The Church at Pergamos

Revelation 2:12-17

INTRODUCTION:
Pergamum was a city of compromise; the worship of anything was allowable in that city; and the Church at Pergamos had become engulfed in compromise too.
One of the gods they worshiped was Esculapius…
Writing of Esculapius, J. Vernon McGee wrote,
“Then the other outstanding temple was of the god Asklepios. Down from that great ancient world. It was the Mayo Clinic of that day. It was, first of all, a temple to Asklepios. If you are looking at the Greek god Asklepios, it is a man, but when you see the Anatolian or Oriental Asklepios, it is a serpent. There in Pergamum it was a serpent. I have pictures which I took of that great marble pillar which stands like an obelisk now but apparently was a pillar in the temple of Asklepios. The construction of the temple was unusual in that it was round. There they used every means of healing imaginable. They used both medicine and psychology – and about everything else.
Put yourself in this situation: you go down long tunnels, and above are holes that look like airholes for ventilation but are not. As you walk along these tunnels, sexy voices come down through the holes, saying to you, ‘You are going to get well. You are going to feel better. You are going to be healed.’ (Does that have a modern ring?) You go down to the hot baths where you are given a massage. There is a little theater there where they give plays of healing. If they haven’t healed you by now, as a last resort they put you in that temple at night and turn loose the nonpoisonous snakes which crawl over you. (That is known as the shock treatment in our day!) If they don’t heal you, they will drive you crazy, that’s for sure. They have a back door where they take out the dead. They don’t mention the ones they don’t heal; they speak only ot those who recover.” (From Thru The Bible pg. 908 by J. Vernon McGee).

Warren Wiersbe wrote of this also,
“The city aslso had a temple dedicated to Aesculapius, the god of healing, whose insignia was the entwined serpent on the staff.” (BE Commentary vol. 2, pg. 573).

I. THE ONE WHO HOLDS THE SHARP TWO-EDGED SWORD (v. 12).
A. The Sword is Both and Offensive and Defensive Weapon.
“And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God…” Eph. 6:17

B. The Word of God is Likened to a Two-Edged Sword.
“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Heb. 4:12

C. Jesus is the One who Has the Sharp Twoedged Sword Out of His Mouth.
“…And out of His mouth went a sharp twoedged sword…” Rev. 1:16

II. THE WORKS ARE KNOWN BY JESUS (v. 13).
A. They Dwelt in the Seat of Satan – It Was a Very Pluralistic Culture Worshiping many Deities, and Tolerant of Moral Depravity.

B. While there Was a Remnant of Faithful Believers; the Church had Given in to the Culture – They were compromising on morals, Doctrine, and the Gospel.

C. It is Known Also as the Church of Faithful Antipas Who Give His Life for the Sake of Jesus Christ and the Gospel

III. THE CHURCH HAD ALLOWED THE DOCTRINE OF BALAAM AND THE NICOLAITANS INTO THE CONGREGATION (v. 14-15).
A. The Doctine of Balaam is the Way – the Doctrine of Compromise.
1. THE WAY OF BALAAM = Ministry for pay. “Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness…” 2 Peter 2:15
2. THE ERROR OF BALAAM = To think that God would do the opposite of what He promised. “Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.” Jude 1:11
3. THE DOCTRINE OF BALAAM = Counseling others on how to curse God’s people (See Num. 25 and 31) “But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.” Rev. 2:14

B. This Church also Had Trouble with the Nicolaitans, Only Giving in to Compromise with Them.
1. To Overcome the People; to Rule, overrule, to Dominate.
2. Setting up a Heirarchy of Domination over them – even a Priesthood.
“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light…” 1 Peter 2:9

C. It Should become Quite Clear to the Church of 2018 that The Lord Hates Compromise in the area of Doctrine, the Gospel, and Morality.

IV. REPENTANCE IS NECESSARY TO AVOID THE SWORD OF HIS JUDGMENT (v. 16)
A. The Compromise Must be Dealt With Quickly, and Severely – There is no room for compromising with compromise.

