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PART 4 JAN 31 AUDIO-VIDEO Rev. 2: 12-17: “The Letter to the Church of Pergamos or Pergamum”

 

Previously, we Visited Christ’s Letter to the Church of Ephesus which included a strong Criticism…They Had Lost Their First Love!  

  • And Just like the Church of Ephesus, Jesus is calling for Us to Respond. To have more than a Form of Godliness. To Step Up and Make Him Our First Love. 

 

Last week we saw how the Church at Smyrna went under Tremendous Persecution and in the Midst of it they Remained Faithful to God and Christ had No Rebuke for this Church.

 

We also Saw How Believers Fit Into the Conflict Between God and the Devil  Like the book of Job, we know that God is Still in Control even in the midst of Persecution.

  • We Saw that Satan Operates Under God’s Divine Authority!  And he Must Obtain Permission to Operate Against Believers.

 

Dr. Barnhouse in his book “The Invisible War” describes how when Adam chose to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, He Dropped the Scepter of Authority God had given him over the newly created Earth…AND THE DEVIL PICKED IT UP! 

  • At this point Satan became the new master (Prince and Power of the Air Eph. 6) of the planet, However it is an Authority totally Under the Delegation of GOD.
  • Satan has a right to it because Adam and Eve Listened to him instead of God.  
  • 1 JOHN 4:4 “The Whole World Lies in the Hand of the Evil One.”
  • This explains Why Jesus Must Ultimately Invade the Earth and Reclaim it for God.  

 

I Want to Say Again…Though the World System and All it Contains is Under the Authority of the Devil…SATAN IS STILL UNDER GOD’S ULTIMATE AUTHORITY!

  • Satan must get God’s Permission to do anything against those who belong to God!
  • For Satan to be Able to Take YOU Through a Test…God Must Allow IT!!

 

Today We are Going to Look at the Church of Pergamum…Pergamum was the Roman Capital of Asia…It was one of the most prominent and wealthy cities in Asia…Located 50 miles North of Smyrna and about 20 miles from the Mediterranean Sea.

  • Many temples devoted to “Idol Worship”, filled with statues, alters & sacred groves.
  • A religious center where the pagan cults of Athena, Asclepius, Dionysus and Zeus were prominent…It was a Cult DeJour!   {Resembles America today}
  • Pergamum had a major university and a large library of two hundred thousand volumes. {Later Anthony made these a gift to Cleopatra}
  • It’s believed Parchment originated here…The paper itself was called pergamena.
  • Today, the cities glory has long since vanished.  Only a nominal Christian testimony continues still today in the small village of Bergama just below the old city.
  • Their Compromise…Removed Gods Hand of Protection, Presence and Power! 

 

As I Considered the Church of Pergamum…I thought about the church in America. 

  • The Change in our Culture’s Morals and what is deemed Acceptable has Infiltrated how the Church Stands on God’s Word.  Black & White is Now Shades of Grey!   

 

The Question I want YOU to Consider Today is…Do Your Priorities, Practices and Principles follow Culture or…Are You Standing Firm on God’s Word?

 

VS 12-17 12 “To the angel of the assembly in Pergamum write: “He who has the sharp two-edged sword says these things: 13 “I know your works and where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. You hold firmly to my name, and didn’t deny my faith, even in the days of Antipas my witness, my faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. 14 But I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to throw a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. 15 So you also have some who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans in the same way. 16 Repent therefore, or else I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of my mouth. 17 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies. To him who overcomes, to him will I give of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written, which no one knows but he who receives it”.   

 

The Church of Pergamun was in a Culture completely Adverse to Christian Testimony.

  • And as in the messages to the previous churches Christ is introduced in a unique way, “These are the words of Him who has the sharp double-edged sword” {Word of God}
  • The Sword “Separates” those of Grace from those Without Christ.
  • This Sword is both an “Instrument” of Salvation and the Instrument of Eternal Death.

 

Verse 13:  Jesus Gives the Church a Commendation for Holding Fast to the Faith!

  • This Church is dwelling where Satan has a Stronghold…Yet, They did not renounce their faith in Christ, even when Antipas (faithful witness) was put to death!  

 

However, the Evil and Adversity they Faced Outside of the Church…Had Permeated those Inside the ChurchLeading it to “Compromise” and Eventually to “Apostasy”.

 

Verses 14-15: Christ Rebukes the Church for Compromise!

  • The Church of Pergamum allowed and put up with doctrines that did Not Coincide with God’s WordThese we’re the doctrines of Balaam and the Nicolaitans.

 

In Numbers 31 we read that The Doctrine of Balaam taught Intermarriage with Heathens and Spiritual Compromise in the Matter of Idolatrous Worship.  

 

The Nicolaitans “doctrine” was that it was Alright to have One foot in Both Worlds and that one Needn’t be so Strict about Separation from the World in Order to be a Christian.

 

This group of Christians believed that if You were Saved through the Grace of God… You could Do Whatever You Wanted and Ignore what Christ said about Obedience! 

  • Jesus “hated” this doctrine because it led to a weak version of Christianity that was without power and without conviction – a defeated, worldly type of Christianity.

When believers allow sin and compromise to be in their lives, it drains away the power in the work of the Cross & the power of the Spirit that is resident in a believer’s life.

  • God wants to make sure we understand the doctrine the Nicolaitans taught, so Balaam’s actions are given here as an example of their doctrine and actions. 

 

REV. 2:14,15 “Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: There are some among you who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin so that they ate food sacrificed to idols and committed sexual immorality. 15 Likewise, you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans.” 

