“I know your service.” Jesus said, “He that is greatest of all is servant to all.” A wise man commented on that saying. Here is what he said, “Only history will prove the truth of that dictum.” That man was right. All the truly great men of history have been servants. They who demanded to be served; they who oppressed; they who sought to always be at the head, have gone down in shame. Even the very rich are condemned by God when they have not used their wealth right. But look into history and you will find that the truly great were those who served others. History can never acclaim those for whom much was done, but it will forever praise those who did much for others.
Now let us apply that to ourselves. Even as the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, so we are to follow that example. See Him as He bows Himself over the feet of the apostles and washes their tired and dirty feet. He said, “You don’t know now what I am doing, but you will know hereafter. But what you see me doing, you ought also to do.” He became a servant in order that God could elevate Him to the highest heights. And one day in the judgment of the saints we are going to hear Him say, ” Well done, good and faithful SERVANT, enter thou into the joy of the Lord.” It is hard to be always a servant. But those who spend and are spent for others will one day be seated with Him in His throne. It will be worth it all, then. “Let us labor for the Master, from the dawn till setting sun, Let us talk of all His wondrous love and care, And when all of life is over and our work on earth is done, And the roll is called up yonder I’ll be there.”
“I know your faith.” Now he does not say here as He did to the church in Pergamos, “you hold MY faith”. He is not talking about His faith now, but He is commending them for their faithfulness. And as He does He also mentions their ‘patience.’ Now faithfulness and patience go together.
In fact patience is the outcome of faithfulness, for it says in James 1:3,
“The trying of your faith worketh patience.”
There is absolutely no other way in which to gain patience. It has to come by the trial of our faith. Romans 5:3,
“Tribulation worketh patience.”
How highly God regards this outworking of our patience is seen in James 1:4,
“But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire lacking nothing.”
God’s will for us is Perfection. And that perfection is patience–waiting on God and waiting for God. This is the process of character development. How highly God has commended these saints of the Dark Ages. Patient as lambs led to the slaughter, lovingly, faithfully they served God. That is all they wanted out of life, just service to their Lord. How great was to be their reward.
“I know thy works; and the last to be more than the first.”
This is certainly remarkable. As the darkness of the age increased; as the honor roll of the martyrs grew lengthier day by day, they worked all the harder, they served all the more, and their faith increased. How tragic it was that in the Ephesian Age love waned. And truly nothing is said of the increased labor of love in the other ages; but in this age, in the darkest of all ages, they served Him even more. What a lesson that is. There is no ceasing of this gracious service of love unto the Lord, but rather an increasing of it. That is the secret. Let the enemy attempt to thwart our service to the Lord–our reply is increased service. When the faint are crying in fear, that is the time to shout the victory.
An Exposition of the Seven Church Ages
Chapter 6 – Thyatirean Church Age
Pg. 223 – 224