You likely know that my book Letters from Jesus came out in paperback final week. I hope you do not thoughts me banging this drum but I really feel strongly about this a single. Why? For the reason that Jesus sent appreciate letters from heaven and most of us are afraid to study them!
We have been told his letters include undesirable news, even threats for Christians. That is a contemptible lie! We attempt and study the letters ourselves, but lacking any sort of lens, we can not make sense of them. So we file them away in the also challenging basket telling ourselves, these letters are not for me.
And the treasures that God meant for you fall to the ground like unopened gifts.
I hope I have convinced you to take a further appear at the letters from Jesus, but if not, here’s a further extract from the book:
Tradition teaches that the Jesus of the letters is displeased and out to punish poor performers. He is a stern taskmaster who commends us if we do nicely but condemns us if we do not. He pushes us to pray extra, study extra, evangelize extra, and insists we carry out his perform with a smile on our dial. No matter how weary or broken you could be, this Christ expects benefits. Fail to reside up to his higher demands and you could drop your crown, have your name erased, and be punished with death and damnation.
I want I was exaggerating, but I encounter this false Christ on a each day basis. I hear about him from confused preachers and burnt-out believers.
In the investigation I did for this book, I saw him behind comments like these: Jesus is searching for intense enthusiasm in attending all church activities (Ephesus), and he rejects these who are significantly less than zealous (Laodicea). He punishes cowardice (Smyrna), complacency (Sardis), law breaking (Pergamum), and compromise (Thyatira). He watches, he threatens, and if we’re not completely obedient, he disciplines us in brutal techniques.
The message I heard once more and once more was this: “God has provided you a likelihood to prove you had been worth saving, you miserable sinner. So get busy operating for the Lord.” And how challenging will have to you perform? You will have to be prepared to perform till you drop for the sake of Jesus, stated a single preacher. It is only by means of challenging perform and bearing up beneath fiery trials that we are capable to save our souls, stated a further. What was especially startling was how these pronouncements had been passed off as very good news. But there is absolutely nothing very good about the lie that says we will have to save ourselves or earn God’s favor by means of dead operates.
Happily, the Jesus of the Gospels is not like this, and it is this Jesus—the a single who came complete of grace and truth—that we encounter in his letters. How do I know? For the reason that the Jesus of the seven letters walks and talks precisely like the Jesus of the Gospels.
In these letters, Jesus does not introduce a new gospel or teaching. Rather, he repeats a lot of of the points that he spoke about in the Gospels: how he has received authority from his Father, how he is a witness to the truth, and how we want to repent and think the very good news. This Jesus does not condemn sinners he loves them. He does not rebuke strays he woos them back. He speaks words of life to the lost. He provides hope to the oppressed and strength to the weary.
Study the seven letters and you will uncover a lot of quotes, phrases, and pictures that come straight out of the Gospels. These prove beyond all doubt that the Jesus of the Gospels is the identical Jesus who wrote the seven letters, and that the revelation he gave us on earth did not modify soon after he returned to heaven. The gospel is nonetheless the gospel.
But what is the gospel?
The gospel is the very good news that God is very good and he loves you just as you are with a appreciate that can not be measured. His appreciate was radically demonstrated on the cross of Calvary, but it is also revealed seven distinct techniques in the letters from Jesus.
In the letter to Ephesus, Jesus is the Very good Shepherd calling to his lost and weary sheep with promises of rest and comfort. In the letter to Smyrna, he is the resurrection and the life comforting these facing trials and death. In the letter to Pergamum, he is the Lord-above-all, slicing by means of lies and ambiguity with the sword of truth. In the letter to Thyatira, he is the exalted Son of God confronting a charlatan to guard these walking in his Father’s appreciate. In the letter to Sardis, he is the spiritual Savior exhorting an unspiritual folks to wake from their stupor and be clothed in his righteousness. In the letter to Philadelphia, he is the Holy A single who opens doors, empowers the weak, and provides names to nobodies. In the letter to Laodicea, he is the faithful Witness who provides a accurate account concerning the lostness of the lost just before inviting himself about for dinner.
What is the prevalent theme in all these letters?
It is grace, or God’s undeserved favor for all, from the saintliest Philadelphian to the most noxious Laodicean. In none of the letters do you uncover Jesus creating the sort of outrageous claims that are occasionally attributed to him. You just uncover grace upon grace—grace for salvation, sanctification, and almost everything in addition to.
Grace from start off to finish.
Supply: Letters from Jesus, accessible now.