and you can keep going west perpetually. As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. This means He has removed our transgressions to such an extent they shall never again be mentioned because we have repented, because we have turned from our sins.

Each one of the seven churches in Revelation has an admonition. In each one, after the rebuke of their sin, they are told to repent. This is the message of the gospel we have to understand, that all the gospel begins with the word repent. Amen.

Come, let us to the Lord our God
With contrite hearts return;
Our God is gracious, nor will leave
H desolate to mourn.

John Morison, 1871

Source: Excerpted from sermon #435 HOLD FAST AND REPENT

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