Bible Pathway - Dec. 23, 2015

Highlights:

Revelation of Jesus Christ; greetings to the seven churches; a vision of the Son of man; His message to the churches.

I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) . . . be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life (Rev. 2:9-10).

The Book of Revelation is the only Book of the Bible specifically promising a blessing for all who read it: Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein (1:3). The seven churches of Asia Minor each received a letter dictated by Christ and recorded by John while he was a prisoner on the island of Patmos. Since the character and conduct of these churches and Christians are similar in every generation, the messages are just as vital and valid for us today. Many have even theorized that these churches were not only seven literal churches, but also represented seven church ages and represented each type of church today. Not regarding the church age theory, it could easily be said that most of the churches of today could fit the description of one of these churches.

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 one's devotion to Christ usually happens gradually. We become so involved in business and leisure activities which crowd out spending time with the Lord in His Word. Even church responsibilities can keep us so preoccupied that the worship of Christ becomes mechanical and a mere formality. It can happen to any of us if we don't stay in the Word of God and in prayer. The enemy will try to overcome us with complacency. This charge is most serious: Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent . . . or else I will come . . . and will remove thy Candlestick . . . except thou repent (2:5).

The Christians at Smyrna faced great tribulation. Jesus observed their suffering. It might have been easy at times for the trials and tribulations to knock them down. They stood through it all and came out because they relied on the strength of the Lord.

The letter Jesus sent to Pergamos reminded them that they lived where Satan's seat is. But holdest fast (remain true to) My Name (2:13). But, some hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel (2:14). Sometimes we are blind to what the devil is doing. If we are not careful, we will end up like the people here at Pergamos. We can find ourselves ensnared in some false doctrine. We must be aware of our surroundings. The Bible teaches us to be watchful. This will prevent us from being overtaken by the enemy.

Jesus warned: Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the Sword of My Mouth (2:16).

Thought for the Day: Our present burdens may seem heavy, but our loving Lord gives the strength to bear them.

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 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: Luke 2:11

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