By Michael Julian
Pastor, Macedonia Baptist Church, Kenton
Focal Passage: Revelation 2:12-17
I trust that you have already jotted down several thoughts about what kind of church God desires. If you have not, then now is your chance. You may even jot down a few more thoughts as we progress, for the purpose of comparing these initial thoughts with the words of Christ in His letters to the churches in Revelation.
One set of questions that every church must answer relates to the truth of God’s Word. Where will we stand in relation to His clearly revealed truth? Will we compromise anywhere for the sake of convenience or comfort? Are miniscule deviations from the truth that serious?
We might ask astronauts if consistently miscalculating their reentry numbers mattered at all. You may remember the scene from the movie Apollo 13 where one of the astronauts is concerned that they were coming in shallow and might skip off the earth’s atmosphere. I think the slightest deviations mattered to them. How much more should it matter concerning the truth pertaining to Christ? It’s an eternal difference.
Welcome to Pergamum. This city holds the distinction of being the place where Satan’s throne is and where Satan lives. Remember how we have stated that things pertaining to the city and sometimes the geography of the city directly relate to Jesus’ words to the church in that city. Pergamum is no exception.
This city was known for its military prowess and had the authority to inflict capital punishment. They could bear the sword. But greater still is the one who has the sharp, double-edged sword. Jesus comforts the church by telling them, “I know where you live.” The same is true for you.
Jesus knows your dwelling place, your circumstance, your affliction, your trouble, your predicament, and your whatever. And just like Jesus recognized the faith of the church at Pergamum, and the faithfulness of Antipas, so he longs to gaze upon your faithfulness as well. No matter where we live or how difficult the times may become, we must remain a faithful church.
And therein lies our challenge. We are living in an age of compromise. The puzzling reality is that the compromisers cloak their motives in self-professed altruistic reasons. In other words, they desire the well-being and happiness of others apart from the thing that will fulfill that well-being and happiness. Christ and His truth are needed to bring resounding joy. Instead, there are elements within the so-called bride of Christ that are promoting various forms of sexual immorality.
The story and demise of Balaam should render appropriate warning, but instead many are being further entangled in a web of deceit. The toleration of false teaching regarding human sexuality continues to spur division and delusion in the Lord’s church. It happened in Pergamum, and it is happening today.
Repent! This is a wonderfully effective message. Coming from the lips of Jesus adds punch to its urgency. A problem exists in the church of Pergamum and in the church of today. Will we listen?
We better listen, because Christ will purify His church with His Word. He will have a spotless bride. Overcomers will joyfully participate in the Lord’s great wedding banquet. Glory to God! B&R