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  • Rand Swift


Spiritual Warfare: Seven Deep Examinations Of The Heart

Test #3 Pergamos – The Test of Motive

It is no secret that God tests the hearts of people and that people under the conditions of certains tests become their true selves, revealing and having revealed to themselves what is true about them and what it is they genuinely value as opposed to what they say they value.

It has always been this way.

Nothing in you or I is a surprise to God, but those things can certainly be a surprise to us and those around us, but not to God because God sees past every exterior (and every lie we tell) and views the nakedness of our heart.

God sees and knows the truth.

So, it is imperative, if we are to be successful in the arena of spiritual warfare, that the little flecks of distraction be exorcised from you and me first, because in the thick of the battle when we are facing down the keepers of the gates of hell, assaulting the citadels and strongholds of entrenchment yet held captive by the administration of death, that we are adequately prepared.

As we have been saying, this is what The Book of Revelation is about. It is a book that pulls back the veil of truth regarding what is really happening at a real level of being that reaches into the spiritual realm and into the true realm of cause and effect regarding all things we then see visually with our eyes upon the earth.

The Book of Revelation is a book about the eternal purpose of man. It is a book about the ultimate mission we are created for as the sons and daughters of God. It is a book about global exorcism and the profusion of infinite and boundless life filling all the earth and the end of creations oppression by devouring powers anti to infinite life.

We come now to the third examination of the 'ekklesia' (those persons whose life purpose is to echo the image and likeness of God in the earth) living in the geopolitical metron known as Pergamos. The test of Pergamos is relevant to every spiritual warrior.

Pergamos – The Test of Motive

What is represented in Pergamos is interesting. The heart of Pergamos shows that they had embraced faith even under pressures that are very difficult. The hostility and onslaught was so intense that one of the Lord's servants named here as Antipas, meaning a father who opposed was murdered by the opposition.

Antipas gave his life for the high mission. God bless Antipas.

But even though they had believed through the heat of trials there was something else within them as the light shone in their midst that was not going to allow for long term success in the triumphs of spiritual warfare and it is what Jesus lovingly addresses for them.

First, Jesus addresses the teaching of Balaam that was highlighted as a flaw among them and it is a serious flaw.

The name Balaam means not for the people, nothing for the people (as in to give nothing) or to wear out, consume and waste the people. Right away this should give any heart seeking Jesus reason for concern, because Balaam was considered a prophet, even having connection with the LORD at least at a surface level, and was capable of hearing Him.

But Balaam was not for the people but for his own gain and his own reward. He would gladly see that the people were spent and wasted as long as he got what he was after.

Balaam is a compound of two words, the one being ‘bal’ meaning nothing, and the other being ‘am’ meaning the people. However, digging deeper we discover that ‘bal’ has a root beneath it consisting of the word ‘balah’ meaning to consume, to waste, to make old, to wear out, to use up completely, to make to fail, to make to fall away.

It is a user spirit, prophetic, yet there is a taint in it.

Both Peter and Jude address the heart error of Balaam in the following verses;

These are those who have forsaken the right way and are turned toward an error, following the path of Balaam the son of Bosor who loved the wages and payment of unrighteousness (2nd Peter 2:15).

Woe is upon them! For they have gone in the way of Cain (who murdered his brother) and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward... (Jude 1:11).

The problem is both these statements are written regarding people who are associates of the church, fellowshipping among the saints, and not about hearts outside of fellowship. But the heart of the matter is they are not for the people but for their own gain.

Somewhere within the motivational elements, maybe deep within, lurking there, hidden away in the shadows, the people are a means to a personal end.

In the same letter, the apostle Peter speaks of false prophets, the actual Greek term being pseudo prophets. The word pseudo means counterfeit, fake and impostor, while the word prophet is about one who speaks as the mouthpiece of God.

But the error is in that they are not the mouthpiece of God but use the hunger of people as a means of manipulation for their own ends. Power and heart must match;

And many will follow after their devouring ways and because of this the way of truth will be spoken against as some evil thing. And through their covetousness will their cleverly formed words make merchandise of you, turning you into their own profit center (2nd Peter 2:2-3).

There is a Holy Spirit attitude of heart that directs the warrior to watch out for the good of everyone around him or her. This heart is most clearly to be exemplified, and the line held among all leaders and instructors, and it understands the gifts of God within them exist for one purpose and that is to make the people of God successful.

It is to the direct benefit of others that all of us live in the success of our destiny.

The self consumptive spirit that sees the people and the gifts of God as a means to be utilized toward a personal end is the spirit of Balaam.

This is not to say God does not reward and prosper His servants, but it is an effect of the cause, not the cause itself. The life of Christ is the offering of our lives for the salvation and enrichment of others. This is a dramatic difference.

