Summary: What type of church are you a part of? What type of Christian are you? We live in a world of compromise, Christians today compormise in their dcotrine and their lifestlye. What does Jesus have to say to a compromising church?
What Type of Church Is This?
A Compromising Church
According to the Homer’s Iliad, the Greeks besieged the city of Troy for ten years without success. After the death of the warrior Achilles, many wanted to give up the fight. But the king of Ithaca, Odysseus, came up with a plan to get the Greek army into Troy. Odysseus built an immense wooden horse. He and his warriors hid inside it. After leaving the horse at the gates of Troy, the Greek army sailed away. The Trojans thinking the Greeks had given up and had left the horse as a gift brought it inside the gates. That night, while the Trojans were sleeping, the Greek ships quietly returned. The soldiers in the horse slipped out and opened the city gates. The Greek army quietly entered Troy and started fires all over the city. The Trojans awoke to find their city in flames. As they tried to flee, they were killed by the waiting Greeks. The story of the Trojan horse and the fall of Troy have come to represent the subversion of anything from within. That is what was happening to the church at Pergamum and that is what is happening to churches today.
I believe sometimes we have been stunned and defeated by the Trojan horses that have been allowed into our gates. Paul warned the Ephesians that savage wolves would arise among them and lead them astray. Perhaps in the very midst of the church today false teachers and immoral people are leading people astray and causing them to fall. We need to watch out and be on our guard for the Trojan Horse.
I wonder if we were to answer the question, “what type of church is this?” What would the response be? Or what about on an individual level, what type of Christian are you? Perhaps you are a Christian who is on fire and willing and eager to serve. Perhaps you are lukewarm or apathetic. Perhaps you are bold or perhaps you are compromising. Perhaps you are growing or perhaps you are backslidden. I want us to ask ourselves what type of church are we, or what type of Christian are we?
I also wonder if we were to get a letter today addressed to us as the church, or even as individuals like the seven churches in Revelation, what would the message to us be? What things would he compliment? What things would he rebuke us for?
One of the greatest problems that we face in the church today is people who claim to be Christians, but who are not acting like Christians.
Frank Sosienski was a postman in Louisville, Kentucky, who didn’t want to deliver some of his mail, Perhaps it was the hot summertime, like we’re experiencing now. Maybe the mail was heavy; maybe he wanted to quit his route just a little early each day. In any case, there were eventually complaints about mail not arriving, and they traced the problem back to Frank. When the postal authorities investigated, they found the mail that was missing. Most of it was in Frank’s attic. You see, over a six-year period he stashed away 15 tons of other people’s mail. They discovered over 1200 bags of undelivered mail in Frank Sosienski’s attic. A mail carrier is supposed to deliver the mail. Truth is, a mail carrier who doesn’t deliver the mail hasn’t done a very good job of being what they’re supposed to be or doing what they’re supposed to do. Now, a Christian is supposed to be faithful in serving Christ.
Text: Revelation 2:12-17
I. The Commendation
a. They Stayed Faithful in an Immoral Place
Pergamum was a pagan city it was the center of Emperor Worship in Asia, with the first temple built to Caesar Augustus in 28 B.C. The emperor worship was popular in that city and all throughout the Romans world. People would call the emperor, “Lord God”. Therefore the Christians had a problem with emperor worship because they were told there was one Lord and God and that is Jesus. Many Christians died because of their refusal to worship the emperor. The Caesar’s would often say, “There is no other name under Heaven whereby man might be saved.” Perhaps this is why the Apostles picked up on this statement and used it to refer to Jesus, which would have been a direct insult to the emperor and may show why they faced such persecution, but it got people’s attention. Perhaps this is why they are told that this is the city where “Satan” has his throne. Augustus believed he was the son of god or god in the flesh. He inaugurated a twelve day celebration called “advent” to celebrate his birth.
Not only was emperor worship popular, but they also were a city known for worshipping the Roman gods faithfully. There is a famous giant altar of Zeus overlooking the city, which was called one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Pergamum was known for their worship of a god named “Asclepion”, who was the god of medicine and healing, who carried snakes around with him. Incidentally, the staff he carried with a snake wrapped around it has become a symbol for much of the medical field today.