Summary: Hold fast to the Word, for we stand under the judgement of God’s Word. Do not compromise at all cost.
Holding on to the truth is of vital importance.
- It is a matter of life and death, blessing or suffering, reward or judgement.
- Jesus emphasizes this need to the two churches.
- They performed well in many ways but not in the guarding of God’s truth.
We need to (1) HOLD FAST TO THE TRUTH
- What does that mean? Follow it above all else, and rid all human or worldly thoughts that are contrary to God’s revelations.
- As Christians, we cannot co-exist with the world. We are to be set apart.
- 2 Cor 6:14 "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?"
The church in Pergamum may be strong withstanding persecutions from without. But within, they were accommodating wrong teachings.
The church in Thyatira was known for their works of love and faith, their service and perseverance. But they were tolerating a false prophet in their midst.
Both churches were criticised for allowing false teachings to persist in their churches.
- It wasn’t the whole church that has gone wrong, only some people.
- In Thyatira, it’s just one person. You need only one false teacher to influence the church and destroy its witness.
Jesus said to His disciples (Matt 16:6, 11-12), "Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees."
- The yeast is just a small part, but it will work through the whole dough.
- The teachings of the Pharisees and Sadducees, if you accept them, as harmless as they seemed to be, will affect your entire life. It will destroy your life.
On the personal level, we need to honour the Word and give it the highest regard.
- God does not want us to view it as a good-to-have, a bonus for our life.
- It is our very life. We need to read it, study it, memorise it and live by it.
- Its authority and power must be placed above all else.
(2) We STAND UNDER THE JUDGEMENT OF GOD’S WORD
Christ introduces himself as the One who has the sharp, double-edged sword (2:12) and then said He will soon come to them with the sword of His mouth (2:16).
- He wants to emphasize to the church the need to hold fast to the truth, His Word.
- The sword is His Word. Heb 4:12 "For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart."
- Jesus, the One with eyes of blazing fire (2:18), sees through all that. 2:23b "I am He who searches hearts and minds..."
The Word reveals all. The Word judges us.
- Eph 6:17 tells us the 6th piece of the Armour of God: "the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."
- We see this phrase used again in Rev 19:11-16
11 I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice He judges and makes war. 12His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but He himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. 14The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. "He will rule them with an iron scepter." He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. 16On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.
You and I do not stand in judgement over God’s Word.
God’s Word stands in judgement over you and me!
This sword is two-edged because we use the Word against the enemy, but the Word is used by God against us too. It reveals sin in our own lives.
(3) DO NOT COMPROMISE AT ALL COST
Both churches did not correct and convert those with wrong beliefs.
- They have love and faith; they were fervent serving and persevering.
- They are "now doing more than you did at first" the Lord said (2:19).
- Yet they accommodated the false teachers and tolerated their wrong teachings.
Why? Why were they able to withstand persecutions but not rid themselves of these false teachers?
- They have become comfortable with the co-existence.
- They might have thought, well, it’s just a small group. Perhaps some of these people are friends. They have been helping the church. They are nice people.