The seven churches mentioned in the book of Revelation, chapters 2-3, reveal many characteristics of the church, both good and bad. We can use these churches as a check against our own respective vineyards today, since our churches are similar to the early church. You may see traits of your church in several of these examples. Dr. Henry M. Morris III from the Institute For Creation Research (ICR) wrote the seven sketches of the churches below in the devotional “Days Of Praise.” They are all listed below. Afterwards, enjoy the superb video of The Seven Churches. In Christ, Pastor Steve
by Henry M. Morris III, D.Min. Evidence for Creation
“And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; . . . I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” (Revelation 3:14-16)
The Lord Jesus used intense language to rebuke this church, the last of the seven He had John write to in the book of Revelation. Laodicea was dangerously near the brink of being disavowed by He who is the Head of the church.
Such churches believe they “have need of nothing” (Revelation 3:17). Worldly wealth, extensive property, and popular recognition blinded these members and their leaders to their true spiritual condition. They failed to understand that, from the Lord’s perspective, they are “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” (Revelation 3:17).
The cause of this terrible spiritual destitution is being spiritually tepid. It’s like expecting a glass of cold water or a cup of hot tea but finding everything at room temperature. This church “tasted” just like the world around them. They were neither godly nor in rebellion—just “nice people” who blended in well with the community. Their spiritual reputation did not smell either like life or death (2 Corinthians 2:16).
Despite the Lord’s distaste for such a condition, He loved and counseled them to “buy” from Him the gold of the Kingdom’s true wealth, righteous clothing that would cover their shameful exposure of worldly behavior, and to anoint their spiritual eyes so that they could see eternal values rather than temporal things.
As the Lord graciously closed His letter, He “stands at the door” of the church, waiting for anyone to open and let Him in (Revelation 3:20). Tepid spirituality keeps the Lord outside. What a shame that such could ever be said about any church. HMM III
by Henry M. Morris III, D.Min. Evidence for Creation
“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; . . . I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.” (Revelation 3:7-8)
Philadelphia and Smryna are the only churches that did not receive warnings from the Lord in the seven letters recorded in Revelation. Philadelphia had “a little strength” because they had built their church on the two foundations of the Word of God and the name of the Lord Jesus.
The foundation of Jesus Christ Himself (1 Corinthians 3:11) and the foundation of the writings of the “apostles and prophets” (Ephesians 2:20) that are inspired by God (2 Timothy 3:16) make the church “the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15). Philadelphia had faithfully held these eternal principles and was therefore given an “open door.”
The Lord’s introduction to Philadelphia cites the “Key of David,” suggesting a reference to the treasure house of the king (1 Kings 7:51) and to Christ’s authority as the heir to the kingdom (Isaiah 22:22). The treasure of the eternal Kingdom is not physical riches but the gold, silver, and precious stones of God-ordained work for the Kingdom (1 Corinthians 3:12-13).
But just as the talents and the pounds granted to the servants in the parables (Matthew 25; Luke 19), the open door is an opportunity to use the resources of the King for His benefit—not a guarantee of success. The Lord grants the resources, but the work and the use of those resources are our responsibility. We will be held accountable.
If we use those resources well, even those of the “synagogue of Satan” will “come and worship” (Revelation 3:9) and “every tongue [will] confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:11). HMM III
by Henry M. Morris III, D.Min. Evidence for Creation
“And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.” (Revelation 3:1)
The church at Sardis received the saddest of the Lord’s seven letters in Revelation. Sardis seemed to want to remain known as a “live” church, but the Lord saw their real testimony and reputation and concluded that they were “dead.” Many such places around the world today are enshrined with stained glass, statuary, crosses, and inscriptions that have the “name” of Christianity emblazoned throughout their property, yet they are dead spiritually. Such churches might be compared to the monuments and gravestones erected in cemeteries to honor the memories of faithful men and women of past generations who were alive for a time with a solid reputation for godliness yet whose families have drifted away from the Lord.
Yet, “even in Sardis” there was a small number who had remained faithful in spite of the drift of the church itself, as there are also in families now adrift but with a Christian heritage. The advice to Sardis (and certainly to families as well) is this: “Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent” (Revelation 3:3).
The Philippian church received the same counsel: “Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you” (Philippians 4:9). The verb is “do.” Heritage is wonderful, but each church—and each of us—will be held accountable for what is actually done. HMM III
by Henry M. Morris III, D.Min.