B. Repentance is the Key – a Turning From Sin Back to Christ Jesus, and Faithfulness to Him.

C. The Call is to the Compromising Reprobates Within the Church.
“Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” 2 Cor. 6:17-18

V. THE REWARD FOR THOSE WHO WILL OVERCOME (v. 17).
A. A Call to Pergamos and All the Churches to Hear.

B. A Hidden Manna – Heavenly Food that is Only Available for Those Who Overcome the Sin of Compromise.

C. A White Stone – A word for assurance to the Faithful

D. A New Name – A Name which Speaks of One’s Character, Honor, and Faith.

CONCLUSION:
1. We can be certain and assured that the Lord Jesus is the One who has from His Mouth the Twoedged Sword, and that He will Judge.
2. He knows the works of the Church, every individual professing Christ; He knows the works of compromise with Satan and sin; He knows the works of the Faithful; He knows of the moral depravity around and within the Church, and will Judge it.
3. Jesus Knows of the failure to adhere to Bible, Gospel doctrine, faithfulness, and purity of life.
4. The call to all who compromise the word, the Gospel, faithfulness, and morality is to Repent.
5. The Reward for those who are faithful will be to overcome; and to receive eternal rewards of heavenly portions; have the assurance of eternity with the Lord; and receive a new name; He has already called those who believe Him “Just and Righteous” by calling us “Saints” (Rom. 1:7; 1 Cor. 1:2; 2 Cor. 1:1; Eph. 1:1; Phil. 1:1; Col. 1:2)

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The Church at Smyrna

The Church at Smyrna

Text: Revelation 2:8-11
Smyrna means “Myrrh”. A frangrance for kings. One of the gifts to the baby Jesus – “gold, frankencense, and myrrh” (Matthew 2:11).

When asked by his heathen judges to recant his Christian faith, Polycarp, pastor at Smyrna replied, “Four score and six years have I served the Lord, and He never wronged me: How can I blaspheme my King and Savior?’ From John Walvoord’s THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST.

INTRODUCTION:
I. SMYRNA WAS CONSIDERED THE MOST BEAUTIFUL CITY OF ASIA.
II. IT WAS DESTROYED IN 580 B.C., AND REBUILT IN 290 B.C. – dead but alive again- AND CONTINUING ALIVE TODAY.
III. WAS A FAITHFUL ALLY OF ROME AND ONE OF THE FIRST TO INITIATE EMPEROR WORSHIP OF CAESAR UNDER; ERECTED A TEMPLE UNDER THE REIGN OF TIBERIAS.
IV. THE CHURCH AT SMYRNA WAS HEAVILY PERSECUTED, LOSING THEIR GOODS AND THEIR PROPERTIES BECAUSE THEY WOULD NOT WORSHIP CAESAR, BUT THE LORD JESUS CHRIST ALONE.

I. Jesus Identifies Himself as The Eternal One Who Has Been Dead, but is Now Alive (v. 8)
A. First and Last terms of eternity – His eternalness, beginning and end (Isaiah 44:6; 48:12)

“Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the First, and I am the Last; and beside me there is no God.” Is. 44:6
“Hearken unto Me, O Jacob and Israel, My called; I am He; I am the First, I also am the Last.” Is. 48:12

B. He died, and He lives again – never to die again (Heb. 7:23-24).

“By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament. And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death: but this Man, because He continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.” Heb. 7:22-24

II. Jesus Knows of Their Works, Their Tribulation, and Their Poverty, and Says, “But You are Rich” (v. 9).
A. Living in Smyrna, the seat of emperor worship, they lost all they had materially because of their faithfulness to the way of the Lord Jesus.
B. Some Jewish Zealots were persecuting them – were not believing even the writings of Moses.

“But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.” Rom 2:29

1. These “Jews” were not believing God.

C. Riches are more than silver, gold, trinkets, any material thing (Luke 12:15)

“And He said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” Lk. 12:15

III. Jesus Gives Words of Encouragement, and Strength to Continue in Their Labor and Tribulation (v. 10
A. Fear none of those things – the persecution, the loss of things, death…
B. There will be further tribulation, persecution, pain, and death; however continue to be faithful; even unto death.

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

C. The promise of the Crown of Life.

“Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love Him.” James 1:12

IV. Jesus Gives the Church at Smyrna the Promise of No Second Death (v. 11).
A. Describe the “second death” – (Rev. 20:12-15)
1. We are all born into this world spiritually dead to God – thus we must be born again.
2. There is physical death – we all experience barring a supernatural miracle.
3. There is the “second death” also called eternal death – eternal separation from all that is God; holiness, righteousness, good and right.

