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October 5, 2021 4:00 am
Listen you know how Satan attacks church first. It's very subtle. We lose our first love and then all of a sudden we begin to compromise with the world because the easiest thing to lead you into compromise.
The lack of love for God.
If you really love God and you love the Lord Jesus Christ with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. Your desire about things would be to maintain his absolute and to do that can compromise the system but to defend yourself against the bully will if you're Christian you got more than some immature bully making trouble for you. You face a powerful dangerous enemy, and to defend yourself.
You need to understand your enemy's tactics and you need the right equipment. John MacArthur shows you the defenses God gives you on this edition of grace to you.
It's part of a series titled the believers armor. One of John's most popular studies through the years. It can show you how to overcome even Satan's fiercest tax. So let's get to it with the lesson. Here's John MacArthur.
How does Satan attack us well for the answer that I want to turn to Revelation chapter 1, I believe the Lord shows us in the letters of Revelation 2 and three. I believe in the letters to the churches. The seven churches of Asia minor.
The first of which is Ephesus, and then the others that were literally born out of the Ephesian church. The other six being also in Asia minor. I believe the Lord gives us insight into how Satan attacks the church. So what we need to be warned about.
Let's look and see first of all, the thing that hit the church at Ephesus. They left their first love.
They left their first love.
This is one of the greatest churches in all history. And yet the Lord's penetrating eyes, found this fatal flaw. They had turned in their hot hearts for cold orthodoxy.
They were becoming.
Those who simply carried out in a very biblical ministry just wasn't any passion, there is a second thing to be aware of verse 12 chapter 2 we skip the church at Smyrna because that was the persecuted church and it isn't warned but to the angel of the church in Pergamum write these things. Seth you has a sharp sword with two edges is the Lord of the sword is a sort of judgment coming out of his mouth as in Revelation 19, Hebrews chapter 4 pieces. I know thy works.
Verse 13 and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's throne is, and that thou hold us fast my name, and has not denied my faith, even in those days in which anti-press was my faithful martyr who was slain among you, where Satan dwells.
Right. He says premise. I know everything about you my searching penetrating gaze reveals all these things. I know your works. I know you're involved. I know your active I know there's something going on and I know that you are, where Satan's throne is you're in a tough place in man Pergamum was a tough city you know that Pergamum was the center of Emperor worship center of the worship of Caesar. Do you know that it was the center of the worship of Zeus, the great God.
Some say the greatest God of all that system of deities and that in the city of Pergamum as they had built a huge altar to Zeus in the shape of a throne and so some feel that the throne of Satan as mentioned in verse 13 is a reference to the altar of Zeus the greatest, most famous largest altar in the world.
On the other hand Pergamum's at its own God by the name of Asclepius.
He was the Pergamum is God who is associated with healing the God of healing.
He's always been associated with snakes and Imprimis. They had a temple and a medical school you still see a snake on the symbol of the physician that really comes from Greek mythology from this Escalade be us God of healing and in the temple. They had non-poisonous snakes all over the floor and people who are ill or come and live there so that the snakes could crawl over them everywhere they touch them, they would be due. Lesson was tough being in Pergamum was tough. The little group of Christians in the midst of a terrible pagan society choices. I know where you dwell, where Satan's throne is and I know you will fast my name, and you have not denied the faith, even to the point where some of you died. Namely, one dear brother Oedipus whose life was taken away in that place where Satan dwells. Boy you know it's tough but I would say some folks to live in a tough city to be in a tough environment to live in a tough time of the world and name the name of Jesus Christ. Listen, there's no reason to lower the standards even them doesn't change the even then, are the same gotchas I know it's tough there that doesn't change the standards. I know it's hard doesn't change anything, even though you've endured and even though you been martyred. And even though you've worked on for the Lord even though you've upheld his name.
Verse 14. I have a few things against you, and what is it because you have them there that hold the doctrine of Baylon, who taught male actor cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit fornication to what that is. Baylon got the children of Israel to intermarry with the pagans and to get into their idolatry and what he's saying here is, that's compromise with pagan system and the problem in the church at Pergamum's was they were compromising with the world.
There were intermarry. I don't know whether that actually was going on whether they were actually Christians intermarry with non-Christians very likely that was happening, but the church at Pergamum's began to court the world, they began to indulge themselves in worldly thing. They were violating second Corinthians 6 what fellowship has light with darkness what Concorde is Christ with glial they were to come out from among them and be separate and touch not the unclean thing, but they were the worldly church they had let the world come in they were doing what the world wanted them to do. They were aping the world. It's amazing to me how the Church of Christ in America today is going all alcohol to any oral dualism.
