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Inducements to Capitulate

Revelation 2-3

John L. Kachelman, Jr.


I. The Kingdom of God is invincible! It cannot be shaken and is eternal in scope. Those who oppose this divine institution do so in vain!

1. Satan's opposition was doomed to failure before he enlisted the aid of the fallen angels as his comrades.

2. Even though his efforts are doomed to failure, Satan is ever- ready to encourage God's servants to surrender.

a. The blessed Lord was faced with this temptation (Matthew 4:1ff).

b. Our early brethren were tempted to give up and Scripture urges all to beware! (2 Corinthians 4:8-9; Hebrews 10:32-34; 1 Peter 5:8; Jude 17-23).

II. The 1st century believers in Asia Minor were targets of Satan's evil schemes. Satan tried to persuade them to give up their faithfulness.

1. Seven churches were specific targets. Upon these were focused evil trials. Satan used these trials, hoping to causing capitulation in his favor.

2. These brethren were struggling with Satan's "inducements to capitulate." A careful study of these points will give us instruction to help us live in devoted allegiance to the risen Saviour.


I. Surrender to Satan is actually a two-part process. As we consider the lesson text we will see how these two parts work together to bring about the downfall of believers.

A. The process begins when Satan uses certain events to undermine faith in God.

1. There is one supreme target of the Devil - our minds, our thought processes. Once he gains control of our minds he has us in subjection (cf 2 Corinthians 10:3-5).

2. The text reveals how Satan is able to gain control. Note: Control is not achieved instantly. It is often a long process that begins only when we allow our trust in God to "crack." Satan then works on that crack, prying it open and causing us to question God's care for us.

3. From Rv 2-3 we see how Satan caused our early brethren to begin questioning God's care . . .

a. He brought stress and pressure on them (2:9).

"Tribulation" - early Greeks used this word to describe the torture of being slowly crushed to death beneath a huge rock. They faced serious trouble which was crushing them.

b. He caused them to focus on material things (2:9).

"Poverty" - refers to one who has nothing. These brethren lived in one of the most prosperous cities, but because they believed in Jesus they were deprived. Imagine how terrible it would be to look around and see everyone enjoying life. But you have nothing, all because you believe in Jesus Christ. They had lost their jobs, houses, all things!

c. He caused abuse to be hurled at them (2:9). "Blasphemy" - others eagerly accused with lies. They were slandered. The children and adults all shared the embarrassment of this evil mockery, and ridicule. Can you imagine how much a parent would hurt when this evil speech made their little child cry and break their heart? The only alternative was to surrender to Satan!

d. He surrounded the faithful believers with people whowere under his authority and influence. This was done so that Christians thought they were all alone (2:13). Everywhere they turned, looked, or went, they saw Satan's subjects. How distressing it is to be in the persecuted minority when you could easily join the majority. How quickly the thought arises -- "Why should I continue when everyone else is doing differently and they are all right?" How hard for parents to tell children they can't go with school friends, etc. Can you imagine how hard it was to remain true when you lived in a place that was so filled with evil it was known to be "Satan's seat"?

e. He caused open hostility, persecution, and ill-treatment (2:13). "Antipas" - nothing more is known about him. Hedid hold firm to the end even in Satan's home base. Think of receiving a massage as in 2:10a - you will suffer because you believe. Think of Satan's implied message, "If you do not want to wind up like Antipas you had better change."

B. Once Satan has caused us to begin questioning the care of God, a small crack appears in our armor. At that moment, if we are not careful, the second point becomes evident - we begin to surrender! Notice how this surrender is portrayed in Rv 2-3.

1. Our love for God begins to erode (2:4; 3:1-2, 17).

a. Slowly and silently faith begins to creep out of our lives.

b. "Left" - "to release, let go, leave behind."

c. Devotion vanishes - it has eroded away and suddenly we discover, "I just don't feel as close to God as I once was!"

d. When we allow our trust in God to lessen, we will become as Ephesus, Sardis, and Laodicea! How frightening it is to realize that this will occur without our knowing it! (Hebrews 2:1-4).

2. We begin to tolerate open compromise of God's will and eventually find ourselves encouraging false teachers (2:14-15, 20). Believers begin to think they can have peace with Satan and with God. They look for the "easy way" out.

3. We will ultimately settle into a false confidence (3:17). Here is the picture of one who has completely surrendered to Satan! The war is over, capitulation is complete!

II. From this passage we are able to focus on vital lessons for each believer

A. We need to understand that Satan will use at least 5 ways to discourage us spiritually.

1. Stress and pressures which appear to "crush" us (Psalm 55:22; 1 Peter 5:7).

2. Materialism (1 Timothy 6:6-10; Job 1:21).

3. Ridicule, mockings, verbal abuse (1 Peter 2:21-23).

4. The majority surrounding us devoted to evil (Psalm 56:3-4,11, 13).

5. Open persecution and ill-treatment (Matthew 5:10-12).

B. We need to understand that Satan will make surrender veryappealing - he really dresses compromise so it appears to be the best way. "Just think, you can avoid ________ if you will follow me." Such did not work on our Lord and it should not on us.

C. We need to understand how concerned God is about our surrendering to Satan. He has described the devices of Satan to us; He has strongly urged faithfulness; He has revealed how deeply grieved He is when we fail.

D. We need to realize how tragic it is when we give up to the Devil (Rv 3:17b). Surrender begins slow, and it is so easy -- but it has the promise of eternal ruin in the end!


I. Towards sunset of the long, bloody day of Waterloo, when the surviving remnants of the Old Imperial Guards were summoned to lay down their arms, the scarred veterans of fifty victories cried out, "The Old Guards dies: it never surrenders!" This should be the motto of every Christian!

II. How is Satan inviting you to capitulate? What weakness has he discovered in your life and is using it to cause you to stumble? 

III. We are involved in a tremendous struggle with Satan. We should not sleep without a sentinel or march without a scout.

Copyright 1998 by John L. Kachelman, Jr. may be reproducted for non-commercial purposes at no cost to others.

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