Listen to the most recent episode of my podcast: Every Spiritual Blessings in Christ
Bible Study, Daily Devotion, Expository Commentary
Listen to the most recent episode of my podcast: Every Spiritual Blessings in Christ
Heavenly Father, we pray that You will enable us to log in to Your channel, frequency, and wavelength. Help us to fine-tune our spiritual antennas to receive divine signals from You. Help us to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s voice, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
By this time, Jesus’ popularity was at an all-time high. People were coming from everywhere to listen to Him. He was surrounded by a massive crowd in the Lake of Gennesaret or the Sea of Galilee. There were two boats, one belonging to Simon Peter, and the other to James and John. Jesus alighted Simon Peter’s boat and told him to move deeper into the water. He sat down and taught the people in the floating pulpit of the boat.
4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep, and let down your nets for a catch.” 5 Simon answered him, “Master, we worked all night, and took nothing; but at your word, I will let down the net.” 6 When they had done this, they caught a great multitude of fish, and their net was breaking. 7 They beckoned to their partners in the other boat, that they should come and help them. They came and filled both boats so that they began to sink. 8 But Simon Peter, when he saw it, fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, Lord.” 9 For he was amazed, and all who were with him, at the catch of fish which they had caught;Luke 5:4-9
After teaching the people, Jesus commanded Peter to go into deeper water and throw in the nets. Simon Peter reluctantly threw in the net because he did not expect any result. He had been throwing the nets one whole night to no avail. To his surprise, the net was so full of fish and so heavy that the net was going to break. This miracle is unique to Luke.
Simon Peter signaled to his partners James and John in the other boat for assistance. They came alongside and collected the fish into the two boats. The fishes were so heavy that the two boats began to sink. Amazed at such a great miraculous catch, Peter knelt in front of Jesus and confessed that he was a sinful man.
Even James and John, the sons of Zebedee were astonished. Jesus told them not to be afraid. From now on Jesus would make them fishers of the souls of men. When the boats reached land, they left everything and followed Jesus. Here, Jesus chose four fishermen from Galilee as His apostles, Peter and his brother Andrew, James, and his brother John.
When Peter was fishing by his own self-effort throughout whole night, he could not catch any fish at all. When Peter followed the direction of Jesus, the catch was so great that they filled up 2 boats! The catch was so bountiful and beyond his wildest imagination. Convicted of his sins, Peter fell prostrate before Jesus, and worshiped Him.
You will not be successful when you share the gospel with your self-effort. You will be successful if you listen carefully to the promptings of the Holy Spirit and follow God’s instructions. You need to pray before you make a move and listen very carefully. Evangelism must be done according to God’s will and direction. You need to do evangelism Jesus’ way. He is the way, the truth, and the life, John 14:6.. No one can come to the Father except through Him.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through me.John 14:6
Heavenly Father, thank You for making us fishers of men. Help us to equip ourselves with the tools and skills of personal evangelism. Help us to share the Gospel with non-believers. Help us to walk by faith and not by sight. Help to do things according to your ways and not be our own self-effort, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Today, you can the archaelogical ruins of the church of Pergamon in western Turkey as a tourist. You can see the seat of satan in the ruins of the church of Pergamon. If you visit the Berlin, be sure to visit the Pergamon museum. This museum showcased many archaelogical finds from the church of Pergamon which flew all the way from Turkey in the 1900s I was fortunate to visit this museum 30 years ago.
12 “To the angel of the assembly in Pergamum write: “He who has the sharp two-edged sword says these things: 13 “I know your works and where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. You hold firmly to my name and didn’t deny my faith in the days of Antipas my witness, my faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. 14 But I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to throw a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. 15 So you also have some who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans likewise. 16 Repent therefore, or else I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of my mouth. 17 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies. To him who overcomes, to him I will give of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written, which no one knows but he who receives itRevelation 2:12-17
The destination of the third letter was to the church of Pergamon. Ancient Pergamon was a rich and powerful Greek city in Mysia, Asia Minor, which is in modern-day Turkey. Pergamon was a demonic stronghold, home to the seat of Satan’s throne.
Jesus called Himself, “He who has the sharp two-edged sword”. The two-edged sword is the word of God and sword of the Spirit. Hebrews 4:12.
Christ commended them for their loyalty and faithfulness. They they did not deny His name, in the face of persecution, when one of their members, Antipas was martyred.
Christ censured them because some of them followed the doctrine of Balaam and Nicholas. The doctrine of Balaam is embracing pagan worship and committing sexual immorality. The doctrine of Nicolas is Gnosticism. Nicolas was a first-century Christian of Acts 6:5, who had apostasized and promoted Gnosticism.
