What is the church according to the one whose Word is the power of both creation and destruction, able to pierce beyond the division of soul and spirit, joint and marrow and able to judge the reflections and thoughts of the heart?
“This is what the one who has the sharp double-edged sword says: ‘I know where you live, where the throne of Satan is. And you hold fast to my name and did not deny your faith in me, even in the days of Antipas my faithful witness, who was killed among you, where Satan lives. But I have a few things
against you: that you have there those who hold fast to the teaching of
Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of
Israel, to eat food sacrificed to idols and to commit sexual immorality.
So likewise you also have those who hold fast to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. Therefore repent! But if you do not, I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war with them with the sword from my mouth. The one who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers, I will give to him some
of the hidden manna, and I will give to him a white stone, and on the
stone a new name written, that no one knows except the one who receives it.’
i guess a word here about Balaam and Nicolaitans is called for. Most of us probably read this and assume it's not talking about us, not about our church. But Balaam's sin was to draw the Israelites from Yahweh, the true God, their covenant Husband. God sees all idolatry as adultery. Anything that causes our hearts to pursue things other than him, to take our eyes off of His beauty and put our desires onto the things of this world, His good gifts rather than the good gifter, is idolatry and adultery and the worst kind of heresy. Money, beauty, health, sex, children and family, career, a righteousness based on our education and works and right thinking rather than the blood of our Savior Jesus Christ, anything. It sounds violent, because it is, but we need the Sword from his mouth, His Word, to show us what' in our hearts and divide us from it.