Join Philip De Courcy, Costi Hinn, and Mike Fabarez for Entrust 2024 on May 2nd!
Register Now
December 6, 2009
Living in the Lion’s Den – Part 1
Pastor Philip De Courcy
Time:
Revelation 2: 12-17
Scripture: 
Topics: 

Purchase the CD of this sermon.

$5.00

This series provides insight into Jesus' master plan for the church today. We cannot afford to ignore what Jesus thinks of the church. You've Got Mail will help deepen your understanding of the church and the essential elements necessary to remain healthy, holy, and faithful in today's society.

More From This Series

Transcript

(00:00):
Let’s take our Bibles and turn to Revolution 2:12. I want to begin a two-part sermon on the Church at Pergamos. If you’re with us this morning for the first time, we want to welcome you and just let you know we’re in a verse-by-verse Acts position of this passage of God’s word. Revelation one through three, which houses seven letters addressed to seven historic churches situated geographically in Asia Minor. We’re coming to look at the third letter this morning, the Church at Pergamos. We’ll do that this Sunday and next Sunday and then we’ll break and concentrate on the Christmas event and Advent.
[NEW_PARAGRAPH]”And to the angel of the Church in Pergamos write,’These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword: I know your works and where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. And you hold fast to My name and did not deny My faith even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. Thus, you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. Repent or else I will come to you quickly and I will fight against them with the sword of My mouth. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.'”
(01:57):
Well, we trust God will bless us and encourage us by his Word. A few years back, the BBC in Britain carried a news story about a man who climbed over a security fence into the lion’s den at London’s zoo. Before the park attendants could get to him, as you could imagine, he was mauled by the lions, the same lions that he had baited with some meat. The man was badly injured and eventually rescued before he lost his life. It would come to no surprise to you or me that it was later learned that the man was mentally deranged, mentally disturbed. After all, who in their right mind would freely and knowingly climb into a lion’s den? You got to be a few cards short of a full deck to want to do that, right?
(02:54):
As we bridge into the context of this letter this morning, it would’ve seemed to many in the ancient world, no less crazy for a Christian to want to live in Pergamos. For a Christian, Pergamos was the equivalent to living in the lion’s den, hence the title for the sermon. You see, Pergamos, according to Jesus, was hell’s headquarters. Look at verse 13, “I know your works and where you dwell.” Where do they dwell? Where Satan’s throne is. They live where Satan lives. According to verse 13, towards the end, Pergamos was where Satan dwells. Pergamos was the devil’s capital city. Satan visited other times, but he lived here.
(03:53):
To an onlooking world, it must have looked nutty for a Christian to want to live in a city marked by satanic infestation. The church was no more welcome and Pergamos than the American Embassy is in Tehran. This was a night post of heaven existing behind enemy lines or to use Jesus’ metaphor in Matthew 10:16, here we have the little lambs of Jesus Christ living in the lion’s den. Remember what Jesus said in Matthew 10:16, “I send you white as lambs among wolves.”
(04:32):
Remember what we learned back in our study of Psalm 23, that the sheep live their lives in the presence of their enemies? Remember how we reminded ourselves of how the shepherd would spread a table of provision and protection for the sheep in the presence of their enemies? For a sheep, it was always a dangerous thing to be alive. There was the threat of the blistering heat. There was the danger of poisonous plants. There was the constant peril of predatory animals. It was always a dangerous thing for a sheep to be alive. And this world is not a safe place for a Christian to be alive either.
(05:18):
According to I John 5:19, this world lies in the lap of the wicked one. Its politics, its commerce, its entertainment, its philosophies all come under his sway. This is a world gone rogue in terms of God’s law and God’s governance. Our world is marked by humanistic thought. Our world is marked by materialistic gain apart from God. Our world is marked by sexual liberty, where the thinking is, food is for the stomach and our bodies are for sex, separated from any moral conscience or moral constraint. This is the world marked by philosophical deception, because the god of this world, Satan himself, has blinded the minds of those who believe not.
(06:12):
This is not friendly territory for the church. This world is a toxic environment for those who are pure in heart. And if that’s the case, and it is the case, then the Christian must constantly be pushing back and fighting back against a world that’s forever pushing its godless credenda and agenda on us is. Isn’t that Paul’s point in Romans 12:1-2, where we’re not to be conformed to this world? We’re not to allow the world, its entertainment, its philosophies, its politics, its values to mold us into its thinking?
