Summary: The letter to the church at Pergamum Part 1.
AM Sermon preached at Central Christian Church October 8, 2006
"The Truth, The Whole Truth and..." (The Letter to the Church at Pergamum, Part 1) Rev. 2:12-17
[SERIES SLIDE WILL TRANSITION AUTMATICALLY TO TITLE SLIDE THEN TO
[note to techs----if you want to liven up the opening you could turn off all the lights except the sconces as the opening slides run their course…then at the noted place below turn them all back on again at the same time…]
Imagine this scene.... There you are sleeping soundly in your bedroom in the middle of the night when a family member who has entered your room accidentally makes a loud sound that wakes you up. At the exact same moment you open your eyes to try to learn the source of the sound, the person who’s come into your room, without warning you flips on the light switch. [here’s where you’d turn them all back on!] You’re momentarily blinded and you bristle and mumble to yourself as that loved one says cheerfully---"Oh I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to wake you. I was just trying to find something I think I may have left in here." Man I just hate it when that happens---don’t you?
Then there’s those times you’re out driving at night and the driver of the car coming towards you leaves the car’s bright lights on….[SLIDE OF ONCOMING CAR] you flash them to let them know they forgot, but they either ignore you or it doesn’t register and they all but blind you as they drive by----almost as bad are those drivers who don’t dim their lights are the ones who do dim their lights when they’re about a half a mile away from you but then just when they’re about 50 feet in front of you they turn them back on…that‘s when you feel like this [SLIDE OF DEER], you know what I mean? [BLANK SLIDE] Or how about this----you’re in a dimly lit room when suddenly out of no where (poof!) the unexpected flash of a camera has you seeing spots…. Or maybe you leave a dark room and step outside on a bright sunny winter day… [WINTER SLIDE] ----in a lot of situations, we find sudden changes in amounts of light somewhat aggravating or uncomfortable, don’t we? [BLANK SLIDE]
Well spiritually speaking, I think that’s one of the main reasons Satan struck out against the church at Pergamum. As we’ll soon read, Jesus describes the city of Pergamum as the place where Satan lives and has his throne. Historically speaking, the city of Pergamum was a major center of pagan idol worship in first century Asia. Temples to all different types of Greek and Roman gods were located there and the idol worship that took place in these temples was characterized by prostitution, sodomy, orgies and all kinds of other forms of sexual immorality. History also informs us that when Roman soldiers first began to draw near to the city of Pergamum to overthrow it, representatives of the city met with the soldiers and struck a deal with them. In exchange for their lives and freedom, the people of Pergamum would voluntarily subject themselves to Roman oversight. And they would build a temple dedicated to Caesar worship. And in this wicked dark city which was pretty much controlled by Satanic influences, there was the sudden appearance of a bright light, a church. And to be sure--- Satan noticed it and what’s more he was annoyed by it....that’s why initially he subjected it to all kinds of persecutions, but as we shall see, when he found that he wasn’t winning the war via persecution he changed his strategy. Let’s begin our study of Christ’s words to the church at Pergamum this morning by reading Revelation 2:12-17 [SCRIPTURE SLIDES THEN BLANK SLIDE]
When you read the title of my sermon this morning, "The truth, the whole truth and..." in your minds you probably rather unconsciously tacked on the phrase ..."AND NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH" because the saying “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth comes from a courtroom pledge most of us are familiar with. And this brings us to the heart of the problem with the church at Pergamum... For you see---while they had the truth--- and while they knew the whole truth--- they were failing to keep to nothing but the truth. Church members at Pergamum weren’t confronting false teachers who had infiltrated their ranks. And the result, friends, was a mess. Church members were getting caught up in immorality and power games. The activity of the Holy Spirit was being quenched. The church was filling up with hypocrites. And fewer and fewer people outside the church were showing interest in it. Worst of all, Jesus was threatening to pass judgment on them.