The Church at the Mouth of Hell and Jesus’ Two-edged Sword, Part 3 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #315)


Daniel Whyte III
Daniel Whyte III

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.

—-

Charles Spurgeon wrote, “The highest honor that God can confer upon his children is the blood-red crown of martyrdom. The jewels of a Christian are his afflictions. The regalia of the kings that God has made, are their troubles, their sorrows, and their griefs. Griefs exalt us, and troubles lift us.”

Leonard Ravenhill said, “Revival is worthwhile at any price.”

In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “No church that values its own standards can afford to depreciate revivals of religion. The whole history of the Christian Church from its foundation until now is the history of revivals. It should always be borne in mind that real revival is something infinitely higher than a mere gale of religious excitement sweeping over the churches. A genuine revival is a manifestation of supernatural and Divine power.”

—-

Jesus continued his commendation of the church at Pergamos by pointing out one of their own: Antipas, whom He calls, “My faithful martyr.” From Scripture, we don’t know much about who this Antipas was, but, according to Christian tradition, he was the Bishop of the church at Pergamos who had been ordained by John during the reign of the Roman emperor Domitian. After casting demons out among the local populace, Antipas was martyred by being burned to death on a pagan altar in the year 92.

The name Antipas means “against all.” It reminds us that even when it seems as though everything and everyone is against us, Jesus is with us and for us, and we can persevere. We may, like Antipas, meet with death while standing for Christ. When Antipas was killed, it seemed like the enemies of the faith had won, but Antipas was truly victorious because he went on to be with His Lord and He was deemed “faithful” by Jesus Christ. That is something we all ought to desire — for Jesus to say to us, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”

Being faithful to Jesus may require us to be martyred, and not just in the sense of being killed. The original meaning of the Greek word for “martyr” is: witness, or one who testifies. Not all true Christians will be killed by the world, but all true Christians will choose to be martyrs to the world. That is, we must be willing to testify that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, and that, believing in Christ, anyone can have eternal life through Him. We must be willing to testify to this truth when the heat is on and when it’s not. Most importantly, we ought to let our lives be a witness to who Christ is and what He has done in our hearts, and in the words of Queen Esther, if we perish, we perish.

Charles Wesley wrote:

We for Christ, our master, stand,
Lights in a benighted land:
We our dying Lord confess;
We are Jesus’ witnesses.

Witnesses that Christ hath died,
We with Him are crucified;
Christ hath burst the bands of death,
We His truth boldly express.

Strive we, in affection strive;
Let the purer flame revive,
Such as in the martyrs glowed,
Dying champions for their God.

Let’s pray.

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.


Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books including the Essence Magazine, Dallas Morning News, and Amazon.com national bestseller, Letters to Young Black Men. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry.

He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others.

He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University’s Rawlings School of Divinity (formerly Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary). He is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry degree.

He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica since 1987. God has blessed their union with seven children.

The Church at Smyrna: No Rebuke, but Trouble Will Come, Part 10 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #312)


Daniel Whyte III
Daniel Whyte III

TEXT: Revelation 2:8-11:

8 And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;

9 I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.

10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.

11 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.

—-

G.V. Wigram said, “What wealth have you, if you have not got Christ? If Christ is the object before you, all the things that afflict you will not take Christ from you.”

Leonard Ravenhill said, “Pale, pathetic, palliating preaching must go. The pulpit never needed voices more that it does at this hour.”

In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “There is debate among historians over when the Second Great Awakening began. Some indicate it began with Charles Finney in 1830. However, there was a tremendous movement of the Spirit beginning in 1800 that can’t be overlooked. The Second Great Awakening provided the catalyst for a number of developments in the church apart from political government, and this revival influenced the wider society. One significant outcome was the birth of many great evangelistic organizations. These included in England the British and Foreign Bible Society, the Religious Tract Society, the Baptist Missionary Society, the London Missionary Society, and the Church Missionary Society. In America, Bible, Sunday school, tract, and missionary societies were formed to spread the gospel.”