(06:53):
Listen to The Message in its translation of Romans 12:1-2. “See here, this is what God wants you to do. Take everyday, ordinary life, your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for Him. Don’t become,” listen to this phrase, “Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking.” Don’t listen to the radio without thinking. Don’t watch the television without thinking. Don’t go into the shopping mall without thinking. Don’t listen to the conversation on the school playground or around the water cooler in the office without thinking. Don’t become well-adjusted to your environment, because it’s a toxic one for those that are pure in heart. The world works over time an attempt to get us to compromise our commitment to Jesus Christ, His truth in us and our testimony for Him.
(08:02):
Listen to this statement. Write it down and think about it. “The church’s challenge is not only persecution from the world but seduction by the world.” That’s the challenge. The devil is smart enough to know that one way to beat your enemy is to turn him into your friend. Remember, Abraham Lincoln said that one. “The best way to destroy your enemy is to make him your friend.” The devil knows that. And if the devil can’t destroy the church by persecution, he’ll do it through seduction. He’ll cause us to become well-adjusted to our environment, where we’re no longer different in an indifferent world. In fact, James warns us about that possibility, doesn’t he, in James 4:4 where we’re told that friendship with the world leaves us in enmity with God. We’re told in I John 2:15-17, we’re not to love the things of the world, because if we do that, we can’t be in love with the Father because this world is not in love with God.
(09:10):
Let me just clarify what we mean by “the world we’re not to love.” We’re talking about the organized system of human civilization that is actively hostile to God and alienated from God. We’re talking about a world, and you see it every day, you live among it, a world of arrogant, self-sufficient people seeking to exist apart from God and living in opposition to His law and His Word. This is where we are. We’re living in the lion’s den.
(09:42):
The Church in Pergamos was no more welcome than the American Embassy in Tehran. And they were up against persecution, and if that didn’t work, they were up against seduction. In fact, that’s the issue here. If you compare the three letters we’ve looked at and are looking. Ephesus resisted false teaching, Smyrna endured persecution, the Church at Pergamos faced both but failed regarding one. The Church of Pergamos endured persecution, as we find in the case of Antipas, but it failed to guard itself against the seduction of the world and the infiltration of false teaching, which had them eating things sacrificed to idols and committing sexual immorality. They were becoming too well-adjusted to their surroundings.
(10:35):
See, the devil and the world will either kill us or neutralize us. One of the two. If they don’t kill us, they’ll neutralize us through compromise, through becoming adjusted and situated in a world that’s in rebellion to God. That’s always the danger. In fact, Charles [inaudible 00:10:56] addresses it 150 years ago. He said this, “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 too much influence over the church.”
(11:11):
He said this also, “Put your finger on any prosperous page in the church’s history and I will find a little marginal note reading thus, ‘In this age, man could readily see where the church began and where the world ended.'” Is that still the case? But the world is always trying to squeeze us into its mold, to get us to copy its behavior and its beliefs. That’s a constant threat. That’s a constant temptation. That’s a constant pressure.
(11:43):
Mark Twain tells that early in his life he moved to a mining town in Colorado. The city he moved to was a wide open time with brothels and bars on every corner. And here’s what he said, “I immediately recognized it was no place for a Presbyterian, so I decided not to be one.” He compromised. He fitted in. The church needs to stand out, not fit in. And that’s the issue here at Pergamos, they were beginning to fit in instead of standing up and standing out for the name and the fame of Jesus Christ.
(12:27):
So, let’s begin to look at this letter. We’ll just make a start this morning. I want us to look at three things. Just one. In fact, we’ll only begin to look at the first thought. I want you to see the residents. I want you to see the residents. And then next week we’ll look at the [inaudible 00:12:44] and the repentance. But let’s look at verse 12 and 13. “And to the angel of the Church in Pergamos write,’These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword: I know your works and where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is.” That’s an outstanding statement, isn’t it? Jesus acknowledges that these embattled believers resided and abided in the lion’s den. In the previous letters he had acknowledged what each church was doing or what was being done to it. But here, he underscores the environment in which they lived and labored for His name’s sake. And he acknowledges it was a tough assignment, because it was a toxic environment. But that’s what Christ has called us to: to live out our faith in a world that disbelieves, to live according to His law in a world in rebellion.
