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R1603 Worldliness and the Church

Encouraging Word / Don Wilton
The Truth Network Radio
January 15, 2021 8:00 am

R1603 Worldliness and the Church

Encouraging Word / Don Wilton

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January 15, 2021 8:00 am

The Daily Encouraging Word with Dr. Don Wilton

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God has an encouraging word for you with Dr. Don Wilson. In chapter 4, when you go to chapter 4, the first thing you're going to read there is that heaven opens. Heaven opens. So up there, heaven opens. And when heaven opens, Jesus comes out.

How do we know that? Because 1 Thessalonians tells us, 1 Corinthians tell us, Bible tells us, Jesus is going to come out. When did heaven open, by the way? Heaven opened when God sent His Son.

Jesus came out of heaven and He was born in Bethlehem as a baby and then He lived, taught us, then He went to the cross and He died, rose from the dead, went back to the mount of ascension and He ascended to be seated at the right hand of the Father. Heaven opened to receive Jesus back into heaven, back into heaven. Now this is the next time that the heaven opens. Heaven opens, lets Jesus out and He comes into the clouds. Doesn't come back to this earth, comes into the clouds, okay? And when He comes into the clouds, He's going to bring with Him all people who are already in heaven. So if your mom's in heaven, she's coming with Him.

Your best friend, maybe your husband because they're all perfect. They're in the best place ever. They coming with Him and then we, if we're still alive, we may not be. If we're still alive, those of us who are alive on this earth, we're going to be caught up. It's called the rapture.

We're going to be caught up. We're going to meet Jesus and all our family and friends up there in the clouds and then He's going to turn around and He's going to take all of us back into heaven and we're going to be with Him forever and that's going to begin a whole lot of events that are going to take place until heaven's going to open again. Jesus is going to come out this time with all of us and we're all coming back to this earth. That's called the second coming.

I know it's a lot to kind of think on, right? But here's what Jesus said. In the first three chapters of the book of Revelation, chapter one, chapter two and chapter three, Jesus has a special word to the church, to believers, to people who belong to the church of God. We are the bride of Christ, the church. That's all of us who love Jesus.

Methodists and Presbyterians and Baptists, it's not about denominations, it's about loving Jesus, right? Jesus belongs to us. We belong to Him. We have repented of our sin, confessed our sin, given our lives to Christ. We're Christians.

Hello? We are Christian people. I'm a Christian man.

It's a word for you and for me. The church. By the way, it's the ultimate sign. What Jesus has to say about the church is the ultimate sign.

There are lots of signs in the Bible about when Jesus coming back, lots of them. Cash, cashless society, events in the Middle East, the internet, sharing the gospel across the whole world, famines, earthquakes. Hey, what about viruses? Pestilences. This virus we got, it's got something to do with end times, but the ultimate one is the condition of the church.

So when we get to the church at Pergamum, in chapter two, I'm going to read to you and it's incredible. And the essential message to Pergamum is about worldliness. So take the word world. It's an adjectival description of worldliness.

The word worldliness when Jesus talks to this church, to believers, he's trying to tell us something about the church and the world and worldliness is Jesus is talking about the fact that the church is looking awfully like the world instead of like the church. Guys, this is a fine line. Don't confuse things here. Don't confuse things.

These times they are changing. I understand that I've lived a few years myself. I'm telling you, I know I don't look like it now, but when I was 21, my hair was down to my elbow. Everyone had long hair and people still have long boys, still have long hair. What's wrong with that?

There are associations. Look what God did. It's not like we didn't react to change. We asked God to show us how to partner with change in the best way. But now I want you to listen to me.

There's a difference between adapting and becoming part of becoming all things to all people that by all means we might win some and participating in worldliness. Guys, you've got to listen to this because this is going to apply to your life. Where's that line? What does Jesus say? So let me read what he said to the church at Pergamum.

You're ready? Here it is. It's an incredible passage. I mean chapter two and verse 12. To the angel of the church in Pergamum write the words of him who has the sharp two-edged sword. I know where you dwell, where Satan's throne is. Yet you hold fast my name and did not deny my faith even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.