The error of Balaam also is found in the heart that wants to weaken others and tear them down with the same end in mind, that they might gain the advantage or position. Jesus addresses this error of heart when he talks about Balaam advising Balak to cast a stumbling block in front of the children of Israel.

When God forbid Balaam from cursing Israel (or He would kill him), he found another way to weaken them and advised Balak to send Moabite women to lure them into idolatry (see Numbers 25).

In most of these cultures the idol worshipers understood they received the infusion of the spirit of the idol by eating the foods offered to it and through engaging in sexual rites with the temple whores (priestesses or males) dedicated to the demon spirit of the god. This last part is the meaning of the word fornication.

But the point is the heart behind the behavior.

It was not for the people but against them and the purpose was for personal gain. God will bless His servants as they serve Him and all of us as we serve one another, as within the economy of God serving others and enhancing them initiates a flow of perpetuating increase and enlargement on every side.

Your enhancement of others opens the doorway for you to be enhanced. You gain by investing in the success of others, so we're not talking about some virtue attached to the poverty of God's servants. We are talking about motive and intent of heart.

For brothers, you have been invited into liberty, only do not use liberty for an occasion to serve your own physical and material desire, instead by love serve one another, because everything spoken of and addressed in the law is entirely fulfilled in this one single word, 'You are to love your neighbor as yourself (as if they were in fact you), but if you bite and devour one another, realize then that you will be completely consumed by one another (Galatians 5:13-15).

But there is a second warning Jesus gives to the hearts at Pergamos that is a close cousin to the doctrine of Balaam.

The second error is the doctrine of the Nicolaitans. Jesus is very clear about this teaching and makes no bones about the fact that he hates it!

The word Nicolaitan in the Greek means to take dominion of the people. This is a heart that again wants to dominate others as opposed to serve others, maybe not for financial or other reward as with Balaam, but power over people for any number of other reasons.

The issue is power in where and in whom it resides. It appears as an error that is specific to concepts of leadership at probably any level one might choose. The doctrine of the Nicolaitans is the reappearance of the sarar spirit that seeks to keep others under control and take possession of them for one’s own agenda or causes or maybe for pride and ego purposes.

It enslaves people. People are not made to be slaves. They are made to be free which is the theme throughout the scriptures and the cause of Jesus Christ.

Any attitude of heart that seeks to gain control over other people is an error.

God is not an enslaver but a Liberator, releasing His sons and daughters to explore the heights and depths of His splendor in a constant encouraging manner.

This is again an error of heart we are talking about that exists in this case within the ranks of people professing Christ, and for us to engage the enemy successfully it has no part among the apprentices of the Lord Jesus.

On a global scale, this cannot be among those who will alter nations and quite possibly be charged to watch over them as good shepherds.

There is only one Head of the church. No man on earth can take that role, but it is the power of Christ that is to reign within the heart of every saint and not men as in some earthly ‘vicar’ as a substitute in the place of Jesus.

What the mega-leaders of God do, or those we often are prone to idolize as the mega ones, and by that I mean those who are called to one of the legitimate offices of either apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor or teacher, is bring each individual person into the harmonized alignment not with personal purpose, but with the purpose of Christ residing within each of those individual persons who have joined to the cause.

It is not the role of these persons to ‘rule the roost’, but to train believers out of their own experience for personal success in the ways of triumph in the spiritual wars.

The apostle Paul understood apostleship and all ministry service very clearly;

Moreover I call God as the witness over my soul that to spare you I haven't come yet to Corinth. Not that we have dominion, acting as lords and rulers of your faith, but we are the helpers of your joy, because it is by your own faith that you stand (2nd Corinthians 1:23-24).

A spiritual heart that seeks to make demigods out of men over other men, as opposed to leadership that seeks the advancement and effective release of all people it touches, comes from the world of darkness and Jesus takes a strong, opposing stand against it.

You must beware first within yourself for any of these heart attitudes of competition, oppression and self serving dominance over others, and then beware of them within the community of faith once your own heart is aligned.

The oppression of life is what we as the sons and daughters of God are warring against and are in process of destroying through the power of redemption's liberty.

The spirit of the Nicolaitans is a spirit that needs to be cast down and out wherever it is found.

It is rife within the systems of men and is anti-to the power of Christ as it is meant to be released within the life of the person.

Within the community of Christ, ministry as we call it it is not a matter of rulers and subjects, but it is a matter of journeymen and apprentices, the skilled and those becoming skilled under the tutelage of fathers, those with experience.

Next Topic: Test #4 Thyatira – The Test of Source (Holy Spirit)

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