Archive for September, 2021

The Corrupt Church

Thursday, September 30th, 2021

The Corrupt Church

Pastor Don Carpenter

The Jesus Letters / Revelation 2:18–29

Neville Chamberlain was known for his policy of appeasement. As the prime minister of Britain before World War II, he knew that the country was still weary from the first World War, and wanted to avoid a European war at all costs. The problem was that at the same time Hitler was planning to overrun Europe, including Britain. Chamberlain did not want Britain to have to confront Hitler and his army, so in September of 1938 he reached an agreement with Hitler that resulted in the Munich Pact. Italy and France joined Britain in agreeing to surrender parts of Czechoslovakia to Germany in return for Hitler’s agreement not to invade any other European countries. Chamberlain confidently came home proclaiming, “Peace in our time.” They really believed that by giving into Hitler’s demands he would stop, or limit, his aggression. And, at that point, America was standing back hoping the whole thing would go away. But Hitler arrogantly ignored the pact, taking most of Czechoslovakia and invading Poland. It became obvious that France and Britain were in his sights as well. The Munich Pact is now a universal symbol of the failure of the policy of appeasement.

What caused Chamberlain and the others to actually believe that appeasement would work? I believe that it is a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature and reality of evil. When we suffer under the illusion that evil can be reasoned with, and agreements made that will be lived up to, then we are at the mercy of evil. When we recognize evil for what it is, then we have begun to disarm it and are prepared to deal with it. We begin to live in the world of reality.  

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The one thing we do know (about Thyatira) is that it was a great commercial centre, especially of the dyeing industry and of the trade in woollen goods. It was from Thyatira that Lydia, the seller of purple, came (Acts 16:14). From inscriptions discovered, we learn that it had an extraordinary number of trade guilds. These were associations for mutual profit and pleasure of people employed in certain trades. There were guilds of workers in wool, leather, linen and bronze, makers of outer garments, dyers, potters, bakers and slave-dealers.

Here, we think, was the problem of the church in Thyatira. To refuse to join one of these guilds would mean to give up all prospect of commercial existence. Why should a Christian not join one of these guilds? They held common meals. These would very often be held in a temple; and, even if not, they would begin and end with a formal sacrifice to the gods, and the meat eaten would be meat which had already been offered to idols. Further, it often happened that these communal meals were occasions of drunken revelry and slack morality. Was it possible for a Christian to be part of such occasions?

Here was the problem at Thyatira: the threat came from inside the church. There was a strong movement, led by the woman referred to as Jezebel, which pleaded for compromise with the world’s standards in the interests of business and commercial prosperity, maintaining, no doubt, that the Holy Spirit could preserve them from any harm. The answer of the risen Christ is uncompromising. Christians must have nothing to do with such things.

1 William Barclay, The Revelation of John, 3rd ed. fully rev. and updated., vol. 1, The New Daily Study Bible (Louisville, KY; London: Westminster John Knox Press, 2004), 112–113.

The believers in their love, had allowed terrible theological corruption to eat away at the church like a cancer. In His letter to the church, Jesus the Great Physician gives the only prescription for this kind of cancer, radical surgery. This is how to deal with the Jezebel problem.

The Author’s Credentials

Revelation 2:18 KJV

And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass;

The Comfort – Son of God

John 3:16 KJV

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

The Warning – Eyes of Fire and Feet of Brass

Revelation 1:14–15 KJV

His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; 

And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.

Daniel 10:6 KJV

His body also was like the beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as lamps of fire, and his arms and his feet like in colour to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude.

First, the letter opens with a description of the risen Christ which has a threat in it. His eyes are like a flame of fire and his feet like polished bronze. The description is taken from that of the angelic messenger in Daniel 10:6: ‘His face [was] like lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze.’ The flaming eyes must stand for two things—blazing anger against sin and the awful penetration of that gaze which strips the disguises away and sees into the depths of a person’s heart. The bronze feet must stand for the immovable power of the risen Christ. A message which begins like that will certainly be no soothing tranquilizer.

