Wednesday, June 3, 2020

You're Going to Get a New Name in Heaven

To understand the Book of Revelation you have to understand the Old Testament. When we were studying yesterday about the church of Pergamum we were understanding what Jesus was referring to when He reprimanded the church for holding to the doctrines of Balaam, who was called and ordained by God,  and here, the best way to understand what that was is to go back to Numbers 22-25 and read how Balaam was a prophet of God who found he could make a serious profit selling his services to those who wants blessings or cursing issued upon their enemies. He was basically prostituting his office for money. Isn't that what we are seeing a lot of today?

Just like Satan's tactics are designed to lead us astray so was that very same thing happening not only to Balaam but to those in the church of Pergamum as well as the believers and churches today. We all need to be aware to judge what we hear based on the Bible and the Word of God, over what the world would have us believe.

Acts 17:11 ~ "Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true."

We need to be doing the same in every part of our lives, all of the time. Rightly dividing the word of truth from that of the world. Let's go back and see Jesus' reprimand in its entirety to the church of Pergamum and those believers who compromise in their spiritual walk even today.

Revelation 2:14-15 ~ "Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: you have people who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak, to entire the Israelites to sin by eating food sacrificed to idols and by committing sexual immorality. Likewise you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. "

We remember that when Balaam attempted to curse the Israelite's, God pronounced a blessing over them instead. We know that Balaam went back to the kings, enemy of Israel and asked for more money to try it again, they paid it, he tried to pronounced a curse but once more God gave Israel a blessing instead. He is able to manage to convince the king one more time to pay him to curse Israel,  but it doesn't work and God continues to bless them instead, the same as before. At this point Balaam knows his time is up, the king is about out of money and Balaam is quite wealthy. You've heard the saying, If you can't beat them, join them? Remember what happened to the church of Smyrna, when they resisted against temptation? Satan simply tries something else. There is a Greek proverb that says, "Whom the gods could not destroy, they made great." If they couldn't destroy them, they simply exulted them instead.  Man can't handle exultation!

So what Satan did, was marry them to the world since they could not be destroyed. Balaam basically told the king of Moab, and all the surrounding kings to bring their finest women, all the most beautiful and hot women and bring them down. Bring them with their pornographic idols, have them bring those as well. Don't forget to bring some sacrifices too, and have them walk real seductively down to the men of Israel. Now remember these men have been away at war for quite some time. Have them begin to flirt with the men of Israel, and he proclaimed that the men would fall for every single one of the women. So that is just what the kings did. The men did exactly what Balaam said they would do and they followed the women to the altars of their pagan gods. They set down their idols and said, "Let's do this. Let's do that." After they completed the acts, they sacrificed the animals, on the altars and then they ate it together. God turned and killed thousands of those Israelis soldiers that day. Why? Because they compromised.

"Oh I will just lower my standard so I can date this person or that person. Surely God will know and understand." You allow compromise in and who knows if you would have just held out for one more moment, when God's answer was coming and you simply gave up. God had that wonderful person for you, or that perfect job all lined up or whatever it might be and you simply gave up. You compromised. Jesus turns and rebukes the church and if you're a Christian, you know what that feels like when He rebukes. It hurts!  He says, "When I spank you, cause I'm about to spank you, when he spanks in His correction and rebuke, He carries you upward as His hand comes down, right into His arms. He never comes down on you! When God disciplines, He puts a stop to our behavior because He knows it's not beneficial to us. When He spanks it's one that lifts us up into His arms.

But will we be willing to be judged like that from the Lord? Will we let Him judge us? He says, I have a few things against you. He mentions the doctrine of Balaam, you know about that know. We have to be willing to be judged by the Scriptures, but also this, we have to be willing to refuse false doctrine in our lives. "Thus you also hold to the doctrines of the Nicolaitans which I hate." The Nicolaitans were these guys, scholars can't agree, there were disciples of Nicholas, who were a bunch of weirdos, or the Nicolaitans, which is a compound word in the Greek Nico = rulers, kings or judges, hierarchy, a status in a religious setting, that ought not to exist. Laitans = laity, the people. Jesus says, "I hate the teaching that a church gets from a select group, that presides over the church, thereby the servants, flock or church, become servants to a select few. Nicolaitans, rulers over the people, who fleece the flock. They take money from them. Who Peter says, "that they through preaching, might acquire money, position, status. Jesus says, I hate it! People who have designated lives, "Don't talk to him, he's the Pastor." What?