(13:42):
Jesus wants them there and he wants them to know that he knows what they face there. God had placed this lampstand in a very dark corner of the world. The text tells us that Pergamos was a place where Satan lived and where his throne was. Satan had set up shop in Pergamos. It was a satanic hotspot. Evil was present in that city in a particularly concentrated way. I don’t know about you, but I’ve visited some cities here in the United States and abroad and I just get a sense of creeps. Sin is so present and prevalent and celebrated and in your face. That’s the kind of situation you have going on here at Pergamos.
[NEW_PARAGRAPH]Now, let’s quickly look at the city and try and understand what may be behind this idea of Satan’s throne. The city was situated 55 miles north of Smyrna, 20 miles inland from the Aegean Sea. It was the provincial headquarters of Rome. It was a city set on a hill, a thousand feet in elevation. It had all the trappings of a vibrant and visible Roman city. Stadiums and spas and theaters and government buildings and libraries. Talk about libraries. The library at Pergamos was second only to the Great Library of Alexandria in Egypt, which the library here in Pergamos has 200,000 volumes. Pliny, the Roman historian, said that Pergamos, by far, was the most distinguished city in Asia.
(15:22):
But with all these features came those obligatory pagan temples, but they came in great numbers here and in demonstrable terms. Pergamos was a hub for some of the most important cults of that day. And this may well be what’s being referred to here when we read about Satan’s throne. There’s some candidates for this. Number one, you had the altar to Zeus. Zeus was the most prominent of all the Greek mythological gods. And there was an altar to him, which came in the form of a throne. It was sat on a pedestal 800 feet above the city skyline. It domineered that city like a great vulture hovering over its prey. Some people believe that may well be the reference here to Satan’s throne, the altar to Zeus.
(16:18):
Another candidate was Asclepius. There was a temple to Asclepius. He was the son of Apollo. He was referred to as “the savior” in Greek mythology. His was a temple dedicated to healing and medicine. And the symbol of Asclepius was the serpent. Have you ever noticed the symbol of the Department of Health and Human Services in the United States? The staff with the serpent around it? That’s the ancient medical symbol of Asclepius. Some believe this was Satan’s throne also, because the serpent is a symbol for Satan himself. Was Satan working through all the hocus pocus of all the psychotherapy and all the herbal remedies of that day?
(17:10):
But there’s a third candidate and I tend to lean that this Satan’s throne was a reference to the fact that Pergamos was a hotbed for emperor worship. There was a strong emperor cult following at Pergamos. In fact, in 29 BC, this city received permission to build and dedicate a temple to Augustus three years before Smyrna was granted a similar privilege, if you remember our references to Smyrna. This was a city devoted to the emperor. They gladly called Caesar Kurios “lord”. And I think this is probably the reference we’re going to see next week, that there’s a play on the idea of the sword. Because unlike many other cities, the city of Pergamos was given full rights by the Roman authorities. They had the right to take life, which was symbolized in the sword if you go back through Romans chapter 13. And Jesus said, “Hey, I’ve got the sword that makes the final judgements.”
(18:13):
We’ve also got the fact that a martyr is referenced who died at the hands of the Romans. This was probably the reference when we read about Satan’s throne. But the bottom line is this: this was a tough spot to live as a Christian, as you can imagine. Imagine the altar to Zeus. Imagine the temple of Asclepius. Imagine the place riddled with emperor cult worshipers. In some little corner of that city was a little assembly of believers who stood for the name and the fame of Jesus Christ.
(18:50):
Now, I want to make a couple of applications here, and this is about as far as we’ll get this morning. All of that said, you might conclude then that this was no place for a Christian to be. The black arts and paganism and godlessness and sexual liberty marked that culture and marked that city. Anybody want to live there? I’ll tell you what? The city of Orange is heaven compared to this place. The church was no doubt viewed as a wart on the face of society. Everything this city was for, the Christians seemed to be against. They were the odd man out.
(19:36):
Listen to these words by Simon Kistemaker. “In view of their savior Jesus Christ, it was impossible for Christians to acknowledge these gods as saviors. In addition, they could never utter the motto “Caesar is lord” because for them, the title “Lord” was reserved for Jesus alone. Instead, of the 200,000 or more volumes in the Pergamum library, they come only with the Bible. In place of numerous temples, they had no temple and said that their Christian fellowship and even their physical bodies were the temple of the Holy Spirit. And in lieu of as Asclepius’ healing, the Christians taught that Jesus was the Great Physician.
