In the end of the end times, Revelation 8:3 tells us about a group of saints — or “holy ones” — who are on the golden incense altar before God. The Revelation describes their very lives as being on the altar — and in verse 4 we see their prayers form part of the incense which ascends to God. Paul says in Romans 12:1,
Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.
Oftentimes we gloss over these passages — not reflecting on our own lives — that perhaps we possibly do not conform to these passages. What does it really mean to have our lives on the altar in a practical sense? What standard of service should we settle for — if any?
We’d like to answer these questions from a pragmatic viewpoint — that each of us may reflect on our own lives and consider whether or not we could truly say that our lives are on the altar.
RUNNING THE RACE
Paul says in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27,
24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. 25 Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. So they do it to obtain a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 Therefore I run in such a way as not to run aimlessly; I box in such a way, as to avoid hitting air; 27 but I strictly discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.
Paul compares the Christian journey to an athlete running a race. So by what pace — or level of intensity — should we run that race? Paul says that we must run that we may win — which in its simplicity becomes hard to understand. In these modern times our hearts have been hardened to simple truths — and in many ways, our message here is an attempt to soften the heart towards the truth of Scripture.
What is “the prize” — the “imperishable” wreath — that Paul is talking about? Paul said in verse 23,
I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it.
Thus running the race according to Paul’s allegory, means doing “all things for the sake of the gospel” — and it means that the prize of the race is becoming “a fellow partaker” of that gospel. In other words, Paul is running toward eternal life in such a way that he may win. He ran with such fervor and intensity he even considered that he was the hardest worker among all of the apostles (1 Corinthians 15:10).
Now it is not our place to judge among our judges (Matthew 19:28) — and the Lord Jesus will decide the matter — but it will suffice to understand that Paul at least had the desire to work harder than all of his peers. To this end, Paul did “all things for the sake of the gospel” — he exercised “self-control in all things” — he disciplined his body and made it is his slave — all for the good of the gospel and the attaining of eternal life.
Now many of us — on a very subjective level — do not even really understand what world-class athletes go through so they can compete so as to win. One’s whole life from food, to sleep, to social activity, to usage of time, all becomes merely an extension of the ultimate goal. In a sense, they do not get to live their own lives — because their lives have become an endeavor towards winning. In this way, professional athletes are willing to make sacrifices the rest of the world are not willing to make.
Furthermore, the prize-giving — or awards ceremony — for the race of the gospel cannot be found in this life. This event will take place when we stand before the Lord Jesus and give account for all we have done. Unfortunately, many of us Christians hold our own private awards ceremonies in this life — where we congratulate ourselves and one-another — not realizing what effect it may have on that heavenly ceremony.
Many of us hold the most private and intimate ceremonies within our own hearts and minds — where we have decided for ourselves that the meager service we have offered is enough. We do so without considering whether we have run the race so as to win. Rather, we run the race so as to placate ourselves — so that we “in good conscience” may return to engaging in activities which actually have nothing to do with the Kingdom of God.
If we have congratulated or awarded ourselves in any way, we may at face value conclude that we have already short-circuited our own Christian race. If we haven’t finished the race yet, why would any of us think in such a way that assumes we have finished? Why would we conclude that the pace at which we are currently running is sufficient to win the race?
Sometimes we might consider that the pace we currently run is all we can muster — and that surely God understands that on some subjective level. Verily, we merely refuse to make the sacrifices that the winners — those who run at a faster pace — have made. Moreover, we fail to consider that we do not run in the strength of our own flesh — but we run in the strength of the Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
If we become satisfied with the sacrifices we have made — and with our own pace — then ironically we forego the opportunity to use the most powerful performance enhancing substance know to Adamkind — the Lord Jesus’ divine power.
Paul says in 2 Timothy 2:3-4,
3 Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him.
Here Paul considers the Christian walk like a soldier who no longer “entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life.” Therefore, if our endeavors entangle us with everyday life, then we may automatically conclude that we are not good soldiers.
Yet oftentimes we consider that we may actually glorify God by entangling ourselves in everyday life. We consider that by engaging in our hobbies and interests, we may glorify God and witness to Him by doing so. As if a solider — following the orders of his captain — may be a better night watchman by leaving his post and visiting a local inn.
Even though visiting the inn bares no fruit toward the service as a solider — we consider even before we have visited the inn that it will indeed bare the fruit we expect. And if it does not bare that fruit, we merely need to fraternize in the inn long enough — supposedly in faith — until such time as that fruit comes. We do not consider that we have merely left our watch-post — and we are merely entangling ourselves in the affairs of everyday life.
Yes, our flesh does not enjoy standing at the watch-post all night — but Paul prefaces his allegory by saying, “Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.” We need to follow orders — instead of deceiving ourselves into believing we can somehow follow orders by not following orders — regardless of whether it’s “fun” or not.
Paul continues in verse 5,
And if someone likewise competes as an athlete, he is not crowned as victor unless he competes according to the rules.
Now we consider that there are a great many crowns to be handed out to many victors — as the Lord says, “In My Father’s house are many rooms” (John 14:2). Yet recall that Paul says, “Run in such a way that you may win.” (1 Corinthians 9:24) We do not aim for rooms or crowns of our own choosing, but each of us aims for the foremost crown.
This lesson itself constitutes the very rules according to which we compete. In other words, competing “according to the rules” means competing for first prize. Make no mistake, athletes who attain to first prize were definitely competing for first prize. They made every sacrifice and took hold of every conceivable advantage in doing so. If we do not compete according to these rules, we run the very real risk of not being crowned as victor at all — in any sense or level of reward.
Paul continues in verse 6,
The hard-working farmer ought to be the first to receive his share of the crops.
Now this is a particularly profound lesson when we consider the lessons of the Scripture — and even every day life. Paul has compared our journey as Christians with something so fundamentally basic as farming for a share in the crops. If we do not work for the crop, we don’t even get to eat — and we die of starvation.
Proverbs 12:11 says,
One who works his land will have plenty of bread, But one who pursues worthless things lacks sense.
See how the Proverb compares working the land with the pursuit of worthless things. Again, we should not entangle ourselves with daily life — or leave our watch-post as soldiers of Christ. As if worldly and fleshly pursuits — not studying the Scripture, praying or striving toward true love — could feed us with heavenly bread?
Proverbs 20:4 says,
The lazy one does not plow after the autumn, so he begs during the harvest and has nothing.
Note how the proverb tells us that we must plow in the proper season. We must plow while we can. The plowing must be our first and foremost concern — and we should do so while the opportunity presents itself. If we do not plow while we can, the harvest season will come, and we will have nothing to show for the time we have wasted.
A farmer doesn’t plow with a guitar — sow alcohol as seed — and watch television while he works, does he? We must be careful to plow and sow with the proper things. If we do not plow with study, prayer and a pursuit of true love in faith, we should not presume to harvest anything at all.
Proverbs 26:15-16 says,
15 A lazy one buries his hand in the dish; He is weary of bringing it to his mouth again.16 A lazy one is wiser in his own eyes than seven people who can give a discreet answer.
Imagine a state so accursed and ignorant that we can be so lazy as to not even feed ourselves — yet consider that very state as wisdom in our own sight? This is the runner who runs without intending to win — the soldier who imagines he will follow orders by leaving his post — and the farmer who is not diligent to plow while he can.
When we imagine that we can work for the kingdom without having to devote our lives to study, prayer and love, then we have become the character in Proverbs 26:15-16. God has written the Christian walk into the fabric of creation — that the way of the farmer in agrarian society would reflect the way we must live our lives.
Yet in these modern times where everything comes easily — and we toil away our lives in meaningless pursuits — we have forgotten that God said to Adam, “By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread” (Genesis 3:19).