1 William Barclay, The Revelation of John, 3rd ed. fully rev. and updated., vol. 1, The New Daily Study Bible (Louisville, KY; London: Westminster John Knox Press, 2004), 114.

The Author’s Commendation

 Revelation 2:19 (KJV)

 I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first.

The letter goes on to use terms of the highest praise. The love and loyalty and service and endurance of the church at Thyatira are matters for congratulation. We must note how these great qualities go in pairs. Service is the outcome of love, and patient endurance the product of loyalty.

1 William Barclay, The Revelation of John, 3rd ed. fully rev. and updated., vol. 1, The New Daily Study Bible (Louisville, KY; London: Westminster John Knox Press, 2004), 114.

last works are greater than the first Their love for God and one another increased, in contrast to the church in Ephesus (vv. 4–5)1

1 John D. Barry et al., Faithlife Study Bible (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012, 2016), Re 2:19.

The Author’s Condemnation

You Suffer (Allow) Jezabel

This woman is called Jezebel and, therefore, her character must be discovered in the original Jezebel, than whom few women have acquired a worse reputation for wickedness. She was the daughter of Ethbaal, king of Sidon, and the wife of Ahab (1 Kings 16:31). When she came from Sidon, she brought her own gods and caused Ahab and his people to worship Baal. It was not that she would have wanted to banish the worship of Yahweh, if the prophets of Yahweh would have accepted Baal in addition to Yahweh. She slew the prophets of the Lord and at her own table supported 450 prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18:13, 18:19). She was Ahab’s evil genius; in particular, she was responsible for the murder of Naboth in order that Ahab might gain possession of the ground where his vineyard stood (1 Kings 21). And she left behind her a name for ‘whoredoms and sorceries’ (2 Kings 9:22).

All this must mean that Jezebel of Thyatira was an evil influence on the life and worship of the Christian Church. It must be clearly understood that she had no wish to destroy the Church; but she wanted to bring into it new ways which were, in fact, destructive of the faith.

1 William Barclay, The Revelation of John, 3rd ed. fully rev. and updated., vol. 1, The New Daily Study Bible (Louisville, KY; London: Westminster John Knox Press, 2004), 116–117.

You Suffer (Allow) Her To Have Status as Prophetess

2 Corinthians 11:13–16 KJV

For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. 

And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 

Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works. 

I say again, Let no man think me a fool; if otherwise, yet as a fool receive me, that I may boast myself a little.

You Suffer (Allow) Her to Teach and Seduce the Sheep To Spiritual Infidelity.

1 Corinthians 14:34 KJV

Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.

1 Timothy 2:12 KJV

But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.

** The seduction of Jezabel often used the men as puppets in order not to be exposed as a usurper of authority.**

You Suffer (Allow) Someone Tapped Into Demonic Power to Have Access to the Sheep.

Revelation 2:24 KJV

But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden.

I Gave Her A Chance

Revelation 2:21–22 KJV

And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. 

Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.

I know The Heart

Revelation 2:23 KJV

And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

Hang On, I’m Coming

Revelation 2:25–29 KJV

But that which ye have already hold fast till I come. 

And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: 

And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. 

And I will give him the morning star. 

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

If someone has cancer, an operation is usually performed to cut out the malignancy. The reason is simple: if left alone, it will metastasize; that is, it will spread. No one wants a cancer to spread, so it is cut out or otherwise removed from the body so that the patient can be healthy again. And, of course, when the doctors tell the patient, “We got it all,” everyone is encouraged and rejoices.

The same thing should be true in the church. The reason to excommunicate the one refusing to be disciplined is to protect the rest of the body from being infected with that disease. Sin, like cancer, needs to be cut out so it will not spread.

1 Michael P. Green, 1500 Illustrations for Biblical Preaching (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2000), 61.

Doctrinal Corruption can destroy a church from the inside out. It is especially dangerous when someone, fueled by demonic power, comes in claiming to be teaching the truth but instead seducing well meaning sheep away from the truth. We saw with the Church at Ephesus, one can have doctrine and lose his first love. Here we see you can have love, and lose doctrine. It takes radical surgery to deal with the Jezebel problem.

