Summary: Troy could not be defeated from without, but they were defeated when they unwittingly let the enemy inside the city. This is the same tactic that Satan was using to defeat the church in Pergamum. If we are not careful, Bethel Chapel Church could be made
Purpose: To show the disaster that compromise with sin brings.
Aim: I want the listener to avoid the allurements of sin.
INTRODUCTION: In 1871, an American named Heinrich Schliemann began excavating an ancient city in Turkey. This retired businessman discovered the lost city of Troy. Troy was an ancient city with towers and walls that were 16 feet thick.
According to the Homer’s Illiad, the Greeks besieged Troy for ten years without success.
After the death of Achilles, many wanted to give up. But the king of Ithaca, Odysseus, came up with a plan to get the Greek army into Troy. He built an immense wooden horse. He and many of his soldiers hid inside it.
After leaving the horse at the gates of Troy, the Greek army sailed away. The Trojans thought that the Greeks had given up and had left the horse as a gift, so they brought it inside the city. That night, while the Trojans were sleeping, the Greek ships quietly slipped back into the harbor. The soldiers in the horse quietly slipped out of the wooden horse through a trap door and opened the city gates.
The Greek army quietly entered Troy and set the city on fire. The Trojans awoke to find their city in flames. As they tried to run away, they were killed by the Greeks waiting outside the city walls.
Troy could not be defeated from without, but they were defeated when they unwittingly let the enemy inside the city. This is the same tactic that Satan was using to defeat the church in Pergamum. If we are not careful, Bethel Chapel Church could be made useless in much the same way.
1:1-20 I. John’s Vision of the Past “the things which you have seen”
2:1-5:14 II. Christ’s Vision of the Present “the things which are”
2:1-3:22 A. The testimony of the church on earth
Vs.1-7 1. Ephesus: the loveless church
Vs.8-11 2. Smyrna: the hurting church
➽Vs.12-17 3. Pergamum: the worldly church
Pergamos lit. means “citadel” [or fortress] and is the word from which we get parchment—a writing material developed from animal skin, which apparently was first developed in that area. Pergamos (modern Bergama) was built on a 1,000-foot hill in a broad, fertile plain about 20 mi. inland from the Aegean Sea. It had served as the capital of the Roman province of Asia Minor for over 250 years. It was an important religious center for the pagan cults of Athena, Asklepios, Dionysius (or Bacchus, the god of drunkenness), and Zeus. It was the first city in Asia to build a temple to Caesar (29 B.C.) and became the capital of the cult of Caesar worship. [MacArthur, J. J. (1997, c1997). The MacArthur Study Bible (electronic ed.) (Re 2:12). Nashville: Word Pub.]
➽Vs.12 a. Christ’s purity “One who has the sharp two edged sword”
Literally the Greek reads: "These are the words of the One having the sword, the two-edged, the sharp." Jesus was reminding the Christians of Pergamum that the Roman governor is not the only one with a sword. This refers back to what we read in Revelation 1:16 In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength. (NAU)
Whose sword should we fear? Should we fear societies’ sword of ridicule, intimidation, persecution or even death? Or should we fear God’s judgment?
➽Vs.13 b. Christ’s praise “I know where you dwell”
The phrase “I know” is used of all 7 churches. God knows everything.
[Pergamum was]The headquarters of satanic opposition and a Gentile base for false religions. On the Pergamos acropolis [the ancient citadel of Athens in Greece that was the religious focus of the city. It contains the remains of several classical temples, including the Parthenon] was a huge, throne-shaped altar to Zeus. In addition, Asklepios, the god of healing, was the god most associated with Pergamos. His snake-like form is still the medical symbol today. The famous medical school connected to his temple mingled medicine with superstition. One prescription called for the worshiper to sleep on the temple floor, allowing snakes to crawl over his body and infuse him with their healing power. [MacArthur, J. J. (1997, c1997). The MacArthur Study Bible (electronic ed.) (Re 2:12). Nashville: Word Pub.]
The symbol of Asklepios is a serpent and was to be found throughout the city. This symbolized healing to the pagans. However, for Christians, since the time of the Garden of Eden, the snake or serpent was a symbol representing Satan.
Jesus knew what opportunities this church had. He knew what obstacles they had to overcome in the culture and what false religions were doing. He knew the kind of opposition they faced.