Evidence for Creation
“And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; . . . I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first. Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee.” (Revelation 2:18-20)
The Lord Jesus’ letter to the church at Thyatira is the longest among the seven recorded in Revelation. Although they were faithful in their works to the city, had a strong charity among themselves, and were evidently growing in their reputation and perhaps even in number, the Lord Jesus used some very harsh language to rebuke their behavior.
Whether or not the woman who held influence in the church was actually named Jezebel, she had entrenched herself as a prophetess. Her namesake in the Old Testament (1 Kings) was the wicked queen and wife of King Ahab of Israel during the days of Elijah. Her evil deeds are recorded throughout seven chapters—more than any other woman in Israel’s history!
The Jezebel of Thyatira had been allowed “to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols” (Revelation 2:20). It is not clear if the Lord spoke of physical fornication among the church members, but the practice of sacrificing to idols was a serious rebellion against the second commandment and a clear violation of God’s Word (Exodus 20:4-5).
Those who were committing “adultery with her” (Revelation 2:22) had entered into “the depths of Satan” (Revelation 2:24). Whether this behavior was a physical practice or not (as was common among the pagan religions of the day), it is most certainly identified as spiritual adultery when those who name the name of Christ worship other gods (Jeremiah 3:1, 20; Hosea 9:1; etc.). May God protect us from such horrible leadership. HMM III
by Henry M. Morris III, D.Min.
Evidence for Creation
“And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; . . . 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 . . . . But I have a few things against thee.” (Revelation 2:12-14)
Retaining a clear identity as a church of the Lord Jesus in an evil environment is worthy of commendation. And indeed, this body of believers at Pergamos held fast to its Christian name—even in a city that was known (at least by God) as the place where Satan had his “seat.” One of their members, Antipas, was killed for his faith. Yet, the church at Pergamos remained faithful with a spiritual testimony, a small light in a sea of wickedness.
But perhaps because of the pressure surrounding them, the Lord warned them that they were allowing two destructive doctrines to flourish among them. The first was compromising with “wages of unrighteousness,” exemplified by Balaam, which had become entrenched among the church (2 Peter 2:15). The second was the “doctrine of the Nicolaitanes,” which their sister church in Ephesus also confronted (Revelation 2:15, 6).
Balaam was a well-known prophet who willingly accepted an assignment with an enemy of God’s people so that he could receive a large sum of money (Numbers 22). And, even though God would not permit Israel to be cursed, as the enemy wanted, Balaam continued to promote his “error,” and Israel lapsed into grave sin (Jude 1:11).
Not much is written in Scripture about the Nicolaitanes. The word basically means “conquer the people.” This early teaching developed into a strong hierarchy of church polity over the next decades, and by the end of the second century, it was well established in the major cities. Jesus taught against such leadership (Matthew 20:26-27) and clearly said that He hated it (Revelation 2:6). HMM III
by Henry M. Morris III, D.Min.
Evidence for Creation
“And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; . . . I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) . . . . Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer . . . be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” (Revelation 2:8-10)
The Lord Jesus recognized this struggling church, which is not mentioned anywhere else in the New Testament, as one of only two churches mentioned in the book of Revelation that did not receive any warning or condemnation.
He saw them very differently than our “church growth” movement might today. Many tend to envy the churches with big auditoriums or grand building programs. Most of the world praises those churches that are “emerging” from the restraints of godliness and churches that are “driven” to attract and please the ungodly.
Smyrna was poor, troubled by those who hated God’s message, and suffered tribulation for their works. Some were thrown into prison for their willingness to be identified with the truth. Generations have passed since anything like that has happened to churches in the Western world. Those countries that persecute Christians today seem only like scattered incidents that have little bearing on the day-to-day life of “civilized” nations. May God protect us from such attitudes.
But the One who walks among the “candlestick” churches of Revelation (His churches) saw Smyrna as rich and worthy of a crown of life. He praised this little church and encouraged them to remain “faithful unto death” (Revelation 2:10). When the King gives out His rewards from the great judgment seat, these faithful, poor, persecuted, troubled, and imprisoned souls will enter eternity with great riches and joyful liberty in the “general assembly and church of the firstborn” (Hebrews 12:23). HMM III
by Henry M. Morris III, D.Min.