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 11:00 AM September 30, 2021.

Wednesday Bible Study and Prayer Meeting 9/29 @ 7:00

Wednesday, September 29th, 2021

Have you ever had an identity crisis and wondered exactly who God wants you to be? Join us tonight @ 7:00 for a soul stirring message: “You Be You!”

You Be You!

Tuesday, September 28th, 2021

You Be You

Pastor Don Carpenter

2021 Bible Reading Challenge

“You Be You” This phrase is often quoted by Facebook prophets, preachers, and self proclaimed experts of self help virtue. This phrase is often used to embolden people to reject anyone else’s judgment and boldly and publically embrace their own choice, expression and even sexual identity. But wait??!!? What does the Bible say about our personal identity?

This is actually the subject of Jonah 1:1-9. Jonah was a prophet. He didn’t want to be a prophet. God called him to a people he hated. He didn’t want to go. He didn’t want to be a prophet. He ran away from who he was. Just because Jonah was upset with who he was did not change who he was. So while God called him north, he ran south and sailed *souther*… So God followed him and sent a storm. The pegan sailors knew that some god was mad and they cast lots to figure out whose god was mad and the lot fell on Jonah. Immediately they wanted to know who he was… what was his identity.

Jonah 1:7–8 KJV

And they said every one to his fellow, Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is upon us. So they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonah. 

Then said they unto him, Tell us, we pray thee, for whose cause this evil is upon us; What is thine occupation? and whence comest thou? what is thy country? and of what people art thou?

Hmm. What was Jonah going to do? It was at that point Jonah began to come face to face with his identity. He was not his own. He had to embrace the fact that as a believer he was not his own. His identity belonged to the One he served.

2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Luke 9:23 KJV

And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

We must first embrace our own old identity, as Jesus said, “if any man will come after me, let him deny himself . . . “ We must embrace it and deny it, then by faith accept our spiritual identity in Jesus Christ. The analogy is given, for purposes of illustrating, of a fifteen year old, unmarried and pregnant girl. Abortion is not an option and the girl has made the decision to give the baby up for adoption. Should she see the baby prior to giving it up or not. One might suggest it would be easier to have the baby and leave the hospital without have seen him and avoid the trauma of separation. That would seem easier, but would she have faced the reality of the situation?

Did you ever try to give away something you never had? Without seeing the baby, there’s a sense of unreality about the situation. Of course, she’s carried the baby in her womb, but there’s a difference between that and holding the baby and owning him. Once the young mother has held the baby and owned and loved him for a day or so, and then given him to the adoptive parents, the reality hits with full force. Then it’s possible to go through the grief process, the separation anxiety or whatever sense of loss the mother experiences.

My point is, when it comes to our humanly achieved identity, each of us needs to ask the question, “Have I owned my ‘baby,’ or is there still a sense of unreality about the identity out of which I live?” For us to accept our new identity in Jesus Christ, each of us must define our humanly achieved or fleshly, worldly identity and look it squarely to understand what we must lose if we are to live out of our true identity in the Lord Jesus Christ. We must “lose our baby,” which has been in the formation stage for a lifetime, if we’re to know the joy and blessing of our new identity as accepted and dearly loved children of God in Christ.

I’ve “owned my baby,” the identity I’ve held of positive performance-based acceptance, of being a good pastor, of performing well as the preacher and receiving the acceptance I get from “a job well done” or “a great sermon,” that handshake of affirmation at the back door, of pleasing other people which is all a part of my past identity. I own it and I’ve given it up and I receive the identity of Jesus Christ.

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So as Jonah came face to face with his sin, he had to embrace his identity as a believer. Tonight as we dig into this powerful story. Let us realize that as believers we are not our own. We have a new identity. Only then can we live out the Facebook admonition, You Be You.

Jonah 1:9 KJV

And he said unto them, I am an Hebrew; and I fear the LORD, the God of heaven, which hath made the sea and the dry land.

