By Michael Catt
The Revelation of Jesus Christ to the Church at Pergamos: "No Prize if You Compromise!"
Vance Havner, "Preaching the truth makes people either sad, mad, or glad. Too many people today leave church on Sunday neither sad, mad, nor glad; they go out as they came in. Better to go out mad than just go out!"
|POPULAR RELIGION||NEW TESTAMENT FAITH|
|Focus on the here and now||Focus is on eternity|
|Excuses and justifies sin||Deals with sin|
|Pursues the temporal and trivial||Pursues truth|
|Relies on the spectacular to draw a crowd||Relies on the Spirit to draw people|
|Relative thinking||God's Principles|
George Barna - While 80% of Americans say they believe in the inerrancy of the Bible, over 50% also believe that absolute truth does not exist.
When the King of the city was dying, he deeded the city to the Roman Empire. It was the Political Center of Western Asia. The city had a large medical center and a world famous psychiatric center.
Pergamos was situated on a hill 1,000 feet above sea level. The word "parchment" is derived from Pergamos. Parchment was invented here - and the city had a 200,000 volume library that was second only to Alexandria.
"The One who has the sharp two-edged sword" -
You have the PROPOSITIONAL word - the Scripture.
You have the PERSONAL word - the Savior.
Jesus will deal severely with anyone who tampers with His Word.
"I know where you dwell, where Satan's throne is" -
What would make the term "Satan's throne" significant to the recipients? Was this literal or figurative?
In 1878 an archaeological team, working under the auspices of the Berlin Museum, began excavating in and around the site of ancient Pergamos. The team unearthed several historical finds, including a beautiful hillside terrace theater, a magnificent temple to the goddess Athena, and most incredible of all - the great altar of Zeus, "Satan's throne" itself! For over 100 years, it has been on display in the Pergamum Museum in East Berlin.
"you hold fast My name" -
The name of Jesus is significant. "My name" appears over twenty times in the New Testament, primarily in the gospels.
We believe on His name. John 1:12; Acts 4:12
We are encouraged to gather in His name. Matt. 18:20
We pray to the Father in His name. John 14:13, 14
We will be hated because of His name. Mark 13:13
The Father sent the Holy Spirit in His name. John 14:26
"did not deny My faith" -
The dangers of compromise:
Lehman Strauss, "Though not guilty themselves, they failed to censure those who were guilty. They tolerated them when they should have tried them."
1st - Compromising convictions for wealth.
2nd - Corrupting God's people through worldliness.
Donald Grey Barnhouse - The very word "Pergamos" has in it the same root from which we get our English words for bigamy and polygamy. It is the word for marriage. The participle which forms the first syllable frequently calls attention to something that is objectionable.
ANY TOLERANCE OF IDOLATRY OR SEXUAL IMMORALITY WITHIN THE CHURCH IS THE SIN OF BALAAM.
Billy Sunday, "If you talk about a worldly Christian, you might as well talk about a heavenly devil."
What you BELIEVE will determine how you BEHAVE.
You can't BEHAVE correctly if you don't BELIEVE correctly.
Vance Havner, "We can't sing, 'I am going home by the way of the cross' unless we sing, 'then I bid farewell to the ways of the world.' You can't 'stand beneath the cross of Jesus' unless you are 'content to let the world go by.' You can't properly 'survey the wondrous cross' unless you sacrifice, 'the vain things that charm me most.' You can't sing, 'My Jesus I love Thee' unless you can say, 'all the follies of sin I resign.'"
G. Campbell Morgan, "The Lord is terribly severe in His denunciation. The church at Pergamos in its corporate capacity had not indulged in these forbidden sins, neither endorsed the teaching of Balaam. Its fault lay in its lack of discipline, in that it tolerated within its borders those holding the doctrine."
"repent or else" -
"I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of My mouth"-
He gives three promises to those who get it right.
Steven J. Lawson, "One day each of us will be accepted (white stone) into the presence of Christ to enjoy sweet fellowship (hidden manna) according to our new status in Christ (new name)."
Lessons to be learned: