1. Hello, listening friends.
2. We are delighted that you have tuned in to this broadcast.
3. This is the third in a series of messages entitled, “What Does Jesus Think?”
4. and, today, we will look at the church of Pergamum.
5. I am told that cancer disease can be working inside the person’s body for many years before it is discovered.
6. On the outside, the person may think that he or she is healthy;
7. but, on the inside, the cancer is growing;
8. and, then, it is discovered and it can be too late.
9. The believers in Pergamum were in a similar situation.
10. The believers in Pergamum were neglecting their spiritual life.
11. The believers in Pergamum appeared to be biblically healthy on the outside;
12. but, as a community, they were tolerating wrong lifestyles.
13. They were tolerating a lifestyle that was a slow, but deadly, spiritual cancer;
14. so, the great and wise and all-knowing Physician warns them about their lifestyle.
15. Jesus says that, if you continue on the road to compromise, eventually you will face serious consequences.
16. If you continue to turn a blind eye to the growing cancer,
17. eventually, you will have to face the doctor’s knife;
18. and that is why the resurrected Christ appeals to them to change their lifestyle now while they can;
19. and, if they do repent, then, the reward will be greater than they ever could have imagined.
20. This is a warning for each individual believer, and it is a warning for each church.
21. Now listen to the words of the risen Christ to the church in Pergamum.
22. It is in Revelation, Chapter 2, verses 12 to 17.
23. This message to the believers in Pergamum has three important elements.
24. First, we see Christ’s diagnosis of their situation.
25. Secondly, Christ expresses disappointment with His servants;
26. and, third, Christ makes a decision concerning His saints.
27. First, Christ’s diagnosis of their situation.
28. Pergamum was a city built on a hill towering 1,000 feet above the plain.
29. It contained the second largest library in the world, second only to the library of Alexandria.
30. Pergamum had become the center of emperor worship.
31. In other cities in Asia Minor, people were forced to offer sacrifice to the Emperor once a year.
32. In Pergamum, it was once per day;
33. so, you can see the daily pressure that the believers were living under;
34. and that is why the risen Lord Jesus Christ said, “I know where you live.”
35. Jesus is saying, “I know your circumstances.
36. I know your constant temptation.
37. I know you live where Satan lives.”
38. Why did Jesus say that?
39. Because Pergamum was not only the center of Emperor worship; but, also, it was the center for the worship of the god, Asclepius.
40. This god was called ‘the god of healing.’
41. Asclepius was depicted as a snake.
42. In the temple of Asclepius, non-poisonous snakes roamed freely on the floor.
43. People traveled many miles to the temple in search of healing.
44. They would lie on the floor of that temple, hoping to be touched by one of these snakes.
45. They believed that the god, Asclepius, would heal them through the snake’s touch;
46. and that is why Jesus called this city “Satan’s throne;”
47. yet, in the midst of these difficulties and trying situations, the believers continued to hold on to biblical truth.
48. They continued to hold tight to the Bible and to the name of Christ.
49. The faithful believers in Pergamum remained true to their biblical convictions under some of the most difficult circumstances;
50. and the resurrected Jesus Christ praises them for that;
51. but, then, secondly, Jesus expresses disappointment with His servants.
52. Why was Jesus disappointed?
53. They had made the same mistake that so many Christians today are making.
54. They believe all the right things;
55. but they tolerate and rationalize certain sins in their life;
56. yet the Bible says that there is only one way to deal with sin,
57. and that is to confess it and repent of it-
58. not make an excuse for it,
59. not explain it away;
60. but examining and judging and confessing sin must begin with each of us.
61. Only then can we be in a position to call sin, “sin,” in the life of others.
62. What was going on in the church in Pergamum?
63. There was a sin in their midst.
64. It did not affect their faith in Christ.
65. It did not affect their loyalty to Christ;
66. but the risen Christ said, “I have a few things against you.”
