Summary: Pergamum is known as The Compromising Church. We will look at the strengths of this church / Subtle Seduction of this church / Standard for the church.
Revelation 2:12-17 12 "To the angel of the church in Pergamum write: These are the words of him who has the sharp, double-edged sword. 13 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. 14 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. 15 Likewise you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16 Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. 17 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.
I know where you live
I know your faithfulness
I know your failures (You’ve listened to the wrong voices- he who has an ear…)
I know your remedy
I know your reward
-Before 1974, there was a huge portion of land in the northern part of Australia that belonged to the superstitious Aborigines. That land was covered w/ green ants. The Aborigines believed that those green ants were sacred / descendants of their pagan gods.
-A mining company discovered huge deposits of uranium in that land. So they approached the Aborigines about purchasing that land and mining the uranium…but they would not budge: “If you destroy the land of our sacred green ants, our gods will pronounce a curse upon us, and we will have years of drought and famine.
-Well, in 1974, they sold that land to the mining companies. Do you know what changed their minds? 8.3 million dollars! “They may be gods, but for 8.3 million they can find another place to live!”
-Question: Are your convictions for sale? I know a lot of ppl have sold out for a lot less than 8 million dollars.
-Pergamum is known as The Compromising Church.
-It was real in John’s day, & there are many like it today, and it represents the church at large in history between the years of 300-500 A.D.
-In 313 A.D., the emperor Constantine declared Christianity to be the official religion of the Roman Empire, and the church moved out of the catacombs, and into the Cathedrals!
3 Things: Strength of this church / Subtle Seduction / Standard
1. The Strength of the Church
v. 12-13a I know where you live. I know what conditions you serve me under (where Satan’s seat [throne] is).
-The Lord says, “I know you’re serving me in a very evil place.” At the least, Satan was having His way in Pergamum.
-The city of Pergamum was known for its political power, and for emperor worship. It was the first city ever to have a temple dedicated to Caesar. And once a year the residents of Pergamum were forced to enter the temple of Caesar...forced to burn incense upon the altar of Caesar, and to say out loud, “Caesar is God.”
-Pergamum was also known for its pagan worship…it was filled with altars and temples to pagan gods. The altar of Zeus was located in Pergamum. The huge imposing temple of the goddess Athena was there. The temple of the Roman Emperor Hadrian was in Pergamum, as was the temple of the goat god Bacchus, whose upper body was depicted as a man w/ horns, and lower body as a goat w/ cloven feet and a tail.
-Also in Pergamum was the greatest hospital in the ancient world, the ‘Mayo clinic’ of that day. They practiced a combination of medicine and idol worship. The hospital was first and foremost a temple to the Greek god Asclepius, the god of healing. And in this hospital / temple, they used every means of healing imaginable, including a therapy in which you would sleep alone in a dark room at night. Non-poisonous snakes were placed in the room to crawl all over you all night…they believed it to be somehow therapeutic.
-But, for 700 years people came from all over the ancient world for healing to this place. Certainly there were reputable doctors there, practicing medicine current to that date, but overall, the hospital was Satanic, and idolatry was everywhere.
-Now, like their brothers and sisters in Smyrna, the Christians at the church in Pergamum were suffering terrible persecutions at the time of this writing. Some of them were dying for the cause of Christ, and Jesus calls one of them by name in v. 13…Antipas