Summary: Pergamum was a center of religion. There were many temples to many false Gods, and out of this God chose to establish a true church. However, Satan had ideas of his own. Perhaps he could destroy the church from within.

I. Introduction

A. The city of Pergamum was about 70 miles north of Smyrna

1. The name Pergamum means elevated and Marriage

a. We shall see how appropreate this is

(1) In Pergamum and during the age of the church at Pergamum the church was elevated

(2) And there was a marriage between the church and the world

2. Ephesus, Smyrna, and Pergamum were all three royal cities

a. Ephesus was a political center

b. Smyrna was a commercial center

c. Pergamum was a religious center

3. Pergamum was the site of many temples

a. To Augustus Ceaser

b. To Zeus

c. To Dionysos - or Bacchus, the God of wine

d. The temple of Hedrian

e. And the temple of Asklepios

(1) The temple of Asklepios was a hospital

(a) Asklepios is represented as a man in western mythology

(b) And as a snake in eastern mythology

(c) In this hospital their priests practiced medician and psychology

(2) Immagine that you are walking the hallways of a hospital and you keep hearing low sexy voices telling you

(a) that you are going to get well

(b) that you feel good

(c) that the gods are going to heal you

(3) This was one of the psycological methods they used

f. All these differing temples may be the reason Jesus called Pergamum the throne of Satan

4. Pergamum was obviously a city that tolerated and even encouraged many different forms of religious expression

a. Christianity was as welcome as any other

B. We have to realize that Satan is flexable - willing to try different things to accomplish his ends

1. In Smyrna he tried to crush the church

a. Attacking the church from the outside

b. Killing the Christians

2. In Pergamum he tried to destroy the church from within

C. Pergamum was also the site of one of the greatest libraries in the ancient world

1. The library had over 200,000 volumns

2. Mark Anthony gave the library at Pergamum to his girl friend Cleopatra

3. And she moved it to Alexandria

4. It would be appropreate to know that Pergamum is where we get the word for parchment

D. The age of the church at Pergamum began about 313 AD when Constantine issued his edit of toleration and then called himself God's appointed protector of the church.

E. In our examination of the church at Pergamum, this morning, we shall see:

1. The commendation

2. The condemnation

3. The warning

4. The promise

5. Turn to Revelation 2:12

II. Body

A. Again, the preamble to Christ's message to the church at Pergamum gives us insite to the Lord and the church

Revelation 2:12

To the angel of the church in Pergamum write: These are the words of him who has the sharp, double-edged sword.

1. Christ is pictured here as having a sharp two-edged sword

a. If we turn to Hebrews 4:12, we shall see that anytime the Scriptures mention a double-edged sword in a symbolic way, it is talking about 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.

b. And in our verse, Christ is presenting Himself as the one with the double-edged sword, the Word of God

(1) The Word is precious

(2) The Word is truth

(3) The Word is powerful

2. Now let's look at Revelation 2:13

Revelation 2:13

I know where you live--where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city--where Satan lives.

B. The commendation

1. The commendation is for remaining true to the name of Christ

a. Even in the face of martyrdom

(1) Antipas means to stand alone

(a) Antipas my faithful witness, who was slain among you

(b) Antipas may or may not have been a particular individual - we have no way of knowing

(c) Stephen, was antipas. . . in that he stood alone as a faithful witness for Christ and died for his stand

(2) Antipas may have been a real person or the name may have been used to designate all those who stand for the name of Christ

b. The commendation is for remaining true and holding fast to their faith in Christ under all circumstances

2. The church at Pergamum is representitive of the Roman Catholic church, specifically during the period 313 AD to about 590 AD.

a. However, the greater body of the Roman Catholic church is still a Pergamum type church

b. And the commendation holds true today as well as centuries ago

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