Anyway, if the worldview of the family changes the church accommodates it if the worldview of the woman changes the church accommodates if the worldview of the homosexual changes the church accommodates we get on the bandwagon with everything the world want to identify with it is shocking.
Just shocking with the church becomes materialistic because the world is materialistic.
The church becomes preoccupied with entertainment because the world is preoccupied with entertainment and you know just to give an illustration about the rise of what is known as the elect Tronic church. There are many who feel is the number one reason people don't identify with a local church.
They sit at home behind their little television and the church comes to them. It ought to get dressed and leave the house. Everything is all perfect. It's another part watch this one of the fantasy.
You know, TV is a fantasy. And Allah wants to live in that fantasy and you go home and you sit there and that church is a perfect church.
I mean the music is unbelievable. It's unbelievable.
Orchestras and people with flowing gowns and great singers in the parade goes on the lights and camera angles and all this and the preacher is perfectly in order to gives his message and there is the fancy charts and you never sit next to anybody at all like and nobody ever talks to disturb you, and you don't find a place to park. Glorious you just send them a little conscious money now and they'll tell you your winning the war role for doing will send you thing you can plaster on your wall to prove how sacrificial you are really. It's a sad thing and you know what happens. One writer said the electronic church is built on entertainment and the electronic church apes the very things in the world. The church is always convinced the electronic church inevitably comes through as a mere expression of cultural religion aping the values and the glitter and the trappings of the very values and kinds of success that we professes Christians to reject us live in a real world people are. This is a real world and real church.
The church is so smug and so comfortable in its compromise with the world but it falls into the fantasy and in verse 15 he says you have them there that hold the doctrine of the neck alliance what happened in Pergamum's program was decided they can waltz the world programs decide to court the world they could draw the world a little bit and do a little of the world's thing in the world's way and analyze some immorality in verse 50, right. So he says in verse 16 repent or else come under the quickly and fight against them with the sword of my mouth was know how Satan attacks church first. It's very subtle. We lose our first love and then all of a sudden we begin to compromise with the world because the easiest thing to lead you into compromise. The lack of love for God.
If you really love God and you love the Lord Jesus Christ with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. Your desire above all things will be to maintain his absolute honor right and to do that you can't compromise the system but as soon as you cool your love, then it becomes easier to fall into the trap of the system.
By the way you're gonna love someone if it is God's will wind up love and what's around you is 1/3 church that I want to mention to you church in Thyatira. Verse 18 under the age of the church in Thyatira write these things that the son of God, who hath his eyes like a flame of fire at his feet are like fine bronze, researching, penetrating and coming in judgment in the sound so good I know thy works, and love and service, and faith. And I patients and I works in the last to be more getting better at this stuff. There's a chance it's really working for their active and there really got all going. If the church in Pergamum is married the world the church and thought tire is celebrating their anniversary. This is the church. The tolerate sin Ephesus lost the first love Pergamum's compromise of the world thought Tyra tolerant of sin. The floodgate was open and soon as there verse 20 in spite of all your works, all your love all your service all your faith and patience all the stuff and that it's even increasing. I have a few things.
By the way, is not in the Greek manuscripts. I have this against the because that allows that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce my servants to commit fornication and eat things sacrificed unto idols, you know that church did. They had almost good things. Love and service fees but they let the church become a victim of a false teacher.
They just loud soon to come in, have its heyday there. There were people committing fornication sounds like the Corinthian church doesn't. By the way, that when out of existence to but came this morning and she was seducing and involving them in the idol worship of the day and I've told this before but the idolatry of those errors of history involved sexual activity and so here were these people just having a great time getting involved in the filth in the rock of the world's rare day when you have a couple come in for premarital counseling and you ask, have you gone to bed together and they say no, it's becoming a rare thing is shocking to us is becoming a rare. This is a very violent evil world we live in an inch. People are drawn into sin if they're not aware of what's going on and they don't build the defenses and walk in the spirit. But I'll tell you we have a lot more of evil around us, by virtue of volumes of people with this church began to allow it, and God is even patient verse 21.
I gave her space to repent God even give a little time for repentance and she repented not. This is a hold TO redo a bid what she likes bed so much. I'll put her to bed.
She wants to commit fornication. I'll put her into a fornicating situation in verse 23 says it will be a bed of death.
