Summary: Are you ready for Jesus to return?
Sermon 5-- Topic III (continued) -- The Blessing of staying awake for Christ! (Rev. 16:15)
Rev. 16:15 "Behold, I come like a thief! Blessed is he who stays awake and keeps his clothes with him, so that he may not go naked and be shamefully exposed."
My question to you New Life? Are you ready for Jesus to return?
This question is posed to all churches today and in Rev. 2 & 3 the churches are asked the same question. The sad fact is 5 out of the 7 were not ready for Christ’s return.
We have looked at the two who were ready Smyrna, and Philadelphia. Both were wide awake!
But the other 5 were various at stages of sleeping:
1. Last week we discussed Ephesus the church who was so busy they were taking cat naps from Jesus Christ and therefore had forsaken their first love. Key point! When you get so busy doing stuff and forget your relationship with Jesus Christ, you have forsaken your first love and sinned. I challenged you at the close of last week’s message to have a date with Jesus this week.
pray that you did and please do not tell him you were too busy.
2. The next church that we will look at today is Pergamum. This church was a church who would take afternoon siesta’s from Jesus Christ.
II. Pergamum- The church who fell asleep in the afternoon’s from Jesus Christ
A. HISTORICAL BACKGROUND of the siesta ridden church.
1.The city of Pergamum.
Pergamum was the official Roman capital of Asia. It had been the capital for about 200 years. The city exerted authority over the entire area of Asia and it still was in control at the time of this writing in Revelation. Pergamum used much of its wealth to build temples devoted to idol worship. The city was litered with Statues, altars and sacred groves honoring different god’s. In the midst of the city was a 1,000 foot high hill covered with temples and altars.
2. Thomas states, " The primary local deities to whom temples had been erected were Zeus, Athena, Dionysos, and Asklepios. Zeus, the savior -god, and Athena, the victory-bearing goddess, were testimonials to the Greek spirit influence. The other two, reflecting more of an Anatolian spirit, were more dominant in the religious life of the city. Dionysis, the god of the royal family, had a mystical name "Bull." Asklepios, like Dionysos more of an animal-god, was associated with serpent (snakes). The shrine of Asklepios, who was noted as a "god of healing," attracted people from all over the world. Feeding a living serpent in the temple was the manner of practicing this worship. The sick spent the night in the darkness of the temple where nonpoisonous snakes were allowed to roam. If a person was touched by one of these snakes (i.e., by god himself), he was cured of his illness (179).
3. But despite its noted temple worship it was the earliest city to also incorporate the worship of the Roman Emperor. The first temple was erected in 29 B.C.. A second temple was added later. This city was the most intense in demanding Caesar worship. Were in other cities you were faced once a year to burn incense to Caesar here it was a daily challenge (Thomas, pg 180).
4. City was also noted for it’s 200,000 volume library and the birthplace of "parchment". The city manufactured and produced this animal skin writing material.
B. The message to this church Rev. 2:12-17
"To the angel of the church in Pergamum write: These are the words of him who has the sharp, double-edged sword. (Rev 2:12 NIV)
I know where you live--where Satan has his throne. 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. (Rev 2:13 NIV) Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: You have people there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin by eating food sacrificed to idols and by committing sexual immorality. (Rev 2:14 NIV) Likewise you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. (Rev 2:15 NIV) Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. (Rev 2:16 NIV)
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it. (Rev 2:17 NIV)
1. Verse 12 Jesus Christ is revealed again as the one with the double edged sword.