If they do not repent, Christ will wage war against them with the two edged sword of His mouth.
To those who overcome, hear, and obey His word, He will give them the hidden manna, and a white stone with a new secret name written on it.
The hidden manna is Jesus Christ, who is also called, the living manna, the bread of life, the bread of God, and the bread from heaven. He is the food that sustained our spiritual health.
The white stone is a symbol of Christ’s righteousness imputed to believers. Christ will give believer a white stone with a new secret name that only the recipient knows.
For the word of God is living and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and is able to discern the thoughts and intentions of the heart.Hebrews 4:12
These words pleased the whole multitude. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of AntiochActs 6:5
Do not compromise your faith by partipating in pagan worship and sexual imorality.
Do not follow the teachings of false teachers and cult. Beware of the prosperity doctrine and the word of faith movement. There are plenty of false teachers today peddling false doctrines and leading believers astray. It is a good practice to check the credentials of any preachers before listening to them and countercheck what they say with the Bible.
Heavenly Father, thank You for this timely message to remind us that there are false teachers in our society today. We pray for biblical education and literacy ad a tool to discern false doctrines. Help us to know the truth and be set free from deception, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
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The word Smyrna is derived from the word myrrh, resin gum derived from a plant, used for embalming dead bodies. Smyrna, on the western coast of Asia Minor, is about 40 miles to the north of Ephesus. Polycarp, an early church father and a disciple of the apostle John, and leader of the Smyrna church was martyred in 155 AD.
8 “To the angel of the assembly in Smyrna write: “The first and the last, who was dead, and has come to life says these things: 9 “I know your works, oppression, and your poverty (but you are rich), and the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews, and they are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10 Don’t be afraid of the things which you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested; and you will have oppression for ten days. Be faithful to death, and I will give you the crown of life. 11 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies. He who overcomes won’t be harmed by the second death.Revelation 2:8-11
The destination of this second letter was to the church of Smyrna.
Christ described Himself as, “the first and the last, who was dead, and has come to life”. Christ is the alpha and omega, Revelation 22:13. He is the resurrection and the life, John 11:25
Christ is omniscient. He knew everything about Smyrna. He knew that the Smyrna church was in extreme poverty, under tremendous persecution and martyrdom in the hands of hostile non believing, hostile Jews. The city had a synagogue of Satan run by deviant Jews. Christ commended them for standing up against persecution.
None. Christ had nothing bad to say about them. He encouraged them to stand firm, remain bold and faithful, and not to fear imprisonment, oppression, persecution, testing, and even martyrdom.
Christ encouraged them to be faithful even to death and they will receive the crown of eternal life. Although, the church of Smyrna was materially poor but they were spiritual millionaires.
Ending formula. Those who have ears to hear, please listen carefully to what the Holy Spirit is saying.
Those who overcome, hear, and heed His words will receive the crown of eternal life and will not face the second death, Revelation 21:8.
I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.Revelation 22:13
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will still live, even if he dies.John 11:25
But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.Revelation 21:18
Christ is first and the last, the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end, who is, who was, and is to come, Revelation 1:4.. He is the author and perfecter of our faith, Hebrews 12:2. He is from eternity past to eternity future. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever, Hebrews 13:8. He has no beginning and no end. He is before time, space, and matter. He is the pre existing, self existing, eternal God. He is dead and rose to life. He is the resurrection and the life.
Even if you are living in povery, in trials, and under persecution, do not throw in the towel yet. Christ know what you are facing. He seea everything. You may be poor materially but you are a spritual millionaires.
The second death will have no effect on you if you are born-again. At death, you will spend eternity in heaven. The body is dust and dust will return to dust at death. The soul and spirit belong to God and will back to God in heaven. This is the good news of the gospel.
John, to the seven assemblies that are in Asia. Grace to you and peace from God, who is and who was and who is to come; and from the seven Spirits who are before his throneRevelation 1:4
Looking to Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising its shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.Hebrews 12:2
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and foreverHebrews 13:8
Heavenly Father, thank You that Jesus Christ is the first and the last, the author and perfecter of our faith. We acknowledged that You are the only true God and there is no other God apart from You. We acknowledged that You are creator of the heavens and the earth. Grant us the strength to overcome, adversity, suffering and persecution, in Jesus’ name, Amen
Revelation 2 and 3 are Christ’s seven letters to the seven churches of Asia Minor i.e. Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. These letters had a seven-preset template consisting of, the destination church, a description of Christ, initial commendation, censure, a call to repentance to avoid serious consequences, final commendation, and a promise of rewards for those who overcome. Christ is omniscient. He knew all the strength and weaknesses about each of these churches. Each letter always ends with, “he who has a ear to hear, let him hear“, which is a call to listen very carefully. The letter to Ephesus was the first letter to first of the seven churches of Asia Minor, which is Turkey today.
