Bible Pathway - Dec. 23, 2011


Read Revelation 1


Prayerfully consider the faults as well as the good of all seven churches as a guide for our conduct. A counterpart of each has existed in every generation to this day (Rev. 1:4,20).

The Book of Revelation is the only Book of the Bible specifically promising a blessing for all who read it and obey its commands. Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this Prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein (Rev. 1:3). The seven churches of Asia Minor each received a letter dictated by Christ and recorded by John, a prisoner (because of his faith) on the island of Patmos. Since the character and conduct of these churches and Christians are similar in every generation, the messages are also valid for us today. This Book exposes the sins and lists what was commendable in the churches and tells them how to be prepared for Christ's return (chaps 2 — 3). Our Lord's last recorded words were: Surely I come quickly (22:20). Until then, we have assurance that the Living Lord is disciplining and perfecting His people.

Words of praise were given to the church at Ephesus for its sound doctrine. However, Christ said: Thou hast left thy first love (2:4). Losing devotion to Christ usually happens gradually as one becomes too involved in business, leisure activities — even church responsibilities — crowding out time with the Lord in His Word, so that the worship of Christ becomes a mere formality. Outwardly they were fundamentally sound, but Jesus knew their hearts and said: Thou hast left thy first love.

This charge is most serious: Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent . . . or else I will come . . . and will remove thy candlestick (remove this local church, see 1:20) . . . except thou repent (2:5).

The Christians at Smyrna faced great tribulation. Jesus observed their suffering and said: I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich). . . . Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer (not because they were sinners, but faithful saints) . . . be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life (2:9-10). The safeguard against defeat is to be daily strengthened in the Word of God. Then, when we face tribulation because of our faith, we will be enabled to remain faithful.

The letter Jesus sent to Pergamos reminded them that they lived where Satan's seat is . . . (and should hold) fast (remain true to) My Name (2:13). But some held the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel (2:14). Jesus warned: Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them (Rev. 2:16).

Thought for Today:

Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ (II Tim. 2:3).

Cross References:

For Rev. 1:5: See Ps. 89:27. Rev. 1:6: See Ex. 19:6. Rev. 1:7: See Dan. 7:13; Zech. 12:10. Rev. 2:7: See Gen. 2:9. Rev. 2:23: See Jer. 17:10. Rev. 2:27: See Ps. 2:9.

Word Studies:

1:8 I am Alpha and Omega, I am the First of all things, and the End of all things, and know all things A to Z; 1:13 girt, wrapped around; paps, chest. The clothing of Christ designates Him as Judge as well as a Priest; 2:9 art rich, are abounding in faith; 2:19 charity, love; 2:23 reins,  minds, innermost thoughts.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for Staff: Jennifer Palafox • Government Officials: Rep. Michael Burgess (TX), Rep. David Loebsack (IA), and Rep. Jeff Landry (LA) • Country: Latvia (2.48 million) eastern coast of Baltic Sea in northeastern Europe • Major languages: Latvian and Russian • Religious freedom • 20% Protestant (mainly Lutheran); 20% Roman Catholic; 15% Orthodox; .9% Jewish; .4% Muslim; 43.7% Atheist/Agnostics/Other • Prayer Suggestion: Pray in secret before God, not seeking human praise (Matt. 6:6).

Memory Verse for the Week: 1 Corinthians 13:3

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