“And I saw a great white throne, and Him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” Rev. 20:11-15

B. The Spirit of God; if the churches have ears to hear; will overcome fear of losing, fear of death, and are given the promise of eternal life in the presence of our dear Lord.

CONCLUSION:
1. The One who is Eternal Died for Our Sins, was Buried, and He Rose Again; Because He Lives Now We too Live With Him in Glory.
2. The One who is Eternal Knows our Life Situation, Persecuted, Poverty, Power; and Stands Ready to Aid Us, and to Save Us.
3. The One who is Eternal is Our Encouragement, Our Strength, Our Hope of Eternal life, and the Crown of Life.
4. The One who is Eternal is our Only Source of Eternal Life, and Hope for Missing the Second Death.

The Humility of the Kingdom

The Humility Of The Kingdom

“And Jesus called a little child unto Him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, ‘Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in My name receiveth Me. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in Me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.’” Matthew 18:3-6

Matthew 18:1-35

Five things we can learn from Matthew 18.

This is the fourth of five sermons which Matthew records of those which Jesus preached. The first is the Sermon on the Mount chapters 5-7; the second is in chapter 10 which is the the Commissioning of the Twelve; the third was the Parables of the Kingdom; now the fourth which is the Sermon on a Childlike faith.

There are five qualities of humility which we see in chapter eighteen:

I. TRUSTING THE LORD BECAUSE WE HAVE NO RESOURCES OF OUR OWN (vv. 1-5).

II. HARMING OR OFFENDING ONE OF THESE HUMBLED ONES IS A SERIOUS OFFENSE (vv. 6-9).

III. CARING FOR THE OFFENDED ONES AS A SHEPHERD DOES HIS SHEEP (vv. 10-14).

IV. DISCIPLINE AND RECONCILIATION OF AN OFFENDING OR OFFENDED BRETHREN (vv. 15-20).

V. THE HUMBLED CHILD; A FORGIVEN CHILD; A FORGIVING CHILD (vv. 21-35).

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Church at Ephesus

Ephesus: Left Their First Love

Revelation 2:1-7
“…The church of Christ persecuted has been the church of Christ pure. The church of Christ patronized has always been the church of Christ impure.” G. Campbell Morgan
(2 Tim. 3:12)
REFERENCES – John 14:21, Genesis 2:9; 3:2-3, 22-24,

INTRODUCTION –
I. IN THIS LETTER TO EPHESUS JESUS REVEALS HIMSELF AS THE ONE WHO HOLDS THE SEVEN STARS, AND WALKS IN THE MIDST OF THE SEVEN CANDLESTICKS.
II. JESUS COMMENDS THEM FOR THEIR LABOR, SACRIFICE, AND PATIENCE.
III. ALL IS NOT WELL IN EPHESUS – THEY HAVE ABANDONED THEIR FIRST LOVE.
IV. THEY ARE IN NEED OF REMEMBERING, REPENTANCE, AND REPEATING.
V. THROUGH THEIR LOVE FOR CHRIST THEY CAN RECEIVE THE FRUIT OF THE TREE OF LIFE.

I. Jesus Reveals Himself as Holding the Stars In His Right Hand and Walking in the Midst of the Candlesticks (v. 1)
A. Scripture has previously spoken so (1:12, 13, 16, 20); but note that to Ephesus He says, “…who walks in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks”.
B. Possibly saying that He is not just some ornament in the midst of the churches.

II. Ephesus is Commended For its Works of Labor, its Sacrifices, and Their Patience (vv. 2-3).
A. They were very busy doint their works of service.
B. They were busy unto it becoming burdensome – near to fainting mentally and physically.
C. They were enduring in their labors unto the end. Warren Wiersbe said, “Just think of it: it is possible to serve, sacrifice, and suffer “For My name’s sake” and yet not really love the Lord Jesus Christ.” From BE Commentary pg. 572

III. The Condemnation of Ephesus Was That They Had Left Their First Love (v. 4; John 14:21).
A. Warren Wiersbe said, “Just think of it: it is possible to serve, sacrifice, and suffer “For My name’s sake” and yet not really love the Lord Jesus Christ.” From BE Commentary pg. 572
1. One can get so busy, and tired they neglect to feed on their source of love for the Savior – The Scriptures and prayer.
2. One can become so overcome by the glamors, and distractions of the world of the flesh that they neglect to love the good and to hate evil.
3. Evil as is defined by God and Scripture; not by the world, the flesh, and the devil.
B. The Way of Renewal for Ephesus.
1. Remember from where you came.
2. Repent.
3. Repeat those things that you did when you loved Him
C. They are commended again in verse six for their stand against the Nicolaitans.
1. Known as “Conquerors of the people” they have been seen as the beginning of a dividing of powers in the Church.
2. A heirarchy of leadership – the priest over the people – or “Priest/Pastor” over the “Laity” ie. the people.

