Summary: The cost of Compromise in an evil society
TAKING A STAND WHERE SATAN SITS - REV 2:12-17
AD 312: AFTER THE EMPEROR’S DEATH ROMAN GENERAL CONSTANTINE HAD HIS FORCES IN NORTHERN ITALY AT THE MILVIAN BRIDGE. HE STATED THAT BEFORE A BATTLE HE LOOKED INTO THE SKY AND SAW A FIERY CROSS: HE HEARD A VOICE SAY TO HIM, ’IN THIS SIGN CONQUER’. HE WON THE BATTLE THAT DAY AND SOON ASCENDED TO THE THRONE OF ROME. HE DECLARED HIMSELF THE ’DEFENDER AND PROTECTOR OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH’. What was once persecuted by Rome was now it’s official religion.
An accurate picture of the problem of the church in Pergamum. The name literally means, ’an exalted marriage’. Constantine tried to wed the church to the world, which is tragically still attempted to this day. The cost of the wedding is simply COMPROMISE.
Each of these churches struggle with different issues that are attatched to Satan’s strategies throughout the church age.
Ephesus-Poison the doctrine/Smyrna-persecute the Saints/Pergamum-Promote compromise.
1) Someone has said that the devil really only has two strategies: intimidation & enticement. Make you knuckle under the pressure or lure you into compromise.
2) He comes in one of two ways: A roaring lion or an angel of light
Look this morning & evening at Rev 2:12-17 and use the same outline we will use with all the churches we study in chapters 2 & 3: The Patient - The Physician - The Positive - The Problem - The Prescription - The Possibilities
THE PATIENT - (12) And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write;
1. THE CIVIC CLIMATE: 50 miles N. of Smyrna & 135 N. or Ephesus.
a. Pergamum was the capital city of Asia. It was called by ’The greatest city in Asia Minor’. Legend states that it was founded by the son of Hercules. No trade routes, no harbor
b. It was a sophisticated city that was a center of the Greek culture and education.
1) Had a great university, medical school and the world’s largest library at one time: 200,000 volumes with no printing press. Discovered a way of printing on dried skins: called parchment and actual word is same name as city (pergamena). Library was moved to Alexandria Egypt when it was given away. Marc Antony gave it to Cleopatra.
c. Strong Roman presence: Roman guilds which were the equivolent of modern day labor unions. You had to be in good with to find a job. You had to accomidate your morals to their celebrations.
2. The Religious Climate: Center for four cults
a) Temple to Caesar: First city in Asia to have such a Temple. This meant that there was an expectation of worshipping there and in so doing you would have to take a pinch of incense and drop in the altar fire and say, ’Caesar is Lord’.
b) Temple of Dionysius(Baccus) god of revelry. Quote such pagan scriptures as ’taste’s great/less filling’, or ’it’s miller time’. Worship centered around wine drinking. Pastor’s must have been bartenders.
1) He was the goat-god. He was depicted with horns but with the upper part of a man and his lower part, a goat with cloven feet and a tail.(make him red with a pitchfork and he is still seen today)