Evidence for Creation
“Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write;. . . I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars.” (Revelation 2:1-2)
This church, founded by the apostle Paul, had grown in its doctrinal precision and careful attention to the words of Scripture. They were intensely focused on purity of leadership and were vigilant against any form of false teaching. Most of us would find that kind of church a refreshing example to follow in these days of indifferent (and often heretical) theology.
They hated the “deeds of the Nicolaitanes,” which was a horrible practice that the Lord Himself hated (Revelation 2:6). Peter had warned against this domineering attitude in his first general letter to the churches when he insisted that the elders of the churches should not be “lords over God’s heritage, but [be] ensamples to the flock” (1 Peter 5:3).
Ephesus was a “good” church, but the risen Lord Jesus had “somewhat against” them. Apparently, amid all of their careful attention to doctrine and to purity of leadership lifestyle, they had “left [their] first love” (Revelation 2:4). They had fallen from the deep bond of love they had demonstrated years earlier when Paul called the elders to Miletus to encourage and exhort them to remain faithful to “all the counsel of God” (Acts 20:27). They were so much in tune with Paul’s heart for the gospel that they “all wept sore, and fell on Paul’s neck, and kissed him” (Acts 20:37).
The drift away from that “first love” was so serious that the Lord warned Ephesus to repent or He would take away their “candlestick” (Revelation 2:5)—their authority to represent Christ as one of His churches. Cold, precise doctrine must never take away our love for people or for the truth. HMM III
This topic is addressed elsewhere on this blog site. The following is a parallel view that I totally concur with.
WHY I EXPOSE ERROR AND WARN BELIEVERS
I am grieved for those who cannot understand my concerns and my warnings. I am not “attacking” the ministers who are obviously in error. I have nothing against them personally. I praise the Lord for every good thing in them and for every soul saved under their ministries. But souls saved are “in spite of “, not “because of ” many of their messages. God’s Word will not return to Him void. (Isaiah 55:11) I cannot and will not ignore the things they are doing “publicly” which I believe will eventually destroy thousands of sound churches and which will break down Godly walls between truth and error.
There are also those who are heretics deceiving the masses. Those ministers who deny the infallibility and inerrancy of the Bible, the Virgin Birth, the Lordship of Christ, the Blood Atonement, the Bodily Resurrection, the Eternal Sonship, ect. These I reject and alert others of their heresy.
The Bible commands men of God to judge the teaching and ministries of other men in order to protect the truth and the people of God. We are to mark those who cause divisions contrary to apostolic doctrine (Romans 16:17). This requires a careful examination and evaluation. The believers in the church at Corinth were instructed to judge one another (1 Cor. 14:29). That principle applies also to ministries outside of one’s own church, especially to very “public ministries” which influence vast numbers of people.
Paul rebuked Peter publicly for his hypocrisy. (Gal. 2:11-14). Was Paul “attacking” Peter? Of course not. He was bringing him back to the truth.
Truth is more important than unity because without truth men cannot be saved and walk in the will of God. It is truth, not unity, which is the light in this dark world. John said, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth” (3 John 1:4). God tells me to mark and avoid those who teach contrary to the apostolic doctrine (Romans 16:17). He tells me to earnestly CONTEND for the faith once delivered to the saints (Jude 1:3). “Contend” means to strive, to fight. Trouble and striving are not wrong in themselves. The Lord Jesus Christ stirred up much trouble, as did all of the Old Testament prophets and New Testament apostles. Trouble is not wrong, when it is caused by contending for the truth. . The Lord God has put a love in my heart for His Truth. He imparted to me the spirit described by King David: “Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way” (Psalm 119:128).
Ever since I was saved I have had something within me that has stirred me up for the Truth. I believe that Something is the Holy Spirit. One of His names is the Spirit of TRUTH (John 14:17; 15:26; 16:13 )
Matt 18:15 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. (KJV)
This verse is directed to those whose brother offended them “personally”. It does not tell us how to handle “public hypocrisy or false teachings”.
Titus 1:9 Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. (KJV)
Titus 1:10 For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: (KJV)
Titus 1:11 Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake. (KJV)
Titus 1:12 One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies. (KJV)
Titus 1:13 This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith; (KJV)
I cannot stop their mouths but I can try and warn as many people as I can.