I'll kill her children with death. That's what I'll do. Whoever those people who have listened to this Jezebel are designated as her children and he says I'll kill her children with death.
It will be a battle.
It will be a bit of death. Put them in bad deathbed and the Chargers will look and say hi to me that searches the minds and hearts and I'll give everyone of you according to your works was in the Lord will judge his church beloved, don't you think you can be a believer and get a waiver from God and his chastening. Not all the better advice will be exchanged for a deathbed because they've committed adultery if committed adultery. Verse 22 says why because a believer is married to Christ and fool around idols and sexual activity is a form of adultery I tell you.
He says to the church tolerates soon you better repent, you better turnaround.
If you don't repent and verse 22, I'll kill you with death.
For those of you who are involved in verse 24 aces are not to put any other burden on you. Just hang on to what you've got till I get there, but to those that are evil. I want to bring a judgment there is the church. The tolerate sin loved her so many churches to do this, they just don't want to deal soon. They just don't want to confront anybody. They say you mean you discipline people in your church.
We do because the Bible says all you know we don't want to get into any of that because you know we might make prox see tolerating said compromising with the world and it just dissents start with a loss of love and then pretty soon we don't love the Lord anymore. You're willing to compromise a compromise little bit pretty soon your compromise becomes tolerance and sin floods the church and you go right from that kind of situation Thyatira to the next chapter verse one, you're in the Sardis church and this is a church that is content with programs. All of a sudden the life is gone, a church the tolerate sin becomes a degenerate did church and he says I know thy works verse one, that thou hast a name that thou must, but are dead but didn't church a corpse you know that Sardis was one of the greatest cities of the ancient world. In fact, its greatest king was named Croesus, and we want to say somebody is really rich. We say there is riches creases that church rather that city was literally synonymous with wealth that city when out of existence the church when out of existence the church because it was a degenerate did church. Just a few things taken a little bit verse to be watchful, straighten things that remain, that are ready to die.
They were either dead or ready to die. All I had left was form like the rhyme of the ancient mariner corpses man the ship dead man pull yours and dead men steer the vessel. The thing was going functioning just everybody was dead is when the church becomes a group of activities a series of programs you have your classes and you have your little groups and you have your your activities for the kids and for the young people and for the adults in everybody's very busy in the fleets rolling in. The people are common is just that there's no life there. God's not there. Ichabod is written, the glory departed in the sequence is easy to see you lose the first love, a loss of that first consuming passionate love, and you begin to compromise with the world.
You compromise with the world of sin, floods, and you begin to give into sin tolerated and when sin completely takes over the church, then the spiritual life is choked out what you have is a dead church like Samson your move it around just don't have any strength your victim choices in verse three remember therefore how the has received and heard and hold fast and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on the is a thief and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon the voices. There are a few names since artists that have not defiled their garments, and they shall walk with me in white, for they are worthy. There were still a few. This church is just barely hanging on a few things that are dying and a few people laughed started in Ephesus from this church began to lose its first love and our dad just a few left of this is the way it goes.
You hang on. His garments are white. Just a few know the next step.
Next step in the dissent of the church comes a Satan attacks in his final blow. In verse 14 of chapter 3 the church of Laodicea. Our Lord warns the church that leaves its first love the church that compromises with the world the church the tolerate sin. The church that is content with its forms and its rituals and its organization and its programs, and lastly he warns the church that is the apostate church. The church that is no church at all Laodicea to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write these things that the amen the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God.
I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot.
I would that were cold or hot and what our Lord means there is this cold means indifferent to the gospel unsaved and not interested, just not even concerned, not hypocritical, no pretense at all unsaved unmoved uninterested. I wish you were like that or what you are hot, believing saver D but you are neither hot or cold you are lukewarm, and that is the worst of all that is playing Christianity. That's the hypocrisy did not see H Christ, and he says because you are lukewarm, and neither cold or hot. I'll spew you out of my mouth coldly preaches to through his messengers. The hottie embraces in his bosom lukewarm. He spits out of his mouth. They are the hypocrites and this is the hypocritical church the phony church. The church that is no church and this is liberalism today. This is what we have in the world today, under the guise of Christianity that deny the Bible deny the deity of Jesus Christ deny all of the right tenets of the Christian faith. And yet say their Christian church is the church of the humanists and when you ask, tell me about your church, what they say is not well. We are seeing God's word prevailed.