(20:15):
In brief, for the Christian life in Pergamum was nearly unbearable. You see the residents? You see where they live? You would have to conclude at first look that, you know what, this was no place for a Christian to be. They were out of step for the cult from the culture and they were paying a price for it. They were being mocked and ostracized.
(20:39):
I don’t know if you know this, but before I went into industry, I spent a little bit of time in the Irish Rangers as an Army cadet. I thought about a career in the British Army for a while until I think I got some sense. But I remember all those early days of learning how to march in step. For some of us, it seemed that our neuron transmitters didn’t work that fast as we told our head to tell our feet to go left, right, left, right, left, right. It didn’t happen too quick for me, and so the Sergeant Major would often get in my face. The Corps say, “Get in step before you feel the toe of my boot.” Right on the spot, I did a little bit of a River Dance and go left, right, left, right.
(21:28):
As I thought about that, I think what you’ve got going on here, imagining what they’re facing and the way they’re living like an Irish regimental sergeant major, the world was bullying the church to get into step. And they weren’t willing. And if they weren’t willing, you paid a price. That was the temptation. If the devil couldn’t kill them, he tried to neutralize them with seduction. A little bit of a compromise here, a little bit of a compromise there. This was hell’s kitchen, and it was no place for the Christian to be, but in another sense, it was exactly the place for the Christian to be. Into this inky, black culture, God placed and graced a church at the foot of Satan’s throne. Is there no better place for a Christian to be? [inaudible 00:22:21] living behind enemy lines, the church was not to retreat.
(22:24):
In fact, it’s interesting, when Jesus talks about where they dwelled. In verse 13, “I know your works and where you dwell,” he uses a verb there that means, really, to put your roots down. Which is interesting because in many of the passages of the New Testament, the Christian is likened to a traveler and a transient, we’re aliens and strangers. But Jesus said, “I know where you put your roots down.” And Jesus doesn’t tell him to uproot and take a one-way ticket on the first bus out of town. No, he’s saying, “I know where you dwell. You live where Satan lives, but I don’t want you to run and tuck tail. I want you to be in the world but not of it.” We’ll come back to this next week. “I want you to be in the world but not of it.” I don’t want you to copy their behavior. I want you to be a stark contrast in the way you dress and act and speak and think and the choices you make in terms of all the world’s menu. The emphasis here is being placed in the fact that Christ acknowledges their strategic position and placement within the Kingdom of God.
(23:36):
Now, here’s the PowerPoint. A couple of quick applications and we’re done. Christ knew that this was no place for a Christian to be, but at the same token, it was the very place that a Christian needed to be. And his knowledge of their situation must have been a great source of resilience and reassurance. They must have felt quite lonely and cut off as the outpost of heaven, living behind enemy lines. There’s the little flock of Christ in the lion’s den. But Jesus says, I want you to continue to live where sit lives by the grace of God and for the glory of God.
(24:17):
Now, two applications. This is good. This is just practical stuff. Number one, you and I ought to meditate upon the fact that no matter where we are or what we are facing, we have not been abandoned much less ignored by Jesus. Get that down. “I know where you dwell,” says the Son of God. Listen, Jesus knows where you live. Jesus knows the rascal you’re living with, and Jesus knows what you’re living with, the challenges. “His eye is on the righteous and his ear is open to their cry,” I Peter 3:12.
(25:00):
And then you’ve got these beautiful verses in Psalm 33:18-19. Psalm 33:18-19. “Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, on those who hope in his mercy, to deliver their soul from death and to keep them alive in the famine.” Our souls wait for the Lord. He is our help and our shield, for our heart shall rejoice in Him because we have trusted in His holy name. Let your mercy, oh Lord, be upon us just as we hope in You.” “Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon those who fear Him.” His eye is not just on the sparrow, it’s on you.
(25:40):
What a wonderful message to the pastor of a small and struggling church. “I know where you dwell.” What a wonderful message to a husband or a wife who are in an unequal yolk situation in a home. “I know where you dwell.” What a wonderful message to a mother raising her kids in a tough neighborhood. “I know where you dwell.” What a wonderful message to the frontier missionary doing lonely inner city work or global missions. “I know where you dwell.” What a wonderful message to the high school or college student who lives like a fish out of water on the dorms of a campus given over to godless ideology and philosophy. “I know where you dwell.” And I want you to live where Satan lives. But I don’t want you to live like the devil, I want you to live like a Christian. Not conformed to this world, not in love with the things of this world, but I want to give you hidden manna. I want to feed your soul from the table of My grace and My mercy.