—-

As we wrap up Jesus’ letter to the suffering church at Smyrna, we are going to focus on the parenthetical statement in verse 9: “but thou art rich.” The position of this positive statement within parentheses in the middle of a passage about the suffering that this church is going through and is about to go through reminds us of how we often fail to focus on the positive in the midst of negative situations. Psychologists call it “negativity bias,” and it is something that afflicts all human beings. We have a tendency to highlight, to remember, to focus on, and to act out of that which is negative in our lives. But, in the midst of their negative situation, which is only about to get worse, Jesus points out something positive for the church at Smyrna to focus on: “but thou art rich.”

Now, Jesus has just said that He knew the poverty of the church at Smyrna, so what does He mean when He says that they are rich? Well, Jesus was not talking about physical, temporary riches. The church at Smyrna was in abject poverty. Rather, Jesus is talking about the spiritual, eternal riches that this church gained as a result of their faithfulness. Tony Garland said, “The church at Smyrna could not be accurately judged by external measures. As Trench observes, ‘there are both poor rich-men and rich poor-men in Jesus’ sight.’ The riches of the church at Smyrna were laid up in heaven. Material goods have no ultimate value, but will all be destroyed. Knowledge of this reality should bring a shift in priorities towards spiritual things which are truly lasting. In contrast, the church at Laodicea had great material prosperity, but Christ said they were ‘wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked.'”

The Bible Knowledge Commentary says, “What a comfort it was to the Christians in Smyrna to know that Christ knew all about their sufferings: I know your afflictions and your poverty—yet you are rich! Besides suffering persecution, they were also enduring extreme poverty. Though extremely poor, they were rich in the wonderful promises Christ had given them.” Those promises are found in 2 Corinthians 6:10 and James 2:5.

2 Corinthians 6:10 says, “As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.”

James 2:5 says, “Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?”

Some of the riches of the church at Smyrna were already being felt. Even in the midst of their suffering, they had peace and joy. Why? Because they were in the will of God. The world measures a person’s potential for peace and joy based on their physical possessions or their success in life. But, God’s peace and joy is measured by obedience, even if that obedience means suffering for Christ. Like Paul and Silas in prison, the church at Smyrna could rejoice because they knew that they were doing what God wanted them to do. On top of that, they knew that their obedience in the present moment was the source of even greater blessings being stored up for them on the other side. It may not have looked like it at the time, but the church at Smyrna was very rich.

Witness Lee wrote:

O the riches of my Savior,
So unsearchable, immense;
All the fulness of the Godhead
I may now experience.

O the riches of my Savior,
All-embracing: life and light,
Wisdom, power, healing, comfort,
Treasures rich of God’s delight;

God’s redemption, full salvation,
And His resurrection power,
Sanctifying, glorifying,
All transcending every hour!

O the riches of my Savior–
Nothing less than God as all!
All His person and possessions,
Now my spirit doth enthrall.

O the riches of my Savior!
Who can know their breadth and length,
Or their depth and height unmeasured,
Yet they are my joy and strength.

May I know these boundless riches,
Christ experience in full;
And with others may I share them
In their content bountiful.

Let’s pray.

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.


Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books including the Essence Magazine, Dallas Morning News, and Amazon.com national bestseller, Letters to Young Black Men. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry.

He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others.

He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University’s Rawlings School of Divinity (formerly Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary). He is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry degree.

He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica since 1987. God has blessed their union with seven children.

The Church at Smyrna: No Rebuke, but Trouble Will Come, Part 9 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #311)


Daniel Whyte III
Daniel Whyte III

TEXT: Revelation 2:8-11:

8 And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;

9 I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.

10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.

11 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.

—-

William Gurnall said, “Faith looks through the key-hole of the promise and tells thee what it sees there laid up for him who overcomes. Faith listens and tells thee that it can hear the shout of those crowned saints, as of those that are dividing the spoil and receiving the reward of all their services and sufferings here on earth.”

Leonard Ravenhill said, “God pity us that after years of writing, using mountains of paper and rivers of ink exhausting flashy terminology about the biggest revival meetings in history, we are still faced with gross corruption in every nation, as well as with the most prayerless church-age since Pentecost.”

In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “In many revivals in Quebec and North America, large crowds gathered to hear the gospel preached, just as the Haldane brothers had attracted in Scotland. Revivals, however, can’t be poured into a mold; God’s work in human life has varying expressions. In Geneva, Robert Haldane carried revival to a small group of students, and through a quiet ministry so different from what he’d experienced back in his native land, his students became carriers of revival to the world.”