YOUR LIFE IS NOT YOUR OWN
If we are running a race to win it — following orders as good soldiers — and plowing the land so that we may eat, then we are essentially living on borrowed time. Our very lives have passed out of our own grasp and every moment of time should be spent wisely. We should not mourn that we have lost — or never even had — the opportunity to spend our lives on our fleshly desires.
Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20,
19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20 For you have been bought for a price: therefore glorify God in your body.
Verily, we are not our own and we are not to live life according to our own desires. We pay homage to the Lord Jesus — His eminent power — His magnanimous grace — His iron-clad devotion — yet we do not consider within ourselves that He is the King and He leads by example. If we do not follow His example, then we do not acknowledge Him as King.
Through His divine work in accordance with the Father’s will, He has purchased us for the Kingdom — if indeed we are a part of the Kingdom. If we are free citizens of the Kingdom, then we must live as “strangers and exiles on the earth.” (Hebrews 11:13) As agents of the Kingdom we are here for a purpose — and our lives have been given to us as a resources to spend toward the aims and goals of the Kingdom.
We are not to leave our watch-post and entangle ourselves with everyday life — we are to run so as to achieve the most ground for the sake of the Kingdom — and we are to plow as much as we can while we can. This is the call of the Kingdom of God — that we rise above our own desires and instead seek the “divine nature” (1 Peter 2:4) in conformance with the image and example of the Son of God (Romans 8:29).
If we are to “put on the new self, which is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created it” (Colossians 3:10) — why do our lives resemble our old lives and not that of the Lord Jesus and His apostles — unless we tacitly admit that there is nothing new within ourselves?
Have we merely latched on to an idea that our Divine King of Kings is there merely to serve us with eternal life — and that He is a supporting act in our own lives?
Sometimes the relationships we have with others is nothing more than a mere mutual partiality. We agree to be partial toward another — so long as they are partial to us in return. In our relationship with our King, we expect the same mutual partiality from Him toward ourselves — and we reduce our relationship the King to an expectation of unconditional partiality from Him. In so doing, we cease to support and serve Him in any way — and we forget who is the King and who is the servant.
We take every passage, prophecy and promise about the blessing we will receive literally, but we harden our hearts to those passages about our duty to the King. We consider that if we must do our duty toward Him, then surely we are not being blessed — or we cannot take the passages about blessing literally — with our minds set on the things of this world and the flesh. We do not consider a possibility where both are true simultaneously — we will be blessed, but we must also do our duty to the King.
The fact that we could gloss over very specific teachings about our duty in life — like what we have shown from Paul — without applying them in all of their literal glory — merely witnesses to the hardness of our own hearts.
Paul says in Ephesians 5:15-17,
15 So then, be careful how you walk, not as unwise people but as wise, 16 making the most of your time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
Paul considers that if we do not make the most of our time, then we do not “understand what the will of the Lord is” — and we become “unwise” and “foolish.” Much like the lazy person who couldn’t even bring his hand to his mouth so that he could eat.
If we are completely honest with ourselves, how do we make the most of our time in this life? Time is a precious resource — every second which ticks by can never be redeemed. It is the most basic currency we spend on the things we occupy our minds with.
The Lord said that the “mouth speaks from that which fills his heart” (Luke 6:45) — we gauge the content of our hearts by that which proceeds from our minds. What then is the focus of our lives? We need only look at what takes up the time we spend. We could just as well paraphrase the Lord Jesus by saying, “the life acts based on that which it seeks.” If the life does not seek the Kingdom, then it will not pursue the Kingdom — regardless of the extent to which the tongue may pay lip-service to the Kingdom.
The Lord tells us in Luke 16:10, “The one who is faithful in a very little thing is also faithful in much; and the one who is unrighteous in a very little thing is also unrighteous in much.” What does it say about us if we cannot even be righteous with something as basic as time? This resource is common among every person — great and small, rich and poor — and if our lives are not our own, then our time is not our own either.