But I have a few things against you. You have some there, some who hold to the teaching of Balaam who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel so they might eat food, sacrifice to idols and practice sexual immorality. So also have some of you who hold to the teachings of the Nicolaitans. Therefore repent. If not, I will come to you soon and I will war with them with the sword of my mouth. He who has an ear to hear, let him hear what the spirit says to the churches. And to the one who conquers, I will give some of the hidden manna and I will give that person a white stone with a new name written on that stone that nobody knows except the one who receives it.

I mean this is powerful guys. So let me tell you about Pergamum, just the thumbnail. Pergamum was a landlocked city. They didn't have trade routes.

They didn't have a port where ships could come in. And in the middle of Pergamum there were four temples and they worshipped four major gods like Zeus. And they worshipped the emperor and all the pagan stuff. And let me tell you what they did. They imported their paganism.

Didn't come by ship. I mean no disrespect, but I'm going to ask you a question. If I say Las Vegas, what's the first thing that comes to your mind? You know, I've always thought Pergamum was the Las Vegas that Jesus was talking about in the Bible. So I'm going to tell you right up some of my absolute best friends live in Las Vegas. Some of the greatest gospel preachers live in Las Vegas. Some of the most powerful Christians I've ever met live in Las Vegas. I've been to Las Vegas several times. What's Las Vegas known for? You answer that question.

Why do the majority of people want to go to Las Vegas? Just saying. And they landlocked. It's all been brought in. So here's Pergamum. There are some unbelievable Christians there.

For when you hear about them. And worldliness had got in. How do you define it? Well, Jesus defines it. And Jesus doesn't reduce it to the level of stupidity. Like, well, you can't be spiritual if you don't wear a tie when you go to church. Jesus doesn't say, well, you're only spiritual if you sing hymns or you sing choruses. Jesus doesn't say, well, you know, you better stand up when you worship.

And other people say you need to be. Some people say, be loud, be quiet. What's worship?

Louder music or quieter music? That's a preference. We celebrate. It's worship, but not worldliness. So here's what Jesus says. This is what he says.

Okay. What did he say to this church? Number one, Jesus tells them that he's got a sword, a double edged sword.

He just lets them know. What's the Bible say in Hebrews chapter four? Bible says in Hebrews chapter four, listen to this. The word of God is living and active, sharper than any two edged sword. It pierces as far as the division of the soul and the spirit, both joints and marrow and God, Jesus is able.

Now get this, get this, don't fall out of your seat. Jesus wanted them to know that he is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart, of the heart. That's how he starts talking about the church and worldliness. Second thing he tells them, he says, not only do I have a sword, he said, but I know where you live.

Woo! I didn't make that up. Verse 13, I know where you live.

Any questions? I know where you live. I know you. I know what's going on in your city.

And in Pergamum's case, he says, I know that's where Satan lives. That's where he's thrown us. I know you're in the midst of all of this.

You got that? I know what you're dealing with on that campus. I know you're caught. I know you've got friends trying to pull you away.

I know last night they wanted you to be immoral in your behavior. I know what the world calls popular. I know where you live. You know what that means when Jesus says, I know where you live? It means three things. It means he sees personally. He sees personally. He sees me personally. He sees our church personally. He sees our city personally. He sees you personally. Number two, he knows intimately, knows all the details.

Remember the sword, bone, marrow, joints, heart, got it? He knows intimately. He has the best. He understands compassionately. He understands. He does understand. Please forgive the interruption.

I hope you'll understand. Dr. Wilton insists that I interrupt to let you know we're here for you. We're available 24 hours a day at this phone number, 866-899 word. That's 866-899-9673, but we're also available online as well at While you're there, be sure and follow Dr. Wilton on his social media, but you also might want to sign up for the daily encouraging word devotional. It's right there on our website,, insight from God's word, application to how we live it out in our lives every day. And again, you know it's coming from Dr. Don, so it'll be a blessing. You can sign up online,, also the great place to discover Walking with Giants, a powerful resource and another book from one of our dear friends, Laura's story called I Give Up.

All of it's there at Now back to today's message with Dr. Wilton. Guys, Jesus, Jesus was tempted in all points, all points, just as we are, yet without sin. What's the difference between Jesus and me? Both tempted, excepting Jesus had no sin. He never succumbed. Me?