Jonah’s flight is stopped by the questions from the heathen crewmen. He hears them, and in so doing shows the first indication of overcoming the human impulse to hide. He is no longer simply one of the crowd. Jonah’s hopes for anonymity were dashed by the hopes of the sailors to identify the cause of the storm.

Now his claim is open to being challenged by the pagans. They were in no doubt that the gods were capable of rescuing them if only they could find the right key, that is, the right god, and the cause of the storm. In putting Jonah on the spot, the pagan sailors were putting his God on the spot. It is they who force the issue. Jonah appears to have been happy to let the storm do its worst, but the pagans will not accept this and Jonah, in extremis, is forced to declare himself as one who ‘fears’ the Lord. His claim will now be put to the test.1

1 Rosemary A. Nixon, The Message of Jonah: Presence in the Storm, ed. Alec Motyer, Derek Tidball, The Bible Speaks Today (England: Inter-Varsity Press, 2003), 102.

I Am One Of The Chosen

A Hebrew

Genesis 24:7 KJV

The LORD God of heaven, which took me from my father’s house, and from the land of my kindred, and which spake unto me, and that sware unto me, saying, Unto thy seed will I give this land; he shall send his angel before thee, and thou shalt take a wife unto my son from thence.

“I am an Hebrew”—that meant a lot. The Hebrews were known to be monotheistic; that is, they worshiped one God, never an idol. They had no other gods before them but worshiped the God who is the Creator.1

1 J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible Commentary: The Prophets (Jonah/Micah), electronic ed., vol. 29 (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1991), 29.

I am a New Creature 

2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

I Belong to the Savior

1 Corinthians 6:19–20 KJV

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 

For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

I Fear The Lord

Fear – Worship

In one sense the prophet ignores the question concerning his occupation. He does not say that God has given him the task of going to Nineveh; he is escaping still from his vocation. Yet in another sense he has stated it by saying that he ‘fears the Lord’. In one sense he does fear the Lord, for he is an Israelite, one of God’s covenant people. Yet again he does not fear the Lord, for he is running away from him. He also overlooks the question about where he is from; only the reader listening in at this point knows that he comes from the presence of the Lord.1

1 Rosemary A. Nixon, The Message of Jonah: Presence in the Storm, ed. Alec Motyer, Derek Tidball, The Bible Speaks Today (England: Inter-Varsity Press, 2003), 101.

The LORD – Jehovah

Jonah had not been asked about his religion, but he volunteers the information that he is a worshiper of (or “one who fears” rsv) Yahweh, the maker of sea and land. Smith-Goodspeed has “I stand in awe of the LORD.” The combination of the two parts of his answer may be taken in either of two ways: (1) since he is a Hebrew, he must therefore be a worshiper of Yahweh, or (2) he is a Hebrew, and in the restrictive sense, one of those who worships Yahweh. The first of these two is more likely. Yahweh is the personal name of the God of Israel, and is generally represented in English translations by “the LORD.” (jb is an exception in this respect). “The LORD” is a title, whereas Yahweh is a name, which might seem to favor using a name approximating in sound to Yahweh in a modern translation

1 Brynmor F. Price and Eugene Albert Nida, A Translators’ Handbook on the Book of Jonah, UBS Handbook Series (Stuttgart: United Bible Societies, 1978), 61–62.

If, however, one is to employ the expression “Lord,” it is important to combine features of importance and control, that is to say, a term should suggest that the person involved is a very important individual and that in some senses he governs or controls individuals who address him as “Lord.” An equivalent in some languages is simply “ruler”; in other cases, “master”; and there are some situations in which the closest equivalent indigenous term is “leader.” More frequently, however, the equivalent expression is “chief.”1

1 Brynmor F. Price and Eugene Albert Nida, A Translators’ Handbook on the Book of Jonah, UBS Handbook Series (Stuttgart: United Bible Societies, 1978), 62.

 • Not man

 • Not another god

 • Not the devil

Exodus 3:13–14 KJV

And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? 

And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.