The Lord Jesus says in Matthew 16:24-27,
24 If anyone wants to come after Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26 For what good will it do a person if he gains the whole world, but forfeits his soul? Or what will a person give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every person according to his deeds.
Taking up our cross, denying ourselves and following the Lord Jesus necessarily means forfeiting our own lives. Many of us consider that when the Lord says, “whoever loses his life for My sake will find it” — He is referring to some possible, far-future event where we may have to choose Him over some draconian measure. Much like a martyr may have died under the Catholic church for reading the Bible in their private capacity.
We say to ourselves, “That event will come in the future — therefore, for the time-being, I will continue in merely believing that the Lord Jesus exists without actually having the live in service to Him.”
In these modern times, we do not have the luxury of having that choice forced upon us like the martyrs of old. We live in an age where it is a choice we must actively make in our own capacity. That means our fleshly pursuits — our worldly hopes and dreams — and any endeavor outside of the scope of the Kingdom must be cast aside.
In these modern times, we have been forced to fight our own selves in order that we may serve the Lord Jesus. What a diabolical psychological prison we live in — that we have the free choice to serve the Lord Jesus with all we have without a fear of death — with the unprecedented Scriptural resources at our very fingertips — yet we actively choose not to use it. If any generation throughout the history of creation had the least excuse, it would be us.
We must lay down our lives and make our very purpose the furtherance of the Kingdom — “looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God” (2 Peter 3:12) — serving “in deed and truth” (1 John 3:18) — because He will “repay every person according to his deeds.” (Matthew 16:27)
If indeed we have been purchased with the grace and blood of the Lord Jesus, then our lives are not our own. If our lives are not our own, then our lives must be given up to the Kingdom and to the purposes and example of our King. We must spend the resources we have wisely — and the way and means in which we spend our lives will be judged.
The fact that they have not been judged — and that we may vainly congratulate ourselves and one-another for our so-called knowledge and deeds — is merely His grace and patience toward us in hope that we come to a true knowledge of Him.
As such — even without literally dying the death of a martyr — we must place our very lives on the altar of God. Like Ezekiel, we must prepare as if the very fires of heaven will come down and consume our lives in the sight of all (1 Kings 18:38). Like Isaac, we must lay down on that altar in willful compliance — that the Lord Himself may bind us and lay us atop the wood (Genesis 22:9).
David said in 1 Chronicles 29:14-15,
14 But who am I and who are my people that we should be able to offer as generously as this? For all things come from You, and from Your hand we have given to You. 15 For we are strangers before You, and temporary residents, as all our fathers were; our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no hope.
The very fact that we — like shadows on earth in whom is no hope — get to offer spiritual sacrifices with generosity and sacrifice to the Infinite God of the universe is a privilege which shall not be squandered by anyone who seeks wisdom. All things come from Him — and we give back to Him only through His own hand. When we offer our lives as sacrifices on His altar, we merely give what is already His. From that perspective, if we squander our lives, then we take from Him what is His.
WITHOUT FAITH IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO PLEASE HIM
Now if we are to place our very lives on the altar, we would imagine that the laws of animal sacrifice may offer us some kind of insight into what constitutes a good sacrifice. As a first point of study, we should consider the very first sacrifice of Cain and Abel.
Hebrews 11:4 tells us that “by faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he was attested to be righteous.” As such, we cannot lay our lives on the altar except by a personal faith in the Lord Jesus — because “without faith it is impossible to please Him, for the one who comes to God must believe that He exists, and that He proves to be One who rewards those who seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6)
We must believe that the Christian journey is something far bigger than what our fleshly senses may perceive — because “faith is the certainty of things hoped for, a proof of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1) We must act despite the fact that the world tells us to act otherwise — because “hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees?” (Romans 8:24)
If we hope to get some kind of validation from ourselves, our flesh or from men, then we continually set our faith on what we can perceive through our senses. Our faith should be set in the Spirit — on that which we could never see in our fleshly bodies — that is, the very Kingdom of God.