Editor, Christian News & Views
Southern Baptist Convention ~ June 14, 2016 ~ St. Louis
President’s Address: Ronnie Floyd
Paul Ryan (Speaker of the House): “The stakes could not be higher.”
Message: The Stakes Are High – God gave Ronnie this message after twenty one days of fasting and prayer. In the midst of terrorism, we have called 1,000 missionaries home.
We want to save a gorilla and murder babies. Gay marriages are accepted. Rainbow colors fly over the White House. Our religious liberties in America are at stake. The Israelites were taken to Babylon.
13 Then Mordecai commanded to answer Esther, Think not with thyself that thou shalt escape in the king’s house, more than all the Jews.
14 For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?
15 Then Esther bade them return Mordecai this answer,
16 Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish.
17 So Mordecai went his way, and did according to all that Esther had commanded him.
We are here at the right time to accomplish the purposes of God.
If Satan cannot get us to do the wrong thing, he will get us to do the right thing in the wrong way. Both are sin.
America is in a crisis. We face either an awakening, or falling into an abyss. America is in an economic, relational and racial crisis. “All men are created equal.” Declaration of Independence. Dread Scott Decision.
1)Now is the time for Southern Baptists to come together.
John 17:21 King James Version (KJV)
21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
2)Now is the time for Southern Baptists to lead. Structures are needed to support the work of the church.
3)Now is the time for Southern Baptists to evangelize. Evangelism is the main thing, but is dying in our denomination and churches.
4)Now is the time for Southern Baptist to give. Cooperative Program (CP).
5)Now is the time for Southern Baptists to prayer. We are meeting to pray tonight. Acts 4:31 “And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.”
Bring prayer back to the schools, but also bring it back to the church! 9/11/01 2996 people were killed, 6,000 were injured. We need 1)prayer and a 2)great awakening.
Jeremiah 7:28 “But thou shalt say unto them, This is a nation that obeyeth not the voice of the Lord their God, nor receiveth correction: truth is perished, and is cut off from their mouth.” -We do not want to be this nation. Ronnie Floyd closed the message with an altar call for pastoral commitment.
Jerry Young spoke on A National Conversation On Racial Unity in America. He referred to the recent tragedy in South Carolina. Racism is a sin problem. We are salt and light. We are contaminated salt and concealed light. We need to press the salt and turn on the lights. The one who murdered nine in Charleston wanted to create fear and terror – but he went to the wrong place – to church. “Love is greater than hate.” Marshall Blalock
Jim Fletcher ~ The Plague Of Replacement Theology
…this is the view that God has replaced Israel and the Jewish people with the church. This view used to be held in mainline churches, seminaries and in Catholicism. Today, however, this problem has entered the evangelical community. It spans all denominations. Their desire is to minimize the uniqueness of the Jewish people and the state of Israel. The issue of Israel is paramount proof that we are living in the last days. This is a time in history where the Jews have reentered history. This is astonishing. A repeated theme in scripture is after the Jewish people spent a long period in exile, they will return to their ancient homeland. In 1945 the Nazis killed six million Jews in Europe. Three years later (1948) Israel was established, and today six million Jews are living there! Many in the church culture in our nation are missing this point or want to miss it. There is a sharp downturn towards the nation of Israel and Bible prophecy among evangelical leadership.
What is the answer towards antisemitism? Why are people like this? Why does it exist? The hatred of the Jews is a spiritual sickness. It has entered some of the American church. An understanding of God’s redemptive plan is the answer to antisemitism around the world. Biblical illiteracy in our country today is at an all time high, it is frightening. The view that the Bible is myth entered the blood stream of the American church in the 19th century. This is one reason why the American church is ineffective today. The so called nation of Palestine was created in order to get rid of the Jews. Liberals claim the Biblical miracles are metaphors.
Replacement theology is the teaching that the Christian church has replaced national Israel regarding the plan, purpose, and promises of God. Therefore, many of the promises that God made to Israel must be spiritualized. Justin Martyr (AD 160) in speaking to the Jews said: “The scriptures are not yours, but ours.” [The Bible was written by Jews, it was lived by Jews, Jesus Christ and the apostles were Jews]. Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyon (AD 177) declared: “Jews are disinherited from the grace of God.” Tertullian (AD 160-230), in his treatise, “Against the Jews,” announced that God had rejected the Jews in favor of the Christians. The Assemblies Of God and the Southern Baptist Convention are being targeted by replacement theology. Calvary Chapel rebuffed this false theology. Jesus was NOT a Palestinian. He was a Jew who lived in the land of Israel. The American church has turned their back on Israel. They do not like Jews. They are told they are greedy and start all of the wars in the world. These are all of the old medieval antisemitic lies repackaged for new audiences.