I succumb because I'm a sinner by nature and a sinner by choice. He knows where I live. Makes me think, you ever gone to church and said, man, at least at church, you know this and that, but man, when I get out here, nobody's watching. He knows. He sees. It's what he tells us. Number three, and I love this, third thing he says, he salutes their faithfulness. He salutes their faithfulness.

I mean, get this, he says it right here. He says, yet you hold fast my name and did not deny my faith even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness who was killed among you, right there in the place where Satan lives. So at Pergamum, there was such persecution of the church. There was such a demand for the church to look like the world.

I mean, there were people running around saying, if the church can just suit me, I'll go, but otherwise forget it. I'll go. I'm in, man, as long as they can stroke my, what I want, and man, I do this in the world. This is what my ball game, I'm using it symbolically. This is what my ball game looks like.

I want that in the church. This is how I talk out there. This is how people talk. You know what I mean?

Listen to the politicians. I mean, people get angry, just blow their fuse out there. I want that in the church.

No. And right in the middle of this in Pergamum, there was such persecution. We don't know it to this extent, even though it sure was starting to heat up. In Pergamum, there was a man named Antipas and he was a wonderful Christian man. You know, they demanded that they worship the emperor and do pagan practices and eat food sacrifice. I'll get involved in sexual immorality and all these things. Antipas said, nope, I'm not going to bring the world into my church.

I'm a Christian. Not going to behave like, you know what they did to him? Guys, I can really unpack this and gross you out, but it's facts is facts, right? You know what they did? They got a big pot, huge big pot. They put oil in it. They boiled the oil and they put Antipas, they dropped him in the burning oil, boiling, they boiled him alive in scalding oil. Is that horrible or what?

Paint, I can't go there. And you know what? The Christians were watching. When you and I watch how the world persecutes Christians for not accepting their standards, what's the first thing you want to do is run and just say, well, then I'll do that just to, so I don't get the same stuff.

I don't want to be unpopular. And what Jesus was saying is listen, you held fast. He salutes their faithfulness.

Isn't that fantastic? But he quickly transitions and he pinpoints their sin. Verse 14, he pinpoints their sin. He just goes right to it. He talks about two things. He talks about Balaam and then he talks about the Nicolaitans. You can read about Balaam in Numbers 22 through 24.

The whole story is there. And Balaam recruited a fellow called Balak, B-A-L-A-K, Balak. He was the king of Moab. He was very influential. I want you to get that, influential.

He was the king, the leader. And they went out, got among the Christians, among the religious people, the Christians, and they enticed them with worldliness. They said, man, isn't it fantastic just to let your inhibitions go? Become engaged in immorality, man, let's just do it all. And Jesus looked at them and said, some of you have adopted their pagan practices inside the church.

You are behaving like this. And then he spoke about the Nicolaitans. Some of you have even been led by the... Nicolaitans, by the way, were named for a man by the name called Nicholas. Nicholas was one of the seven leaders of the church in Pergamon. And his particular assignment, he was the minister of food distribution.

You talk about key? This guy had influence. This was social ministry, guys. He had influence.

And Nicholas began to use his leadership position to entice church members in the name of the church away from the truth of God into worldliness. You know what I hear him say? He's talking to someone like me because I'm a Christian spiritual leader. He was saying something to you as a life group leader, as a Sunday school teacher, as an elder, as a deacon, as a choir leader, the discipleship leader, as a worship leader. He's talking to people of influence. And he was saying, you be careful what you do with your information.

Go out there and saddle up to people the way you speak. What you say to other people in the name, in the name of ministry and the church. This is what Nicholas did. He went out and he said, oh, isn't this great, guys, but we can't have this. We need to accept this.

And I want you to know as far as we can, and I'm not going to do this and I'm not going to do that. Jesus had something to say to him. Yeah, he saluted the faithfulness of the people, man. By the way, you're going to say, man, pastor, you don't need to say it, but I'm just saying this. I think this coronavirus has been a test of our faith.

I really do. It's been a test for the church, for faithfulness, because we basically left our own devices. We're isolated. And then he pinpoints their sin, sin of Balaam, the sin of the Nicolaitans. Then he demands they repent.

I mean, that verse in verse 16, doesn't beat around the bush. He says, repent. Only way you respond, if you have allowed worldliness to become part of your Christian life, repent of it. It's sin.