How many of you have been in the corporate world, understand the corporate ladder, the pyramid? Who is at the top? The CEO, or the stockholders. The stockholders employ the CEO to ensure the company is working right. And everyone else serves him so to speak. The pyramid goes up. Well not in church. Not in the church of Jesus. It goes upside down. The church is lifted up. The church is exulted, that is why as Pastors of churches, if they are going to be true pastors, that if you're doing something right, they should be encouraging you. If you're sleeping with someone's wife or husband, they are supposed to say, 'You can't do that! Right here in the Bible it says you're not supposed to do that! You're going to ruin your life!' They will do anything they can to help you stop doing the things you shouldn't be doing. But instead, people will turn on their pastors and say, they should be the ones judging them, but all they are merely doing is pointing out what Jesus says, and He has the authority to judge. They are simply helping you to try and get back on track again. To repent and get right with God.

Do you really think when you tell your pastor off, that they are put off by the fact that they care more about your soul than you do? But the truth of the matter is that you are going to ruin your own life and someone else's life as well. The thing is regarding false doctrine, these Nicolaitans, they existed, the church at Pergamum, was the first period of church age, historically through Constantine. It became most prominent. That Constantine, of the Roman Empire said, "You know what? Enough of this. I want Christianity to be the official religion of Rome of the Roman Empire. I want it's headquarters moved to Rome. And to show my token of sincerity, I will appoint Bishops under me. Constantine declared himself to be Pontiff. If you don't know this, than you haven't spent much time in history. Alexander the Great said, I will be the Pontiff, the Pope, and I will declare all of these to be my bishops, and as a token of sincerity I will drape you in robes, I will set you apart from the people. I will grant you basilicas and cathedrals. He commissioned them to be built. He declared that the church would be just like the world. And the world would be just like the church. And the lines were skewed. Now I am not coming down on the Catholic church or religion at all, I'm just telling you that if there is any church, group, denomination, that says, "We are the ministers, and the pastors." People might say that pastors stand behind a piece of wood above everyone else, but it is simply to see everyone else. Not to be above everyone else.

But if your pastor can't interact with you, something is wrong. If pastors have to have a designated life, I eat here, you don't eat here, I sit here, you don't sit here; I park here, you don't park here; that is Nicolaitan!  It creeps into the church, it's all over the place. It's wrong. If you're church shopping, put this verse on your shopping list.

"Jesus said but you, do not be called masters any of you, for one is your teacher, that is the Christ, and all of you are brothers."

That means if I am not born again, I'm not going to make it to heaven. It doesn't matter how high a pulpit is built or if you give a pastor a parking space, or a million bucks, if there are not born again, they are not going to heaven. Jesus says, "I am the way, the truth and the life, and no one gets to heaven but through me." Jesus told Nicodemus, the religious leader of that day, unless you are born again, you will never see the kingdom of God. It's not about how much money you give, Jesus doesn't need your money, it's not how much you serve, He doesn't need your service; He wants your heart, the part you won't give up. He wants your heart. If you are not born again, you will not see the kingdom of heaven. No one will make it in, unless they are born again. Despite how wonderful they might appear. God does not judge based on performance. Where did we get that?

No one welds any power but whatever God gives them. You can't buy faith. It's free. You don't get it by following anyone else but Jesus.

Revelation 2:17 ~ " He who has an ear, let him heart what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna,. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it. "

No more manna to eat. No more sacrificial food, sacrificed on altars. He says He will give us a white stone, the stone of acquittal. All of these sins you have racked up against you, all of these things you have done, Jesus says, He will give you a white stone. In those days if you were acquitted of a crime, the judge would give you a white stone. Isn't that cool! It also says He will give you a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it, that is a great reference to 2 Corinthians 5:17, ~ "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" 

God's going to give us each a new name. Do you have a new name waiting for you? When you arrive into the presence of eternity, are you going to get a new name? Is God going to hand you a white stone, which means, you've been acquitted of all crime, sin, wrong doing in your life. If you do, when you turn it over, there is going to be a brand new name that is fit for heaven. You'll get a whole new life. Is your name written in heaven? You can have that by asking him to forgive you of your sins and ask Him into His life.

Heaven is going to be an awesome sight and you missed it because of religion and you missed out on the relationship with Jesus. We don't need to compromise because God is on the throne. Remember that no matter where you find yourself, what kind of job, community, school or neighborhood you live in, you don't have to compromise! Stand strong! God's on your side.

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