Archive for September 24th, 2021

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.