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Bible Pathways - December 23, 2005

  • 2005 Dec 23

December 23, 2005

Read Revelation 1

In Today's Reading:

Greetings to the seven churches; a vision of the Son of Man; His messages to the churches

Since the character and conduct of churches and their people are much the same in every generation, the messages to these seven churches from Asia Minor are just as vital and valid for us today. The word "church" does not imply a denomination. The Greek word for church is "ecclesia" meaning "the called out ones" — not merely everyone who calls themselves a Christian.

Words of praise were given to the church at Ephesus for its sound doctrine. However, Christ said: Thou hast left thy first love (Revelation 2:4). It is sad but true that too many who were once "called out ones" have drifted back into the ways of the world. They usually feel very secure and do not recognize the dangers of their destiny. Losing devotion to Christ usually happens gradually like the seed sown among the thorns in our Lord's parable (Matthew 13:22). Satan is very subtle. Often a move to an appealing position or job seems like a "blessing" from God. But it requires working on the Lord's Day and soon these "Christians" become so involved in business or leisure activities that the worship of Christ is crowded out. This charge is most serious: Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen (when you were in fellowship with Christ and His Church), and repent . . . or else I will come . . . and will remove thy candlestick (lampstand) . . . except thou repent (2:5). Twice in one verse Jesus warned them to repent and recognize what life is all about.

The letter sent to the church at Smyrna acknowledged that they were suffering as faithful Christians: I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) (2:9). This church appeared destitute of the comforts of life. Some would be cast into prison, others would suffer persecution. But, because of their loyal devotion, the Lord promised: Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. . . . He that overcometh shall not be hurt of (by) the second death (2:10-11).

The letter sent to the church at Pergamos said that they lived where Satan's seat is: and thou holdest fast (are true to) My Name (2:13). However, some hold the doctrine (teaching) of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel . . . to commit fornication (2:14). Jesus warned about their false doctrines: Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth (2:16).

Prophets like Balaam seem to have one thing in common; they are motivated by greed and popularity and always compromise the truth of God's Word. Others today say they have a "special revelation of the truth" that give guidance to biblical interpretation in the Church. In Paul's letter to the Galatians, we are warned of such dangers: If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed (condemned) (Galatians 1:8-9; compare Ephesians 6:11-18).

Cross References:

For Revelation 1:5: See Psalm 89:27. Revelation 1:6: See Exodus 19:6. Revelation 1:7: See Daniel 7:13; Zechariah 12:10. Revelation 2:7: See Genesis 2:9. Revelation 2:23: See Jeremiah 17:10. Revelation 2:27: See Psalm 2:9.

Word Studies:

1:8 Alpha and Omega = the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. Christ is saying He is everything and knows all things A to Z; 1:13 girt = wrapped around; paps = chest; 2:19 charity = love; 2:23 reins = minds, innermost thoughts.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for The International Shortwave Radio Broadcast sponsored by Brad & Michelle Donner · Staff: Mary Kay Wagner · Government Official: Rep. Michael Burgess (TX) · Country: Burkina Faso (11 million) in western Africa · Major languages: French and Sudanic tribal languages · Religious freedom · 48% Muslim; 33% belief in false gods, idolatry, and heathenism; 14% Roman Catholic; 5% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Pray at all times (Psalm 55:17).

Memory Verse for the Week: 1 Peter 2:22

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