Summary: Part 3 of 7 in our summer series exploring the letters to the 7 churches in Revelation 2-3. This message takes a deeper look at the church at Pergamum.
OPENING: 3 middling churches - not bad/great - mid road. ea has faithful remnant w dec infl
INTRODUCTION: The majority of American churches are not lacking for MORAL and SPIRITUAL instruction. We are lacking in our ability (note typo) to remain UNCONTAMINATED by the world as a church family. (pergamum compromising church... not all... but some)
Abt 10 miles inland from Aegean sea stands the impressive cap city of Pergamum
Built on a cone-shaped hill emerging 1,000 ft high dominated Caicus valley. Pergamum... Pergamos GRK = citadel. Upper terrace of city remarkable sacred & royal buildings...
Had impressive library of parchment scrolls (legend has it parchment invented here)
Religious center... PPL came from all over to be healed by Asclepius... Temples there for Zeus, Dionysos, and Athene. Center of Caesar-Worship. Temple ded to Rome in 29BC
Galen, one of the most famious physicians of ancient world, native of Perg and studied there.
A city filled with darkness... the light shines brightest in the midst of darkness... what an amazing opportunity for the people of God in Pergamum to display the light of the world... the hope of the world to a city desperate for hope!
4 PRINCIPLES OF PERGAMUM
I. God is in CONTROL. (v 12) ...Him who has the sharp two-edged sword.
• READ 1:16... another powerful image of Christ... why this description?
• Pergamum capital. Proconsun resided here. He alone held power to put ppl to death & very symbol my be taken to b a sword.
• What a great reminder that there is a power greater than any earthly governor or leader.
Satan CORRUPTS. (v 13) I know.. (not not your deeds... but where you dwell)
• The Spirit’s exhortation is to acknowledge that he knows the environment they are in and their witness in the face of severe opposition. Antipas roasted to death under Domitian ref Rev 1:5
• (Where live = permanent residence... Satan sits enthoned). What? Some ref Zeus throne. Askelpios sym serpent? Best understood in connect w Pergamum’s place in emp worship. 29BC temple for Augustus... 2nd Temple built for Trajan. Rome center of Satan’s actiity in West... Pergamum was his throne in the East.
• Our battle not against flesh & blood... against rulers of this dark world... Satan deceiver always looking to corrupt the church, the Bride of Christ! Church = people = Body of Christ
II. Christians drift towards COMPROMISE. (vv 14-16)
• Were Faithful but guilty of allowing some w/in group who held to tchg of Balaam. Not a body of doctrine but Balaam’s activity - GO TO Num 25.
• Pergamum... Satan sat enthroned... some within the church had decided that accomodation & tolerance was the wisest policy. Taught the way of compromise. Path of least resistance.
• 2 Kings 5... Naaman the leper being healed in Jordan River.
• One response... REPENT... sharp command bc of God’s hatred of evil. If church doesn’t repent the Lord will come and fight against her with the sword of His mouth.
• Ephesus = committed to doctrine no love. Pergamum = committed to love no doctrine.
• ILLUS Mailman... HS Convictions (danger of legalism & liberalism if time)
III. Christ makes His children COMPLETE. (v 17)
• Call to hear what the Spirit of God says to the churches. (are we hearing His voice?)
• hidden manna - manna = God’s provision hidden = unknown but most likely eschatological... Rev 19:6-9 great feast at the marriage supper of the Lamb.
• white stone = Ex 16:31 manna like a white seed... in this period jury verdicts produced a black stone if accused found guilty & white stone if acquitted. White stones also used to gain entrance into public festivals = admission to final marriage supper of Lamb.
• Not only stone but a new name written on it just between the Lord... Imagine the precios gift of the Lord Jesus handing to you a stone with a special name he has just for you