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Revelation Bible Study – Part 8 (3:7-13)

Revelation Bible Study Notes & Aids

To the Church in Philadelphia

“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: ‘The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens.

“‘I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie—behold, I will make them come and bow down before your feet, and they will learn that I have loved you. 10 Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth. 11 I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown. 12 The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name. 13 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

The ESV® Bible (The Holy BibleEnglish Standard Version®) is adapted from the Revised Standard Version of the Biblecopyright Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. All rights reserved. https://www.crossway.org/


Christians & Rioting Part 3

Click to listen sermon audio

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Romans 3:18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

This sums up the root cause: “no fear of God”.

  • No fear of accountability
  • No fear of judgment
  • No fear of retribution or vengeance

Indoctrinate people and the fear of God disappears:

  • There is no God
  • You were not created, you evolved by time and chance
  • There is no judgment, there is no Hell, there is no after life
  • The Bible is false, the Bible is for the weak
  • Survival of the fittest, humanism

The Fear of God Restrains Evil

Our founding fathers in America knew that.

  • “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become more corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.” (Benjamin Franklin)
  • “A Republic must either preserve its virtue or lose its liberty.” (John Witherspoon)
  • “The sum of all is, if we would most truly enjoy the gift of Heaven, let us become a virtuous people; then shall we both deserve and enjoy it. While on the other hand, if we are universally vicious and debauched in our manners, though the form of our Constitution carries the face of the most exalted freedom, we shall in reality be the most abject slaves.” (Samuel Adams)
  • “I go on this great republican principle, that the people will have virtue and intelligence to select men of virtue and wisdom. Is there no virtue among us? If there be not, we are in a wretched situation. No theoretical checks — no form of government can render us secure. To suppose that any form of government will secure liberty or happiness without any virtue in the people, is an [impossible] idea, if there be sufficient virtue and intelligence in the community, it will be exercised in the selection of these men. So that we do not depend on their virtue, or put confidence in our rulers, but in the people, who are to choose them.” (James Madison)
  • “But neither the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt. Here therefore is the truest friend to the liberty of his country who tries most to promote its virtue, and who, so far as his power and influence extend, will not suffer a man to be chosen into any office of power and trust who is not a wise and virtuous man.” (Samuel Adams)

The Rejection of God

Romans 1:18 (NKJV) 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.

They suppress the truth in unrighteousness.

Romans 1:19–20 (NKJV) 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.   20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,

  • We can know God exists by using our reasoning ability.

Romans 1:21–23 (NKJV) 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.   22 Professing to be wise, they became fools,  23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.

Humanity Rejects the True God

  • True reason would lead people to the true God.

So, what does God do in response?

Romans 1:24–32 (NKJV)  24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves,   25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.   26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature.   27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.   28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting;   29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers,   30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,   31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful;   32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.

  • Wickedness – the continued state of wickedness; being evil by nature and in practice
  • Covetousness – excessively desirous of wealth, greed, and the lust to have the possessions of others
  • Maliciousness – deliberately harmful, spiteful, vicious and evil on purpose
  • Full of envy – a constant feeling of discontent, coveting another person’s good fortune
  • Murder – the taking of life by violence or force for any reason other than God- ordained justice and self-defense; abortion, euthanasia, gang violence, crime
  • Strife – bitter conflict and discord, quarreling, rivalry and antagonism
  • Deceit – the distortion of truth through misleading, exaggeration, fraud, trickery and cheating
  • Evil-mindedness – having a mind that is continually weakened, a bad character and being completely desensitized to sin
  • Whisperers – spreading gossip and rumors
  • Backbiters – people who slander and speak evil of other people, back stabbers and betrayers
  • Haters of God – those who actively and publicly defame God, blaspheme Him and denounce Him
  • Violent – those who are uncontrolled, who wish to cause injury and destruction, furious and unconstrained, unrepentant of any pain or damage they cause
  • Proud – people who have high opinions of themselves, having pride in their behavior and their own wisdom
  • Boasters – those who exaggerate about themselves, vanity and excessive pride, to actively promote oneself
  • Inventors of evil things – people will not only do the evil, they will sit around and think up ways to be evil, actively trying to invent and promote new ways to hurt others
  • Disobedient to parents – dishonoring, neglectful and refusing to submit to the authority of parents; rebellious
  • Undiscerning – people lack the ability to comprehend or recognize truth easily, accepting evil ideas and being unable to distinguish or discriminate right from wrong
  • Untrustworthy – people will not keep their word; they have no conscience about keeping vows or doing what they know they should do
  • Unloving – those who do not give love and affection, and except for selfish reasons, are incapable of it
  • Unforgiving – people with no mercy who are completely unwilling to forgive any wrong or offense, no matter how slight
  • Unmerciful – cruel and without pity showing no mercy for any reason, even pronouncing the very presence of mercy as a weakness and undesirable

