Summary: A personal/contemporary look at the church at Pergamum to help us see if we're guilty of slipping away from our walk with Christ.
My message today is a little different from my usual format.
I’d like to explain our passage today by was a story between 2 men. (Turn there).
This story is not in outline form, so you’ll need to follow closely in your notes.
Dave was your average sort of guy. He grew up in a middle class family in Sunbury.
He graduated from Shik and then got a job at Weis where he worked his way to manager.
He loved being part of his kids’ sports, eating out, and going to the movies.
He was a volunteer firefighter and member of the Sunbury Revitalization.
Dave was your average sort of guy; Blue jeans, polo shirt, cell phone, HD TV.
Things were going well for him, and he really had no complaints.
Now Dave was also a Christian. A Middle Class Christian, if you like.
Church was important to Dave.
He still attended the church he grew up in, the church he was saved in.
In many ways, his life was like another Dave.
Only this Dave lived in another place, in another time. His real name was Davîd.
Davîd grew up in the city of Pergamum.
•15 miles from Aegean Sea (modern Turkey), it was called the “City on a hill”.
While Sunbury is the county seat, Pergamum was the “state capital”.
The Roman Imperial power was very strong there.
Because of that, the people were granted the right of the sword (right to bear arms).
Pergamum was famous for its many cults & gods.
•Many temples there, including the altar of Zeus (dedicated to Zeus the Savior).
It was also the center of emperor worship.
Pergamum was also famous for its library (200,000 books).
It was the center for paper mfg., and parchment (pergamena) was invented here.
•Which was good for Davîd, because he was a parchment manufacturer.
Pergamum was the city of opportunity and Davîd loved it…
Except when it came to Christianity. Davîd was a “Middle Class” Christian.
He had heard of this new faith some years ago and claimed it as his own.
His faith, like Dave’s, was very important to him.
The pagans at first thought nothing of adding another religion like Christianity.
But when Christianity began to oppose their beliefs, the church began to be persecuted.
What would Davîd do? How would he live?
•How could he stay true to his faith and still live comfortably in Pergamum?
Dave also had a dilemma, although his was more subtle.
It seemed that there were always things interfering with his faith.
Dave’s lifestyle interfered with his faith.
•His spare time was so busy that he wasn’t able to attend any other Church functions.
He loved the action adventure movies and had become so accustomed to the sex and violence and language that he was able to shut it out when he watched (so he thought).
The TV he watched at home wasn’t much better.
And some of the Internet sites he found were anything but “Christian”.
Secondly, Dave’s work ethic interfered with his faith at times.
•His job often kept him away from church on Sundays.
As a manager, he had to be shrewd to make it in this dog eat dog world.
•People occasionally got stepped on for the good of the business.
He never thought twice about sharing his faith there. That talk was reserved for church.
What he didn’t realize was that no one at work would have guessed he was a Christian.
Thirdly, Dave’s philosophy also began to interfere with his faith.
•Without realizing it, he began to accept and even embrace the philosophy of society.
•He began to doubt the Bible’s teaching on the final authority of Scripture, the acceptance of the “alternative lifestyle”, and others.
He didn’t even realize how much he had conformed to society over the years.
•After all, he still was as faithful to Church as he could be. He still tithed regularly.
•And when the subject did come up, he certainly didn’t deny he was a Christian.
In all honesty, Dave never really gave his dilemma much thought.
•Until he heard a message in church about a man named Davîd.
Davîd’s slip into conformity wasn’t a blatant, deliberate choice either.
The more he faced situations of conflict, the more he reasoned with himself.
Without realizing it, Davîd eventually had adopted the doctrine of the Nicolaitans.
•The Nicolaitans held to a doctrine of compromise.
•Some of the other believers labeled them Christian Liberals.
Davîd didn’t agree. After all, he was just trying to fit in.
He still believed the Scriptures (at least most of them). He still prayed every day.
He still met regularly with the believers for worship.
•But he began to get together with other believers who agreed with the Nicolaitans.
The more he met with them, the more convinced he was that this philosophy was right.