Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Would Jesus rebuke your church?

Today as I read Revelation 2:12-17 (what Jesus said to the church of Purgamos) there were some things that I wanted to read commentary on; however, I decided to blog about what I am receiving so far and then read some commentary about the historical questions I have. So, that’s the plan…the first part will be my initial thoughts, second part will be our summary outline this far, the third part will be what I gained through commentary.

The first thing I noticed is that the text reads “THE TWO-EDGED SWORD”, not “A TWO-EDGED SWORD”.

Revelation 2:12 "And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write, 'These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword:

The next thing I noticed is that Jesus says, “I know your works and where you dwell”. We can be confident as we serve Him that our labor of love for Him does not go unnoticed and we are not forgotten; He has His eye on us.

Revelation 2:13 "I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan's throne is. And you hold fast to My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.

In the last half of verse 13 Jesus mentions one of His martyrs, Antipas. I did a search for this name and I did not find any other place in the Bible where Antipas is mentioned; however, just because that is the case doesn’t mean that his faithfulness went unnoticed by Jesus. The other thing that does not go unnoticed by Our King is the faithfulness of those that hold strong in the faith, even in the face of death and other persecution. I don’t know what it means when He says, “where Satan dwells”; but I know this….the Word says that Satan is the prince of this world and he prowls around seeking whom he may devour. If we know this to be true, there must be a whole other level of intensity “where he dwells”. I don’t know this to be the case, as I said earlier, these are just thoughts that came to me as I read.

As I read through that verse I couldn’t help but have an image in my mind of these faithful Christians that will not waiver in the most hostile environment imaginable for a Christian…a place where Satan dwells and Christians are killed. You would think that in that environment (much like the church of Smyrna) there would be no rebuke from the Lord; after all, He did not rebuke the church of Smyrna. But, we find that He does find fault:

Revelation 2:14-15 But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. 15 Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.

Clearly we have solid, born-again believers in this church, but they are allowing sin in their midst. Once again we see two clear points, better isn’t best; and we are NOT to have fellowship with professing Christians that practice sin. It seems that it is one thing for a person to be deceived in to thinking they are saved while they habitually continue in sin; but it seems there is a whole different level of evil that can be within a faithful church when a person can have the kind of influence on a church to the point where they can infect the church with such evil and false teaching, yet the faithful will not address it. As we look at the list of things these people are doing it is easy to be condemning, yet we do not condemn those that are putting stumbling blocks in front of people in our churches today. We allow false doctrine to be preached without giving it a thought, let alone rebuke. We allow practicing homosexuals to “shepherd” churches and act like we have “grown” as a society. We allow new age doctrine to spread like wild fire and think we are smarter. We can sit and shake our head at the craziness they allowed in the church of Pergamos and totally ignore the elephant in our own churches. Our message today is the same as the message Jesus gave them:

Revelation 2:16 Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth.

Some might say, how can we know of this false teaching, I just go to the church I grew up in, or I just went to the church closest to my house? The answer is right in front of you; the two-edged Sword, the Word of God, the Bible. Read, study and meditate on the  Word of God  so when you hear or see that which is contrary to God’s Word you can rebuke it, just as Jesus did. Not only did Jesus rebuke, be He also called them to repentance.

Recap Jesus messages to the churches so far
Some items done well:
-works for Him
-don’t bear those who do evil
-test those claiming to be apostles
-labor for His name sake
-do not become weary in laboring for Him
-hate the works of those practicing and teaching false religions and perverting the Gospel
-work in the face of tribulation
-work while in poverty
-do not be swayed as those around are being killed for the faith
-do not deny faith in Jesus at any cost

Some items that need repentance:
-left first love
-not doing the works done at first
-allow false doctrine
-not rebuking those in the church practicing sin
-not separating themselves from false religion

“Characteristics”, “descriptions” of Jesus:
-Holds seven stars in His right hand
-Walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands
-First and the Last
-Was dead and came to Life
-Has the sharp two-edged sword

Call to action:
-return to the love you had at first
-do not fear when suffering for Christ
-overcome the testing of evil by being steadfast in the faith
-be faithful unto death

-Eat from the Tree of Life
-Crown of Life
-Not hurt by the second death
-Eat from the hidden manna
-given a new name

Picked up from commentary on verses 12-17:
1)    The churches failure to discipline false teachers will prompt Jesus to intervene directly
2)    Pergamum hosted temples of several false gods and even worshipped the emperor as god; all of which qualified them to be the site of Satan’s throne
3)    Jesus shared His title of “faithful witness” with Antipas, who sealed his testimony with his life
4)    To continue in communion with persons of corrupt principles and practices is to become “partakers of other men’s sins” which is displeasing to God. (1Timothy 5:22 Do not lay hands on anyone hastily, nor share in other people's sins; keep yourself pure.)

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