May 18, 2022 – Wednesday
Revelation 2:14-16 NIV
14 Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: There are some among you who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin so that they ate food sacrificed to idols and committed sexual immorality.
15 Likewise, you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans.
16 Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.
In chapter 2 of Revelation, Jesus first addressed the church in Ephesus (see Friday, May 13, 2022), then the church in Smyrna which had nothing to repent, but should expect persecution. Then we come the church in Pergamum where our verses for today come from.
Before we get to the verses for today, Jesus first addresses what He approves of in the church and tells the angel of the church to write, 12b These are the words of him who has the sharp, double-edged sword. 13 I know where you live—where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, not even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city—where Satan lives. Still, once again, after these words of praise, we have His words against the church in Pergamum.
Look how Jesus begins in verse 14a, Nevertheless, I have a few things against you, I don’t think anyone wants to hear such words from the God of our salvation. Then verse 14 continues with, There are some among you who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin so that they ate food sacrificed to idols and committed sexual immorality. And then Jesus continues on saying, 15 Likewise, you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16 Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. The case against them is straight forward, they are tolerating a group within them who hold to the doctrine of Balaam. And Jesus cannot approve of their tolerance of those who hold such terrible positions that are in opposition to the actual moral foundation of the church.
What was it that Balaam did that was so terrible? Jesus tells us directly, Balaam taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin so that they ate food sacrificed to idols and committed sexual immorality. Balak was the king of the Moabites when Israel was on the way to the promised land. Looking at Numbers 22: Balak wanted to find a way to destroy the Israelites and call upon the prophet Balaam to help him do so. God would not let Balaam, even though Balaam wanted to do so for the wealth the king offered him. This continued through Numbers 24 where Balaam prophesied against Moab. Then we see in Numbers 25:1-3 the plan, the stumbling block, Balaam came up with to bring God’s wrath on Israel,
While Israel was staying in Shittim, the men began to indulge in sexual immorality with Moabite women [sent by their king], who invited them to the sacrifices to their gods. The people ate the sacrificial meal and bowed down before these gods. So Israel yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor. And the LORD’s anger burned against them.
Two things: First God has a long (and perfect) memory for anything that has not been repented of and thus not been forgiven. Second, no church, nor any of its members, want to be involved with anything that approves of any sin for other members that would lead them away from the life they were supposed to be leading as Balaam had done. We can easily look at what several churches are doing today that would easily fit this. Let it not be any of us or any church we are part of.
Bottom Line: Avoid approving any practice that leads believers (and non-believers) into sin. This may not be easy in a world bent on sinning and approving sin today, but it is necessary, nonetheless.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, Thank You for showing what we are to avoid, even in the name of tolerance. – In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Riley D. Driver – Pastor
Calvary Chapel of Dayton