Three times God says, “When you act like that, I will turn you over.” To a debased [reduced quality] mind

Debased Minds

It explains so much of what we see today. A debased mind is a “lower quality” mind.

  • The inability to think clearly, properly, reasonably, logically
  • The inability to discern truth from lies
  • The inability to be self aware, to avoid hypocrisy
  • The inability to be self disciplined, truthful, of high integrity
  • The inability to think “rightly” about what is important

Next time we will talk about what results in a culture/society when debased minds become the leaders…

To be continued…


Christians & Rioting Part 2

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Romans 3:10–18 (NKJV) 10 As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one;

  • All encompassing, NOT ONE
  • We tend to think it applies to everyone else BUT MY PEOPLE

11 There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God.

  • NONE… and that is irrespective of political party, ideology or culture

12 They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one.” 13 “Their throat is an open tomb; With their tongues they have practiced deceit”; “The poison of asps is under their lips”; 14 “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.” 15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood; 16 Destruction and misery are in their ways; 17 And the way of peace they have not known.” 18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

Sin Nature Pathology (the cause of disease)

This is the truth about human nature. This is what we are dealing with. This is the root cause.

Essential Character

Ephesians 4:18 (NKJV) having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart

Even for Christians, generally speaking, about the best we can muster most of the time is “How much can I do and not actually sin?” (as opposed to how far away from sin can I get?)

What About Religions

All other religions outside of Biblical Christianity attempt to make man “good” in and of himself.

Religions replace the need for God elevating man to be his own salvation by earning it through being good, or having the right ideas or being part of the right group

  • Isaiah 53:6 (NKJV) 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

Man-originated religions are satanic counterfeits sending men in the opposite direction from God.

Romans 3:12 They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one.”

  • Unprofitable, useless: the Hebrew equivalent is rancid, like rotten trash or sour milk or putrid meat

Human Nature in a Nutshell

  • None righteous
  • None understands
  • No one seeks after God
  • All have turned aside
  • All our corrupt and rancid
  • None does true good or righteousness, nothing acceptable to Holy God.

Deceitful Communication

What is the sum of man’s communication?

Romans 3:13–14 (NKJV) “Their throat is an open tomb; With their tongues they have practiced deceit”; “The poison of asps is under their lips”;  14 “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.”

What is in an open tomb: dead bodies. No matter how well you describe it in words, it is a pale imitation of the actual experience.

The communication of sinful humanity is like an OPEN TOMB, a pile of rotting rancid flesh in a pool of sewage in a landfill on a summer day.

  • Turn on the media and entertainment for a short while and any argument against this truth quickly disintegrates

Romans 3:13–14 (NKJV) “Their throat is an open tomb; With their tongues they have practiced deceit”; “The poison of asps is under their lips”;  14 “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.”

  • The term “deceiving” has as its root a word that means a fishhook.
  • They lie in order to catch you for the kill.
  • Think of how a fishhook works: it is baited with something desirable, slides into you easily, then gets snagged when you try to pull it out.
  • Deceit is packaged as a tasty morsel but ends up snagging you and pulling you to your death.

Filthy, rotten, deceptive, treacherous poisonous bitter cursing. This is the mouth of humanity. This is the summation of how sin-cursed humans communicate.

