The Laodicean Message
By E.H. “Jack” Sequeira

Laodicea Must Overcome

Revelation 3:21:

To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne.

The ultimate purpose of the messages to the seven churches is that God’s people may overcome.  When you read the seven messages of Revelation, you will notice that there are two phrases that are applied to all the seven messages.  Each of them begins with the phrase “I know your deeds” (“I know thy works,” in some translations) because it’s an evaluation of God’s people through history.  And they all end up with this:

To him who overcomes....

The word “overcomes” means “he that is victorious.”  I would like to read verse 21 from the Philips translation.  I don’t know how many of you have the Philips, it’s a good paraphrase, he’s done a good job and makes things much easier.  Let me read Revelation 3:21-22 from the Philips:

As for the victorious, I will give him the honour of sitting beside Me on My throne, just as I Myself have won the victory and have taken My seat beside My Father on His throne.  Let the listener hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

Now the question we want to ask this evening is, “In what sense must Laodicea overcome?”  I want us to analyze this passage because it is very relevant to our study of the Laodicean message which is “Christ our righteousness.”

Christ tells us that He wants us to overcome, and the question is, “Overcome what?”  And we will see, folks, that the heart of the message is that we need to overcome self.  Because at the heart of our problem, whether it’s law-keeping or whether it’s righteousness by self, the heart of the problem is self.  Where you have self, you have a problem.  And I want you to notice that what Christ is saying here is that those who overcome...

...I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame ...

Please notice, Christ is not dealing here with salvation, but with a privilege.  If you look in the New Testament, you will see that it alludes to two groups that will be in heaven.  There will be the bride and there will be the guests.  There will be those who will serve Him in the temple and there will be the rest.  And I want to give you some texts, because, you see, all who are in heaven will have by faith received the imputed righteousness of Christ.  There will be nobody in heaven without the imputed righteousness of Christ.  Because that qualifies us for heaven.

But the ones who are special are those who by faith have experienced the righteousness of Christ which is what we call the “imparted” righteousness of Christ.  And I want to give you some texts, because this is the basic desire of Jesus Christ.  Please turn first of all to Revelation 19, and we will look at a couple of verses here.  Look at verses 7 through 9.  This is talking about the last generation of Christians.  This chapter is discussing the marriage of the Lamb.

“Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory!  For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.  Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.”  (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.)
Then the angel said to me, “Write:  ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!’” And he added, “These are the true words of God.”

So please remember there is the bride and there are the guests.  Turn to chapter 14 of Revelation, and the other two verses that I am giving you are dealing with the 144,000 which we are going to cover the next two studies.  Revelation 14:2-5:

And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of rushing waters and like a loud peal of thunder.  The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps.  And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders.  No one [remember, this is in heaven] could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth.  These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they kept themselves pure.  They follow the Lamb wherever he goes.  They were purchased from among men and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb.  No lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless.

This is a special group, distinct from the rest.  Only the 144,000.  And we will deal with the 144,000 the next two studies.  Now what’s so special about them?

...The 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth.  These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they kept themselves pure.  They follow the Lamb wherever he goes.  They were purchased from among men and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb.

They are the ones who have experienced the full power of the gospel.  They have not only been saved by faith, but they have experienced the power of the gospel.  And in verse 5:

No lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless.

And then the next one is chapter 7 of Revelation, and look at verses 14 and 15.  The question is asked, “Who are these people?”  We’ll start with that question in verse 13:

Then one of the elders asked me, “These in white robes — who are they, and where did they come from?”
I answered, “Sir, you know.”
And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 
[These are they who have experienced the power of the cross.]  Therefore, they are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will spread his tent over them.”

So this is the privilege that God wants to give each one of us.  Now why am I giving you these texts?  Well, go back to Revelation 3, and I want you to notice something here that is not true with the other six messages.  As I mentioned all six messages end up with “To him who overcomes.”  But in the seventh church, we read one step further.  We have to overcome, “just as Christ overcame.”

So God wants the last generation of Christians to overcome even as He overcame.  So we need to look at Christ now as our example.  What did He overcome?  Now please remember that this is a desire that God has for all believers.  But what did Christ overcome?  I want to give you several things.  First of all, He overcame the world.  Turn to John 16 and listen to what Jesus says to His disciples in verse 33:

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  [Please notice, we have peace only in Christ, never in ourselves.]  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.”

Now what did Christ mean when He said, “I have overcome the world”?  First of all, He means that He overcame the prince of this world.  You will find that in John 14:30:

I will not speak with you much longer, for the prince of this world is coming.  He has no hold on me,....

Jesus totally overcame the evil one.  And please remember, He overcame the evil one on our behalf.  So, in Christ, we have that wonderful hope.  The other thing that He overcame by the word “world” is found in 1 John 2:16.  Jesus overcame this, also.  What does the Bible link the world with?

For everything in the world — the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does — comes not from the Father but from the world.

Some translations list these as “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.”

And Christ overcame this.  He overcame the devil, He overcame the flesh, and He overcame the law of sin in the members.  Romans 8:3 tells us that He condemned sin in the flesh:

For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering.  And so he condemned sin in sinful man,....

It means He condemned the law of sin, or the principle of sin, which is the principle of self.  We already saw that this is the stumbling block to all that we have to fight within this Christian living.

Why did Christ overcome the devil, why did he overcome the flesh, why did he overcome self?  That He may impart this victory to us.  We must be clear that Christ did not do this thing only for our benefit, but for our experience.  I want to give you now some texts.  First of all, turn to Luke 10:19, and see what Christ says here:

I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy [the enemy is the devil]; nothing will harm you.

Now of course, He did not mean only literal snakes, but serpents represent Satan and His angels.

Does the devil accuse you?  Yes.  Revelation 12:10 says he is “the accuser of our brothers.”

Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:  “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ.  For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down.”

When he knocks you down with his accusations, what do you do?  Do you lie down?  Or do you overcome his accusations by the blood of the Lamb, which is verse 11:

They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.

Please remember that Christ overcame the devil that you might overcome the devil.  And he comes to us through our conscience, he comes to us through many ways and he points his finger at you and he says, “You are not good enough to be saved, you don’t deserve to go to heaven.”  Is he right?  Yes.  “But now the righteousness of God...”  — this is what we can say to the devil.  So, you see, we have power through Jesus Christ.

Okay, turn now to Galatians 1:4, and see what Paul tells us here that Christ has brought to us through His redemptive work:

...Who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,....

Please notice, through Christ, we have deliverance from this present evil world.  And that’s why, folks, we have a hope.  Our home is not in this world forever.  We are delivered from it, and we are delivered from the evil of this world.  I want to give one more text in this connection.  Turn to 1 John 5:4, and notice what John says, something very similar to what we just read in Galatians:

...For everyone born of God overcomes the world.  This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.

How do we overcome the world?  Remember, the word, “overcome” and the word, “victorious” are synonymous.

...For everyone born of God overcomes the world.  This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.

Please don’t think that you can overcome the world by your willpower.  It’s by faith, folks.  Now what does he mean by overcoming the world?  We saw in 1 John 2:16:

For everything in the world — the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does — comes not from the Father but from the world.

Now let’s go to Romans 8.  I mentioned Romans 8:3 in terms of what Christ did.  Paul has already explained to us in Romans 7, beginning in verse 15, that in and of ourselves we cannot keep the law.  In fact, that’s how he ends chapter 7.  Romans 7:15-25:

I do not understand what I do.  For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.  And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.  As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.  I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.  For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.  For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do — this I keep on doing.  Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me.  For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members.  What a wretched man I am!  Who will rescue me from this body of death?  Thanks be to God — through Jesus Christ our Lord!  So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.

“I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.”

And if you were to put your converted mind and your flesh together in battle, which is what happens in your life, who will win?  Can your mind conquer the flesh?  And the answer is, “No.”  It can defy the flesh for a time, but it can’t conquer it.  But now we are told in Romans 8:3, the next chapter, that Christ condemned this law of sin in the flesh.  Why?  Look at that and verse 4 now:

For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering.  And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.

That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled where?  In us, provided, of course, that we walk how?  Not after the flesh but after the Spirit.

So please remember that the victory of Christ is ours.  Now all these wonderful victories, overcoming, can be summed up in one passage, and that is specially applying to the last generation of Christians, and that is Revelation 15.  When, finally, Laodicea repents, turns from self-dependence to God-dependence, and walks by faith alone, this is what is going to happen.  This is the ultimate goal of the Laodicean message for God’s people, and that’s found in Revelation 15:2-4:

And I saw what looked like a sea of glass mixed with fire and, standing beside the sea, those who had been victorious over the beast and his image and over the number of his name.  They held harps given them by God and sang the song of Moses the servant of God and the song of the Lamb:  “Great and marvelous are your deeds, Lord God Almighty.  Just and true are your ways, King of the ages.  Who will not fear you, O Lord, and bring glory to your name?  For you alone are holy.  All nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.”