IV. If They Will Hear They Will Overcome and be Given the Tree of Life (v. 7; Gen. 2:9; 3:2-3, 22-24).
The phrase “Tree of Life” is used 9 times in Scripture. Four of those are in Proverbs 3, 11, 13 and 15. The other 5 are used in Gen. 2 and 3; and the Rev. 2 and 22.
A. The Tree of Life is for those who will hear and overcome.
B. The way to the Tree of Life is through the Lord Jesus Christ.

His Kingdom Coming

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, and shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” 
Matthew 13:44-50 (KJB)

The finished result of the kingdom of heaven will be the final putting away of all that is evil and false. The complete redemption of all who are bought and claimed by the Redeemer. All the parables of Matthew 13 give us an outline, together, of the Church Age. First of all in the parable of the “Sower” we see individual’s responses to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Secondly, in the parables of the wheat and the tares, the mustard seed, and the leaven; we see Satan’s opposition to the work of God in His kingdom, and his attacks upon it. Thirdly, we see the results of Judgment upon the “Treasure” [Israel], the Pearl [the Church], and the dragnet [Gentile nations]. This parable shows us that there is evil in the kingdom of heaven; the kingdom of Christ while He is not bodily present, and it will progress until He comes again.

I. In the parable of the “Wheat and the tares” the field is the world (v. 44).

* + In this world “a man” is God in the person of His Son, and the “treasure” is true Israel.
* + When God called Israel to be His people and Nation He had a plan for them, and He still does.

Warren Wiersbe says, “That nation was placed in the world to bring glory to God, but it failed. It became a nation hidden, a treasure not being invested to produce dividends for God. Jesus Christ gave His all to purchase the whole world in order to save the nation (John 11:51). On the cross, Jesus died for the whole world; but in a special way, He died for Israel (Isaiah 53:8). The nation suffered judgment and seeming destruction, but in God’s sight it is ‘hidden’ and will be revealed again in glory.” From the Bible Exposition Commentary by Warren W. Wiersbe, p. 47, VOL. 1.

II. Pearls are made through the much tribulation of the oyster (vv. 45-46).

* + I don’t know all the mechanics behind the making of the pearl, but what we have all heard is that it begins with a grain of sand being on the sensitive part of its body.
* + In the parable of the “pearl of great price” (vv. 45-46), it has seen the similar interpretation as the above “treasure”, the “pearl” being Christ Jesus and those who give up all they have, and purchase the pearl have made a great bargain.

” Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God:” 1 Corinthians 10:32 (KJV). “Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.” Ephesians 2:11-13 (KJV). “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.” Ephesians 4:4-7 (KJV). “The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” Psalms 14:2-3 (KJV).

III. In this parable of the precious pearl the “Merchant man” is surely representing Jesus Christ (vv. 45-46).

* + Jesus saw the Church as being a precious pearl, and gave up the splendors and glory of heaven to come and redeem fallen men to God.
* + In Scripture we always have God seeking for men.
* It was Jesus who said, “I came to seek and save that which is lost” (Luke 19:10).
* + The pearl which the Merchant man seeks is the Church.
* + The growth of the Church is unseen by the world, just as the pearl within the oyster.

IV. Jesus once again goes to the sea, only in a bigger way (vv. 47-50).

* + Keep in mind that we are to understand that the “kingdom of heaven” contains both the good and the bad [evil]; the true and the false.
* + The good and true ae the ones who are genuine believers.
*  (Daniel 7:1-3; Revelation 13:1; 17:15).
* + The time of this judgment is at the end of the age, when God is going to make all things right.
* It is not the end of the Church Age, but the end of the age of a “Mixed Multitude”.

-by Tim A. Blankenship
For further study and reading