Revelation 2:12-17

The State Church/The Compromising Church: Pergamos

March 03, 2021

Revelation 2:12-17

The State Church/The Compromising Church: Pergamos

Lessons from Smyrna

  1. Christ is aware of our suffering
  2. Being poor does not mean we are not rich
  3. We see how to suffer from Jesus
    1. No fear
    2. Be faithful unto death
    3. Look to Christ

Commission: The City of Pergamos and City (Revelation 2:12a)

  1. Capital city of the Roman Province in Asia

    1. 50-60 miles N of Smyrna
    2. 15-20 miles inland from Aegean Sea
  2. Extremely wealthy

    1. Papyrus has been outlawed
    2. Known for creating paper from tree pulp - pergamum
    3. Excelled in architectural beauty
    4. Healing and medical center
      1. Religious meditation
      2. Dream interpretation
      3. Snake handling
      4. Medical arts
      5. Combining of all or some of these for extra power
      6. Largest library – 200,000 volumes
        1. Marc Antoni sent them to Cleopatra
      7. Sadly, became extremely self-centered from their wealth and knowledge
  3. Heavy idol worship

    1. Important religious center for pagan cults
    2. Polytheistic as well as emperor worship
    3. Caesar statue
      1. First city in Asia to do so
      2. Make offering or face imprisonment
    4. Many temples for specific gods or idols
      1. Zeus
      2. Athena
      3. Asklepios (As-clay-peeus)
      1. Medicine
      2. Snake wrapped staff
  4. Gameo – married

    1. Monogamy
    2. Polygamy
    3. The church has married the world
  5. Now – city of Bergama

    1. Approximately 14,000 people
    2. Small Christian remnant still can be found
  6. Date – AD 312 – AD 606

    1. 312 – Constantine
      1. Made Christianity the state religion
      2. Follow or be punished
    2. 606 – Catholic Church
      1. State church became more Roman looking

Character of Jesus (Revelation 2:12b)

  1. The one with a sharp two-edged sword
    1. Hebrews 4:12
    2. Rev. 1:16
    3. Referring to the Word of God who is Jesus
  2. Cuts away the chains of sin and condemnation unto salvation
  3. Deals condemnation and rejection to those who refuse God’s Word and His grace

Commendation (Revelation 2:13)

  1. I know your works
    1. Held fast to the name of Jesus
      1. Personal loyalty
    2. Did not deny the faith
      1. My faith – the gospel message
    3. Recognized Antipas
      1. Means against all
      2. Jesus mentions no one else by name
        1. He sees you
      3. No idea who he really was
      4. Martyred for his faithful stance on truth
  2. I know the troublesome times
    1. Satan’s throne and his dwelling
      1. Sheer evilness of the area
      2. Egregious idolatry, immorality and greed
      3. Thirst for wealth and knowledge rather than holiness and righteousness
  3. This is a challenge to all of us to stand in the face of adversity for truth and righteousness

Condemnation (Revelation 2:14-15)

  1. Even so, the church has been invaded
    1. Doctrines of Balaam (Numbers 22-25)
      1. Gifted prophet who misused his gift for financial gain
      2. Couldn’t curse the Israelites, as God prevented this but educated King Balak on how to get them
      3. Send your women to connect with the men of Israel – Intermarry
      1. Destroyed the Christian family design
      2. Led to mix in worship – God and idols
      3. Gave way to idol worship
      1. Encouraged the eating of things sacrificed to idols
        1. Led to engaging in idol worship
      2. Sexual sin and corruption of their morality
        1. Celebrations challenged their morals
    2. Reinforces the second issue
    3. Following the Nicolaitans
      1. Freedom to live with no moral law thus abusing God’s grace
      2. Practiced licentious living ii. The “Conquering People” leads the way to the authoritative dominance in the church
  2. We should hate those things which God hates
    1. Revelation 2:6 – Smyrna church did while Pergamos embraced the teachings
    2. Proverbs 6:16-19
  3. Jesus clearly expects us to be different, separated
    1. 2 Corinthians 1:12, 6:17, Titus 2:11-15, I John 2:15-17
    2. Constantine created an influx of worldliness into the church
      1. Follow or be punished
      2. Everyone jumped on board
    3. Opened the door to all kinds of compromise
    4. Downfall of the separation of church and state

Challenge (Revelation 2:16)

  1. You have been moderately faithful
  2. Christ will fight for His church
  3. Stand up or I will
    1. No alternative to continued impurity and compromise except for divine judgement
  4. Repent
    1. Contrition of heart
    2. Confession of sin
    3. Change in attitude
    4. Psalm 51

Reward (Revelation 2:17)

  1. To him who overcomes
    1. Eat of the hidden manna
      1. Jesus Himself – John 6:35
      2. Fellowship with the Lord forever – bread of life – John 8:48-58
      3. Sinfulness is replaced by the righteousness of God
    2. White stone
      1. Diamond
      2. Two stones carried by priests for decision making
        1. White meant yes
        2. Acceptance
    3. New name
      1. Clearly from Jesus
      2. Specific to you
      3. Speaks of the separation from the world
      4. New character

John Stott – “The emperor cult has long since vanished. But the false prophet has not died. He lives again in every non-Christian religion and philosophy, and in every attempt to divert to others the honor that is due to Jesus Christ alone.”

Lessons from Pergamos

  1. Hold to the truth in the midst of satanic powers
  2. Balaam is a warning to all of us
  3. Tolerance of evil in a church is wrong
  4. God will deal with unbelievers in a church
  5. Discipline in a church is dependent upon a correct view of Christ