22 June 2014 by Natasha Kim CM-
Pastor Leighton, an engaging and dynamic minister, served many years as a Youth Pastor and then as an Executive Pastor of a large multi-cultural Church in Melbourne. In recent years, he stepped out due to God’s calling to plant and to lead a new Church in a regional Victorian town.
During his recent visit to Malaysia on the 1st of June 2014, he preached at City Revival Church Subang Jaya, and shared a great revelation revealed by the Lord through his experience of driving a group of bridesmaids to a wedding that he was to officiate.
“The bride with her mother hopped into the bridal car and were getting driven to the church to get married. I had to bring the bridesmaids. They were young around the age of eighteen. As we drove, we had about a 30-minutes-drive to get down to the church. Now I know these girls, they’ve been to the youth group. It was funny with the conversations that I was listening to,” shared Leighton.
The girls were talking about their hair, their dress, their nails, and how beautiful everything looked.
“Oh! I’m going to ring the bride because I want to take a photo of our dress and the flowers. I’m going to ask her permission because I want to put the photo on to Facebook,” said one of the bridesmaids.
When Leighton heard this he thought to himself, “Leave the bride alone, she is going to the church to be married. She has dreamt about this since she was a little girl. She doesn’t care about the colour of your dress anymore.”
Shortly after this happened, Leighton realised that this situation is a picture of the church globally. The Bible according to Revelations 3:7-13 below says that Jesus is coming back for His bride that is the Church.
“He’s not coming back for just one local church. He is coming back for 'The Church', a global church, a spotless bride,” shared Leighton. At times, certain churches around the world tend to take the role of the bridesmaid when they begin to worry and fuss around about the things that don’t really matter.
“I’m talking about the way people will jump around and move from church to church because something upsets them, or if there’s a doctrine or a theology that they don’t agree with,” he said.
7 And to the angel (messenger) of the assembly (church) in Philadelphia write: These are the words of the Holy One, the True One, He Who has the key of David, Who opens and no one shall shut, Who shuts and no one shall open:
8 I know your [record of] works and what you are doing. See! I have set before you a door wide open which no one is able to shut; I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept My Word and guarded My message and have not renounced or denied My name.
9 Take note! I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say they are Jews and are not, but lie—behold, I will make them come and bow down before your feet and learn and acknowledge that I have loved you.
10 Because you have guarded and kept My word of patient endurance [have held fast the [a]lesson of My patience with the [b]expectant endurance that I give you], I also will keep you [safe] from the hour of trial (testing) which is coming on the whole world to try those who dwell upon the earth.11 I am coming quickly; hold fast what you have, so that no one may rob you and deprive you of your crown.
12 He who overcomes (is victorious), I will make him a pillar in the sanctuary of My God; he shall never be put out of it or go out of it, and I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which descends from My God out of heaven, and My own new name.13 He who can hear, let him listen to and heed what the Spirit says to the assemblies (churches). (Revelation 3:7-13)
Leighton found great encouragement from the Bible scripture above for it spoke to him about Christ's commitment to his Church and the commitment that God has placed on his life. In general, we often see honour in the Church. But sadly, there are times that we also see little political games being played and it is not right. This letter in Revelations below is one of the seven letters were written to the seven different Churches.
He shared about Revelations 2:2-4, which encourages as well as rebukes:
“I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false ; 3 and you have perseverance and have endured for My name's sake, and have not grown weary. 4 'But I have this against you, that you have left your first love”
Another scripture Leighton shared is Revelations 3:1, which states:
“To the angel of the church in Sardis write: These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead.”
“Of all the letter in the Bible, only one of the letters has encouragement while six of the seven letters has rebukes! I’d be nervous if I was you,” said Leighton.
Now, if Jesus were to write a letter to the churches in Malaysia, we can only wonder what He would say.
3 Lessons We can lLarn from the letter to the Church of Philadelphia
1. We learn who Jesus is and we learn what Jesus does.
“Jesus, He has the name true and He has the characteristics of being true as well. He’s not just the name and falls short on the character or the nature. He is holy, true and genuine! He is our Lord, our Saviour and our friend!" said Leighton.
In fact, from the book of Genesis to Revelations, we can see who Jesus is.
He is the Creator God, He is the redeemer, He is your sanctification, He is your guide, He is your teacher, He is your lover, He is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, He is the temple, He is the arbitrator, He is your song even when you don’t feel like singing, He is wisdom, He is your purpose, He is the judge of the nation, He overthrows your enemies, He is the son of God who feels what you feel, He is the son of man, He is the head of His Church, He is your joy, and much more!
Jesus has the keys to open the doors where no man can shut and He shuts the doors that no man can open.
“When God opens the door, we step through it and we just worship! This is what He does for us. Jesus is your answer to Jesus,” shared Leighton.
Hang on to the Hope that is Jesus.
2. The Church in Philadelphia is commended for their faithfulness though they had little strength.
“It’s about understanding the call of God and the promise of His Word and saying 'I’m trusting you' even when circumstances do not seem like it’s leading that way” shared Leighton.
3. The Church in Philadelphia was also commended for keeping God’s Word and not denying His name.
“Stay faithful to the call of God in your life. More Churches are closing than Churches are being planted. These are often not because they gave up but because of many factors,” shared Leighton who knows this through experience and has a healthy perspective of why ministers leave.
He shared that it is important in this case, for the church to pray for theirs pastors and their leaders.
“Stay faithful to the call of God in your life, maybe just like the first of Ephesus, you need to go back to your first love!” Leighton said.
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