Pergamos- Wed to the World
Rev. 2:12 "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." '
The church in seven successive stages as well as co-existing phases....
In Ephesus then and in our churches today there were those whose love had cooled and those who were fervent and warm.
In Smyrna and in our churches today there were faithless and faithful.
In Pergamus then and in our churches now there were those wed to the world and those knit to Christ alone.
How inescapable is the Lord of the church, