I’ve been teaching a new series during Sunday school at my church — Charleston Bible Church in Charleston, SC. The lesson focus is on the first three chapters of the book of Revelation with an in depth look at Jesus’ message to the seven churches of Revelation: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. One verses is particularly meaningful to me:
“Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed is the one who hear, and who keeps what is written in it, for the time is near” – Rev 1:3, ESV
Think about those words for a moment. The book can be a blessing to (1) anyone who reads it, (2) anyone who listens to it being read, and (3) everyone who keeps what is written in the book. Read it — you’re blessed. Listen to it — you’re blessed. Keep it — you’re blessed. Equally amazing, no one is limited to just one blessing; we can be blessed once, twice, and even three-times if we want — over and over and over.
The last part of that scripture reminds me of the theme verse behind In His Very Steps: What Does the Bible Say?:
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” – James 1:22, NIV
Both James and John (the author of Revelation) understood that listening to the Word of God was only one way the Bible blesses our lives; we can also DO what God commands and be blessed more richly.
There was once a woman who underwent surgery, and her neighbor saw her arrive home from the hospital. “I’m sorry you’re not feeling well,” the neighbor replied after realizing what had happened. “I’ll bring you supper tonight.”
“You’re so sweet,” the recovering woman responded. “That would be wonderful.”
The convalescing neighbor was blessed by the offer wasn’t she? Yes, she was — she would have received an even greater blessing if her neighbor had done what she said. In the busyness of her day, the neighbor forgot all about her promise to prepare a meal.
“How terrible,” you say? Yes, it is. But how much worse are we when we listen to God’s Word, mentally accept its truth and wisdom, yet never permit the message to reshape our lives when the time comes to apply the teaching.
The good news in this story is simple — there is hope for you if this describes you. Truth be told, it has described me too. Fortunately, we serve a God who is willing to forgive us if we will confess our sins to Him in the name of Jesus Christ. He loves us that much. Wow!
Here’s hoping you have a blessed day — in more ways than one!