—-

Jesus’ final word to the suffering church at Smyrna is: “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” All human beings have ears, but not all humans have “ears to hear.” Jesus used this expression when telling His parables. What does it mean? We hear many things every day that we do not listen to. Some people work with the television on in the background; they hear the television but they are not listening to it. To have “ears to hear” is to listen with intention, to listen with purpose, to choose to hear. This letter to the church at Smyrna, which is applicable to churches today, is for those who choose to hear with the Spirit has to say.

The letter ends with a word of promise for the believers: “He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.” All of Jesus’ words to this church have been about helping them to face their suffering and not despair in their suffering. Jesus wants them to overcome their suffering. The Greek word translated as “overcome” means to conquer, to prevail, or to get the victory. Even though we may be beaten down and buffeted by persecution and tribulation in this life, God’s plan is for us to overcome in the end.

However, our ultimate victory is not of this world. Our victory comes in escaping “the second death.” The second death is judgment at the Great White Throne where all those who have rejected Jesus Christ will be tried and sentenced to an eternity without God, without light, without end. Often, the world mocks those who give their all to Christ and put their lives on the line for him. Some say we are fools. But, like Paul, we ought say if we are fools, we are “fools for Christ’s sake” because escaping the second death is worth it.

As we go through this life, we will do well to have the words of C.A. Tindley’s hymn frequently on our lips:

This world is one great battlefield
With forces all arrayed,
If in my heart I do not yield
I’ll overcome someday.

Both seen and unseen powers join
To drive my soul astray,
But with His Word a sword of mine,
I’ll overcome someday.

A thousand snares are set for me,
And mountains in my way,
If Jesus will my leader be,
I’ll overcome someday.

I fail so often when I try
My Savior to obey;
It pains my heart and then I cry,
I’ll overcome someday.

My mind is not to do the wrong,
But walk the narrow way;
I’m praying as I journey on,
To overcome some day.

Though many a time no signs appear,
Of answer when I pray;
My Jesus says I need not fear,
I’ll overcome someday.

Let’s pray.

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.


Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books including the Essence Magazine, Dallas Morning News, and Amazon.com national bestseller, Letters to Young Black Men. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry.

He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others.

He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University’s Rawlings School of Divinity (formerly Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary). He is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry degree.

He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica since 1987. God has blessed their union with seven children.

The Church at Smyrna: No Rebuke, but Trouble Will Come, Part 5 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #306)


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 2:8-11:

8 And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;

9 I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.

10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.

11 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.

—-

Tim Keller said, “Christianity teaches that, contrary to fatalism, suffering is overwhelming; contrary to Buddhism, suffering is real; contrary to karma, suffering is often unfair; but contrary to secularism, suffering is meaningful. There is a purpose to it, and if faced rightly, it can drive us like a nail deep into the love of God and into more stability and spiritual power than you can imagine.”

Leonard Ravenhill said, “We raise our hats to the martyrs, and we thank God for the last drop of their blood, but we won’t give Him the first drop of ours.”

In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “When Robert Haldane decided to winter at Geneva, he moved to a suite of apartments located at 19 Promenade St. Antoine. In the generation following Haldane’s death, that address was still being called ‘le berceau’ (the birthplace) of ‘Geneva’s Second Reformation.’ The reform began quietly there and never grew into a large meeting.”

—-

An age-old question, asked by countless numbers throughout history, is: Why is there suffering? Many have asked, “Why is there suffering in the world?” Most of us have asked, “Why am I suffering? Why me?” The Church at Smyrna was going through suffering, and in His letter, Jesus has just informed them that more suffering is on the way. We can imagine them asking, “Why must we endure this? Why must we suffer?” The Bible reveals at least four reasons why God allows, and sometimes even brings, suffering into our lives.

