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Summary: “Be the church would ya!” Young people practice faith in the same way their parents practice faith. Studies today call this “Moralistic Therapeutic Deism”. It is a very self-centered spirituality; a self-absorbed Christianity.

Title: “A Church The World Needs--Not Wants--Pergamum”


I HAVE FOUR CHILDREN and I can tell you—kids, are smart—they know when you aren’t living up to what you believe and what you say!

I worked with inner-city, street-wise kids for several years and they know when they spot a fake. They also know how to get what they want!

How do you get what you want? You are a very wise person if you can learn that about yourself—how you get what you want.

Studies today call this “Moralistic Therapeutic Deism”. It is a very self-centered spirituality; a self-absorbed Christianity.

And the Church in Pergamum begs us to ask the question as a church, of which YOU are a part of, are we merely a self-absorbed group of people who are bent on only what feels good to us and care nothing about lost people?

Does God promise to give his children and followers everything they want, or everything they need? If God is our model for what an adult/parent/grandparent should be, then how are we to be?

SO, do you really want to be A CHURCH the world wants but no one needs? We will be just that if we are take our lead from those who remain developmentally immature—merely teenagers in the faith. If we give it just because they want it and it will make them happy, then we are becoming a “feel-good church” and we will primarily believe in a God who is the same!

The rich young ruler would

Let’s walk through the text this morning and hear what the Spirit is saying to us as a church as we make our way through.

2:12 “To the [messenger] of the church in Pergamum write:

These are the words of him who has the sharp, double-edged sword.

This is referring to Jesus’ words—1:16, it comes out of his mouth. A double-edged sword can cut totally because it swings both ways. Most knives are sharp on one-side. Jesus’ sword isn’t one sided, but two. When his word penetrates it cuts into and knows both sides equally. Therefore His word is accurate, succinct, timely, and right on. So here is Jesus, standing in the midst of the churches, looking over Pergamum and with sword ready to cut—he is speaking judging words that will cut and leave two sections—one on the right side and one on the wrong. Which side will the people of Pergamum be on?

13 I know where you live—where Satan has his throne.

Satan’s throne is where the Emperor’s Temple is—they literally worshipped Caesar with idols and images in Pergamum and the popular Temple of Zeus! Rome represents the Fallen Babylon world and here Satan demanded your allegiance.

Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city—where Satan lives.

Antipas was a true follower of Christ and a member of the Pergamum church. He was martyred—killed for his faith in Christ right there in their city, and did the church shut down? Do. It didn’t cease to be a church and Christ commends them for that. Their faith in what they knew about Jesus and what He could do was greater than what they didn’t know. NEVER let what you don’t know steal away from you what you do know.

That is why Antipas was killed—because he held on to Jesus in opposition to the culture, to the leaders, to those who would influence him otherwise. Jesus had saved these followers, he loved them, he changed their lives, and gave them peace, and joy, and hope! No one else had done that for them. And since Jesus gave His life for them, they could stand firm in the face of danger and live for Him—whether that meant more days of life or by death. And Satan is seen as the one behind the persecution and killing.

Will you keep the name of Christ? Will you say there is “no other name under heaven by which we can be saved than in the name of Jesus”? And will you gladly accept the consequences for those beliefs?

14 Nevertheless, I have a few things against you:

Even though P. remained true to Christ’s name (weren’t afraid to say they were Christians) and didn’t renounce their faith (stood up for the United Methodist Church and the Wesleyan practices and the Bible) even though they were persecuted by the media and portrayed as left-winged liberals and left behind by those who said they were of the “true church”…they had something ugly within them that needed to be pointed out.

So just because you call yourself a Christian and just because your name is listed as a member of a church somewhere doesn’t mean you have an automatic in to heaven when you die or some guarantee that life will blessed with prosperity!

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Toby Thompson

commented on Feb 24, 2017

Thank you for a sermon that extends beyond the normal boundaries of the UMC. You touched on multiple points that should have the hearers questioning whether their individual 'idols' are preventing them from a closer walk with the Lord. Well done, Sir.

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