Summary: 3rd in a series on the seven churches mentioned in Revelation 2-3
In a nutshell: The Lord of the church will not accept any form of tolerance in His church that compromises His truth!
When I say the word COMPROMISE what comes to mind?
To some, it’s a good word, a nice word.
It can be a good thing when it’s used in relation to reaching an agreement in an argument.
But, when used in Scripture regarding spiritual issues, it is not a good word. In fact, we are warned against compromising in Scripture. One such place is in Revelation 2:12-17...
Some of you already know this about me, but I am a very visual person. I learn best by visualizing things. It’s hard for me to learn something just by hearing it. I learn best by not just hearing, but also visualizing, and then especially by doing it...putting it into action. I suspect most people are like me in this.
Statistics tell us that we forget most of what we hear. Learning increases as we not only hear, but see, then put into action whatever is being taught. (That’s why we have outlines, fill in the blanks, and applications like jigsaw puzzle pieces, slips of paper with musical instruments on them. That’s why we bring mint to church. They are all designed to help us learn and put into practice what we learn.
With that in mind, this morning we are going to look at 5 pictures, painted by words. These pictures will help us visualize what is going on in Revelation 2:12-17. What we will see this morning is an exhibition of Jesus Christ’s pictures of the church at Pergamum. What we will see when we look at these pictures is this:
The Lord of the church will not accept any form of tolerance in His church that compromises His truth!
Follow along as I read Revelation 2:12-17...
FIVE WORD PICTURES:
1. A PICTURE OF THE CITY (vv. 12-13a)
The first picture we see is that of the city. Pergamum was located 50 miles to the north of Smyrna (looked at last week).
Pergamum was the capital of this region of the Roman Empire. The church at Pergamum was located in what can basically be described as an “evil environment.”
Notice Jesus says, “It’s where Satan has his throne.”
Unlike the churches of Ephesus and Smyrna, that we’ve studied already, Pergamum wasn’t being attacked by the Jews of the city. The evil attacks that affected this church came from the influences of the city. There are 3 major influences in the city that contributed to this description of being a place where Satan has his throne.
1) In Pergamum there was a temple called the temple of Asklepios, the mythological god of healing.
Sick people were brought to this temple and laid in its courtyard, where hundreds of non-poisonous snakes lived.
People believed that if one of these snakes would touch a sick person as they were in the courtyard, then they would be healed. That’s why in the symbol of the medical profession, the image of snakes is so predominant. It comes from this ancient practice that was rooted the worship of this god.
2) There was also in Pergamum a huge throne-like altar to the chief of all mythological gods, Zeus. This altar was 40 feet high. People who worshiped at this altar and brought sacrifices were expected to say the words, “Zeus is the Savior.”
3) Pergamum was also a center for emperor worship for this region, like Smyrna. Pergamum had 3 separate temples that were built to honor the emperors. It was considered to be an act of treason to refuse to acknowledge the living Caesar as a living god.
So, that’s the first picture we have this morning – the city itself.
2. A PICTURE OF CHRIST (v. 12b)
This is a picture of Jesus Christ, as the chief warrior against evil. Jesus is describing Himself as the One who has the sharp two-edged sword. Notice how John describes Him in Revelation 1:16...
What is the sword? It is the Word of God!
Hebrews 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.”
Why does the sword have two edges?
One is an edge of salvation. The other is an edge of judgment.
One edge separates man from sin. The other separates him from God for eternity. One is salvation, one is judgment.
What is the picture that we see of Christ here?
This is not a picture of a mild mannered Jesus.
This is not a picture of the baby of Bethlehem.
This is not a picture of Jesus the carpenter pounding nails.
This is not a picture of Jesus the teacher teaching with parables.