67. He said, “You are ignoring some in your midst who are sinning.
68. You are turning a blind eye to some in your midst who are teaching falsehoods.
69. You are tolerant of those in your midst who are turning grace into license to sin.”
70. Jesus said this kind of sin of compromise began with Balaam in the Book of Numbers, Chapter 22 to 24.
71. This sin was perpetuated in the New Testament by Nicholas, in the Book of Acts.
72. Many of you probably have heard of Balaam’s ass, who spoke to him;
73. but, probably, some of you don’t remember the details, so let me give them to you.
74. Balaam was a prophet for hire.
75. Balaam was a prophet who would do anything for money;
76. so, when the King of Moab wanted someone to curse the people of God,
77. Balaam offered to curse them for the King of Moab for a price;
78. but, every time Balaam opened his mouth intending to curse God’s people, he blessed them instead;
79. and, every time that happens, the King of Moab offered Balaam more money;
80. and Balaam continued in his blindness until even his own donkey spoke to him.
81. The donkey said, “Can’t you see that an angel is standing in the way?”
82. Balaam failed to curse them;
83. but, instead, he sold the King of Moab a scheme.
84. Balaam told the King, “Send your immoral women after the Israelite men and the Israelites will fall into sexual immorality very quickly...”
85. and the scheme worked;
86. but God’s righteous anger had to chastise Israel, and 24,000 of them died on the spot.
87. Balaam was a false prophet in the Old Testament,
88. and Nicholas became a false prophet in the New Testament.
89. What the Lord is saying to us today is this:
90. don’t compromise your conviction for money.
91. Don’t sell out your conviction for the sake of profits.
92. Don’t use grace as an excuse for sin.
93. Jesus hated the teachings of the Nicolaitans;
94. but the believers in Pergamum were tolerating the Nicolaitans;
95. and that is why we see, thirdly, Christ’s decision concerning the saints.
96. The resurrected Jesus Christ said
97. the only way to remedy any sinful behavior is to repent of it;
98. and the gracious, merciful Jesus gives them one more opportunity to repent;
99. then, Jesus goes on to tell them that they have a choice;
100. but choices have consequences.
101. If they chose not to repent,
102. then the sharp double-edged sword, which is the Sword of Judgment, will penetrate deep into their life.
104. Because Jesus will not allow falsehood to prevail.
105. Jesus will not allow the cancer of compromise to grow.
106. The Great Physician has to operate.
107. My listening friend, please listen very carefully to what I am going to tell you.
108. The compromising believer, who refuses to judge sin in his life,
109. will sooner or later have to face the consequences of his undisciplined life.
110. God’s judgment may take years, because God is patient;
111. but the Great Physician will be forced to use the sharp, double-edged sword with His sinful children;
112. but, if the believers of Pergamum do repent, there are two major rewards-
113. the hidden manna and the white stone.
114. The hidden manna is a reference to the blessed food that poured down from Heaven every day in the wilderness.
115. Now, of course, that manna from Heaven was the foreshadowing of the Bread of Life, the Lord Jesus Christ.
116. In other words, when you know how to repent,
117. you will receive none other than the Lord Jesus Christ as your reward.
118. The white stone is what every winning athlete received when they won a victory.
119. The white stone had the name of the athlete written on it.
120. Jesus is saying that the winning, non-compromising believer will receive an even greater white stone with his new name on it.
121. What does that mean?
122. In biblical times, when God has a special call on someone’s life,
123. He gave them a new name, which is a spiritual name;
124. so, Abram became Abraham.
125. Simon became Peter.
126. Saul became Paul.
127. God has a new identity for every repentant sinner;
128. and that name is engraved on the heart of the Cornerstone, the Lord Jesus Christ.
129. My listening friend, let me ask you this.
130. Are you ready to receive your name on a white stone?
131. You can today,
132. when you repent and turn to the Lord.
133. Until next time, I wish you God’s richest blessing.