Standing beside the sea of glass mixed with fire were those who had been victorious over:

  1. the beast,
  2. his image, and
  3. the number of his name.

So this is God’s purpose for Laodicea.  Now the question is, “What is the secret of this victory?  How can we attain it?”  Well, I gave you a clue, but let me give you a couple of texts that will help you.  Turn to 1 John 4 and I want you to look at verse 4.  This is one of the great promises of the Bible, this is one of the greatest truths of righteousness by faith.  Now I want you to get the context.  The context is overcoming the false prophets and the antichrist, which we know is the beast, and those that deceive.  Okay, look at verse 3:

...But every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God.  This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.

But now look at verse 4:

You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them [i.e., these false prophets, the antichrist, the beast, and his mark and his image and all], because [how have we overcome?] the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

There are two people here.  “The one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”  Who is the “he” that is in the world?  Satan.  And Who is the “He” that is in you?  Christ in you, the hope of glory.

Now please remember, if you go to Romans 8:2, Paul tells us that:

...Because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.

Okay, now Christ dwells in you and me through the Holy Spirit.  And so the Holy Spirit, Who represents Christ dwelling in you, is greater than he that is in the world.  Okay, I want to give you a similar idea, this time through the writings of Paul.  2 Corinthians 10:4-5.  Now I want you to notice what Paul is saying here:

The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world.  On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.  We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

I want to explain verse 3, because verse 3 can be confusing:

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.

What does he mean, “though we live in the world” (“though we walk in the flesh,” in some translations)?  Well, he means the same thing here as he did in Galatians 2:20:

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.  The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

So what he means in verse 3 is, even though we still have this flesh, even though we are still in this world with this human nature of ours, this sinful human nature, we do not use this flesh to conquer sin.  “We do not wage war as the world does” means we do not use this natural power of ours to overcome sin because we can’t do it.  Or to produce righteousness.  We can’t do it, we saw it.

The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world.  On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.  [Please notice what you can do with Christ in you.]  We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

It’s only through the power of God that we can overcome self.

Is it possible for a believer to bring every thought under control by the indwelling Christ?  The Bible says yes.  Now please remember, this is the joys, the fruits of the gospel.  This is not what saves you.  This is the evidence of the power of the gospel in you.  So please don’t get the idea that you have to do this in order to be saved.  No, you have to do this in order for you to overcome, and sit on the throne of God, and to reflect His glory.

Okay, now comes the big question:  “What is the cost for Christ to dwell in you?”  Because this is something that we must face.  What is the cost?  And I can sum up the cost in one word:  “brokenness.”  But let me give you a couple of texts and then I’ll give you an illustration.  Please turn to John 12.  There is a cost, folks.  Let me put it this way as we turn to this passage:  when Christ lives in you, and produces His righteousness in you — what we call imparted righteousness — who gets the glory, God or you?  God.  How does the flesh feel about it?  It gets hurt.

Here is what Jesus is saying, John 12:24:

I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed.  But if it dies, it produces many seeds.

Jesus is using the grain as a symbol.  The shell of the wheat is pretty hard.  The life is not in the shell; it is inside, in the germ.  This shell has to be broken by the work of water.  It has to be softened and broken so that life may spring out of that and produce fruit.

I’ll give you another statement with the same example.  1 Corinthians 15, except Paul is using much stronger words than Jesus Christ but he’s saying the same thing.  1 Corinthians 15:36.  He’s using this as an illustration of the power of the resurrection, too.

How foolish!  What you sow does not come to life unless it dies.

When you plant a grain of wheat into the ground, it does not come to life until that outer shell dies, or is broken, or disintegrates.  Now I’m going to give you another text and then we’ll go to the example.  Now turn to 2 Corinthians 4 and I want you to notice the statement that Paul makes in verse 7:

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.

We are the shell, folks; we are the earthen vessel, the jar of clay.  Where does God dwell, in the outward man or in the inward man?  Paul will use these phrases:  “the inner man” and “the outer man.”  Okay, now here’s the problem, and I’ll give the illustration.  The illustration is found in Matthew 26:6-7:

While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table.