One reason suffering comes into our lives is for disciplinary purposes. Suffering can be God’s way of disciplining or chastising us for our sins. Hebrews 12:5 says, “My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.” No one likes pain. No one likes suffering. But suffering for the purpose of chastisement is a part of the life of the Christian. God would be less than a father if He let us get away with our sins. He wants us to recognize the painful consequences of our wrongdoing so that we won’t do wrong again. Charles Spurgeon said, “If affliction seemed to be joyous, would it be chastisement at all? If suffering has no pain, then it surely has no benefit.”

All of life is based on the principle of reaping what we sow, both good and bad. While no justice dispensed by humans is perfect, governments, parents, employers, and other authority figures mete out appropriate punishment when those under their authority do wrong. This “suffering” can be physical, material, or financial. The point is for us to experience the pain of disobedience so that we will no longer disobey.

When we are undergoing this type of suffering, we ought to recognize that it is for our own good. Hebrews 12:11 says, “No chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” Instead of focusing on the suffering that you are going through, focus on what comes “afterward.” The “peaceable fruit of righteousness”, and the blessings that come from God as a result of that, are worth temporary suffering through chastisement.

Let’s pray.

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.

The Church at Smyrna: No Rebuke, but Trouble Will Come, Part 4 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #305)

bcnn1-header-homily


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 2:8-11:

8 And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;

9 I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.

10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.

11 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.

—-

A.W. Pink said, “Troubled soul, the ‘much tribulation’ will soon be over, and as you enter the ‘kingdom of God’ you shall then see, no longer ‘through a glass darkly’ but in the unshadowed sunlight of the Divine presence, that ‘all things’ did ‘work together’ for your personal and eternal good.”

Leonard Ravenhill said, “If a Christian is not having tribulation in the world, there’s something wrong!”

In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “The commitment to the Scriptures of Swiss reformers such as Zwingli and Calvin was almost nonexistent in Robert Haldane’s day. It was not uncommon for ministerial students to complete their course of training and never actually read the Bible through even once. One student testified, ‘During the four years I attended the theological teachers of Geneva, I did not, as part of my studies, read one single chapter of the Word of God, except a few Psalms and chapters I needed to read to learn Hebrew, and I did not receive one single lesson of exegesis of the Old or New Testament.’”

—-

After Jesus comforts the Church at Smyrna, letting them know that He has experienced all that they are going through, He gives them two commands.

The first command is “fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer.” Jesus has told His church that suffering is coming. It will come in the form of some being cast into prison and some being put on trial because of their faith. These can be scary propositions under a brutal, anti-Christian government. But Jesus says the Church should not be afraid. Fearlessness in the life of a Christian is an indicator that his focus is in the right place; his focus is on God, not on the persecution, the opposition, or the circumstances. If we look around us, we will find plenty of reasons to be afraid. But if we keep our focus on God, we will be reminded that He is greater than any suffering, persecution, or tribulation that we face.

Vance Havner said, “The ‘tribulation’ here spoken of by Christ does not mean the common trials to which all flesh is heir. Some dear souls think they are bearing their cross every time they have a headache. The tribulation mentioned here is trouble they would not have had if they had not been Christians.”

Not only ought we to fear not in the midst of tribulation, but we ought to “be faithful even unto death.” This command comes immediately after Jesus’ statement that the church at Smyrna would “have tribulation ten days.” Whether this is a literal ten days of twenty-four hours or a symbol of some other length of time we do not know. The point for us today is that “trouble don’t last always.” God has an appointed time to bring us out of our persecution and tribulation. A common expression is, “All good things must come to an end.” Well, all bad things must come to an end as well. We can be faithful in tribulation because we know that God will certainly see us through the tribulation and bring us out of the tribulation. We may not see the end, but God always sees the end from the beginning.

When we are tempted to give in to discouragement during persecution and tribulation, we must remember to keep our focus on God because then we will not be afraid. We must also strive to be faithful to the end of our trouble — even if that end is death. Remembering that God will bring us through no matter the outcome will help us stay focused, fearless, and faithful during tribulation and persecution.

True New Testament Revival: No Rebuke, but Trouble Will Come, Part 1 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #293)

early-church


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 2:8-11:

8 And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;

9 I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.

10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.

11 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.

—-

Charles Finney said, “If Christians were not such cowards, and absolutely disobedient to this plain command of God — ‘Thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbor, and not suffer sin upon him’ — one thing would certainly come of it: either they would be murdered in the streets as martyrs because men could not bear the intolerable presence of truth, or sinners would be speedily converted to God.”

