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Repentance From Dead Works (19)


For quite some time now, we have been looking at the first of the foundational principles of Christ; that is, Repentance from Dead Works. We began by looking at what repentance really means, and debunked what many have called repentance, but which really is false repentance or no repentance at all. One of the things we observed in the course of the study on repentance is that, for true repentance to take place, a person must first realize that he has indeed acted contrary to Gods word; and then comes to God, confessing his fault and his willingness to never again, engage in such. In applying the principle of repentance to the subject of dead works therefore, it is imperative that we know what dead works really are, and then repent of them. To know what dead works are, we must go to the word of God, and allow the Holy Spirit to convince and convict us of the truth about dead works. This is what we have been doing over the past few weeks, and still are doing.

We have seen that no matter how good your works may seem to be, and no matter how determined you are to serve God, if you dont love God unflinchingly, those good works will amount to dead works. This was the situation with the Christians in Ephesus: they laboured in the Lords vineyard, patiently endured hardship, rejected fake men of God, and the doctrine and deeds of the licentious Nicolaitans, but their works were assessed as dead works, because they no longer loved God, as they used to love Him, when they first came into His salvation. Then, we saw, in our last broadcast, how the Christians at Smyrna were commended for their works, even though they were suffering deprivations of all sort; and were being opposed by some Jews whom the Lord Jesus Himself said were of the synagogue of Satan. In fact, the Smyrna Christians were encouraged by the Lord to continue to persevere, in the face of an impending onslaught of great tribulation, which would include imprisonment and even death for the sake of the gospel, with a promise of the crown of life and eternal life thereafter. We noted that the Lords encouragement of perseverance in the face of tribulation, poverty, and false accusations, is at variance with many of the strange teachings making the rounds today, which are clearly from the pit of hell, and which encourage Christians to seek after wealth and pleasures; because, the bible never teaches that wealth is the access into heaven; rather it teaches that, we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God. The bible does not teach that doing things for ones pleasure is the way to eternal life; rather, the bible teaches that eternal life is attained by doing what is pleasing to God. The sheer number of people in church, who are on the path that leads to hell, is mind-boggling! There are people who are in church, not to worship God; but because they are searching for a wife; they want to obtain something for their pleasure; they want to gain some financial benefit; and so on. We therefore implore you to cease from imbibing teachings of error; instead, yield and submit to the conviction of the Holy Spirit, and let Him lead you into the truth that is in the word of God, if indeed, you are born again. Stop listening to the agents of the devil who are clothed as ministers of God; who are teaching and corrupting your heart, and feeding your old sinful naturethe flesh! Repent of dead works and turn to God in righteousness!

Now, to todays discussion: Revelation 2:12-17; And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges; 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, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth. But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.

Our scripture text, tells us that even though the Lord Jesus Christ was aware that the believers in Christ in Pergamos were located where Satans seat is, He did not chastise them for that. In fact, the Lord acknowledged and commended them for their continued loyalty and faithfulness to God, which did not abate, even after one of them, Antipas, was killed for professing his faith in Jesus Christ. Straight off, we can see that a believers location is not an excuse for not living rightregardless of where you live or work for that matter, you are expected to hold fast to the word of God and engage in good works! The threat of death is not an excuse to commit sin and engage in dead works! Sadly today, believers dont have to be threatened with death before they turn their backs on the Lord; one mundane thing like, the thought of the loss of income; the thought of the loss of accommodation; the thought of the loss of a job; the need for a contract; the idea of forfeiting ones career; and so on, is enough to make people turn their backs on Christ. What a shame! Although the Christian is bought at the price of the blood of Jesus Christ, which is more precious than gold, Christianity is today being offered cheaplyno wonder, there are so many Christians in the world today, and yet righteousness is rare!

But even though the Pergamos Christians were steadfast, loyal, and faithful to God, in spite of residing in a city which was the headquarters of Satan, the Lord Jesus had, not one, but a few things against them: they were tolerant of, and condoned, the activities of some of their members who were followers of the doctrines of Balaam, and of the Nicolaitans. And although not all of the believers in Pergamos were followers of these doctrines; they were being called to order for tolerating and condoning their members who were practitioners of these contrary doctrines.