I Fear The God of Heaven

In apposition to the name Yahweh, which is placed in an emphatic position, is the descriptive title God of heaven. This title occurs mainly in late books of the Old Testament, but also in Genesis 24:3, 7. Heaven is the dwelling-place of God, but this expression God of heaven also suggests the supremacy of Israel’s God over all rivals. As God of heaven, he is also concerned with the earth, since he made the sea and the dry land (the Hebrew order here, as against tev), which makes up its surface (Gen 1:9, 10), and hence controls the storms. The writer leaves us to infer the lack of logic in Jonah’s position; how could he hope to escape such a God by traveling westwards?1

1 Brynmor F. Price and Eugene Albert Nida, A Translators’ Handbook on the Book of Jonah, UBS Handbook Series (Stuttgart: United Bible Societies, 1978), 62.

The Creator

Psalm 115:15 KJV

Ye are blessed of the LORD Which made heaven and earth.

Psalm 146:6 KJV

Which made heaven, and earth, The sea, and all that therein is: Which keepeth truth for ever:

Nowhere To Hide

Psalm 139:7–10 KJV

Whither shall I go from thy spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence? 

If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: If I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. 

If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; 

Even there shall thy hand lead me, And thy right hand shall hold me.

He Is All Powerful

2 Chronicles 36:23 KJV

Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, All the kingdoms of the earth hath the LORD God of heaven given me; and he hath charged me to build him an house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? The LORD his God be with him, and let him go up.

1 John 3:20 KJV

For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.

He Is Merciful

Psalm 136:23 KJV

Who remembered us in our low estate: For his mercy endureth for ever:

If you are born again, you are not who you once were!

1 Corinthians 6:9–11 KJV

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 

Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 

And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

Rather than hiding from or fighting who God is transforming you to be, embrace who you have become and YOU BE YOU!

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 7:52 PM September 28, 2021.

Hey There Friend!

Tuesday, September 28th, 2021

Do you have a Bible question you would like to ask, but don’t know who you could ask that would not judge you or thunder down an avalanche of opinion, bluff and bluster? Join Pastor Don tonight and every Tuesday night at 9:00 Eastern for Bible Answers on FB Live. We answer your Bible questions and discuss topics that you want to talk about. Please pass this on to your friends! What do you want to talk about? Click this link to our live feed Tuesdays at 9:00. facebook.com/BibleAnswersCT

Come In From This Cold World!

Sunday, September 26th, 2021

This sin cursed world can be a cold and cruel place! I want to invite you to come in from the cold this morning at Evangelical Baptist Church 7 Winsted Road in Torrington Sunday Mornings at 11:00. We warm up with old friends, new friends, music, praise and something to think about from the Bible. Come in from the cold!

To The Compromising Church

Friday, September 24th, 2021

The Compromising Church

Pastor Don Carpenter

The Jesus Letters / Revelation 2:12–17

A man broke into a house one night, his goal was to take something small and valuable. While he was searching through the stuff he heard a small voice “Jesus is watching you.” He stopped for a moment and said to himself “This must be a voice from my old Sunday school.” So he continued searching, about 5 minutes later he heard the voice again “Jesus is watching you.” He turned his flashlight to the direction and he saw a parrot. He said to the parrot “What is your name?” The parrot replied “Moses” The robber then said “What kind of silly people would name there parrot Moses?” The parrot looked up and said “The same people who named the pit-bull Jesus…. and Jesus is Watching You!”

source: http://www.jokes4us.com/religiousjokes/jesusiswatchingyoujoke.html

Satan blinds us by our own success in the Christian life. We often look at the things we are doing right, swell with a bit of pride and assure ourselves that we are doing well. Jesus is watching. But hold on, He sees it all! I have heard folks over the years try to justify their unbiblical behavior by saying “well, Jesus Knows my heart.” That He does my friend and that is the problem!

Jeremiah 17:9 KJV

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

Jesus is watching you and He sees it all. He sees your struggles. He sees your faith. He sees your faithfulness. He sees your compromise. He sees your failure. He sees if and when you repent, Jesus is watching you.