(26:48):
You see, he knows where we live, not only because of his omniscience, but because of experience. Listen, he knows where we live because he has lived where we live. John 1:14, this is the great implication of the incarnation. “The Word was made flesh.” The Word that made all things was himself made in the likeness of mankind. He became something he never was, but he did remain what he always was. You have these two natures brought together without confusion, without corruption. Jesus Christ was God and man, man and God. Not half man, not half God. Fully God, fully man. The Word was made flesh and what? And dwelt among us. I know where you dwell. I dwelt among you. God descended into creatureliness. He entered an authentic human experience, and He saw his world from within. Now, doesn’t that put another spin on Revelation 2:13? He saw his world from within, and he’s able to see from heaven to those who are back in that world. “I know where you dwell.” I know what you face, because I faced it.
(28:17):
One of the challenges of being a policeman in Northern Ireland, as you know that I spent a number of years there as a police officer, one of the challenges of it was that it was a small country and you often policed in a very small community, so your friends knew you and so did your enemies. I remember witnessing a number of situations where maybe the police were holding a line in a riot situation or some public disturbance, contacts and people in front of the policemen would shout this, “Hey, Billy, hey, Johnny, we know where you live.” Pretty frightening to hear that. Think about your wife and your kids and your wellbeing. “We know where you live.” Implication: “And we’re coming to get you.” And it’s a great thing for a policeman, it’s a great thing for a Christian in any given situation to know the enemy might know where we live, but so does Christ. And he will never forsake us and he will never fail us. He is our shield. He will stand beside as our warrior king, who out of his mouth comes a two-edged sharp sword.
(29:33):
Here’s the final point here. Just a little practical implication and application. Not only do we need to meditate upon the fact that no matter where we are or what we’re facing, we’ve not been abandoned much less ignored by Christ. But you and I need to remember, that we are where we are by divine appointment. If your unsaved husband’s willing to live with you, you must live with him. That’s what 1 Corinthians 7 teaches us. Young man, young woman in the public school system, in the secular college campus, God wants you there as salt and light. He wants you to live where Satan lives, but not like the devil, as we said, like a Christian.
(30:20):
God calls the servants of God to tough spots, where they often see little fruit, meager resources, but God wants them to stay where they are because he has them there by divine appointment for a given time, regardless of the circumstances, regardless of the cost. Wherever you are, write this down, wherever you are, at least for this moment, doesn’t mean it’s a life sentence, but wherever you are at this moment, God has placed you there sovereignly, strategically, either to work in you or to witness through you. One of those two things.
(30:55):
Going to recommend you a little stocking filler. It’s a book entitled The Red Sea Rules, written by Robert Morgan. Small little book. Get your hands on it. Get one for yourself and get one for a friend and put it in the stocking. He brings out these rules in this little book, and he tells a story of Exodus 14 and how the children of Israel came to the Red Sea.
(31:18):
Do you know what the number one rule is? Realize that God means for you to be where you are. Let’s go back quickly to Exodus 14. They’re going through the wilderness, right? The Israelites have followed the pillar of cloud and the fire as carefully as possible. They’re thrilled with their new freedom. They’re full of excitement about the future, but it seems that God deliberately leads them into a cul-de-sac. Okay, look at Exodus 14:1. “Now the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Speak to the children of Israel, that they turn and camp before Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, opposite Baal Zephon. You shall camp before it by the sea. For Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, ‘They are bewildered by the land. The wilderness has closed them in.'”
(32:11):
God deliberately takes them to the edge of the Red Sea. They seem to be in a boxed canyon. They’re in a cul-de-sac. They’re cornered. They’re in the lion’s lair. The enemy’s got them in their crosshairs. Why would God lead them there? Because he wants Pharaoh to fall into the trap. It’s a great little book. I think there’s 10 rules he brings out. This is number one: realize that God means for you to be where you are. Can you imagine the children of Israel right up against that Red Sea and then the cloud of dust is coming across the desert floor? The chariots of Pharaoh. Boy, their freedom’s not going to last very long. But as Robert Morgan says, “The unmistakable implication of Exodus 14:1-2 is that the Lord took responsibility for leading them into peril. He gave them specific step-by-step instruction leading them down a road to apparent ruin. Turn and camp. Camp there. There, before the entrapping sea. Yes, right there in the impossible place.