Leonard Ravenhill said, “If Bible knowledge could change the world, we would’ve changed it long ago.”

In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “During Robert Haldane’s day, the Reformed churches of Switzerland were in decline. In 1810, several young men had united under the banner ‘La Societe desAmis’ (‘The Society of Friends’) as an evangelical response to the apparent spiritual apostasy in their church. Opposition by the clergy, most of whom adhered to Arian heresy, had been so strong that the group had disbanded in 1814. Some of the more committed members had left the Reformed Church and joined the Moravians.”

—-

Jesus opens His letter to the church at Smyrna with these words: “These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive.” He reminds them of who He is. The words “first and last” emphasize Jesus’ eternality and Jesus’ authority. In contrast to this is another affirmation that Jesus “was dead” — literally “chose to become dead” — and is now “alive.”

This reminder of who Jesus is is important for the church at Smyrna. Smyrna was a prominent Roman city and a center of the imperial religion. The pagan citizens of Smyrna regarded Caesar as supreme ruler, almost as a god. They declared, “Caesar is Lord,” something which the Christians of Smyrna would never do. The Christians were seen as traitors to the Empire. The Bible Exposition Commentary says, “Anyone refusing to acknowledge Caesar as Lord would certainly be excluded from the guilds. This would mean unemployment and poverty. The word used for poverty means ‘abject poverty, possessing absolutely nothing.'”

Not only were the Christians marginalized by the pagan Roman citizens, but they were marginalized by the Jews as well. Judaism was a sanctioned religion under Rome, but that did not prevent the minority Jewish community from hating the Christians. So, the believers at Smyrna were buffeted on both sides.

By reminding them of who He is, that He is the One who was dead, but is now alive, Jesus helps the church at Smyrna to understand that they are not alone. Jesus Himself experienced such persecution. He was betrayed and slandered by the Jews and beaten and crucified by the Romans. He identifies with His church in its suffering. This is an encouragement for the church at Smyrna and persecuted believers today because it reminds us that we are taking part in the suffering of Christ. When the church is assaulted Christ is assaulted.

This passage matters to us today because the church is still under assault. According to the Center for Studies on New Religions, nearly 90,000 Christians were killed for their faith in 2016. That works out to one death every 6 minutes. The annual study also indicated that between 500 and 600 million Christians experienced other forms of persecution that prevented them from freely practicing their faith.

Christ accepted His suffering. He chose to die. But now He is alive and He is the beginning and the end of all things. The Christians at Smyrna knew that, ultimately, they lived in Christ and would one day live with Christ. Just as Jesus overcame, they would overcome if they remained faithful. For them and for us, the persecution of the present does not diminish the victory of the future.

Timothy Dwight wrote:

I love thy church, O God.
Her walls before thee stand,
dear as the apple of thine eye,
and graven on thy hand.

For her my tears shall fall;
for her my prayers ascend;
to her my cares and toils be given,
till toils and cares shall end.

Sure as thy truth shall last,
to Zion shall be given
the brightest glories earth can yield,
and brighter bliss of heaven.

Let’s pray.

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.

True New Testament Revival: Getting Back to Our First Love, Part 14 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #292)

early-church


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 2:1-7:

1 Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;

2 I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:

3 And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.

4 Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.

5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.

6 But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate.

7 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 tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

—-

John Wesley said, “Value all things only by the price they shall gain in eternity.”

Leonard Ravenhill said, “The cross is going to judge everything in your life — your eating, your drinking, your sleeping, your spending, your talking. Everything in your life will be cross examined.”

In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “Before Robert Haldane left Geneva, however, a pastor agreed to take him to visit a local tourist attraction. The evening before the tour, the pastor came down with a severe headache but arranged for a young divinity student at the local college to accompany Haldane. During the tour, the Scottish preacher and the student began discussing theology. Haldane wrote in his journal: I found him profoundly ignorant, although in a state of mind that showed he was willing to receive information. He returned with me to the inn, and remained till late at night. Next morning he came with another student, equally in darkness with himself. I questioned them respecting their personal hope of salvation, and the foundation of that hope…. After some conversation, they became convinced of their ignorance of the Scriptures, and of the way of salvation, and exceedingly desirous of information. I therefore postponed my intended departure from Geneva. After listening to Haldane for a day, the student told a friend, ‘Here is a man who knows the Bible like Calvin!'”