Now Genesis 4:2 tells us that “Abel was a keeper of flocks, but Cain was a cultivator of the ground.” Recall that God said in Genesis 3:17-19,
17 Cursed is the ground because of you; with hard labor you shall eat from it all the days of your life. 18 Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; Yet you shall eat the plants of the field; 19 By the sweat of your face You shall eat bread
Also God said to Adam, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you” (Genesis 1:29) Before the great flood of Noah, Adamkind was only to eat that which grew from the ground. Only after the flood did God say to Noah, “Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I have given everything to you, as I gave the green plant.” (Genesis 9:3)
Therefore, why in the world was Abel “a keeper of flocks?” He was certainly not going to eat any of the flocks. Given the command of God concerning food, they likely did not consume the milk. However, suffice to say that one or two sheep or goats alone could sustain a man — and one cow could produce more milk than a man could consume — never mind a whole flock. Moreover, one certainly would not need to keep a flock to produce leather for clothing for the handful of people who existed at that time.
The point we’d like to make is that Abel’s motivation for flocks could not possibly have been any kind of fleshly necessity. On the contrary, it seemed a rather poor use of his time considering that man struggled to produce enough food all the way until the time of Noah (Genesis 5:29) — and far beyond until relatively recently — where we experience an ease the likes of which our ancient ancestors probably would not believe.
Now why would Abel engage in something unnecessary unless he believed in something greater than what his fleshly senses were telling him? Abel could only have produced his offering from a place of faith. He tended flocks for the expressed purpose of offering something to God.
Cain on the other hand — who offered “to the Lord from the fruit of the ground” (Genesis 4:3) — offered only that which he needed to do for survival in any case. He gave to God that which had already occupied his own time — and as such, made God an afterthought through his offering.
Herein the Spirit tells us that we do not serve God — and offer our lives as sacrifice — by doing that which we wanted to do — or had to do — in any case. By faith we must attain to something greater than mere necessity and want. Our desires must transcend this world into the eternal Kingdom which we cannot see.
Now we must eat to survive — and Paul commands us in 2 Thessalonians 3 to “work peacefully and eat [our] own bread” (verse 12) — not “leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all” (verse 11) — for “if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either.” (verse 10) In other words, we must provide for ourselves.
Yet we do not somehow serve the Kingdom of God by seeking our own fleshly needs and desires. Our work to provide for ourselves merely serves to augment our service to the Kingdom — and provide an example of disciplined life to others (verse 7). If we have enough according to our need — and the need of our families — then we must give every effort toward the Kingdom.
To this end the Lord promises in Matthew 6:31-33,
31 Do not worry then, saying, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear for clothing?’ 32 For the nations eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided to you.
In other words, we “seek first His kingdom and His righteousness” as far as we possibly can. We do not seek His kingdom and His righteousness through our desire to have to eat, drink and wear. Never mind the myriad other useless pursuits and pass-times Adamkind busy themselves with, being “lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” (2 Timothy 3:4).
OUR VERY BEST
The Law of voluntary sacrifice tells us in Leviticus 22:20-24,
20 Whatever has a defect, you shall not offer, for it will not be accepted for you. 21 When someone offers a sacrifice of peace offerings to the Lord to fulfill a special vow or for a voluntary offering, of the herd or of the flock, it must be without defect to be accepted; there shall be no defect in it. 22 Those that are blind, fractured, maimed, or have a wart, a festering rash, or scabs, you shall not offer to the Lord, nor make of them an offering by fire on the altar to the Lord. 23 Now as for an ox or a lamb which has an overgrown or stunted member, you may present it as a voluntary offering, but for a vow it will not be accepted. 24 Also anything with its testicles squashed, crushed, torn off, or cut off, you shall not offer to the Lord, nor sacrifice in your land,
Here we see that Israelites may have sacrificed the worst animals in their flock and possibly retained the best for themselves. Such would make material sense. The animal is going to die and be burned in any case, so why not take the less useful one and burn it — reserving the unblemished animal for financial gain?
