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  • Rand Swift


Spiritual Warfare: Seven Deep Examinations Of The Heart

Test #5 Sardis – The Test of Finishing Well

As The Book of Revelation opens, which is a book that pulls back the curtain on the spirit world and the epic battles that can, that do, and that will take place in the spirit arena, we find Jesus doing what I consider to be a 'review of the troops' in which he is assessing the hearts of the 'ekklesia', being those persons within a geopolitical region whose lives are to be the 'echo of the image and the likeness of God' or as we say in modern terminology, 'the church' in those areas.

The heart of Sardis belongs to a people who have given themselves up into the purposes of God and they are living in them, sort of, almost, nearly.

Jesus says, “You are skilled in your works, you echo well the name (the rank, the power and person), and this is because you live even though you are dead.” (Revelation 3:1).

This is discipleship language. This is transition and resurrection language.

They are dead with Christ to this world and are now separated from it to live their life experience in the wonders of the Kingdom of God.

But still, as the Lord Jesus searches the hearts on their behalf, the Master Journeyman finds a serious flaw in how they are going about their projects and advises them so they can do even better. You see, Sardis seems to have gotten a good start on their projects, but they are having a hard time completing them properly and in the way they are supposed to complete them.

For upon searching and upon examination it appears your works are not found complete and finished in their fullness before God” (Revelation 3:2).

The heart of the Sardonians starts well but finishes poorly.

They are walking in God initiated acts but it seems after they hear and go to work, they just intently go to work. What they are failing to do is check the instructions as they proceed through each segment of the project. Things are incomplete.

Sardis is like the church or ministry, program or person that catches a word and a vision but once begun can run on its own whether the Holy Spirit or living power of God existed or not.

The initiation of a project by the Holy Spirit has more than one part to it.

Because of the artistry of the work we are involved in and the depth of the detailing, we can only handle instructions in phases. Though God will often give us a full overview or vision of the project and then a starting point, we do ourselves a disservice, as well as the whole creation (golly! not to put any pressure on you) if we just take off from there thinking, “I got it! Thanks God. I'll handle it from here.”

No. You won't.

All that the Lord does has an intricate weaving of designs and patterns as well as intersections of timing and people. There is an awesome symphonic coordination of things often on a global scale because the piece that you are excitedly given to create with Him in His workshop may also either be a key element for someone else, or yours may need a key element from someone else.

Time and distance between the two workers are irrelevant to God and somehow He will arrange a crossing of threads and a mutual exchange enriching the both of you. We must begin, navigate and finish the course we are on with continual checkpoints and navigational fine tuning as we go.

Who will He teach knowledge? And who will He allow to understand the instructions? Those saturated with the milk of the full and ripened bounty, those drawing out their life from the breasts.

For the voice of expression leads to the voice of expression, and the voice of expression is to the voice of expression, and the line that measures leads to the line that measures, the line that measures to the line that measures, a quantity is given this time and a quantity is given next time (Isaiah 28:9-10).

Today we live in a hurried, pressured world.

If you will look around though you will discover God moves at a pace that is often a little frustrating to us tiny little ants that are prone to seeing only what is in front of us, and not much more. God not only has a global view, but a universal view and an eternal, timeless view. It is far more important to God for things to be well done as opposed to quickly done. After all, what is being built is going to last forever. Why take shortcuts when time is irrelevant?

Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now going to complete it in the flesh? (Galatians 3:3).

Here is the idea of Alpha and Omega.

The Lord Jesus as Chief Administrator of all things God, is the Initiator and the Completer and the One who fills with the Father's wisdom all pieces in between.

The joy we have is to be intimately involved in creating as apprentices, a part of the master work that we can someday sit back and say to all the angels and saints, “See that! That's my part right there. I did that!” and everyone will respond with appropriate oohs and aahs. It's a beautiful plan really.

The remedy Jesus gives to the good starters, poor finishers is this;

Remember because of this how you have received, and how you have heard and attend carefully to that and repent (go back there) (Revelation 3:3).

You see, the problem was not in the initial instruction. They clearly heard the voice of the Lord with regard to that. Their poor finished product is in the subsequent instructions they were supposed to be receiving along the way. It seems they got too excited and caught up in the work to listen any further.

In a war zone that just isn't going to do.