—-

In life, there are many things that the Christian will need to overcome. For the Ephesian church, they had to overcome the deceit of the Nicolaitanes, the legalism that was cropping up in their church family, and the complacency that caused them to turn away from their first love. Could they overcome all these things? Yes, they could. They could overcome all things if they relied on Christ for strength.

When we think of the word “overcoming”, we typically envision an external enemy — physical or spiritual — that becomes a threat to the progress of our walk with Christ. But, for the most part, the enemies that we must overcome in the Christian life are internal. We must overcome our own pride, hatred, envy, unbelief, unforgiveness, bitterness, and leaving our first love. These are all things that can tear us down from the inside. And we need the power of Christ to overcome these things just as we need the power of Christ to overcome the devil and human beings used by the devil.

Christ tells the church at Ephesus that there is a reward waiting for those who overcome. He says, “To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.” Dr. John Walvoord said, “This tree, first mentioned in the Garden of Eden in Genesis 3:22, is later found in the midst of the street of the new Jerusalem, where it bears fruit for the abundant health and life of the nations. It is especially appropriate that those who hate the world’s evil deeds and idolatrous worship are given the reward of abiding in the abundant life that is in Christ in the eternity to come. The gracious nature of the promise is designed to restore and rekindle that love of Christ known in the early days of the church.”

God wants all of His churches and all of His children to be overcomers. There is no elite group of Christians who are overcomers. The word “overcomers” can also be translated conquerors. This word implies that there will be a struggle. We will face false brethren like the Nicolaitanes. We will also face the temptation to let other things take the place of our first love. But the Bible says “we are more than conquerors” through Christ. Nothing can permanently defeat us or undermine us. We always possess the power to overcome anything that we face because “greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world.” And greater is He that is in us than our selfish, fleshly will that is susceptible to turning away from our first love.

We must trust in the power of Christ the Overcomer in order to navigate the pitfalls of the Christian life and emerge victorious on the other side where we can partake of the fruit of the Tree of Life in the Paradise of God.

Charles W. Naylor wrote:

Be an overcomer, He who stands with you
Is a mighty One, who is always true;
In the sorest conflict you shall win the day,
Face the legions dark till they flee away.

Be an overcomer, you are heaven’s heir,
And a crown of life you may ever wear;
So with courage press the battle to the gates,
Till you gain the prize which in heaven waits.

Be an overcomer, forward boldly go,
You are strong enough if you count it so–
Strong enough to conquer through sustaining grace,
And to overcome every foe you face.

True New Testament Revival: Getting Back to Our First Love, Part 13 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #291)


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 2:1-7:

1 Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;

2 I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:

3 And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.

4 Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.

5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.

6 But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate.

7 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 tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

—-

Gilbert Tennent said, “I am verily persuaded that the generality of preachers talk of an unknown and unfelt Christ; and the reason why congregations have been so dead is because they have had dead men preaching to them.”

Leonard Ravenhill said, “The Romans weren’t the only ones who put Jesus to death. I put Him to death; you put Him to death; and professing Christians put Him to death over and over and over again these days with careless living.”

In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “When Robert Haldane arrived in Geneva, he learned that one of the two pastors was no longer in town. The other was preaching the gospel faithfully and didn’t need the Scottish preacher’s assistance. They had warm fellowship together, but the door to ministry was apparently closed. Meanwhile, a small prayer meeting in the nearby village of Montauban had been asking God for spiritual leadership since their founder, Madame Krudener, had left. The group members considered Haldane the answer to their prayer. Convinced he wouldn’t have a ministry in Geneva, he decided to leave the city to minister among the prayer group.”

—-

In the conclusion of His letter to the church at Ephesus, Jesus makes an appeal directly to individual believers. As much as we think of our churches as a single unit — and we should — each church is made up of individuals. It is the individual believers who have lost their first love or otherwise gone astray. To such believers, Jesus appeals: “He that hath an ear to hear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”

Dr. Warren Wiersbe said, “Revelation 2:7 makes it clear that individual believers within the church may be true to the Lord, no matter what others may do. In these seven messages, the ‘overcomers’ are not a ‘spiritual elite,’ but rather the true believers whose faith has given them the victory.”

