Revelation 3:8b “I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my Word and have not denied my name.”
Jesus commended the church of Philadelphia for keeping His Word. The Greek word for “kept” means to keep your eye upon or guard from loss. Would Jesus commend the church today for having guarded His Word from loss when so many are eliminating the parts of His Word which they don’t want to follow or don’t even care enough to want to find out what to follow? As we choose not to follow, and thus not to teach others, we are certainly losing something of His Word. And since Jesus is the Word (John 1:1), are we not then losing something of Jesus Himself? Jesus is the thread and Truth that runs throughout the Bible. All of Scripture is God-breathed and useful (2 Timothy 3:16) and interconnected. When we cut out parts of Scripture, we begin the unraveling of Truth, and like a woven fabric, once the unraveling begins it’s hard to stop. Then the word we follow becomes our own word. We speak from our own minds not from the mouth of the Lord (Jeremiah 23:16). The false prophets in Jeremiah 23 claimed they were speaking God’s Word, but God said, “…every man’s own word becomes his oracle and so you distort the words of the living God, the LORD Almighty, our God” (Jeremiah 23:36). God was not happy with these Old Testament, false prophets, and I can’t imagine He is today with those who speak a word other than His Word. Are you keeping God’s Word, or are you unraveling His Truth?
Jesus also commended the church of Philadelphia for not denying His name. To deny is to refuse to accept, recognize as true or believe in something or someone. Many Christians might feel they deserve commendation for not denying Jesus’ name, but I have to ask, is the Jesus in whom you believe the Jesus of the Bible? Both the Hebrew and Greek words used for “name” include the honor, authority and character of a person. So when we deny or accept Jesus’ name, we are doing it based on all that He is. Since “His name is the Word of God” (Revelation 19:13), then when we ignore or deny parts of His Word, are we not also denying Jesus’ name? Doesn’t believing in Jesus include believing in all that He taught and all that the Bible says about Him? If not, will He some day say, “You never knew me”? We also deny Jesus’s name when we don’t proclaim the Jesus of the Bible because of fear of public pressure or opposition. We are in effect saying like Peter did in Matthew 26:74, “I don’t know the man.” God’s Word and Jesus’ name are inextricably linked. If we deny one, we deny the other. If we unravel the Truth of one, we unravel the Truth of the other. We cannot say God is in control of all things and Jesus is Lord of our life, and at the same time, refuse to believe that His Word is Truth. If you think you believe but are unraveling God’s Truth, will you ask for His help? “I do believe; help me to overcome my unbelief” (Mark 9:24).
Will you ask God to show you any areas in your life where you are not keeping His Word, or you are denying Jesus’s name?
What will you do to keep from unraveling God’s Truth?