The Church at the Mouth of Hell and Jesus’ Two-edged Sword, Part 2 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #314)
A homily is “a short talk on a religious or moral topic; a usually short sermon; a lecture or discourse on or of a biblical theme.”
In our series of homilies from the book of Ephesians, we focused on reviving Christian families. Now, I am sharing a verse-by-verse series of short messages from the book of Revelation, specifically targeted at reviving the church. If our country is to be awakened, the family and the church must be revived first.
TEXT: Revelation 2:12-17:
12 And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges;
13 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.
14 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.
15 So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate.
16 Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.
17 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.
Adam Young wrote, “I cling to Jesus with every fiber of my being because He is unfailing, He is absolute, He is steadfast, and His grace is deeper and wider than my imagination can fathom. In Him and Him alone is where I’ve discovered a hope more bright and beautiful than words can possibly describe.”
Leonard Ravenhill said, “The Word of God helps the suffering as a mother hugs a weeping child; but it also slaps us in the face.”
In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “During the Second Great Awakening the modern missionary movement was also born. Baptist missionary William Carey took the gospel from England to India. His fellow Baptist Adoniram Judson took the same message from America to Burma. British evangelicals sent chaplains to their prison colonies in Australia. Samuel Marsden, one of those chaplains, became the first preacher of the gospel to the Maoris of New Zealand. In America, the revival transformed an entire society. By the 1820s, evangelical Christianity had become, as one historian notes, “one of the most dynamic and important cultural forces in American life.” Just as the First Great Awakening had shaped the character of an emerging nation, so the Second Great Awakening renewed that character and energized the church for the unique challenges of the century just begun.”
The true church of today can identify with the church of Pergamos because we often feel as though we are living “where Satan’s seat is.” Whatever hope humanists and post-millennialists have about the world increasingly getting better until the end of time has been dashed. Instead, it is the same as it has always been — if not worse. The violence we see perpetrated by ISIS, Boko Haram, terrorists around the world, and in Chicago is like the days of Noah when “the earth was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.” The sexual perversion and growing acceptance of homosexuality is like the days of Sodom and Gomorrah where “their sin was very grievous.” There is nothing new under the sun. Satan is just as active today as he was back then.
What should the church do as it seeks to shine a light in Satan’s seat? Two things from the commendation that Jesus gives the church at Pergamos.
First, we should hold fast to Jesus’ name. Christ applauds the church at Pergamos because, he says, “thou holdest fast my name.” To hold fast means to grip, to cling to, to seize and hold tightly. It would have been easy for this church to feel depressed and discouraged because of their environment. It would have been easy to lose hope. But they didn’t. They clung to Jesus. Some today say that Christians have lost the “culture wars.” Some say that the church needs to change with the times. Some say that we need to interpret the Bible differently because of the days in which we live. But the only thing that will keep God’s people encouraged and empowered during these times is holding fast to Jesus. He is our anchor. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He never changes, and if we cling to Him, we will end up on the winning side every time.
Then, Jesus applauds the church at Pergamos because, he says, “thou hast not denied my faith.” Now, this is what the devil and the world want from Christians. They want us to turn our back on the faith that was once delivered to the saints. The devil tells us that if we do so, we would be more accepted, more respected, and more applauded. We would step into the favor of the world and out of the sometimes cold, difficult straight and narrow path. But, as John says, those who leave the faith only prove that they were not true believers in the first place. But the Bible tells us that all true Christians will persevere to the end. By their not denying Jesus’ faith, the church at Pergamos proved that they were true followers of Him. And so shall we, if we hold fast to Jesus and don’t deny His faith.
This hymn by Jennie B. Wilson is very relevant to the church in this hour:
Time is filled with swift transition,
Naught of earth unmoved can stand,
Build your hopes on things eternal,
Hold to God’s unchanging hand.
Trust in Him who will not leave you,
Whatsoever years may bring,
If by earthly friends forsaken
Still more closely to Him cling.
Covet not this world’s vain riches
That so rapidly decay,
Seek to gain the heavenly treasures,
They will never pass away.
When your journey is completed,
If to God you have been true,
Fair and bright the home in glory
Your enraptured soul will view.
Hold to God’s unchanging hand,
Hold to God’s unchanging hand;
Build your hopes on things eternal,
Hold to God’s unchanging hand.
Now, if you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior, please keep in mind that the Bible says, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.” First, understand, that you are a sinner and that the wages of sin is death and Hell. But God sent Jesus Christ to die on the cross for your sins. He was buried, and He rose from the dead by the power of God so that you can be saved from death and Hell. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! Congratulations on trusting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. You have done the most important thing in life. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door, by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.