Today’s Scrip-Bit 4 June 2021 Revelation 2:12.

Revelation 2:12.     These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges;

A merry Friday morning mih people! The sun’s shining brightly, the birds are singing sweetly, a cool, gentle breeze is blowing o’er the land, and Jesus is on His throne on High! Wow! That means everything’s right with the world! At least in our Jesus-filled hearts, souls and minds, for that’s what He does when we become His sincere followers and His Holy Spirit enters us, heals and seals us, once and for all, as a child of Almighty God! Glory be my faithful brethren! 

Now, yesterday we were looking at Christ’s message to the churches in Asia Minor through the vision of John the apostle during his exile on the isle of Patmos. We talked about the messages to the churches at Ephesus and Smyrna, today we’ll look at the message to one more church, that at Pergamos, which said: ‘These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges;’ (Rev. 2:12) 

And the scholars say of that verse: ‘Pergamos, or Pergamum, was located about 50 miles north of Smyrna. The name may mean “Thoroughly Married,” and may represent the state church which is “married” to a political system. The reference to the sharp sword shows that Christ will judge the false teachers at Pergamos.’ 

Then Christ continues: ‘I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat (throne) 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.” (Rev. 2:13) 

And according to the scholars: ‘Satan’s seat or throne may be a reference to the religious paganism centred in Pergamos. The city had a throne-like altar to the god Zeus, a temple to Asklepios (symbolized by a serpent), and various temples dedicated to the worship of the Roman emperor. Christ here commends the church at Pergamos for remaining faithful in the midst of such Satanic influence.’ 

However, Christ wasn’t done with Pergamos: ‘But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to cast a stumbling block (put an enticement to sin) before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit fornication (sexual immorality). So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.’ (Rev. 2:14-16) 

Serious words from our Lord and Saviour my brethren! And the scholars have this to say about verses 14-16. ‘The doctrine of Balaam was a compromise of Christianity with paganism, resulting in idolatry and immorality. Balaam had once succeeded in leading many Israelites into these sins (cf. Num. 31:16; 2 Pet. 2:15; Jude 11). The entire church is urged to repent of the toleration and sins of those false teachers, before Christ has to judge them Himself. The church should discipline itself and not tolerate false teaching and immorality within.’ 

Now if Christ said that to the church at Pergamos back then, what do you think He is saying to the current church which is laden with false teachers and sexual immorality that’s tolerated by the leaders, or worse yet, have leaders engaged in those ungodly acts? Oh friends, we all know that the current state of Christ’s church is far from satisfactory, and we are not doing enough to correct the iniquity and corruption that’s buried within it. But please listen to what Jesus says after every message to a church: ‘He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.’ 

It’s a straight up warning, and to each church He promises something different if they repent and/or stand strong. Yesterday we saw what He promised to the churches at Ephesus and Smyrna. Now, to the church at Pergamos, He promised: ‘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 (except) he that receiveth it.’ (Rev. 2:17) 

And the scholars explain that verse thus: ‘Manna in the Old Testament represents sustenance and life (cf. John 6:48-51). Christ is sufficient for all the believer’s needs. The white stone with its new name symbolizes acceptance and approval by God.’ Now who doesn’t want to receive God’s acceptance and approval eh? 

Well some foolish people don’t, but those of us, blessed with even a smattering of common sense and a touch of wisdom, will undoubtedly want to please God and receive His acceptance and approval. and the first stage in doing that is approaching Him in sincere prayer, laying down all our doubts, fears and problems before Him. And there’s no time like the present, that’s right now, to do it. So let’s come before Him and express our Friday Chant.

As one sincere voice: ‘Oh Lord, thanks for getting me safely through this past week. You know it’s been rough… what with all the anxiety, the confusion and havoc that the Covid-19 virus and the racial strife is causing. We can’t seem to fix it on our own Lord, that means we desperately need your help. 

Oh heavenly Father, with your omnipotent help, and our trusting faith, we know that we can stand strong and steadfast and defeat both the virus and the unrest in our streets. So Lord, we sincerely ask you today to give the governments and those involved in the forefront of this serious and unexpected storm, the wise guidance to handle the situation properly, with the least amount of loss to life and property as possible. And please help those of us who must go out to work amidst all the confusion, to be responsible and to stay safe, and avoid any more serious setbacks. 

And Lord, we fervently pray that You’ll use this situation to bring a lot of backsliders back to your fold, show them the error of their ways. And please introduce a whole new flock, who will embrace your LOVE and compassion by the example, we, your faithful believers set. Yes Lord, please use this pandemic and the unrest in the streets as a means of restoring faith in You, so that our sinful world can wake up and smell the coffee, sweet and strong! We pray this in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! Amen!’ 

And to receive a positive response from the Lord, we now have to show ourselves to be truly faithful believers. That’s all there is to it friends! Much LOVE!

…you can’t waiver…or sit on the fence…and expect God’s blessing…                                                             

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Today’s Scrip-Bit 3 June 2021 Revelation 2:7a.

Revelation 2:7a.     He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

Rainy days and Thursdays always get me down! Now that’s not really true, because there’s nothing like a rainy day to bring peace and quiet to your life. A rainy day just seems to draw one closer to one’s Maker, in that it brings a serenity and calm to one’s soul and spirit. And that’s how I feel today, as we open with some heavenly blessings. It just seems that when the rain falls the world is not as noisy and busy, and do we ever need to lessen the futile busyness and unnecessary noise in this modern technological age. 