There are other passages in the gospel.  The illustration is about Mary.  She comes to Jesus and she has a box with her.  What is the box made of?  Alabaster.  Have you seen alabaster?  It’s quite a pretty stone.  When you buy an expensive ointment, or when you buy expensive perfume, it comes in very beautiful bottles, the bottles are very pretty, aren’t they?  So that after you use the perfume you keep it because the bottles are very pretty.  Okay, now the alabaster box had inside a very expensive or very precious ointment called spikenard.  And the bottle or the box was sealed.  When Mary brought the box, nobody knew what was inside the box until she broke it.  Then the whole room was filled with the smell of this precious ointment.

Now, Colossians 1:27 says that Christ is dwelling in every believer:

To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

Remember, “you in Christ” is your ticket to heaven.  “Christ in you” is the “hope of glory.”  Now, the trouble is, nobody can see Christ in you until the outer shell is broken.  When Mary broke that bottle, it was only then that everybody in the room could smell the fragrance.

But here’s the problem.  We are great admirers of the alabaster box, which is our outward self.  We think that the church cannot do without us.  Some of us feel that, without our degrees, the church would never exist.  Some of us feel that, without our administrative abilities, the church would collapse.  Some of us feel that “without me” this church would never exist.  Folks, I want to give you some bad news:  you are not indispensable.  The church can survive without you.  It cannot survive without Christ.  So please don’t ever get the idea, when God uses you mightily, that the church cannot do without you.  It is Christ in you that is the hope of glory.

And for that inner Christ to shine outwardly, something has to take place.  This shell, this clay jar, must be broken.  We are vase admirerers, folks, but the world needs to see not how good we are, which is self-righteousness, but how good Christ is.  And that will only take place when this earthen vessel, this clay jar, is broken.  Now with this in mind, I want you sometime on your own to read this whole passage of 2 Corinthians 4. But I want you to look at verse 16 and 17 where Paul makes a conclusion:

Therefore we do not lose heart.  Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.

So our outward man should perish.  Now let me give you some more texts in this passage.  Look at verse 10:

We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.

Please notice, we must die with Christ.  For Christ’s life to shine out of you, you must die with Christ.  Verse 11:

For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body.

So Christian living, or overcoming, involves two processes that take place simultaneously:  on the one hand, I must die so that, on the other hand, Christ must live.  In other words, “not I, but Christ.”  And I’ll tell you, folks, the hardest part, especially in the realm of self-righteousness is, “not I.”  It’s the hardest part.  And that’s what I want to remind you of what Jesus said in John 15, at the end of verse 5:

I am the vine; you are the branches.  If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

“Without Me you can do nothing.”

And He’s talking here in the context of fruit-bearing.  With this in mind, I want to conclude with two verses.  First I want to go to the Lord Jesus Christ, Luke 9:23.  He’s talking here to the disciples, which means that He’s talking to us today:

Then he said to them all:  “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”

Now, it is easy to say deny self in terms of sin, but, folks, in the Laodicean context, we need to deny self-righteousness.  It’s very painful to our ego.  Let us learn from the Apostle Paul, this is why I want to conclude with Paul, Philippians 2.  And as we turn to this passage, let me ask you a question:  “What was the greatest struggle, as you read your four gospels, what was the greatest struggle that Jesus had throughout His life?”  You will notice that it is over the problem of self.  Let me give you just one example, His final battle at Gethsemane (Luke 22:42):

“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will [or self-will], but yours be done.”

And Jesus denied self to the very end.  Philippians 2:5 (and you can connect this with Romans 12):

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus....

Now what kind of mind or attitude did Christ have?  Verses 6-8 explain the mind of Christ:

...Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.  And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death — even death on a cross!

It was a mind of self-emptying.  He was equal with God, He did not cling to His equality, but He let go.  And He went down and down and He became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.  He never allowed self to dominate Him.  And Paul’s plea is, “Let this mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus.”

What is the Laodicean messages’ ultimate goal?  God wants a people, not just individuals, but He wants a people, through whom He wants to lighten the earth with His glory.  And that’s Revelation 18:1, the fourth angel:

After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven.  He had great authority, and the earth was illuminated by his splendor.

When that happens, folks, there will be no excuse for anyone to be lost, because God will demonstrate the power of the gospel.  And as Paul said in 1 Corinthians 4:20:

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.

