“I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:” (Revelations 2:2)
Jesus knows exactly where everyone is spiritually. There is nothing hid from him. When he speaks, his words exactly hit the real spiritual target. He highly commends this congregation here (and in the next verse) for their faithfulness to “try” people and discover whether they would be a true minister or not. The scriptures teaches us to do the same:
- “And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you” (I Thessalonians 5:12)
- “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” (I John 4:1)
But how do we “know them which labor among us” and how do we “try the spirits whether they are of God”? We need both the Word of God, and the Spirit of God! We dare not neglect our study and obedience to the Word. If we do, it is like trying to worship in a dark room. Spiritually you won’t be able to tell who is with you, nor what is being set before you. We also dare not neglect following the Holy Spirit: by obedience, holiness, and the true love of God. If we do, we can become just like a scribe or pharisee – know much about it, but have no love, long-suffering, or outreach in our soul for the lost!
So we see by this exhortation from Jesus in Revelations 2:2, that even among those who have great spiritual light (Jesus Christ among them) that there are also those who are trying to “sneak in” and present themselves as true servants of the Lord. We are warned from the Gospel that this would happen:
“But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.” (2 Peter 2:1-3)
Note: It is important here to understand that it is because of the light of the seven candlesticks that Ephesus has (the full light of Jesus Christ among them), that they have the ability to see and determine who is false. “and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou has tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars.”
Do you have this same light to be able to do the same?