< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: More thoughts from “A Vision of His Glory”

Sunday, January 18, 2009

More thoughts from “A Vision of His Glory”

Rev.2:12-17 To the angel of the church in Pergamum write: These are the words of him who has the sharp, double-edged sword. I know where you live—where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city—where Satan lives. Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: You have people there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin by eating food sacrificed to idols and by committing sexual immorality. Likewise you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it.

Lotz writes about this, “Jesus is saying with the double-edged sword of truth – you are surrounded by intelligence. You are surrounded by “religion”, but look at me. I’m the truth. The Bible is my Word! It is true on both sides of the sword – heaven and hell, salvation and judgment, God and the devil. It is the truth and you can’t accommodate truth to the world around you or it ceases to be truth!”

In today’s world it is so easy to accommodate the different beliefs. New age religion is an example. It’s all over the place. Everything is about tolerance and those who preach straight from the Bible are looked down on.

People work to make God into what they want Him to be. And if someone calls them on that they say something like “Well, how could your God let a child die? My God would never do that.” And because some Christians don’t know how to answer that or they feel like they have over and over, but it doesn’t seem to do any good – they let it slide. They accommodate to others. Their faith turns “private” “personal”. And that’s not what Jesus told us to do or be. He told us to be lights and salt. To spread the Gospel.

So the Christians at Pergamum had some failures. But, Jesus did applaud them for their loyalty and faithfulness to Him. He even named one of the believers who had been faithful even to death. For those who have been criticized for their testimony of Jesus, this section is an encouragement. Jesus tells them He knows what kind of society they live in. Where Satan rules. He knows what it’s like and He thanks them for remaining loyal and faithful. But then He tells them He has a few things against them.

He mentions the people teaching of Balaam and the people who hold to the teaching of the Nicolations. These groups apparently distorted, diluted and denied the truth of God’s Word. They caused people to stumble and doubt it.

Today these are people who are false teachers. They profess to give out God’s Word while destroying people’s faith in it. Think religion classes at a lot of universities. Think some churches who are more worried about numbers and attendance then preaching the truth. I stumbled across a website called Rapture Ready.com and it had a letter to people who will be left behind and who go on line trying to figure out what had just happened. One of the things it said is that the Sunday after the rapture the churches will be packed. And some of the well-known “Christian” leaders will be scrambling to explain the whole thing away.

Jesus warned us about false teachers. We are responsible personally for knowing the Bible and whether what they are saying fits or not. Jesus in this section isn’t warning the false teachers. He’s warning us about them. I love to listen to Christian radio. And I learn a lot from it, but even there you have to be careful. Some speakers and preachers, to be more entertaining, start embellishing some things, watering down others, so that people will enjoy listening to them.

Jesus says in Rev.2:16a again, “Repent Therefore!” He says Stop! Stop embellishing God’s word. Stop allowing seeds of doubt to be planted in your mind!”

Remember how Satan began his deception with Eve in the garden? He said, “Yes, but did God really say…” He caused just a little doubt about God’s word.
Lotz wrote here, we do not stand in judgment over God’s word. God’s word stands in judgment over us. We may not understand everything in the Bible, but we can accept it as the inspired, authoritative, inerrant word of God. Why would God allow something to be in the Bible if He doesn’t want it there and then call it His word?

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