 

When Balaam could not successfully cause God’s people to directly walk away from Him, he Used Another Method to Destroy them.  He Seduced them into Unbridled, Sensual Living by Dangling the Prostitutes of Moab before the Men of Israel. 

 

Numbers 25:1-3 tells us, “While Israel was staying in Shittim, the men began to indulge in sexual immorality with Moabite women, who invited them to the sacrifices to their gods. The people ate the sacrificial meal and bowed down before these gods. So Israel yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor. And the Lord’s anger burned against them.”

 

Just as the men of Israel Compromised Themselves with the World and False Religions, Now the “Doctrine” of the Nicolaitans was Encouraging Compromise. 

Compromise with the World Always Results in a Weakened and Powerless Form of Christianity. That’s why Jesus “hated” the “doctrine & the deeds” of the Nicolaitans.

  • Compromise Always Leads to Apostasy!  HEBREWS 5 Outlines the Process: When One Begins to Drift—It Leads to Doubt—Then God’s Word Becomes Dull—Then a Person Begins to Despise God’s Word and Finally Defies God! In the endWe Fail to Love or Hate what God Loves and Hates!

 

Question We Need to Ask: “Do I Hate What God Hates & Love what God Loves?!”

  • God Hates CompromiseHe Vomits Up Luke Warmness!
  • Christ said, “If You Love Me You Will Keep My Commandments!”
  • Christ said in Matthew 22:  The Greatest Commandment is to Love God with Everything…No Holding Back…Making Him First is All Things!  

 

Compromise Receives God’s Greatest Warning…To the Church of Pergamos… And to US Today!

  • God said, Be Holy as I am Holy!  Holiness is Choosing to be Separate from the World!
  • Satan seeks to “Blur Our Thinking” about what God said in His Word…We Must Guard Ourselves with God’s WordTruth Out of Focus is Heresy!

 

Roman’s 12 is the Solution: Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

 

POINT When God’s Word Fills Our Minds…It Transform Our Hearts!

  • And We No Longer Seek to Conform to the Thinking of this World!

 

NOTE: When People Stop Heeding “Literal Truth”…They lose Hope of Christ’s soon return & “the Church as a Living Organism” becomes a Dead “Church Organization!” 

  • Verse 16:  “Christ Warns the Church to Repent or Else!”

 

Many in the Church of Pergamum had Been Faithful…But, the Evil Character of what was Invading the Church was so Serious in the Mind of Christ that it Involved Christ Fighting Against them with the Sword of His Mouth…The Only Alternative to Impurity and Compromise of Truth is Divine Judgment!

 

The Early Stage of “Apostasy” here at Pergamum Became the Future Apostate Church in the 17th Chapter of RevelationAnd is Brought into Divine Judgment! 

  • And I am Afraid that This Apostacy is Being Integrated into the Church of America…

 

Sadly, there are Many in American Churchs Today that Believe it is OK to Live with One Foot in the World and One Foot with Christ! Happy to Live a Life of Compromise. 

 

They Want to Go to Church when Convenient— And They Certainly Want to Go to Heaven! But they Still Want to Live in Sin.  They Want to do what They Want to Do…

  • Some want to party and Believe it is OK to Commit Acts of Immorality.  
  • Some Believe it is OK to Lie when necessary, OK to Cheat with it suits them…And Get Revenge when Someone Crosses Them.
  • It is the idea of sinning to your heart’s content, telling yourself God will understand. 
  • If you think you can Sin to Your Heart’s Content Without Repercussions.

 

If you think you can go out and break the commandments of God over and over because You think No One is Looking and you’re an exception to the ruleYou’re Deceiving Yourself.

 

I Am Not Talking About Never Sinning…We All Sin!  The Bible says, “If we say we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). 

 

But there is a big difference between the person who sins, is sorry for it, and doesn’t want to keep doing it, and the person who continually, willfully, habitually sins over and over again and then says, “It is okay. God will forgive me.”

 

If you look at the times in your life when you have fallen into sin, you could probably trace it back to a series of missteps — small compromises you made that led to the big compromise that led to your fall. 

  • And as compromise finds its way into the church, it weakens us. We lose our effectiveness in this world. We lose our effectiveness as individuals as well.

Compromise begins with leaving your first love for Jesus Christ, which leads to compromise, which leads ultimately to immorality, idolatry, and other sins.

The Only Antidote to the Allurements and Temptations of this World is a Passionate Love Relationship with Jesus Christ.

Keep your guard up. Stay close to Jesus, let the fire of the first love burn brightly, and you will be strong. OH…You’ll Never Be Sin-FREE…But God Will Give You the Power and Resolve To Live a Life that Pleases HIM!

 

YOU:  Here’s what I want to Leave with You Today.  God Loves You More than You Know…And All He desires is for YOU to Choose to Love Him back!   

  • He has Given You His Word {TRUTH} to Guard Your Heart and Mind!   

 

Christ said, If You Love Me You will Keep My Commandments!  Loving God is Obedience without Compromise!  

  • And when You Choose Faithfulness Instead of Compromise God Promises You Incredible Joy in this Life and Eternal Joy with Him forever!

 

Vs 17 Gives 3 Promises to Those Who Hear and Choose to be Faithful to Gods Word”

  1. Eat the hidden manna…Spiritual Food!  {Fellowship with Christ and Spiritual Strength}

 

  1. White Stone…Courts of Law-Represents “acquittal” Righteous before God! Versus a Black Stone of Judgment.

 

  1. New Name Written on the Stone…The Recipients “title” to Eternal Joy!   {Proof of our acceptance from Christ}

 

POINT: When God’s Word Fills Our Minds…It Transforms Our Hearts!

 

PRAYER