Default Conduct

Romans 3:15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;

  • Humans are murderous.
  • Wherever murder has been legalized or sanctioned, the mass of common people flock to it

Wherever man has legalized murdered, cheapened life, and dehumanized a certain group, the masses are quick to participate in murder.

Black Lives Matters, Really?

  • Every day, a thousand black babies are slaughtered in their mother’s womb, the one place that is supposed to be the most sacred and safe for a human life
  • Every year, 2000+ black males murdered (mostly by other black males who are then incarcerated for life, FBI stats)

Do black lives really matter? Then why are we focused on the very very rare deaths of blacks by white cops, instead of the daily onslaught of blacks being murdered by abortion doctors, gang violence, drugs and criminal activity?

  • Answer: because “lives” are not important, politics and power are

Romans 3:16-17 Destruction and misery are in their ways; 17 And the way of peace they have not known.”

Murder, hatred and evil is the natural expression of the unredeemed human heart.

———————–

Next time we’ll continue with:
Romans 3:18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

To be continued…


Revelation Bible Study – Part 7 (3:1-6)

Revelation Bible Study Notes & Aids

To the Church in Sardis

“And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: ‘The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars.

“‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you. Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy. The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

The ESV® Bible (The Holy BibleEnglish Standard Version®) is adapted from the Revised Standard Version of the Biblecopyright Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. All rights reserved. https://www.crossway.org/


Christians & Rioting – Part 1

Click to listen sermon audio

Christians: Who Do We Blame for the Rioting?

Answer: Us.

But not in the way you think…

  • It’s not an answer based in white guilt or privilege or genuflecting to the reigning culture
  • It’s not buckling to the astonishing power one part of our society now wields that will cancel, crush and ruin anyone who not only criticizes the current accepted “correct thinking” but will do the same to those who won’t actively promote and support what is now pronounced “acceptable opinion”.

No, my answer of “US!” is based solely in the Truth of Scripture.

It’s Not About Politics Either

With all due respect and admiration for the accomplishments and influence of patriotic, diligent, law abiding talk radio and TV hosts:

  • All the optimism in the world about the American spirit, American exceptionalism and the “goodness of most people” is not going to keep our country from degenerating and imploding
  • Even the founding fathers of America declared that the government they had setup was only suited to a people who FEARED GOD and their ultimate accountability to him (more on this later).

People Don’t Change

Generally speaking. People don’t change. Apart from God, they only exist in various shades of the same form.

Genesis 6:5 The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

Judges 21:25 In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.

Matthew 24:37-39     But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage [hedonism, whatever they feel like, only “self” matters], until the day that Noah entered into the ark, 39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

  • What has been true about people before the flood, is true after the flood and will be true until Jesus finally puts an end to it all.

Bizarre Times

We are obviously living in very bizarre times [compared to what we are used to, but not compared to most of human history] that have produced massive fear and confusion.

We have been lied to about everything and this is a sign of who is running things:

  • 2 Corinthians 11:14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. [his appearance is a lie to begin with]
  • John 8:44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

The Truth

Truth can only be found in God:

  • Romans 3:4 By no means! Let God be true though everyone were a liar…
  • John 14: 1, 6 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.

Isaiah Speaks to the True Nature of Man

By determining the truth about the character and nature of mankind, we can truthfully determine what is wrong, who is at fault, how can it be fixed.

  • Isaiah 1:2-23; Isaiah 5:20–23 Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

The World is Upside Down

  • Right is wrong
  • Good is bad
  • Up is down
  • Virtue is evil
  • Evil is righteous

Lies, lies, lies… all is lies. Politics is lies. False religion is lies. Media is lies. Education is lies where is teaching on origin, worldview or politics. LIES… lies.

  • Isaiah 28:17 Also I will make justice the measuring line, and righteousness the plummet; The hail will sweep away the refuge of lies, And the waters will overflow the hiding place.

This is exactly what we are seeing today: REFUGE IN LIES

Lies become truth by simply declaring them relentlessly until there is no dissension

Isaiah 59:3–4 For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with evil; Your lips have spoken lies, Your tongue has muttered perversity.  4 No one calls for justice, nor does any plead for truth. They trust in empty words and speak lies; They conceive evil and bring forth iniquity.