We are seeing people redeem. We are seeing God touching lives. Now they say I am rich and increased with goods, and have need of nothing.
Look at us were successful with a big organization and we got a lot of money and there are huge churches around the world.
Great denominations, massive religious systems of fall into this category got all the money and all the trappings and all the paraphernalia but they are apostate and they will be spewed out of the Lord's mouth. He says to them in verse 17 you don't know that your wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked, and I counsel you to buy of me gold tried in the fire at them is to be rich in white raiment, that thou may us be clothed, the shame of thy nakedness does not appear and anoint thine eyes with salve, that thou may us see that thou may us see, so you really saying to them I don't think you got your evaluation right when he says that as many as I still owe as many as I follow as many as I reach out to in deep concern. I rebuke and chasten be zealous therefore, and repent, and you see what our Lord Jesus Christ warns us about the church can descend into the pit of apostasy.
The church in Evans when out of existence, because he lost his first loan and then the church so easily becomes a compromise with the world know sometimes it bothers me that people will come just to study the word of God or just pray that I entertain people, you know, I feel it boil. So what the church though so many times it begins to pick up on that tackle we start entertaining the saints in ape in the world and that's a compromise and then there's the church. The tolerated sin. The church that wed the world church that was satisfied with material riches and really had nothing dead church. All of these things are Satan's attacks. Beloved, or preservatives here also wants to be the Philadelphia church.
This is the Philadelphia church. Verse seven of chapter 3. These things that he that is holy that has he that is true, that hath the key of David, he that open with the no man shot and shot the nomad open with. I know thy works, behold I said before the open door, and no man can shut it while love that he says I opened the door for you to reach the world. This is the door that's wide open and as long as the church is committed to go through that door and take Jesus Christ to the world no matter what happens even if the synagogue of Satan is there, even if the time of trouble comes, is not affect the church listen beloved evangelism as a preservative.
It throws us out of ourselves. It helps us step beyond our inhibitions. It classifies pride and then there is that little church early in chapter 2, the Smyrna church.
I know thy works of tribulation, poverty, a poor troubled church they were being blasphemed pieces. Don't be afraid. The devil will cast some of you in prison.
You may be tried will have tribulation 10 days but be faithful and I'll give you a crown of life.
Love it if we will be confrontive in the world and take what comes if the be aggressive to win people to Christ we can stand with Smyrna and Philadelphia and not follow the trap of those other five churches. God help us to be worn as to how Satan attacks that's John MacArthur, Chancellor of the Masters University in seminary. Today's lesson is from John's current study here on grace to you titled the believers armor John in the lesson today and yesterday you talked about some of the problems in those first century churches in Asia minor. Ephesus Pergamum fire Tyra and you talk quite a bit about the background of the historical geographical background of those churches and you been saying recently that those are important details. The historical context is part of the context that we need to understand will absolutely this is basic to all accurate Bible interpretation.
You don't put a Bible in front of you and read it and then say okay Lord, show me what this means, it's not gonna come out of nothing you say okay how can I go back in time in history and maybe other parts of Scripture and find what is the context in which this was said.
That's what makes the text come alive and we have the resources to do that obviously commentaries do that even a study Bible. MacArthur study Bible has so much of that in the in the footnotes. There, but we want to give you a tool that goes along with series like these and were just starting this series on the believers armor to be a long series and if you haven't gotten a copy of the study guide that goes with the series order one today. The study guide the believers armor over the years we produced about 150 of these study guides and they deal with the subject. A topic that's in the text of Scripture. So there.
Their titles relate to some doctrinal theme tied to the text of the Scriptures. So instead of just looking at a commentary and flowing through a text. This approach is the study of the word of God on a topical basis. These are softcover books corresponding. As I said to our sermon series were in the process of sprucing up the study guides and relaunching them for the new generation and this one on the believers armor is taken from Ephesians 6 that familiar passage that identifies how the Christian finds victory in the battle against sin and Satan. And this is going to make a dramatic change in your Christian life to learn about the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of the gospel. The shield of faith, the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit. Yes, this practical book helps you understand the nature of the spiritual warfare that Christians face and it shows you how to take hold of the powerful defenses that God provides for your spiritual battles door to the believers armor study guide is brand-new. Just contact us today. Call 855 grace or go to TTY.org.
This book could be especially beneficial to go through with a new Christian. The questions at the end of each chapter will reinforce what you're learning and encourage practical discussions again to purchase the believers armor study guide. The price is $11.
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