February 18 2022
Today, Friday February 18
Pergamos, The Compromising Church
Revelation 2:12-14 "And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write, 'These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword: 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. 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.
Every church has them! Yes, every church has a group of people who come on an irregular basis out of curiosity. They are curious as to what is going on each week. Maybe it is the music or the special guest speakers, or the programs for their children that got their attention. Interestingly Jesus had those kind of followers. “Then a great multitude followed Him, because they saw His signs which He performed on those who were diseased.” (John 6:2)
Then there is another group that come to church, also on an irregular basis out of convenience. They only come and serve when it is convenient for them. You can’t really count on them. We find this group following Jesus too. In John 6, Jesus miraculously fed five thousand plus people and then went to the other side of the sea. There a group of people showed up and Jesus said this about them. “Jesus answered them and said, "Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.” (John 6:26) This group of people come to church to get something, not to give something. As long as the pastor and the church makes them feel good, they come.
But then every church has a wonderful and dedicated group of believers who love the Lord with all their hearts and out of a deep felt conviction that Jesus is indeed the Son of God and the only way of salvation, they love Him, serve Him and are willing to die for His name sake. We find this group in John 6 also. After Jesus talked about what it really means to follow Him, we read in verse 66, “That many of His disciples turned back and no longer walked with Him.” Jesus lost the curious and convenient followers there. But when Jesus asked the Twelve if they wanted to go away also, they replied, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life and we have believed, and have come to know that you are the Holy One of God.” (John 6:69) These are those who follow Jesus out of conviction!
This definitely describes the church in the city of Pergamos. Called "the greatest city in Asia Minor," Pergamos had the first temple dedicated to Caesar and was a rabid promoter of the imperial cult. This is probably what is meant by "Satan's seat" in Revelation 2:13. Like their brothers and sisters in Smyrna, the believers in Pergamos had suffered persecution, and one of their men had died for the faith. In spite of intense suffering, this church had remained true to God. They refused to drop incense on the altar and say, "Caesar is Lord." The Lord's description of Himself ("He which hath the sharp sword," Rev. 2:12) would surely encourage the people, for the sword was also the symbol of the Roman proconsul. It was more important that the church fear Christ's sword than the Roman sword (Rev. 2:16).
Antipas, along with many others, was willing to die as a martyr for Christ rather than compromise his faith. These are the convicted followers of Jesus! But there was a group who had infiltrated the church who were only curious, convenient and compromising followers of the Lord. We will describe them in tomorrow’s chat.
Today, what kind of follower of Jesus are you? Especially in these dark days in which we live, it is my prayer that the Lord will raise up a more dedicated group of convicted followers of Jesus to impact the world around us!