This morning we are looking at another of the Jesus Letters. This one is to the angel (messenger, most likely the pastor) of the church at Pergamos. This church had its huge challenges, its virtues and its shortcomings. The message to the church was both comforting and sobering. Jesus is Watching You.

Jesus, The Living WORD Exposes it All

John 1:1 KJV

IN the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

John 1:14 KJV

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

Hebrews 4:12 KJV

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.

Revelation 1:16 KJV

And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.

Revelation 2:12 KJV

And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges;

Jesus Knows the Good.

Revelation 2:13 KJV

I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.

Dwelling Where Satan Sits

The reason our Lord said that Satan’s throne was in Pergamum was because of the heathen temples there. Of course, all of this is in ruins today. There are markers and some reconstruction going on there now. But in John’s day it was Satan’s throne. As you enter the gate of the city, you see that the first temple to your right is the imposing temple of Athena. Directly above it is the great library. You would see the great temple of Caesar Augustus and Hadrian’s great temple, which covers quite a bit of territory. There are other things that are quite interesting. There is the great altar to Zeus with an idol on it near the palace of the king. It is a very impressive spot, and some folk believe that it was the throne of Satan. Well, I think that it is included but that Satan’s throne is a combination of all of these.

J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible Commentary: The Prophecy (Revelation 1-5), electronic ed., vol. 58 (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1991), 80–81.

Holding fast by Christ’s name

You hold fast my name and you did not deny my faith: this is one compliment, stated first positively and then negatively. To “hold (fast) the name (of)” means to be true to, to be faithful and loyal to the person named. For name see 2:3. The statement you did not deny my faith means “you did not give up your faith in me,” “you did not stop believing in me,” or “you have always been loyal to me.” The genitive phrase my faith is objective: “faith in me,” not “the faith I have” (see the parallel statement in 3:8, “you … have not denied my name”).1

1 Robert G. Bratcher and Howard Hatton, A Handbook on the Revelation to John, UBS Handbook Series (New York: United Bible Societies, 1993), 52.

Has not denied my faith

Romans 3:22 KJV

Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:

The Christians at Pergamum proved that it was perfectly possible to be a Christian under such circumstances. Even when martyrdom was in the air, they did not flinch. Of Antipas we know nothing; there is a late legend in the writings of Tertullian that he met his death by being slowly roasted to death within a brass bull. But there is a point in the Greek—impossible to reproduce in English—which is extremely significant. The risen Christ calls Antipas my faithful martus. We have translated that as martyr; but martus is the normal Greek word for witness. In the early Church, to be a martyr and to be a witness were one and the same thing. Witness so often meant martyrdom. Here is a rebuke to us. So many are prepared to demonstrate their Christianity in Christian circles but are equally prepared to play it down in circles where Christianity is met with opposition.

1 William Barclay, The Revelation of John, 3rd ed. fully rev. and updated., vol. 1, The New Daily Study Bible (Louisville, KY; London: Westminster John Knox Press, 2004), 101–102.

Jesus Knows The Bad

Revelation 2:14–15 KJV

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. 

So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.

Tolerate the Doctrine of Balaam

The two items for condemnation were the doctrine of Balaam and the doctrine of the Nicolaitans. “The doctrine of Balaam” is different from the error of Balaam (see Jude 11), which revealed that Balaam thought that God would curse Israel because they were sinners. It is also different from the way of Balaam (see 2 Pet. 2:15), which was covetousness. But here in the verse before us, it is the doctrine or teaching of Balaam. He taught Balac the way to corrupt Israel by intermarriage with the Moabite women. This introduced into the nation of Israel both idolatry and fornication. And during the historical period which the church at Pergamum represents, the unconverted world came into the church.

1 J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible Commentary: The Prophecy (Revelation 1-5), electronic ed., vol. 58 (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1991), 82.

2 Timothy 3:5 KJV

Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

 • Believers have been seduced to commit fornication.

 • There are those who hold to the doctrine of the Nicolaitans which Jesus hates.