You can be in the world, but not of the world. James chapter four and verse four. You know what God's word says? Friendship with the world is enmity with God.

Sorry. Doesn't matter what the synod said or the council or the pastor, friendship with the world is enmity. Guys, do you get that? That's why we pray so hard. We're crying out to the Lord because our hearts, we want to just be the big warm embrace. Oh, come on man. I'm telling you down to the smallest thing, just because a song's got a beat doesn't mean to say it honors Jesus. I'm telling you guys, this makes me uncomfortable. Just because we do something, you got to ask the question all the time in the church is what we're doing worshiping Jesus, lifting high his name.

I love you for that, man. So what does he close by doing? Says repent. And then he guarantees their reward in verse 17.

Now watch this. He guarantees their reward. He gives them an invitation and then he guarantees the promise.

It's twofold. He says, listen, when you remain faithful to me, I'm going to give you manna from heaven. What is manna? What did that mean to them? Well, they understood it because they were out in the wilderness back there in the day. They had nothing to eat. They were fleeing the pagans. They didn't know where their next meal was coming and God said, I got this. Heaven opened, here it came. Best meal they'd ever had and so much they filled up trays and trays of excess.

They'd leftovers for the next five years. That's how much food God poured out from heaven. And what Jesus was saying, look, you may reject the pagan practices in the church, eating this delicious food, this top food, these sirloin steaks and the filet mignons that the world is offering to idols because it's polluted and it's pagan and you're saying no. He said, don't you worry. I'll give you manna from heaven. I'll give you so much good food and then left over some, you won't be able to stand yourself even though you don't even know where it's going to come from.

Isn't that a great promise? And then the second thing is he says, I'll give you a white stone with a new name written on it. White stone. People would get accused of crimes everywhere from the worst crimes to the never committed a crime and they'd get the jury together and when the trial was over, the judge, so to speak, would say, members of the jury have you reached your verdict. And when the chairman or the chairman of the jury would get up and he would walk over to the accused and he would hand the accused a white stone. Do you know what it meant? It meant I've got good news for you. You've been found not guilty. You've been declared free.

You've been acquitted. You got a new name. No more hanging over you. No more stuff. Go in peace.

You got it? That's what Jesus said. Our time's gone for today, but oh, that's what Jesus said.

We trust the red letters, don't we? The words of Jesus. I pray you'd open your heart.

You've heard Dr. Wilton preach, but as he's coming to the studio, he has a most important question for you next. Are you ready to give your heart and life to the Lord Jesus Christ? Why don't you pray this prayer with me right now? Dear God, I know that I'm a sinner and I know that Jesus died for me on the cross. Today I repent of my sin and by faith I receive you into my heart in Jesus' name. My friend, I welcome you today into the family of God.

This is exciting news. I believe some of you just prayed with Dr. Wilton and you need to take it to the next step. Give us a call. Let us put the resources we have that Dr. Don has chosen for you absolutely free into your hands because you've given your life to Christ or maybe rededicated your life to Christ. Our phone number is 866-899-WORD. That's 866-899-9673. Let us connect you with those resources.

As a matter of fact, there are other resources as well on our website at, resources like this. God's intended purpose for us never changed. We are not defeated. We are overcomers through Jesus Christ. The Word of God is alive and is relevant to all times in which we live. There are countless testimonies of people who walked with God in the Bible. They are our cloud of witnesses to encourage us on the Christian journey.

Learn from them. You can walk with God's giants. With your gift of $20 or more in support of the encouraging Word, you will receive the first of Dr. Wilton's new dynamic two-part series, Walking with God's Giants. Series 1, Walking with God's Giants is available on CD or DVD and includes four messages on the lives of Abraham, Moses, Samuel, and Hannah. Call us today at 866-899-WORD to request Series 1, Walking with God's Giants. Thank you for your continued partnership to help us share the gospel of Jesus Christ around the world. It's been a great week, but over the weekend, know that we'd love to join with you in worshiping the Lord together in our video presentations. The details are on our website at, the Daystar Network and more. Let's worship the Lord together this weekend.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-03 23:14:34 / 2024-01-03 23:24:08 / 10

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