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.
A.W. Tozer wrote, “We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum.”
Leonard Ravenhill said, “The answer to militant godlessness is militant godliness.”
In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “Charles Grandison Finney was a New York lawyer known for his antagonism to evangelical Christianity prior to his dramatic conversion in 1821. Almost immediately after his encounter with God, he began preaching the gospel, using his skills as an attorney to drive home the evangelistic message. Many came under conviction of sin and saving faith in Christ in his early meetings, which were conducted throughout rural New England. In 1830, the now-popular itinerant evangelist took his ministry to upstate New York. In Rochester he held his first campaign in a major city. It would prove to be his most successful campaign. The revival of 1830 wasn’t limited to Finney’s ministry, however. While he was preaching in Rochester, others were experiencing revival, from Maine to Texas. Across America that year, an estimated 100,000 converts were added to the church.”
The second thing that the Lord has against the church at Pergamos is that they also had “those who held the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes,” which Jesus says he hates. As we learned from the letter to the church at Ephesus, Nicolas was a leader in the Jerusalem church who apparently had not gotten rid of some of his pagan ways. His influence began to corrupt other believers and lead them astray. The same thing was happening at Pergamos. The people of that church were being led to compromise their positions and accommodate worldly influences.
Warren Wiersbe said, “Despite their courageous stand against persecution, the believers in Pergamos were not faultless before the Lord. Satan had not been able to destroy them by coming as the roaring lion, but he was making inroads as the deceiving serpent. A group of compromising people had infiltrated the church fellowship, and Jesus Christ hated their doctrines and their practices. These infiltrators were called Nicolaitans, whom we already met at Ephesus. Their name means ‘to rule the people.’ What they taught is called the ‘doctrine of Balaam.’ The Hebrew name Balaam means ‘the lord of the people.’ Sadly, this group of professed believers lorded it over the people and led them astray. A group of people in the church said, ‘There is nothing wrong with being friendly with Rome. What harm is there in putting a pinch of incense on the altar and affirming your loyalty to Caesar?’ Antipas refused to compromise and was martyred; but the others took the easy way and cooperated with Rome. The Lord accused the Christians in pergamos of sinning, of committing spiritual fornication. Of course this compromise made them welcome in the Roman guilds and protected them from Roman persecution, but it cost them their testimony and their crown.”
The Christians of Pergamos were tempted to go along with pagan sacrifices, feasting at festivals where the meat was sacrificed to idols, and declaring their allegiance to Caesar. This would make them accepted by the world. They could benefit from being members of the guilds that had been organized for merchants and craftsmen which meant they could make money from their products. By saying, “Caesar is Lord” and taking the easy route, they would be protected from persecution by the government. The doctrine of the Nicolaitans said that one had to go along to get along.
But Jesus tells the church to “repent” of this compromise. If they don’t repent, He says, “I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them [those who teach the doctrines of Balaam and Nicolas] with the sword of my mouth.” Jesus gives the church room to deal with this issue themselves. He allows them a chance to pick sides — the side of Christ or the side of compromise. Today, we must also pick whose side we will be on — the side of Christ or the side of the world. Siding with the world will make our life temporarily easy. Siding with Christ will may lead to our martyrdom as it did for Antipas, but those who follow the Lord will gain eternal rewards.
Deborah Ann Belka wrote:
Lord, You’ve opened my eyes,
to the darkness of mankind
now let it be Your holy light
flooding my heart and mind.
Let me turn away from,
that which causes You offense
let me not be like those who
compromise to make friends.
Let me be bold in the battle,
steadfast in my daily fight
let me be for You a soldier
full of Your holy might.
Though mankind may scoff,
and turn away from me
let it be Your love…
mercy and grace they see!
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.