Things change and adjust constantly. Bob or Greg's team might get temporarily pinned down. That means my team or your team may either have to go to their help or take on some additional duties while they free their sector. It's a constantly changing environment in need of constant communication.

God is not dead, He is alive and so is the battlefield. His voice is available to us right now.

This is the miracle of the life of anyone who believes in Jesus, that we through a process of linkage and divine communication by means of the One and same shared Holy Spirit of God, like a radio inside our hearts, may as mere mortal men and women tap into the vast, incomprehensible mind of Infinite Power;

For who has been so deeply entwined with the mind of the Lord that he may coalesce with him? But we have the mind of Christ (1st Corinthians 2:16).

Coalesce, what a beautiful word. It means to commingle, to fuse, to unify into one element, to grow together into a single entity.

My spirit drools just writing this. The blended harmony is what it is all about.

We are invited to coalesce with the God of the universe, to move with Him and within Him as if he were the tree of Life and we are the integral branching offshoots of the exact same substance.

Jesus is telling us the initiation of a project is only that. It is only the first step in an ongoing set of instructions for which we need to be in constant communication. The details can't be delivered all at once because they are more than what we can receive in a single sitting or even many sittings, so as we come to the completion of one phase the next phase will be given, if we are in communion with our headquarters by means of the Holy Spirit transmission system.

I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot carry them all in your hands right now. However when He (he/she/it), the Spirit of truth appears to you, instructional guidance will lead you into all truth, for nothing will be spoken of His own initiative, but whatever is first heard, that is what will be spoken. He will show you what should happen next, those things that are coming.

My splendor is what will be shown, for what is received is only from me, and it will be rehearsed to you. The whole estate of everything that the Father possesses is mine. This is why I can say, He will take what is Mine and rehearse it, delivering it to you (John 16:12-15).

So let's finish this up because Jesus addresses the how and what a person should do in order to keep the process continually unfolding in their life;

Generate serious attention, watch and stay focused, and by this you will stabilize all that rests under your consideration into whose thought process there may have come the thought of death, into which it may have come that they are ready to dry up and fall over...

Remember accordingly, how and by what means you have received and how and by what means you have heard and hold fast to that, preserving that, repenting, turning, and going back again to that point (Revelation 3:2-3).

What a great plan. To watch is a prayer term (Matthew 13:33).

There are various watches in scripture which have to do with the watchman being there for the safety of the city and also to look out for approaching visitors, some wanted and some unwanted.

The Holy Spirit is one of those welcome visitors our spiritual eyes need to be seeking for expectantly, because we know if we are praying, communication is happening, and in communication with God, things move, things live.

The landscape of churchdom is littered (quite literally littered) with monuments to past visitations from God. But somewhere along the line the hearts neglected to continue doing those things which allowed for the visitation of heaven to earth to continue to occur. The hearts hardened to the next wave of Holy Spirit outpouring.

History records that those waves of God have a great deal to do with hungering for the reality of God’s voice, which took the form of the people’s fervent prayers and hearts crying for more of Him.

Those who believe they are full are not hungry. Those who believe they are well do not seek healing.

With this in mind, Jesus says to remember how you have received and heard, and then he says to go back there and do that again (Revelation 3:3).

The theme of The Book of Galatians is much the same theme. What brought the voice of God will bring the voice of God back to you.

The rules of visitation are not in a state of constant flux, they are consistent and stable.

Consistently, from the dawn of time, it is by establishing our hearts in a state of humility, seeking the Lord's voice intently and diligently, not giving up until we know we've heard it.

Sometimes it takes getting apart in quiet places, or fasting too in order to quiet the noise of the body and soul in order to hear His voice more clearly in our spirit. Whatever it takes is what must be done.

The danger is, if we don't incorporate this heartfelt attitude into our relationship with Jesus, we may just miss the hour of his visitation. He may come, not necessarily in the final sense as when he physically returns, but in the spiritual sense in that an important point in time comes, Jesus visits, and we weren't listening.

That usually means someone's need went unmet or because we weren't carrying our load another person had to pick up our slack. Not good. Too much gets placed on too few causing burnout.

If therefore you refuse to watch (take your watch), I will arrive as in stealth, secretly to you and silently to you, and you will not perceive what point in time I came to your location” (Revelation 3:3).

Next Topic: Test #6 Philadelphia – The Test of Success

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