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.
Matthew Henry said, “It is more to the honor of a Christian by faith to overcome the world, than by monastical vows to retreat from it; more for the honor of Christ to serve him in the city, than to serve him in the cell.”
Leonard Ravenhill said, “It is far easier to cool down a fanatic than to warm up a corpse.”
In their book, The Ten Greatest Revivals Ever, Elmer Towns and Douglas Porter share with us: “Revival was also experienced in other parts of the United Kingdom. Awakening began in South Wales, later spreading to North Wales. In Scotland, the number of local revivals reported in the 1830s increased, including an extraordinary movement of God at Kilsyth under the ministry of William C. Burns.”
After Jesus challenges the church to expel those who teach compromise, He gives a threefold promise of reward for those who remain committed to Him.
First, He says, “to him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna.”
The Bible Knowledge Commentary says about this verse, “The “hidden manna” may refer to Christ as the Bread from heaven, the unseen source of the believer’s nourishment and strength. Whereas Israel received physical food, manna, the church receives spiritual food.”
Hidden manna is secret food or spiritual sustenance that only comes from God. It is what enables us to survive in this world. The devil will try to discourage us from being committed to Christ by pointing out how our livelihood may be affected. But God promises to sustain us, not with physical supplies — though He may indeed supply these, but with spiritual food, hidden manna, that the world cannot obtain or know about or see. It is only by this hidden manna that generations of persecuted Christians have become overcomers. If you remain committed to God, He will give you to eat of hidden manna as well.
The second part of the reward is a “white stone.”
Warren Wiersbe said about this verse, “In those days, a white stone was put into a vessel by a judge to vote acquittal for a person on trial. It was also used like a “ticket” to gain admission to a feast. Both would certainly apply to the believer in a spiritual sense: he has been declared righteous through faith in Christ, and he feasts with Christ today and will feast with Him in glory.”
In the Roman world, white stones were used as tickets to banquets or other events. White stones were also used as a sign of a person being acquitted of a crime. However, Adam Clarke explains what is most likely Jesus’ meaning as follows: “There is an allusion here to conquerors in the public games, who were not only conducted with great pomp into the city to which they belonged, but had a white stone given to them, with their name inscribed on it; which badge entitled them, during their whole life, to be maintained at the public expense.” As overcomers, we also will be given a white stone that guarantees our entrance into Heaven. With their white stones, the sports victors of Rome could enter any public establishment no matter the cost. Some might have thought they didn’t deserve such favor and they may not have been able to afford it themselves, but the government had counted them worthy of such an honor. Likewise, we don’t deserve Heaven and we certainly can’t get there on our own, but, by God’s grace, if we overcome down here, the pearly gates will be swung wide open to welcome us up there.
The third part of Jesus’ reward is “a new name written in the stone, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.” What is the significance of this new, secret name? Dr. John Walvoord writes, “This is an individual name given to the believer, symbolizing the personal heritage of the glories of heaven and the assurance of eternal salvation. God’s purpose is to separate the believers from all evil and compromise and to have them as His inheritance throughout eternity. The new name that Christ gives speaks to this relationship.” Our new, secret name will speak to the fact that we belong to God and will remain His forever.
It may be difficult choosing not to compromise with the world. But it is all worth it because we will overcome the world through Christ, and we will feast with God in Heaven.
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.
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.