Sermons

Summary: The Church of Pergamum had allowed false doctrines to creep into the church...what about our church?

September 28, 2003

Title: Pergamum

Text: Rev. 2:12-17

Introduction

1. We see John on the Isle of Patmos...

He is isolated...

Punished by man...

yet visited by God...

He is praying...

and suddenly Jesus comes to see Him...

and it is an incredible vision!

He sees Jesus walking among the lampstands...

He sees Him dressed in a long robe and a golden sash...

He sees that Jesus’ hair and beard is white

His eyes are blazing like fire...

His feet are like glowing bronze...

and from His mouth, is a sword...

a sharp, double-edged sword...

2. We learned about the sword of Jesus this morning...

the sword that was swung in battle and conquest...

But as Jesus speaks to John about the 7 churches...

He comes to the church of Pergamum...

And just as Jesus has revealed Himself differently to each church...

to the Church of Pergamum, He reveals Himself as He "who has the sharp, double-edged sword" coming out of His mouth.

And as we study this Church, you will see that there is a reason what Jesus revealed Himself like this to that church.

Read Text: Revelation 2:12-17

Body

1. First, lets look at the city of Pergamum (or Pergamos depending on your translation)

A. Pergamum was located about 40 miles northeast of Smyrna.

It is the present city of Bergama in Turkey.

Which is located on top of the ruins of Pergamum.

The city was wealthy and cultured and educated.

B. They were well-known for their library...

which was the 2nd largest library in the world...

2nd only to the library of Alexandria in Egypt.

It contained over 200,000 books...

which is especially impressive when you realize that these were scrolls...

not like the books that you have today.

Pergamum wanted to make their library even larger...

so they invited Aristophones, the director of the library at Alexandria to come to Pergamum...

But when the leader of Egypt heard about it...

He had Aristophones arrested and put an embargo against Pergamum...

This meant that Pergamum could no longer get the papyrus they needed to make books (or scrolls).

So, instead of just giving up, the people of Pergamum went to work and invented an alternative that was known as "pergamene paper".

Later this was shortened to "parchment"

And parchment became the "paper" of choice for many, many years, until paper was later developed by the Chinese.

C. This shows that the city of Pergamum was cultured, sophisticated, and educated...

and it helps us to better understand God’s message to the Church of Pergamum.

The first temple for emperor worship was built in Pergamum.

The worship of Jupiter was very prominent...

so much so that they had built a beautiful and exquisite altar to Jupiter.

In 1871, an altar was found in the ruins of Pergamum that bore the inscription: "Zeus, the Savior".

The city was filled with pagan temples...

so much so that the very presence of satan seemed to have settled upon the city.

which is why Jesus refers to Pergamum in our text as the city "where satan lives"

This gives you an idea of the city of Pergamum...the city where the Church of Pergamum was located.

2. Let’s look at the Church more closely

A. The city that I have described sounds lik a good place for a church...

One writer said, "where the night is the darkest, the light must shine the brightest"

Antipas is described as a "faithful witness" was put to death in Pergamum.

In this letter, Jesus condemns the Christians in Pergamum for associating with...

and tolerating people who hold to the teachings of Balaam and the Nicolaitans

The Nicolaitans are thought to be a group of people who tried to work out a compromise between Christianity and paganism

They taught that because of the spiritual freedom that they have in Christ...

that gave them the spiritual freedom to worship idols and embrace immorality.

This reminds me of the words of Paul in Romans 6:15 "What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means"

B. Satan will try anything he can to destroy the church...

if he is unable to do so by persecution, like we studied last week in Smyrna...

then he will try to destroy the church through compromise...

If he can get the church to lower their standards and begin to accept the practices of the world...

and not only accept them...

but allow them to creep into the church...

then satan has accomplished what he has set out to do...

he has gotten the church to relax her standards...

and before long, satan understands that the church will look just like the world...

you won’t be able to tell one from the other.

3. Jesus told the church, "repent, therefore"

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Timothy Enns

commented on Jun 1, 2015

I find your style great, applicable and exegetical! As I been preaching through the seven churches I have read your sermons for insight and inspiration.

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