(33:19):
Rule number one, realize that God means you to be where you are. You say, Pastor, but it’s hard, and I’m up against all sorts of temptations and threats on a daily basis. The office environment stinks. The college campus is a sewer of immorality. My neighborhood’s getting worse. Look, if Jesus wanted us to retreat, he wouldn’t have prayed. “Father, I pray you’ll not take them out of the world, but keep them from the evil that’s in it.” We’ve got to get the salt out of the salt shaker and under the putrefying carcass of our culture. And here, we have this residence regarding a church in Asia Minor. A city marked by satanic infestation, the altar of Zeus, the temple of Asclepius, the emperor cult worship. It was an oppressive environment, much like Lot, his righteous soul, we read, was oppressed day by day. And that’s how it feels like, doesn’t it, increasingly, to be a Christian in America? But do we run and tuck tail? Do we play the victim? Do we reach the world, but becoming like the world? None of those things are an option for us.
(34:52):
In 1865, the English poet, Rudyard Kipling wrote a poem. Don’t know if you’ve ever read it. It’s called Mulholland’s Contract. And in the poem, he tells the story of a man by the name of Mulholland, who was a cattleman on a cattle boat. His assigned work station was in the lower deck with all the animals. But the boat was caught up in a terrific storm and a lot of the cattle in the cars broke loose, and he was terrified about being stampeded and trampled to death. And so in the moment he made a contract with God, he said, “Oh God, sea of my life, don’t let me perish under the hooves of these animals in the lower deck, and I’ll go anywhere and preach your gospel.” So, this was the contract he made with God. It’s in a beautiful poem. You can Google it. It’s called Mulholland’s Contract.
(35:41):
And by the terms of the contract, as I have read to same, if God got me to port of life, I would exalt his name. And praise his Holy Majesty till further orders came. He is kept alive. He comes to port. He keeps his bargain with God. He promises to go out into the world and preach the gospel, but the poem then has God reply these words, “I never put on My ministers no more than they can bear, so back you go to the cattle boat and preach My gospel there.” It’s a great little poem. In other words, it was Mulholland’s duty not to seek an easier place to be a Christian, but to be a Christian exactly where God had put him on, that street, in that situation with those people.
(36:33):
And that’s the way it was for the believers at Pergamos, and that’s what it is for you and I. Listen, as we close and pray. God has placed you where you need to be for this moment. Next to your neighbor, who may be a right royal pain, but they need to hear his love through your undeserved love. Your coworkers need to see you live out your faith in the context of their disbelief and mockery of all things sacred. So the next time you start to complain about your place in life, stop and think about Mulholland’s Contract about the Church at Pergamos. God Almighty means for you to be where you are so that you might be his representative in a world gone rogue.
(37:29):
Let’s pray. Oh God, this morning, we thank you again for our excursion into the letters of the Churches of Asia Minor. How timely are these ancient letters. How up-to-date, how modern. Oh, the facade has changed, but the pagan temples are all around us. They may even be the local shopping mall, as people buy before the materialistic gods of our age, the dance clubs, the sports bars. Oh God, the college campuses where godless philosophy is spun in a mockery of Jesus Christ. Oh God, we live where Satan lives. We live in a world that lies in the lap of that wicked one. But until Jesus comes, oh God, you’ve never told us to go and find a cave on the side of a hill. You’ve never told us to retreat because the kingdom of darkness only retreats is the Kingdom of God advances. And therefore, oh God, wherever you have us: in business, in school, in our neighborhoods, oh God, help us to take on the assignment this week of being a witness for Jesus Christ and his Word.
(38:46):
There may be other remedies, suppose, but for us, there is only one prescription for health and heaven, and that’s the One who said, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” There may be new books rolling off the printing presses, touting that this is the way to live. This is where success is fun, but, oh God, we’re still leafing the pages of the 66 books of the Bible, the ancient truth, the forever truth of God Almighty Himself. And heaven and earth will pass away, but not one jot or tittle of this inherent, infallible, sufficient Book will pass away. Make us people of the Book amidst a world of books. Make us people of Jesus Christ amidst a world of antichrists. And these things we ask and pray, everybody said amen.