The Unholy Union (Rev 2:12-17 Pergamos)

AN UNHOLY UNION

Revelation 2:12-17  (NKJV)

The Compromising Church
12 “And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write,

‘These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword: 13 “I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. And you hold fast to My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.

14 But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality.

15 Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.

16 Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth.

17 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.”

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Intro:

Ill. 3 interpretations. Pergamos was the capital of Mysia, located northwest in Asia Minor. A blending of power, religion and intellectual life. Pergamos contained a temple dedicated to emperor worship. In fact, Ceasar Augustus traveled here every year during the Roman winter. He came here to be dried out, he was a drunk!

Pergamos was famous for two things:

1. Intelligence – Ill. 200,000 volume library, stolen by Mark Anthony and given to Cleopatra. Ill. Pergamos comes from the same word as parchment. Paper was invented here!

2. Religion – Emperors, Zeus, Bacchus (Ill. god of wine, the goat-god; Ill. Satan; Ill. Alcohol and its effects.); Temple of Aesculapius – God of medicine and healing. Doctors school located in temple. Ill. Methods of healing used. Extreme method used was snakes.

Jesus Christ came to His church located in this mess and spoke to them from His heart. He comes to them as the holder of a two-edged sword. He comes with the truth and power of His Word. To encourage the faithful and to exterminate the foolish. The Word will divide, destroy foes on both hands and pierce to the heart.

Let’s listen in as Jesus speaks to them and to us. Represents the time period of 313 A.D. to 590 A.D.

I. v.13 THEIR TESTIMONY

A. Difficult – A dangerous place to be a Christian.
1. Satan’s seat there (Devil is not in Hell – 1 Pet. 5:8) (Ill. Prince of this world John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11)
2. Satan’s stronghold – God intends for us to be on the offensive!
3. They lived in a place beyond their circumstances – (Ill. Thermostats -Temperature Control) (Ill. The difficulties on this world!)
4. Jesus knows and He places us where He wants us to be!
B. Definite
1. Held His Name – They exalted Jesus. God’s plan for us – John 12:32
2. Did Not Deny His Faith – They held high the fundamentals. (Ill. There is a great need for Christians to stand today. Ill. Liberalism?)
3. Antipas (martyred) – refused to follow heathen worship. Was slowly roasted alive in a brass bull.

II. v.14-15   THEIR TOLERANCE

A. v.14  CORRUPTION IN THE MEMBERSHIP
1. The Story of Balaam – (Numbers 22-24)
2. False teachers taught that they were God’s people and could do as they pleased. They became worldly. they allowed the world into their church! (There is a price to pay for this type of thing – Gal. 6:7)
3. Pergamos = “Marriage”. It was during this period that the church entered into an unholy union with the world.

(Illustration – Roman Emperor Constantine – 313 A.D. claimed to have a vision during a battle. He claimed to see a cross in the sky with these words under it, “In hoc signo vinces”, which means “In this sign conquer.” (Result – Edict of Milan – 324 A.D.)

(Ill. What he (Constantine) did as a result! – Entire military regiments were baptized; unwilling people were made to be baptized (by sprinkling of water – quality versus quantity); Constantine became leader of the church; pagan temples became churches; heathen festivals became Christianized; Idols were renamed after so called Christian saints; the Emperor became known as Pontifex Maximus. Here was the birth of Roman Catholicism, infant baptism, saint worship, mary-idolatry etc).

4. The church married the world and many real Christians were driven underground. (Ill. the Catacombs – underground Christians)

Those who formerly had suffered, were tricked into making a compromise. Sold out their true faith in Jesus for a little peace and comfort. (Ill. Here, we need to beware of any compromise with the state or any person or organization!).

5. Balaam died by the sword, so will all the enemies of the Lord.

B. v.15   CONFUSION IN THE LEADERSHIP

Taught the clergy were above the members. Ill. All have access to God – Rev. 1:6 (Ill. Note : No power in a servant’s position! Ill. Reason for much church trouble and confusion today).

C. v.16  COMMAND FROM THE HEADSHIP – REPENT!

Ill. Jesus owns the church, He disowns compromise in His Church! You cannot live in sin and hide in the church of Jesus Christ! God will fight those who hinder the churches’ testimony! (Ill. Story of Balaam and the nation of Israel!)

III. v.17   THEIR TRIUMPH
A. The Hidden Manna – (Ill. Ex. 16 – miracle Bread) (Ill. Elijah’s story of God’s miracle providence in his life). God will feed His children on the good spiritual things that this world cannot eat thereof.
B. The White Stones
1. Acquittal – (Ill. Judge/judgement) Ill. Sin is black, but we are not blackballed by Jesus Christ. We are acquitted by GRACE! – Isa.1:18.
2. Victory – (Ill. Victorious as in an Army in a battle)
3. Citizenship – (Ill. Citizens of Heaven- Phil 3:20)
4. Friendship – (Ill. Friends would each carry a white stone with the name of their friend written on it. Jesus wants to be our friend – Pro. 18:24).
5. Place-mats – Like in a formal Dinner, names would be written on white stones. Marriage supper of the Lamb.
C. New Name – Not a name for you, a name for Him that is special to you. It will represent of relationship with Him. (What will your stone say?)

Conc:

Church and friends, we owe it all to Jesus Christ to be His friend!

A great privilege to faithfully serve Him, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and avoid compromise with this wicked world.

We need to avoid the traps of Pergamos and to walk faithfully with our great God! Just simply be His friend!

Pergamos (Revelation 2:12-17): Resist Satan’s influence, even to death, if necessary.

Amen!

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Further Studies :

God gave each church:

Ephesus (Revelation 2:1-7): Don’t lose your love for God’s truth or His people.
Smyrna (Revelation 2:8-11): Remain faithful in the face of tribulation and poverty.
Pergamos (Revelation 2:12-17): Resist Satan’s influence, even to death, if necessary.
Thyatira (Revelation 2:18-29): Resist false teaching.
Sardis (Revelation 3:1-6): Remain zealous and pure in conduct.
Philadelphia (Revelation 3:7-13): Persevere and walk through the doors God opens.
Laodicea (Revelation 3:14-22): Don’t become lukewarm about God’s way of life.

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