Exposure to Error – Revelation 2:12-17

by Pastor John Fredericksen

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There has been a justifiable outcry of criticism over Joel Osteen’s doctrinal views revealed in an interview with Larry King. When asked whether people of other faiths go to heaven, he replied, “You know, I’m very careful about saying who would go to heaven, and wouldn’t go to heaven. I don’t know….” When asked about atheists going to heaven, he said, “I’m going to let God be the judge….” Then he recounted a trip to India, saying he did not believe the people there were going to hell if they were sincere in their hearts. Osteen believes his ministry is only to help people to be their best selves. Don’t mistake objections to this kind of false doctrine as “sour grapes from jealous preachers.” God’s truth and salvation through Jesus Christ alone is the key issue.

The church at Pergamos had made the foolish mistake of allowing people to infiltrate who were mixing truth with error, and they tolerated it. They were told, “thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam… [and] also the…doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate” (Revelation 2:14-15). Balaam was a true prophet of God who prostituted his gifts to gain money from King Balak (Numbers 22-25). The king hired him to put a divine curse on Israel. God prevented Balaam from doing so, but Balaam advised the king to befriend the Jews by inviting them to worship and feast at pagan altars. Israel cooperated in this compromise, and even committed fornication as part of these pagan rites. God so hated this compromise that He slew twenty-four thousand guilty participants (Numbers 25:1-9). This example paralleled what was happening in Pergamos. This city had the first temple dedicated to the worship of Caesar and a temple to Aesculapius, whose symbol was a serpent coiled on a pole. These false services were so vile, they are referred to as “Satan’s seat” and “where Satan dwelleth” (Revelation 2:13). The name “Nicolaitanes” means “to rule the people, or lord it over”2 others, while leading them astray. Not only were believers tolerating error, they were allowing others to pressure them into accepting it.

The Lord sternly told them to get rid of this error. We today must not fall into the same trap of tolerating false doctrine. Once exposed it must be expelled. “He that hath an ear, let him hear” (vs. 17).

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Start each day with short, devotional articles taken from the book Daily Transformation by Pastor John Fredericksen. As Pastor Fredericksen writes in the introduction:

"We welcome you, as you journey with us..., to not only learn information, but to benefit from examples of faith and failure, and seek to apply God’s Word to every day life. Together, let’s transition from only studying theories of doctrine, to applying God’s truths in a practical way every day. May God use these studies to help you find daily transformation."