Every believer will be held accountable for his or her own heart and actions. You, as a Christian, can hear the words of Jesus’ letter to the Ephesian church and choose to obey them. You can get back to your first love and begin doing the first works. In order for a church to be changed and revived, individual believers in that church must change and be revived. No longer can we wait on a pastor or on a revival speaker to get everyone back to their first love. No longer can we wait on a conference or a special evangelistic campaign. If the pastor is anointed and revived, we cannot assume that his anointing and revived spirit will trickle down to the people.

The changes that Jesus is calling for the church to make in this letter and in all seven letters of Revelation can only be made by individual Christians. Of course, it is ideal for all members of a church body to make these changes together. That is what we pray for and that is what we ought to desire. But, “he that has an ear to hear” must respond. Today is the day of repentance. Now is the time for us to get back to our first love. If we do not hear and obey, we will not be overcomers in this life.

One songwriter put it this way:

Listen, obey, and be blessed
When you hear God’s will expressed.
Listen, obey, and be blessed,
If you would be happy and enter his rest.

True New Testament Revival: Getting Back to Our First Love, Part 12 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #290)

early-church


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 2:1-7:

1 Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;

2 I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:

3 And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.

4 Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.

5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.

6 But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate.

7 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 tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

—-

Doug Perry said, “Your growth in Christ is directly proportional to your willingness to rush headlong into the refining fire and embrace it.”

Leonard Ravenhill said, “The world is not waiting for a new definition of Christianity; it’s waiting for a new demonstration of Christianity as it already is.”

In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “Arriving in Paris, Robert Haldane encountered a significant disappointment. He made contact with an employee of the American embassy, an evangelical Christian, who had lived in Europe for some time and was familiar with the ministry of the Haldane brothers in Scotland. The American informed Haldane that ‘there were only two pastors in Europe who shared his views of revival,’ but neither lived in France. The two pastors who might work with him both served churches in Geneva. The Scottish preacher thus concluded that Geneva would be the next stop on his journey.”

—-

It is becoming increasingly evident that we need more Christians and more churches that can receive the commendation of Jesus Christ to the Ephesians: “But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate.” This is the case because we live in a day when people do not want to hear clear preaching against sin. They feel offended if you tell them that God says they are wrong. In an attempt to keep crowds and please people, many churches have decided it is better to brush what the Bible says about sin under the rug. They, instead, focus on things that people want to hear — things that are ‘affirming’ and ‘uplifting’ — and they let people go on in their sin.

But Jesus says He hates sin, especially sin in the church. Like the Nicolaitanes, false teachers take advantage of the present climate, encouraging people in sin or remaining complacent about their sin. In so doing, they lead people into a false understanding of what God thinks about their sin. And that is how we end up with churches full of Nicolaitanes — people who call themselves Christians but feel it is okay to continue in a sinful lifestyle — because the pastor and Christian teachers do not preach that God hates sin.

As we continue looking at the Nicolaitanes, we return to John MacArthur’s explanation of this sect. He says, “For sure we know that those who followed Nicolas were involved in immorality and uncleanness and they plied the church with sensual temptations. Clement of Alexander says, ‘They abandoned themselves to pleasure like goats, leading a life of self- indulgence.’ They were involved in immorality and loose living. Liberty was replaced with license. They were involved in teaching perverted grace. They were probably a pre-gnostic group, thinking that through their sexual activity and their superior knowledge they had ascended to the deities. They may even have perpetrated on the church a classical hierarchical structure which found its final form in Catholicism. But verse 6 says Christ hates their deeds. ‘I hate what they do and so do you.’

“Now the sum of all this commendation is, this is a noble bunch. This is a great church.” We lament those who have gone astray, but there are many churches like this today. They are “hard working, toiling for the Kingdom, persevering through difficulty, unable to endure evil men, acting in behalf of holiness and virtue, putting church discipline into action, able to recognize false apostles, not being victimized by those who come along no matter who they are.”