1 “To the angel of the assembly in Ephesus write:“ He who holds the seven stars in his right hand, he who walks among the seven golden lamp stands says these things: 2 “I know your works, and your toil and perseverance, and that you can’t tolerate evil men, and have tested those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and found them false. 3 You have perseverance and have endured for my name’s sake and have not grown weary. 4 But I have this against you, that you left your first love. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen, and repent and do the first works; or else I am coming to you swiftly and will move your lamp stand out of its place, unless you repent. 6 But this you have, that you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the Paradise of my GodRevelation 2:1-7
Ancient Ephesus was infamous for pagan worship. It was home to the temple of Artemis, the centre of pagan worship of the Greek goddess Diana. Paul lived and ministered in Ephesus for 18 months during his third missionary journey. He taught in the synagogue for 3 months but when the hostile, unbelieving Jews persecuted him, he relocated to the school of Tyrannus, Acts 19: 9-10.. Here, he taught, preached, and shared the gospel to the Jews and Gentiles from Asia Minor. Timothy and apostle John also played prominent roles in the Ephesian church at various times.
The destination church of this letter was Ephesus. Christ described Himself as “He who holds the seven stars in his right hand, he who walks among the seven golden lamp stands”. The seven stars represent the seven angels of the seven churches. Christ holds the seven stars in His hands. The seven golden lamp stands or menorahs symbolize the seven churches of Asia Minor. Christ walks among the seven golden menorahs i.e. the seven churches. He had close and personal contact with the churches and was never far from them.
Now, the initial commendation. Christ is omniscient. He knew everything about the church of Ephesus. He knew about their suffering, perseverance, and faithfulness. He commended them because they discerned and rejected evil men and false apostles. They endured hardship and persecution for Christ’s sake and in Christ’s name, and yet were faithful to their calling.
Now, the rebuke. Christ censured them for losing their first love for Him. They neglected personal time and intimacy with Christ such as quiet time, prayer, praise and worship, communion, and bible study. Christ encouraged the Ephesian Church, to repent and take steps to return to Him. Work of the ministry cannot substitute personal time and fellowship with Christ. They must repent, dethrone self, enthrone Christ, surrender to Him, and make Him centre of their life.
Now, the warning. If they do not repent, Christ will come quickly and dismantle their church.
Now, the final commendation. Christ commended them for rejecting the works of the Nicolaitans. According to the second century church father, Irenaeus, Nicolaitans were followers of a Gnostic sect, founded by Nicolas of Antioch in Acts 6:5. Gnosticism is a dangerous, heretic cult to be rejected at all cost
Now, the promise of rewards. Those who overcome, hear, and heed His words will be rewarded with the fruit of the tree of life in the new heaven and new earth in the new Jerusalem..
God placed the tree of life in the centre of the garden of Eden for Adam and Eve to enjoy. After the fall, Adam and Eve were banished from the garden of Eden. But God will bring back the tree of life into the new heaven and earth in the new Jerusalem, Revelation 22:2. Those who make it to heaven will be able eat the fruits from the tree of life.
But when some were hardened and disobedient, speaking evil of the Way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, reasoning daily in the school of Tyrannus. This went on for two years, so that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord.Acts 19:9-10
On this side of the river and on that was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruits, yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.Revelation 22:2
Remember your first love for Christ? Remember how fervent you were when you first became a Christian?
Do not lose your first love for Christ. Do not allow your love for Christ to go cold. Do not neglect personal quiet times, bible study, prayer, praise and worship, and communion with the Lord.
Do not give in to persecution, trials, and tribulation. Persevere and be faithful to your calling. Christ will reward you with the tree of life, crown of life and eternal life in heaven.
Discern and reject false teachers and have nothing to do with them.
Repent and take steps to come back to Him. The works of the ministry cannot substitute personal time and communion with Christ. Repent, dethrone self, enthrone Christ. surrender and make Him the centre of you life.
Even the church needs to repent. If they do not repent, Christ will come quickly and dismantle our church.
Heavenly Father, help us to not to lose our first love for You. Help us to cultivate personal intimacy with You. Help us cultivate the daily habit of quiet time, bible study, praise and worship, prayer, and communion. Help us discern false teachers and reject them, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
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