So if it’s rainy in your area, please take a few quiet moments and spend with your Maker… and hopefully do less talking than listening, because I believe we tend to talk to God much more than we listen to Him, that’s why sometimes we take so long to get answers, He can’t get in a word edgeways. (smile) But since the Lord so generously gave us breath to face another glorious day on planet earth, let’s turn to the promise we made yesterday, to continue looking at some stuff from the Book of Revelation. 

Yesterday we stopped where Christ told John to write down some messages to seven particular churches, to be sent by seven angels or messengers. We won’t go through them all, just some that I think are most important. And the first one is to the church at Ephesus: ‘Unto the angel (messenger) of the church at 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 (lampstands). (Rev. 2:1) 

The seven candlesticks which Jesus walks amidst represent the seven churches to which he has messages (1:11) The seven stars in His hands represent the angels of the seven churches. According to the scholars: ‘The angels may be either literal angels, each of which has a special guardian ministry toward one specific church (cf. Heb. 1:14), or the human leaders or pastors of these churches. Angel literally means “messenger.” 

And Jesus continues: ‘I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience (perseverance), and how thou canst not bear (endure) them which are evil: and thou hast tried (tested) them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars. And hast borne (persevered), and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted (become weary). Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first LOVE.’ (Rev. 2:2-4) 

The scholars tell us that ‘The city of Ephesus was one of the most important commercial and religious cities in Asia Minor. The most famous temple of the goddess Artemis (Diana) was located there. It was also John’s headquarters before his exile. Ephesus served as the “mother” church to the others, all of which were connected by the same Roman road. And though the church is commended because of its soundness of faith and its perseverance through persecution, its people have come under Christ’s discipline for having left (not lost) their first LOVE or former devotion to Christ.’

 Does that sound familiar my people? I think it should, because a lot of us supposed believers are not as devoted to Christ as we used to be. Our devotion has dropped off at a time when it should be at it’s zenith! But as always, our Saviour offer us a lifeboat. ‘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 (unless) thou repent. But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.’ (Rev. 2:5-6) 

Yes friends, the scholars tell us that the solution the Ephesian problem is threefold: ‘(1) remember your former devotion to Christ; (2) repent of the present lack of LOVE and devotion; and (3) return – that is, do the things that were characteristic of the devotion of the church in its earlier years. Christ threatens to discipline the church by removing its light (candlestick). Today, Ephesus is in ruins, and it’s church is gone.’ 

Now was Christ’s discipline a pertinent factor in the demise of the church at Ephesus? Who knows? But it’s surely a good question for us to contemplate in these ungodly times. And as per the Nicolaitans, the scholars say they ‘were probably a libertine, antinomian sect (rejects laws and moral values) who attempted to use Christian liberty as an excuse for self-indulgence and immorality.’ 

Then comes the second letter: ‘And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive; 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 (congregation) of Satan. Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried (tested); and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.’ (Rev. 2:9-10) 

A tough request that friends, but it’s also the same request the Lord is making of us today: stay faithful to the end, and He will bless us with a crown of eternal life. And just a few words from the scholars on the plight of Smyrna, ‘whose name meant “Myrrh” a fragrant spice for anointing dead bodies. It was a rich and beautiful city, some fifty miles north of Ephesus on the shores of the Aegean sea, whose believers were undergoing persecution and had been reduced to poverty. They were being reviled by unbelieving Jews. They received no condemnation from Christ but were encouraged to endure suffering faithfully. Faithful persecution through trials will bring a crown of life (cf. James 1:12). The second death is eternal destruction in the lake of fire (20:14-15), reserved for all unbelievers.’ 

Oh my people, our church life and devotion to Christ is definitely not up to scratch, and we do need to come up higher, especially in these troubled times. Please listen to what Jesus says after every message to a church: ‘He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.’ It’s a straight up warning, and to each church He promises something different if they repent and/or stand strong. 

To the church at Ephesus, He promises: ‘To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.’ (Rev. 2:7) And the scholars explain that ‘the promise to him that overcometh probably applies to all Christians with genuine faith (cf. 1 John 5:4-5) and will be fulfilled as believers enjoy the blessing of the New Jerusalem (22:2,14), the paradise of God.’ 

To the church at Smyrna it was: ‘He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.’ (Rev. 2:11) And that’s the gospel truth friends! If we persevere in good faith with Christ until the very end, we will not be cast into the lake of fire. Now shouldn’t that give us a strong sense of purpose, especially as we draw near to the end of this church age? I should think so. But sadly, not all of us agree on that point. However, for those of us who do, let’s go home this rainy Thursday declaring (wrong again!) our Thursday Blessings which the Lord has so generously bestowed on us to do His earthly work. 

As one now: ‘I declare that I am blessed with God’s supernatural wisdom and receive clear direction for my life! I declare today that I am blessed with creativity, courage, talent and abundance! I am blessed with a strong will, self-control and self-discipline! I am blessed with a great family, good friends, good health, faith, favour and fulfillment! I am blessed with success, supernatural strength, promotion and divine protection! I am blessed with a compassionate heart and a positive outlook on life! I declare that any curse or negative word that’s ever been spoken over me is broken right now in the name of Jesus! I declare that everything I put my hands to, will prosper and succeed! I declare it today and every day! Amen!’ 

Our next move is to now go out and share those blessings just as generously as our heavenly Father shared them with us. Much LOVE!

…the Lord does not expect perfection from His followers…but He does expect diligence, devotion and excellence from them… 

P.S. Sorry for the length and lateness of the Bit, but I messed it up and had to rewrite it. Chuh! Much LOVE!                                                          

Hear our podcast at https://open.spotify.com/show/3aVfqIC1CqwGybISs9dZJ8