Three men control the direction of the evangelical church in America. 1)Rick Warren on the west coast, 2)Bill Hybels in middle America, and 3)Andy Stanley on the east coast. Lynne Hybels, Bill’s wife, is an enthusiastic supporter of the Palestinian narrative. As a co founder of the Willow Creek association, she is in favor of the PLO and blames Israel for everything. “Hank Hanegraaff’s blend of preterism and idealism produces an eschatology that is viciously anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian. His brand of replacement theology teaches that national Israel has no future since she is replaced by the church.” -Thomas Ice.
How do we handle this? We need to confront error boldly. Ask replacement theologians to explain the existence of the Jewish people in Israel today, after centuries of exile. Use your sphere of influence in order to emphasize truth.
Note: At the June, 2016 Southern Baptist Convention in St. Louis, a small yet vocal minority promoted Replacement Theology during our business session. By the grace of God, the overwhelming majority of the messengers at the convention did not agree with their theology in the least. Thank you Jesus, and God bless Israel. Pastor Steve
The Speakers’ Highlights:
Historians William Federer and David Barton expounded on the profound effect that Christianity had at the inception of our nation. The pastor’s sermons were used to determine laws and legal decisions. The pastors were seen as the real leaders in Colonial America. Our nation was founded entirely on the Judaeo Christian ethic. The Constitutions of the early states were especially filled with Biblical references and truths.
Governor Mike Huckabee introduced Donald Trump. He had kind words to say about Trump, yet mentioned they did not agree on everything. Huckabee added, however, that there was no choice in the matter of voting because Hillary Clinton was the Democratic candidate.
Donald J. Trump said President Obama and Hillary Clinton are the founders of Isis. They will receive the MVP. Isis went from a J.V. team to 28 countries. Trump stated that without religious liberty we do not have liberty. Religion is the largest lobby, yet has been silenced, with far less power. Their power has been totally silenced. Trump said Hillary is a disaster. Trump closed by saying: “Running for president is the only way I can get to heaven.” People laughed following the statement.
Bishop E.W. Jackson gave a very strong Biblical message. Pastor Ken Graves from Maine, had a powerful voice and a unique way of “story telling,” as he preached the Gospel.
Dr. Fred Lowery expounded on marriage. He said there are three reasons for divorce: 1)Selfishness, 2)Selfishness, and 3)Selfishness. He mentioned four areas that can result in a good marriage: 1)Conflict Management, 2)Companionship, 3)Communication, and 4)Commitment. A marriage is a covenant and not a contract.
Matt Staver spoke on the legal rights of the church, repeating his often mentioned theme, that no church has EVER been sued or lost their tax exempt status for violating the separation of church and state.
Marco Rubio wrote out his message, because he was very conscientious about speaking to several hundred pastors. Marco said that although the LGBT Community must be convinced of their sin, they must also receive love from the body of Christ because they believe we hate them. Marco said we should be careful about judging others:
Matthew 7:1-2 King James Version (KJV)
7 Judge not, that ye be not judged.
2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
King James Version (KJV)
Marco also said the LGBT Community needs to feel our love laced with grace:
Ephesians 2:8-9 King James Version (KJV)
8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
We are at the Florida Renewal Project Program. A synopsis of this conference will be shared once it is over. The purpose of this conference is to wake up the church in America before it is too late. The speakers emphasized the need for prayer and repentance, as well as encouraging Christians to vote and get involved in politics. All Christian denominations were represented. It was truly a taste of heaven. Although not on the original list of speakers, Donald J. Trump stopped at the conference and spoke at length while he was campaigning in Florida.