And God wants to demonstrate this, and He will say to the universe, He will say to the world, the disbelieving world, “Here are my people.  They have the faith of Jesus.  And they have overcome.”

And the devil will say, “Okay, let me test them.”  And folks, they will be tested.  How bad will be the test?  It will be a test that no other generation has ever experienced.  We will look at the test towards the end of our studies.  When the test comes, will the Laodicean church overcome?  Well, God has promised in His Bible that there will be a people who overcome.  The question is, “Are you willing to be broken?  Are you willing to say, ‘Not I,’ that the second half of that formula may be realized in your life?”

Now the issue is not whether you’re going to heaven or not.  The issue is that the world desperately needs to see Christ in you, the hope of glory.  Laodicea must overcome.  The stumbling block to her overcoming is the problem of self.  It is not so much that she’s doing terribly bad things, her problem is self-righteousness.  And so the world is waiting, folks, the world is waiting to see God, not to see man, but God manifested in the flesh.

And Jesus says to us, as He said to the disciples 2,000 years ago, “You are the light of the world.  Let this light shine.”  But, unfortunately, we have the light, but it is under a bushel, which is our humanity, the greatest hinderance.  And I pray to God that this humanity will be willing to be surrendered to the cross.

When you look at the fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-25, you will notice that Paul says that those who are belonging to Christ have crucified the flesh:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Against such things there is no law.  Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.  Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

The Holy Spirit cannot shine out of you unless you open the door and let Him take over.  And that is what we covered last study.  So my prayer, folks, is that we would be willing to become nothing that He may be everything in us.  That is not very easy for the flesh.  It means that when people don’t appreciate you, you’ll be willing to be hurt.  It means that when you are not appreciated, you will be willing to go on.  And that’s hard.

You know, our pioneers in the mission field had to face lions, and hardships, physical hardships.  Today, the greatest issue that you face in the mission field is ingratitude.  Because, you see, the Third World does not like missionaries, because the word “missionary” implies they are still backwards.

I will never forget my first experience as a colporteur, as a literature evangelist in England.  I made the greatest mistake when I knocked on the door.  I told them that I was from Africa, and one lady opened my eyes.  She said, “Look, it is we English people who sent missionaries to Africa.  It is not the other way around.”  In other words, “You need missionaries, we don’t.  We are a Christian country.”

Well, today, the Third World feels the same:  “We don’t need you.  Go home.”  And that is why, folks, many, many missionaries, I would say even the majority, do not fulfill their entire term.  They sign a contract for six years; most of them come back home before the six years are up.  Why?  One of the main reasons is because the people don’t appreciate you.  Not so much our own members, but the people in the country, the officials, the government officials.  They’ll say, “Go home, we don’t need you.  We can preach here without you.”

Are you willing to swallow your pride?  Are you willing to be hurt by another church member and not give up, and say, “I will push on.”  Are you familiar with that statement of Ellen G. White where she says in the last days we have to take courage from, “Draw warmth from the coldness of others.”  That’s the condition that we have to reach.  So when somebody says something hard, and that hurts your pride, please don’t give up the church and say, “I will stop coming to church, the pastor said so and so to me.”

When Jesus came to this world, was He appreciated?  No.  John 1:11:

He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.

What would happen to you and to me if Christ said, “Look, these people don’t appreciate me, I’ll go back”?  What would happen to us?  Christ did not care what they did with Him.  They spat on Him.  Are you willing to be loyal to Christ even though you’re insulted or mocked at and spat at?  The world spat on Jesus Christ, they did not appreciate Him, they accused Him falsely, and yet He overcame.  He overcame pride, He overcame self.  He was willing to be nothing that you and I might be in His kingdom.

That was the attitude of John the Baptist.  John the Baptist was willing to be nothing.  John 3:30:

“He must become greater; I must become less.”

If any of you go to the mission field, please have this attitude:  the national must increase and the missionary must decrease in position.  Because that’s the only way to finish the work.  We’re having endless problems because for years the missionaries did not want to decrease and now the nationals want to increase, which is the wrong attitude.

Folks, this will not finish the work.  The work will be finished when God has a people who surrendered self to the cross and let the Holy Spirit take over.  Then the earth will be lightened with His glory, but we must begin in our own churches, in our own towns.  We must lighten the earth with His glory, how do we do it?  Not by trying, folks.  “This is our victory, even our faith.”  And faith means, “Not I, but Christ.”  And this is my prayer for each one of you.

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