Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Christ's Last Commands to the Church and Amplified Highlighting


One of my earliest projects as a young believer started when I decided to take a departure from my trusted KJV and venture into the Amplified Bible. The Amplified is still one of my favorite translations and, in my humble opinion, undervalued, although I have heard that it can be misleading at times.


This Bible holds my first venture into highlighting and I used Bic Brite Liners rather than Bible highlighters and didn't think to use a ruler. The pages in the hardback Amplified are fairly thick and held up well to the highlighting. 

The project didn't start out with a complex color scheme, but grew from the desire to focus on a single subject. Jesus makes an unequivocal statement in John 14:15 that constantly challenged me as a young believer and continues to stir me and burn me today: "If you love me you will keep my commandments." As a new believer, I desperately wanted to love the Lord Jesus. He died for me. I started a rampage through the Bible armed with a pink highlighter intent on discovering the commandments of Jesus. What did Jesus want me to do? How do I love Him? I highlighted every relevant imperative I could.

My approach was probably a little legalistic, but it was born out of a genuine and burning love for Jesus, and He led me through a refining, conviction and empowering process as the study went on and I found myself falling shorter and shorter of Christ's call. The desperation this experience led me to eventually led to the eclipsing revelation that Jesus Christ Himself is our life and our new nature and that He Himself will live His resurrection life in me and fulfill the commandments in His strength. I don't have to strive and work to fulfill Christ's call. He will live out His call in me. He will overcome.


Out of these revelations came the expanded color scheme which focused on the identity of Jesus in orange, our identity in Christ in green, prayer and intercession in yellow and blue for special interest.

I recently revisited this project because of a quote from Leonard Ravenhill that occasionally echoes in my mind: "The last words of Jesus to the Church were 'repent'!" Ravenhill pointed out that the Great Commission was not Jesus's last great command to the Church, but instead that Christ commands the church in Revelation to repent and become over-comers.

I went back to the amplified and took the final words to the seven Churches in Revelation and rephrased both the imperatives and the commendations into twenty commands to meditate on and digest.

JESUS LAST COMMANDS TO THE CHURCH

1.      BE INDUSTRIOUS & ACTIVE IN LABORIOUS TOIL & TROUBLE. BE PATIENT & ENDURING. DON’T TOLERATE WICKED MEN. TEST AND CRITICALLY APPRAISE THOSE WHO CALL THEMSELVES APOSTLES (SPECIAL MESSENGERS OF CHRIST). REV. 2:2

2.      ENDURE PATIENTLY. BEAR UP FOR JESUS’S NAME’S SAKE. DON’T FAINT OR BECOME EXHAUSTED OR GROW WEARY. REV. 2:3

3.      Remember then from what heights you have fallen. Repent (change the inner man to meet God's will) and do the works you did previously [when first you knew the Lord]. REV. 2:5

4.      hate the works of the Nicolaitans [what they are doing as corrupters of the people], which I Myself also detest. REV. 2:6

5.      POSSESS AFFLICTION & DISTRESS & PRESSING TROUBLE & POVERTY. BE RICH IN THE SPIRIT! BE ABUSED AND REVILED AND SLANDERED BY THE FALSE. REV. 2:9

6.      Fear nothing that you are about to suffer. [Dismiss your dread and your fears!] REV. 2:10

7.      BE TESTED AND PROVED AND CRITICALLY APPRAISED. REV. 2:10

8.      Be loyally faithful unto death [even if you must die for it], and I will give you the crown of life. REV. 2:10

9.      CLING TO AND HOLD FAST TO JESUS’S NAME AND DO NOT DENY HIS FAITH. REV. 2:13

10.    Repent [then]! Or else I will come to you quickly and fight against them with the sword of My mouth. REV. 2:16

11.  BE LOVING, HAVE FAITH, SERVE, PATIENTLY ENDURE, INCREASE IN THE QUALITY AND QUANTITY OF YOUR WORKS. REV. 2:19

12.  HOLD FAST TO WHAT YOU HAVE UNTIL I COME! REV. 2:25

13.  Rouse yourselves and keep awake, and strengthen and invigorate what remains and is on the point of dying; for I have not found a thing that you have done [any work of yours] meeting the requirements of My God or perfect in His sight. REV. 3:2

14.  call to mind the lessons you received and heard; continually lay them to heart and obey them, and repent. REV. 3:3

15.  Do NOT SOIL YOUR CLOTHES! REV. 3:4

16.  KEEP MY WORD AND GUARD MY MESSAGE AND DO NOT RENOUNCE OR DENY MY NAME. REV. 3:8

17.  KEEP MY WORD OF PATIENT ENDURANCE. HOLD FAST TO THE LESSON OF MY PATIENCE WITH THE EXPECTANT ENDURANCE THAT I GIVE YOU. REV. 3:10

18.  hold fast what you have, so that no one may rob you and deprive you of your crown. REV. 3:11

19.  purchase from Me gold refined and tested by fire, that you may be [truly] wealthy, and white clothes to clothe you and to keep the shame of your nudity from being seen, and salve to put on your eyes, that you may see. REV. 3:18

20.  So be enthusiastic and in earnest and burning with zeal and repent [changing your mind and attitude]. REV. 3:19


 In the same way I took Christ's exhortations to conquer and broke them into eight promises. These meditations feature some of the hardest commands and some of the most precious promises of our Savior. They are an exhortation to practical love and worship. They are the attributes of sons and daughters of God here on the earth.

OVERCOMERS

1.      To him who overcomes (is victorious), I will grant to eat [of the fruit] of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God. REV. 2:7

2.      He who overcomes (is victorious) shall in no way be injured by the second death. REV. 2:11


3.      To him who overcomes (conquers), I will give to eat of the manna that is hidden, and I will give him a white stone with a new name engraved on the stone, which no one knows or understands except he who receives it. REV. 2:17

4.      And he who overcomes (is victorious) and who obeys My commands to the [very] end [doing the works that please Me], I will give him authority and power over the nations; And he shall rule them with a sceptre (rod) of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, and [his power over them shall be] like that which I Myself have received from My Father; And I will give him the Morning Star. REV. 2:26-28

5.      Yet you still have a few [persons'] names in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes, and they shall walk with Me in white, because they are worthy and deserving.


6.      Thus shall he who conquers (is victorious) be clad in white garments, and I will not erase or blot out his name from the Book of Life; I will acknowledge him [as Mine] and I will confess his name openly before My Father and before His angels. REV 3:4-5

7.      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. REV. 3:12


8.      He who overcomes (is victorious), I will grant him to sit beside Me on My throne, as I Myself overcame (was victorious) and sat down beside My Father on His throne. REV. 3:21



2 comments:

  1. Great post Jonathan! I haven't done a topical study like this in a while ... so now I am pumped up to hit it again.

    And I agree ... the Amplified is so overlooked (See Mark 9:15). I often wish someone would start a ministry like LCBP for nice leather bibles for translations like the Amplified. Maybe some day.

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  2. Jonathan,

    I found your post as I was looking for a good photo of a highlighted Bible. I was wondering if you could give us permission to use your photo from this blog post on our blog (http://blog.youversion.com). We are releasing a new update this week to our mobile app for Android (called "Bible"), and it's newest feature is the ability to highlight verses. You can email me at andy.knight@lifechurch.tv

    Thanks!
    Andy

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