Summary: 7 letter to the churches
"The Commitment of the Overcomer"
May 6, 2001 AM, - Danny L. Williams
TEXT: Rev. 2:12-17
Have any of you ever been going down the highway behind some one who was not sure what lane they wanted to travel in?
Maybe I should change the question:
Have you ever been one of those people, who has traveled along the highway, not sure of what lane you wanted to be in?
Indecisive, -----some times over here and sometimes over there
You need to know two things about that kind of person.
1. You are confused
2. so is everyone behind you.
Whenever you are uncertain about which way you are going you are not only unstable you’re self, but you create instability for others.
The Human body is remarkably adaptable.
One unique feature is our body’s ability to tolerate pain. You can actually teach yourself to tolerate greater and greater degrees of pain by slow doses of increased amounts of pain.
Unfortunately, pain medications do the same thing in our body. Pain relieving medications can be a wonderful help ... but if they are taken too frequently and close together our body becomes tolerant of the drug and so the doses must be increased in strength and frequency to continue helping.
The frequent exposure can dull our response until it is withdrawn, then oh the pain!
Sin can be like this, constant frequent exposure to it can make us less sensitive to its true nature until we are very comfortable tolerating sin in our own life, we may even be unaware of sin until the Holy Spirit withdraws ... then oh the pain!
One of the true great dangers to the Church and the believer is that of tolerance of sin in our own life, and the compromising heart with this world!
A Church can survive many vicious attacks, but the slow gradual slide toward the world can go unnoticed.
Like the man who sold apple butter & cottage cheese at a farmer’s market, everyday he carried his 2 large drums of cottage cheese and apple butter and scooped them out into smaller containers for customers. One day he forgot to take 2 ladles, he had but one, which he used in both for scooping. By the end of the day customers returned complaining that their apple butter tasted like cottage cheese and those with cottage cheese complained that it tasted like apple butter! By scooping both with one ladle he managed to contaminate both!
We are asked to have one heart for God. To scoop our joys from the world and mix that with God’s provisions is to simply compromise the witness of the uniqueness of the Kingdom, to pollute ourselves.
PROP. SENT: The Bible teaches us that we are to carefully guard our hearts from this world’s pollution! Trying to mix Christianity with worldliness will only contaminate the Gospel of grace! Tolerating sin in our life will surely lead to spiritual ineffective-ness!
I. COMMENDATION 2:12-13
1. The City of Pergamum: (today exists as Bergama, Turkey)
a. name means "Citadel" (fortress or place of safety)
b. While Ephesus and Smyrna reigned as commercial capitals; Pergamum was the "Washington D.C." of Asia of the time, it was the political capital
c. It also was well known for its medical & educational prowess:
(1. It had a large and very prominent temple to the god Askelpios -- the cult god of healing (symbolized by a serpent around a staff.. .the same symbol still used today for doctors!)
(2. People with all kinds of ailments flocked to the temple grounds and waited for the priests to mingle through the crowds with magical cures.
(3. A large library containing parchment books was in Pergamum, in fact the word "Parchment" comes from the root name of this city
(4. the library was large and extensive: 200,000 volumes! Anthony sent this entire library to Egypt as a gift to Cleopatra!
(5. A huge altar (40 feet) was on the top of a hill. (today this altar has been excavated and now resides in East Berlin, Germany!
2. The governor of Asia resided here, he was the official "champion of justice"... and also the leader of Emperor worship.
a. he had as a symbol a sword, claiming in Latin; "IUS GLADII"… the "right of the sword"... the power to execute anyone he willed!
b. His authority by the symbol of this sword gave him absolute authority!
c. Emperor worship was nothing more than the worship of man himself!
3. The pressures to compromise as a Christian were enormous!! For a Christian to live in this political city where the compromise of ethics was common was tough!
a. the "everybody does it to get by" mentality was common!
b. "That’s just the way it is" was strong