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, “I believe that one reason why the church of God at this present moment has so little influence over the world is because the world has so much influence over the church.”
Leonard Ravenhill said, “No nation is better than its church, and no church is better than its people. Only God-transformed personalities can change the moral fibre of the nation.”
In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “The Second Great Awakening continued in America until approximately 1810, but many of its results were interrupted by the War of 1812. In the fifteen years following the conclusion of that conflict, however, various local manifestations of revivals continued to be reported in North America, Britain, and the mission fields of India, South Africa, Indonesia, and Polynesia. Some historians, in fact, stretch the notion of the Second Great Awakening to include the work of the great revivalist Charles Finney in the 1820s and beyond. We join historian J. Edwin Orr, however, in identifying his influence as a different movement, called by many the General Awakening. The Second Great Awakening had been unique among the great historic revivals, in that it had not been followed by a significant decline in the church and society. There was no time for that, for quite unexpectedly, the world experienced another outpouring of the Holy Spirit in 1830.”
Despite the qualities of persistence, faithfulness, and loyalty that Jesus commends in the church at Pergamos, He says, “I have a few things against thee.” No church is perfect. Even in the best of churches, there will always be things that need to be corrected. We ought to seek to grow in Christ, become more like Him, and do what is necessary for our churches to become what He wants them to be.
So what are those things that the Lord had against this church? Jesus says, “Thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat those things sacrificed to idols , and to commit fornication.” Balaam was an Old Testament prophet whom the children of Israel encountered during their wilderness wanderings. The Moabite king, Balac, tried to get Balaam to prophesy a curse over the children of Israel. Balaam told the king that God would not allow him to do such a thing, but he also told him about the weakness of the Hebrews. He exposed their Achilles’ heel. The Moabite women began to seduce the Hebrew men. They invited the Hebrews to their pagan celebrations where they ate, drank, and sacrificed to their false god. Soon, the Hebrews were bowing down to the idols of Midian. Of course, God sent a plague among His people, one that killed 24,000 of them.
What does the “doctrine of Balaam” mean in the context of Revelation and the New Testament church? Dr. Ed Hindson writes that those who taught the doctrine of Balaam “believed that a little idolatry or a little immorality or a little compromise of the truth couldn’t hurt anything. In fact, they said, such compromise made Christianity all the more tolerable in a pagan city. The false doctrine of Balaam said that Christian liberty allowed participation in worldly activities. They attempted to use Christian liberty to justify their personal compromise with sinful paganism. But Jesus said that He hated such false doctrine.”
Many Christians today might be found guilty of subscribing to the doctrine of Balaam. We allow just a little sin into our lives, just a little compromise on what we believe, and think that it won’t do any harm. But Jesus said, “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” The Jews’ playing with the Midianites resulted in full-blown idolatry which brought down God’s judgment. The Lord Jesus stands with His double-edged sword, ready to chastise us if we do not abandon our compromising positions.
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 GospelLightSociety.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.