The danger, as we saw in the previous verse, is that a church can be doing all of this. They can have the right stuff, the right doctrine, the right teaching, the right outreaches, but have lost their love for the Lord. And if that love is not there in the center of everything they do, they will eventually fall.

Let’s pray.

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.

True New Testament Revival: Getting Back to Our First Love, Part 11 (Revive the Family, Revive the Church, Awaken the Nation, O Lord #289)

early-church


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 2:1-7:

1 Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;

2 I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:

3 And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.

4 Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.

5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.

6 But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate.

7 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 tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

—-

William Penn said, “True godliness doesn’t turn men out of the world but enables them to live better in it and excites their endeavors to mend it.”

Leonard Ravenhill said, “Unction is the mysterious something that God is pleased to put upon those who will travail and wait for it. Without it, preaching has no power and no authority.”

In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “Robert Haldane began his continental visit in France in 1816. He’d been to that nation three times before as a tourist, but now returned with a growing burden for ministry. Previously, the European political scene would have hindered such ministry efforts, but with the end of the great Napoleonic Wars in Europe, he recognized a window of opportunity that might not open again. Haldane’s journey was not without problems. He knew no one in France and began his trip without making specific arrangements for ministry. He wasn’t even sure how long he would be away from Scotland. When someone asked, he hesitantly replied, ‘Possibly only six weeks.’ His ‘six-week’ mission ultimately lasted three years.”

—-

Jesus tells the church at Ephesus that it is good that “thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate.” We began looking at the identity and the actions of the Nicolaitanes in the early church. They, obviously, were a heretical group began by a man named Nicolas who is said to have been one of the first seven deacons appointed in the church.

The appointing of these deacons is recounted in Acts 6 when the apostles commanded the brethren to “look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business [of caring for the widows and serving food to the hungry].” Five of the deacons are named but not described. Stephen is named first and described as “a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost.” Nicolas is named last and described as “a proselyte of Antioch.” The word “proselyte” means that he was a Gentile who converted to Judaism and later decided to follow Christ. Apparently, Nicolas was a believer of good report starting out — of such good report that the church saw him as fit for the office of deacon. But, from the descriptions of the Nicolaitans that we have explored so far, it appears that Nicolas had not fully gotten rid of some of his pagan ways — or he had backslidden into those old ways and had begun dragging other believers down with him.

John MacArthur continues his description of the Nicolaitanes as follows. As you might recall, he likens them to the false Old Testament “prophet” Balaam.

“It seems to me that whatever Balaam did, the same thing was being done by the Nicolaitans. Let me take it a step further. The word ‘Nicolas’ comes from two Greek words: ‘nike’ from which you get the word today ‘Nike’, which means to conquer; and the word ‘laos’ which means ‘of the people’. The name means one who conquers the people. The Hebrew word ‘Balaam’ means ‘destroyer of the people.’ What you have here with Nicolas in the New Testament appears to be the same as you had with Balaam in the Old Testament. This is someone who by false teaching leads people into destructive sin. How in the world this could ever be allowed in the church as it was in Pergamos is shocking but here in Ephesus it was not allowed. They could spot a Nicolaitan because they could test the false, their criteria was still intact.

“Some early church writers, namely Irenaeus, say that it is this Nicolas who appeared early in the church, was made a deacon, but who was a false believer. He went bad, became an apostate, but because of his credentials as a one-time deacon, was allowed to come in and lead the church astray. And he was no different than Balaam. He was a destroyer of the people just like Balaam was, and he led them into immorality and wickedness.”

We must consider that there are preachers, deacons, and other church leaders running around today who are just like Nicolas and Balaam. They are false believers. Their first church ousted them when they found out that either their doctrine or their lifestyle was wrong. But because they have credentials, or because they have a seminary degree, or because they once held a position in a church, they can run to another church and get a position there. And when they get in at a new church, they start leading people astray. These are those whom Jesus called wolves in sheep’s clothing. They look the part of a faithful leader, but they are just Satan’s secret agents, the tares among the wheat, seeking those whom they can devour and deceive.

We need more churches and more discerning believers, like the ones at Ephesus, who are able to detect and expose the Nicolaitanes among us today.

Let’s pray.

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.