Tolerate The Doctrine of the Nicolaitans

The doctrine of the Nicolaitans was created by those who claimed to have a superior status over the laity of the Church; the laity was the rest of the household of God. This doctrine created a division between the people of God known as the clergy-laity divide and prevented the doctrine of the “priesthood of all believers” from being practiced in the Church then and continues today. Those who followed the doctrine of the Nicolaitans assumed superiority over the people. They exercised authority and power over the people using the positional, top down hierarchy system. This doctrine taught that only those who served as the official clergy were the ones who could hear, understand, and knew what God was saying to the people.

Tolerate Rather Than Separate

2 Corinthians 6:14–17 KJV

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 

And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 

And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 

Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,

Jesus Knows What Must Happen

Revelation 2:16–17 KJV

Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. 

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.

Repent

1 John 1:9 KJV

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Separate From Unbelievers and their Doctrine

Jude 3–4 KJV

Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. 

For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 6:17 KJV

Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,

If you don’t move them out, Jesus will declare war on them while they are still in the church.

Future Promise is worth present sacrifice.

Revelation 2:17 KJV

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.

We must note another thing. The risen Christ calls Antipas my faithful martus and so gives him nothing less than his own title. In Revelation 1:5 and 3:14, Christ himself is called the faithful martus; to those who are true to him he gives nothing less than his own name.1

1 William Barclay, The Revelation of John, 3rd ed. fully rev. and updated., vol. 1, The New Daily Study Bible (Louisville, KY; London: Westminster John Knox Press, 2004), 102.

A well-known author once told this story of an account he had with sea gulls: “Several years ago our family visited Niagara Falls. It was spring, and ice was rushing down the river. As I viewed the large blocks of ice flowing toward the falls, I could see that there were dead fish embedded in the ice. Gulls by the score were riding down the river feeding on the fish. As they came to the brink of the falls, their wings would go out, and they would escape from the falls. “I watched one gull which seemed to delay and wondered when it would leave. It was engrossed in the fish, and when it finally came to the brink of the falls, out went its powerful wings. The bird flapped and flapped and even lifted the ice out of the water, and I thought it would escape. But it had delayed too long so that its claws had frozen into the ice. The weight of the ice was too great, and the gull plunged into the abyss.”

How sad that even though the bird had plenty of time to fly away, because it delayed it paid the price. Now think of this story in terms of the Christian life. When we become overly enthralled with the things of this world, they can bring us down and cause our spiritual death. The finest attractions of this world become deadly when we become overly attached to them. If we cannot give up the things of this world and focus on Christ, we cannot be used by Him. Our eyes must be upward on Christ rather than downward on this world.

Beware of the comfortable seduction of compromise. Jesus is watching you.

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 11:24 AM September 24, 2021.

New Adult Sunday School Class Starts This Sunday @ 10 AM!

Thursday, September 23rd, 2021

What we assume is so often different from what the Bible tells us is true. For instance,

• We think trials bring only pain; God says they bring growth.

• We think the way to get is to keep; God says the way to receive is to give.

• We think the greatest person has the highest position; God says the greatest is a servant.

• We think that when someone hurts us, we should get even; God says that when someone hurts us, we should bless them.

• We think God uses great people; God says He uses insignificant people. In almost every area of life, our natural thoughts run contrary to what Scripture teaches. In fact, a large component of the process of Christian growth is having our minds renewed—transformed from worldly thinking to biblical thinking.

EBC Is Meeting In Person Tonight! 9/22

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2021

Members that had been exposed to COVID have tested negative! Please celebrate with us by joining us for prayer and Bible Study tonight.

Join us Tuesday Nights @ 9:00 For Bible Answers on Facebook Live!

Tuesday, September 21st, 2021

We are a FB live program where we answer your Bible questions and discuss topics that you want to talk about, will be live tonight at 9:00 EST. Please pass this on to your friends! What do you want to talk about tonight?

facebook.com/BibleAnswersCT

Tonight’s Meeting is on Google Meet only

Sunday, September 19th, 2021

https://meet.google.com/gxd-irzd-ahm