The Lords unhappiness at the toleration of practitioners of erroneous doctrines by the faithful believers in Pergamos, and by extension, of condoning their members who were followers of erroneous teachings warrants some explanation. Balaam was a prophet, who, for financial benefits, told King Balak of Moab, to let the women of Moab go to the camp of Israel and freely offer themselves to the men of Israel, and so, lure them to worship their idol, Baal; which acts would anger God, who would then destroy Israel; something that Balaams curse could not achieve. Today, there are teachings in the church of God, which encourage women to dress amorously so that they can attract men to marry them; teachings which encourage Christians to do business the way of the world; teachings that say that God is only interested in the heart, and whatever you do in and with the body is irrelevant; teachings that even say that masturbation is not a sin, and that lesbianism and homosexuality is a matter of sexual preference, and ones genetic make-up at birth! Then, there was the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which advocated that in order to eliminate jealousy in the church, casual sex could be engaged in, by and with anyone, including married women! What sick minds these people were! This is like teachings that encourage unmarried brothers and sisters to engage in pre-marital sex in what is called trial marriage to determine if they would be able to have children, before they actually become man and wife; teachings that advocate blood tests to know if people are AA, AS, or SSplease which biblical injunction teaches this? There are also teachings that give pre-eminence to traditional marriage over biblical marriage for children of Godwhilst there is nothing wrong with paying a dowry, a full blown tradition where Christians are dressed like worshippers of the local idols is clearly unscriptural! These are all teachings from Satan!

Today, political correctness is the in-thing; so, many Christians would rather not speak the truth about Gods word. And there are teachings that reprove Christians who criticize those who live sinful lifestyles. Although the Lord Jesus does not ask us to be critical of others; He nonetheless does not expect us to tolerate and overlook teachings or lifestyles which have a corrupting influence on other believers. In 1 Corinthians 5:11, the bible says, I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. Believers are enjoined not to keep company with anyone who says he is born again, and yet engages in a sinful lifestyle. To keep company with sinful persons who claim to be Christians, is to tolerate or condone their unfruitful works of darkness, which have a corrupting influence on our good works! The bible says in 1 Corinthians 15:33, Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. Friend, dont be deceived, false teachings corrupt good works; doctrines from the pit of hell, corrupt good works; and, keeping company with Christians engaged in dead works, will corrupt your good works. The bible says in 1 Corinthians 5:6-7, Your glorying [in sinful activities] is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven [bakers yeast] leaveneth [fills] the whole lump [dough]? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened All that is needed to corrupt an assembly of believers in a city or community, is a minute evil doctrine that is swallowed by some of them. It usually begins with a slight toleration of sinful conduct, and before long, the whole assembly of Christians is filled with sin and iniquity! Today, materialism among Christians has gone nuclear; but when the prosperity teaching was first smuggled into the church, we said, There really is nothing wrong with having money; after all, the gospel needs money to advance. This is a lie from the pit of hell. The truth is that God is all we need to advance the gospel! See how we have destroyed the fabric of Christianity because of the prosperity gospeltoday, Christians are being arrested for fraud, for stealing, for armed robbery; Christians are engaging in prostitution, and giving and receiving of bribes and sexual favours to advance their socio-economic and political status. Brethren, the unadulterated message of the gospel has all but disappeared from our churches; and in its place, we have the theories and the traditions of men advanced by so-called motivational speakers! Since when did the pulpit become a place for motivational speaking? Friend, the pulpit is for inspired messages from the Holy Spirit; not for messages inspired by a desire for fame, gain, and entertainment!

The bible says in 2 John 1:7-11, many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward. Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds. Brethren, you are not under obligation to receive propagators of erroneous doctrines into your assembly, no matter how famous and acclaimed they may be; nor are you even to greet them as it may convey the impression that they are welcome, lest you be in danger of sharing in their sin and condemnation. Friend, toleration of the slightest deviation from the word of God is dead works and should be repented of! The Lord is therefore calling us all to repent of our toleration of erroneous teachings and sinful living, in our lives and in the church, just as He had called the believers in Pergamos to repent of theirs; otherwise, we would lose all that God has laid up for us in eternityhidden manna (bread of life), a white stone with a new name engraved on it, known only to the bearerand, eternal life itself!

Let us pray!