List Of Speakers In Order Of Their Appearance:
Former Congressman Bob McEwen
Pastor Daniel Rivera
Historian William Federer
Bishop E.W. Jackson
Governor Mike Huckabee
Donald J. Trump
Rev. (Dr.) Doug Stringer
Pastor Maury Davis
Pastor Ken Graves
Pastor Matt Floyd
Historian David Barton
Dr. Ben Bush
Dr. Fred Lowery
Dr. Randy Ray
Senator Marco Rubio
Pastor Jerry Maston
INSIGHT: After appointing twelve men as His disciples (Matt. 10:1-4), Jesus gave them their first assignment to go and preach the good news that “the kingdom of heaven has come near” (v. 7). Jesus warned that people in the world would not want to hear about Him: “You will be hated by everyone because of me” (v. 22). We, too, may be ignored, opposed, rejected, persecuted, and even killed (vv. 16-22). It may cost us to share the gospel with others, and we may experience hostility even from our own family (vv. 35-36). To overcome these challenges, Jesus calls for a commitment to Him that is greater than any other (vv. 37-39). Sim Kay Tee
Many of the Old Testament prophets were slain. John the Baptist was beheaded. All of the original apostles, as well as Paul, were killed for their faith with the exception of John. There have been more Christians martyred for their faith in the last century than in the rest of the church age combined! Foxe’s Book of Martyrs includes many of the great saints throughout the church age who gave their lives for their faith. The only one not martyred in the book was Martin Luther.
Why did they give their lives? Because they loved their Lord like Patriot Nathan Hale loved his country:
Now, let us rephrase this quotation according to the committed Christian:
“I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my Lord.”
The cause of Christianity is MUCH greater than our lives. Never forget that: “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.”
~ Tertullian 197 A.D.
…describes the large, weak and anemic churches in our day. I was a U.S. Government employee for twenty years, and I never ceased to be amazed at their ineptitude. What I saw was monumental graft, corruption and waste. I saw people write up their own pay raises, become promoted after drunk driving and wrecking a government vehicle, and throw out loads of perfectly good furniture towards the end of the fiscal year, in order to justify purchasing more. The oldest joke in the government is “…mess up and get promoted,” because it is true and it happens all of the time. The larger the government becomes, the worse it functions. A church with a lot of members and only a few true converts is a church of tares. I have learned that bigger is not necessarily better. Bigger often leads to dilution. A large church can stay faithful, but they often falter after the initial faithful pastor retires. A case in point is Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The Lord took Dr. D. James Kennedy home, and he was one of the finest, faithful pastors of his generation. His replacement cheated on his wife after she cheated on him, and his theology was so anemic that he lacked the fortitude to call sodomy/homosexuality sin. Having been pastor of smaller churches in ministry (no more than 100 members), I have a profound respect for the under shepherds of larger churches who boldly preach against the sins of the day, the error of evolution, the truth of a literal six day creation, God’s wrath, hell, the need for repentance and holy living. A large church can indeed be faithful, and God bless the pastors who discern the need to be just that. I pray that when I stand before Immanuel on the Judgement Day, that I will have served in churches similar to Smyrna and Philadelphia. Churches that were small, persecuted and faithful. Amen and amen. Blessings, Pastor Steve
A Little Flock
by Henry M. Morris, Ph.D. | May. 28, 2016
“Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:32)
The world tends to measure success by size, and this seems generally true in the Christian world as well. The most “successful” churches are considered to be those with the largest congregations, or the largest budgets, or the greatest number of converts baptized each year, or some other quantitative index. But this is not God’s criterion. At the judgment seat of Christ, “the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is” (1 Corinthians 3:13). Not how big it is, but of what sort it is! Quality, not quantity, is the criterion.
Christ’s encouraging words to the “little flock” were given toward the end of an extended warning against the desire to accumulate wealth. “Take heed, and beware of covetousness,” He had said (Luke 12:15), speaking to His small group of followers. He was their Shepherd and would provide the needs of His “little flock.”
Christ’s warnings against individual covetousness evidently apply also to group covetousness. A church, or any other Christian organization, needs continually to guard against the desire to be impressive in the eyes of the world. The cities of Christendom exhibit many ornate cathedrals and temples that are now mostly empty and spiritually dead.
The Lord Jesus promised an “open door” to the little church at Philadelphia, because it had “little strength” and had “kept [His] word” (Revelation 3:8), but threatened to “spue . . . out of [His] mouth” the tepid church at Laodicea, which was boasting that she was “rich, and increased with goods” (Revelation 3:16-17). Not every “little flock” has kept God’s Word, nor has every big flock become lukewarm, but Christ’s words serve as both warning and encouragement. The greater blessings of the coming kingdom have been promised to the faithful “little flock.” HMM