The Gospel in the Seven Letters
You probably know that my book Letters from Jesus came out in paperback last week. I hope you don’t mind me banging this drum but I feel strongly about this one. Why? Because Jesus sent love letters from heaven and most of us are afraid to read them!
We have been told his letters contain bad news, even threats for Christians. That’s a contemptible lie! We try and read the letters ourselves, but lacking any sort of lens, we can’t make sense of them. So we file them away in the too hard basket telling ourselves, these letters are not for me.
And the treasures that God meant for you fall to the ground like unopened gifts.
I hope I have convinced you to take another look at the letters from Jesus, but if not, here’s another extract from the book:
Tradition teaches that the Jesus of the letters is displeased and out to punish poor performers. He is a stern taskmaster who commends us if we do well but condemns us if we don’t. He pushes us to pray more, study more, evangelize more, and insists we carry out his work with a smile on our dial. No matter how weary or broken you may be, this Christ expects results. Fail to live up to his high demands and you may lose your crown, have your name erased, and be punished with death and damnation.
I wish I was exaggerating, but I encounter this false Christ on a daily basis. I hear about him from confused preachers and burnt-out believers.
In the research I did for this book, I saw him behind comments like these: Jesus is looking for intense enthusiasm in attending all church activities (Ephesus), and he rejects those who are less than zealous (Laodicea). He punishes cowardice (Smyrna), complacency (Sardis), law breaking (Pergamum), and compromise (Thyatira). He watches, he threatens, and if we’re not totally obedient, he disciplines us in brutal ways.
The message I heard again and again was this: “God has given you a chance to prove you were worth saving, you miserable sinner. So get busy working for the Lord.” And how hard must you work? You must be willing to work until you drop for the sake of Jesus, said one preacher. It is only through hard work and bearing up under fiery trials that we are able to save our souls, said another. What was particularly startling was how these pronouncements were passed off as good news. But there is nothing good about the lie that says we must save ourselves or earn God’s favor through dead works.
Happily, the Jesus of the Gospels is not like this, and it is this Jesus—the one who came full of grace and truth—that we encounter in his letters. How do I know? Because the Jesus of the seven letters walks and talks exactly like the Jesus of the Gospels.
In these letters, Jesus does not introduce a new gospel or teaching. Instead, he repeats many of the things that he spoke about in the Gospels: how he has received authority from his Father, how he is a witness to the truth, and how we need to repent and believe the good news. This Jesus does not condemn sinners; he loves them. He does not rebuke strays; he woos them back. He speaks words of life to the lost. He gives hope to the oppressed and strength to the weary.
Study the seven letters and you will find many quotes, phrases, and images that come straight out of the Gospels. These prove beyond all doubt that the Jesus of the Gospels is the same Jesus who wrote the seven letters, and that the revelation he gave us on earth did not change after he returned to heaven. The gospel is still the gospel.
But what is the gospel?
The gospel is the good news that God is good and he loves you just as you are with a love that cannot be measured. His love was radically demonstrated on the cross of Calvary, but it is also revealed seven different ways in the letters from Jesus.
In the letter to Ephesus, Jesus is the Good Shepherd calling to his lost and weary sheep with promises of rest and comfort. In the letter to Smyrna, he is the resurrection and the life comforting those facing trials and death. In the letter to Pergamum, he is the Lord-above-all, slicing through lies and ambiguity with the sword of truth. In the letter to Thyatira, he is the exalted Son of God confronting a charlatan to protect those walking in his Father’s love. In the letter to Sardis, he is the spiritual Savior exhorting an unspiritual people to wake from their stupor and be clothed in his righteousness. In the letter to Philadelphia, he is the Holy One who opens doors, empowers the weak, and gives names to nobodies. In the letter to Laodicea, he is the faithful Witness who gives a true account regarding the lostness of the lost before inviting himself around for dinner.
What is the common theme in all these letters?
It is grace, or God’s undeserved favor for all, from the saintliest Philadelphian to the most noxious Laodicean. In none of the letters do you find Jesus making the sort of outrageous claims that are sometimes attributed to him. You just find grace upon grace—grace for salvation, sanctification, and everything besides.
Grace from start to finish.
Source: Letters from Jesus.
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As I read this I was thinking how could anyone believe Jesus is a hard task master and not see that there is nothing but pure love and grace in Him. Yet, I was one of the people who believed those lies about Him. Everything looks different in the light.
If I am reading this post well: The premise is predicated on too many lacking understanding; so, they give up asking for it from the only source they can get it from. That source is Wisdom.
Our Father through Jesus – did not come to commend nor condemn those who he has called & still is calling out of the World & in to his Glorious Kingdom of Light.
What he does though, is very different from what the flesh of the one human-race can perceive… Pauls’ encouragement here – it is important to understand what The Almighty’s Love does not mean, without our personal discipline. He commands that his position & purpose on Earth re: humanity – be respected & honoured by those same Saints he is the business of choosing out of the World.
He is not shy to make those who have responded to his invitation to come out of the World & in to the Light of his Kingdom – to be more like the Son-man [Jesus]; before his great day of returning – to give each their spirit bodies (both the dead & living, who are in Christ).
Jesus came to testify to the Truth; his true followers will be on the side of truth & will listen to him Jn 18:37. That does not mean that those same Saints will not be encumbered with any number of issues along their journey with him. The heart (spirit) of a person is our focus & his; obedience to the truth is the premise for our Eternity.
Two groups of Sheep hearing the voice of The Almighty__
Awesome news, brother Paul. Please continue the good work that you are doing, unpacking the gospel from seemingly hard to understand books of the bible, as well as verses. Glory to God for your labour of love. Blessings unto you and your family. Such a precious brother in Christ.
It’s like having your eyes opened to what has been there all the time! It’s like finally getting the diagnosis of what’s been “wrong “ with me – but it’s a huge relief! It explains the nagging feeling of something not quite right with Christianity which I have always been ashamed to admit! It takes away the doubts and replaces them with life giving faith! Its like coming home-totally accepted! It’s the revelation of true grace!Thank you for showing me how the Father has always been FOR me!👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼
Exactly, Rhona. You said it! The truth sets us free, indeed, does it not?!
The version of God the world has embraced and proclaims is what the devil would have us believe. When it seems the whole world is fooled and confused into worshiping a God they think doesn’t even like them, it’s hard to know where to begin to talk about the issue. But it’s even harder to not talk about it. We should be so thankful for those in the game like brother Paul Ellis. The cracks in the facade are starting to show, the matrix of lies is starting to shake, the unanswered questions are starting to pile up, religion is starting to lose its appeal, and more and more believers are starting to step further into the light. The mind-blowing good news that THERE IS NO SEPARATION is starting to be seen by more and more. The Holy Spirit is helping us see what Jesus accomplished. And Jesus did it FOR his Father. And the Father is the one that sent him. They love us and will never let us go. God is the lover of humanity and always has been!
Revelation is addressed to the nation of Israel, not the Body of Christ.
Not sure why you would say that since the seven letters were specifically addressed to the seven churches in Asia, not Israel (see Rev 1:11).
Thank you bro paul,you r a blessing to me n many,i feel soo much relieved n my eyes openned up to the truth,,grace from start to finish,,Thanks
I use an IPad and wish the new book was available on Apple Books. Will it ever be?
Get the book from here, download the ePub version to your device, and open it in your favorite e-reader (eg: Apple Books).
Thhis was lovely to read