Yet if we offer that which was useless to us, are we really offering anything at all? Here we see that the Law of offering was not based on merely the death of an animal — as if the Lord might be impressed with such things. Rather, He was careful to set up an institution which required of man to give up that which was useful to him — and He was careful to weigh the intentions of the man’s heart in his manner or sacrifice.
He will be equally careful to weigh up our own intentions when we place our lives on the altar of sacrifice. Are we offering the firstborn of our flock — unblemished and without defect? Or are we offering up that which was of lesser use to us — as if we could fool God by placing him as second best in our own minds.
Yet we do not merely give our best and take what is left over for ourselves. No, we are the sacrifice — our very lives must be our best effort in service to the Lord God. The offering of our lives must be like a perfect lamb — unblemished and spotless — the choicest offering from our herd.
Anything less “is a detestable thing to the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 17:1) — and why shouldn’t it be? The Lord Jesus “gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, eager for good deeds.” (Titus 2:14)
He did not give Himself for us to redeem us from some lawless deeds, and to somewhat clean for Himself a people who give themselves as a possession as the whim takes them, ambivalent over good deeds. He is our King — and we should learn our place before Him. For “A wise king scatters the wicked, And drives a threshing wheel over them.” (Proverbs 20:26) — and “The fury of a king is like messengers of death; But a wise person will appease it.” (Proverbs 16:14).
David tells us in Psalm 99:4-5,
4 The strength of the King loves justice; You have established order; You have executed justice and righteousness in Jacob. 5 Exalt the Lord our God And worship at His footstool; Holy is He.
Then in Proverbs 16:10,
A divine verdict is on the lips of the king; His mouth should not err in judgment.
Yes, our King will not err in judgment — and He will not judge with partiality. By the divine mandate of His Father, He will establish order and execute justice and righteousness. If we offer Him sacrifices which are detestable to Him — who is “able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12) — and to whom “all things are open and laid bare” (Hebrews 4:13) — He will drive a threshing wheel over us — a sobering prospect.
We should not think that we can deceive Him like Cain — to whom He said, “And if you do not do well, sin is lurking at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.” (Genesis 4:7)
But if we are wise, we will appease Him in meekness and supplication — we will “offer spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5) — because “In the light of a king’s face is life, And his favor is like a cloud with the spring rain” (Proverbs 16:15) — and “The king’s favor is toward a servant who acts wisely” (Proverbs 14:35).
PRAYER AND THE FLESH
As a final thought, we should not consider that we could do any of this in the power of our own flesh. Yet even if we had the strength to devote all of our time — as some certainly do — Paul tells us in Romans 7 how he himself was killed through his desire to do good — because his mind was set on the flesh and not the Spirit.
If the weight of our words sits heavily on anyone’s heart — and they consider in fear, “How will I ever live up to this?” — then we commend that person because “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Proverbs 1:7)
Those whose very lives were on the altar before God in Revelation 8:3 offered up prayer to God. We cannot consider our lives to be on the altar if we do not pray and make supplication to our God. The simple fact of the matter is, if we do not ask God for the power to please Him, He will not bestow that power upon us — no matter how hard we try.
Therefore, let us begin by offering up prayer to God — and we have written on the subject as a help to anyone who has set their hearts on the Kingdom. Moreover, let us carefully consider our lives and the sacrifices we intend to be for the Lord our God.
Let us at the very least agree to have the desire to serve our Lord and King, Christ Jesus, to the fullest of our capacity — aided by His own divine power and the immovable will of His Father’s Holy Spirit. After all, it was Him who said in Revelation 3:18-22,
18 I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to apply to your eyes so that you may see. 19 Those whom I love, I rebuke and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. 21 The one who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat with My Father on His throne. 22 The one who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.