Temple Baptist Church - 1-12-2020
A. A few weeks ago, we looked at the Prophetical Interpretation of the Church at Pergamos. I do not want to rehearse that message, but I need to refresh our minds concerning what is taking place in this church.
1. The persecution of Diocletian was so great in 303-312 AD that it was almost more than the church could bear.
2. Around 312 AD, Constantine the Great “converted” to Christianity. I use the word “converted” in quotation marks because he did not trust Christ, he said that he saw a vision of a cross in the sky, baptized his army, and won a battle. Salvation is faith in the finished work of Christ in redemption.
3. In 313 AD, Constantine the Great issued the Edict of Milan which granted religious tolerance to all religions, thus the persecution against the church stopped. The local churches did not want to do anything to bring that persecution back, so they operated in a “benign” state of acceptance that caused no political “waves” but many political “woes.”
4. In 325 AD, at the Council of Nicaea, the Roman Catholic Church had its official beginnings. I say official because Roman Catholicism is just an extension of Babylonish worship. The Roman Catholic Church became “wedded” to the state.
B. The Parable of the Mustard Seed - Rev 2:12-17 - Pergamos - "wedded"
1. It’s Small Beginning – “least of all seeds”
a. One of the smallest of all seeds - Luke 17:6 And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.
b. One of the most irritating, biting of all seeds. Its taste both strong and peculiar - Matthew 13:21 Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.
2. It’s Huge Growth – “greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree”
a. The seed is powerful though small - Matthew 16:16-18 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
b. The seed is productive though small – Acts 2: 44-47 And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
3. It’s Strange End – “birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof”
a. The Seed is the Gospel. Matthew 13:3-4 And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow; (4) And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:
b. The Tree is the Church rooted in Christ – John 15:1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. (A called our assembly of believers.)
c. The Branches are the Saints – John 15:5a I am the vine, ye are the branches.
d. The Birds are the Enemies of the church – Matthew 13:4 … and the fowls came and devoured them up.
Revelation 18:1-3 And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. (2) And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. (3) For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.
4. The Apostate’s Lodging – “and lodge in the branches thereof.” The Apostates were right at home among the branches.
a. The Failure of the Church - Titus 3:10-11 A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject; (11) Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself. (There are several things that must take place for “every foul spirit … unclean and hateful” birds to “lodge” in the branches of a producing tree or bush. These are ENEMIES of the local church!)
1) A Failure to recognize the Purpose of the Tree. The Local Church is to be Pure for it to Glorify Christ and Educate the saints.
2) A Failure to recognize the Persons who are Enemies. Local Churches have become so “numbers” oriented that they welcome and accept everyone who walks through their doors.
3) A Failure to recognize the Problems that they Cause. These Enemies of the Local Church introduce Division and Doctrinal Heresy.
4) Or to become Patronizing with Them! Ignorant Local Church members easily becomes Disciples and Followers.
b. The Comfort of the Apostate - Romans 16:17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
c. The Compromise of the Pulpit - Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (The “sharp sword with two edges;” may have become a “butter knife.”)
5. The Apostasy Rooted – “lodge” Not easily removed!
a. The Seat of Satan – Revelation 2:13 Spiritual wickedness in high places.
b. The Doctrine of Balaam – Revelation 2:14 Worldliness and Idolatry
c. The Doctrine of the Nicolaitans – Revelation 2:15 The Clergy became “Reverend!”