“And he said, The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer” (2 Sam.22:2).
(2:13) Church—Believers: there is the commendation. The church is commended for three things.
1. The church was loyal to Christ’s name despite the environment. The church had been established in a cesspool of
worldliness, a city of people who were consumed with the pleasures, possessions, and comforts of the world. Note: Christ re-
fers to the city as the seat of Satan. However, the believers were refusing to deny Christ. Once a year they could have easily
made their public confession that Caesar is Lord, but they refused. They knew better; they knew that Christ and Christ alone
was Lord. They could have gone quietly about their affairs and never mentioned Christ except when they met for worship.
But this they refused to do. They wanted their loved ones, neighbors, and friends to know the salvation and hope of eternal
life that was now available in Christ. Therefore, they bore testimony to Christ. They refused to deny Him. They refused to
bow the knee and make a false profession to a false god, even if that god was Caesar, the state religion. They held fast to the
only name that could really save them, the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
“Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father
which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father
which is in heaven” (Mt.10:32-33).
“Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful
generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father
with the holy angels” (Mk.8:38).
“Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also con-
fess before the angels of God” (Lk.12:8).
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that
God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righ-
teousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Ro.10:9-10).
“And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father”
“If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us” (2 Tim.2:12).
“Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Fa-
ther and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: [but] he that acknow-
ledgeth the Son hath the Father also” (1 Jn.2:22-23).
“Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God”
2. The church was pure in doctrine. They had not denied the faith of Christ. They believed Christ and the Word of
God, studied and taught it. They had neither denied Christ nor His Word. The Word of God was being preached and taught
every week from the pulpit and classes of the church.
“But even after that we had suffered before, and were shamefully entreated, as ye know, at Phi-
lippi, we were bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God with much contention. For our
exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile: but as we were allowed of God to be
put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth out hearts.
For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloke of covetousness; God is
witness: nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others, when we might have been
burdensome, as the apostles of Christ” (1 Th.2:2-6).
“If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus
Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained” (1
“I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and
the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; re-
prove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (2 Tim.4:1-2).
“Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine
both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers” (Tit.1:9).
“But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine” (Tit.2:1).
3. The church was standing fast in persecution. At least one believer had been martyred, Antipas. Nothing is known
about this dear believer other than what is recorded here. Tradition says that he was placed inside a brazen bull and slowly
roasted to death (A.T. Robertson. Word Pictures In The New Testament, Vol.6. Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1933,
Note: the word “martyr” (martus) is the regular Greek word for witness. A.T. Robertson says that Antipas was a witness
just as Jesus said we should be (Acts 1:8). Christ gave this dear man His own title: “my faithful one” (cp. Rev.1:5; 3:14). He
was faithful unto death.
Thought 1. This is a sharp rebuke to us today. Just think: the word witness and martyr mean the same thing. The
early believers knew exactly what it meant to become a follower of Christ: it meant the commitment of all they were
and had. It meant the possibility of death. As William Barclay says:
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