Wow, if someone would have simply written that today about the world we live in, I would have never guessed it to be 1500 years old.

BUT… this sad state is not particular to Americans or the 21st century…

  • This is the nature of all of us, to believe lies, to follow the father of lies, to overturn right and wrong, and the current situation in which we live is just another historic manifestation and picture of the perversion of humanity.

It’s Happening Before Our Eyes

The world is turned upside down. Truth is a lie; the lie is the truth. Evil is reward, goodness, punished, Right is wrong, wrong is right.

  • Use the God ordained institutions of government and police to grind the world to a halt to stop a virus, then remove all restraint when a far more deadly virus sets out to destroy a whole nation (rioting, looting, destruction).
  • Demand justice when a man’s life is taken, and then applaud lawless mobs of criminals attacking the police.
  • Create a NO WIN situation for those who protect us – the police – where they are told to “stand down” to the need to protect property from rioting, but protect and defend rebel mobs who loot and destroy, then accuse them of racism, murder and call for their defunding.

NOTE: yes, there are racist cops; yes, there are cops who abuse their power. They should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. FACT: “justice for George Floyd”? who was NOT calling for justice? Who defended the cop? NO ONE.

The Guilty are Innocent and Innocent are Guilty

  • Charges being brought in these riots, not against the rioters, but against the police or church goers and hardworking business owners and employees
  • Celebrities and politicians who encourage violence, hatred and spew venom at those they disagree with are being promoted, celebrated and applauded while those who are speaking the truth about the lies, pointing out the facts, and condemning the hypocrisy are censored, cancelled and deluged with death threats
  • We have Leaders who lord over and become mini-dictators of the weak using fear about public safety and health, but refuse to confront or control the violent and the lawless because those same leaders are moral cowards and afraid motivated only by popularity, fear of the mob or getting re-elected.

Isaiah 5:20 Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

All the Wrong Reasons

We hear much from experts and pundits and political commentators about the root cause of our cultural demise.

  • It’s climate change…
  • It’s lack of education…
  • It’s lack of economic opportunity…
  • It’s social inequality…
  • It’s racism…
  • It’s whites… it’s blacks
  • It’s leftism, its al-right, its blue, its red
  • It’s imperialism… its colonialism.. its statism… its fascism… its Marxism
  • Its politics… the wrong party is in charge… the wrong ideology embraced… the Constitution is being ignored…

I have my own very strong opinions in each of those areas, and I believe that changes in all those areas would result in some temporary civic good

  • But they are NOT the answer, they are NOT the root cause of our disintegrating culture

We Need Truth

We need the truth, and the truth is in the Word of God.

  • My opinion doesn’t matter, no does the opinion of any other human when it comes to exposing the REAL problem.
  • The Truth, the real reason and source of societal ills can only be found in the one unchanging source of Truth

Romans 3:10–18 (NKJV) 10 As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one…

To be continued…


Revelation Bible Study – Part 6 (2:18-29)

Revelation Bible Study Notes & Aids

To the Church in Thyatira

18 “And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: ‘The words of the Son of God, rwho has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like burnished bronze.

19 s“ ‘I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first. 20 But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman tJezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants uto practice sexual immorality and uto eat food sacrificed to idols. 21 I gave her time to repent, but vshe refuses to repent of her sexual immorality. 22 Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works, 23 and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am he wwho searches mind and heart, and xI will give to each of you according to your works. 24 But to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not learned what some call ythe deep things of Satan, to you I say, I zdo not lay on you any other burden. 25 Only hold fast awhat you have until I come. 26 bThe one who conquers and who keeps my works cuntil the end, dto him I will give authority over the nations, 27 and ehe will frule3 them with a rod of iron, gas when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father. 28 And I will give him hthe morning star. 29 pHe who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

The ESV® Bible (The Holy BibleEnglish Standard Version®) is adapted from the Revised Standard Version of the Biblecopyright Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. All rights reserved. https://www.crossway.org/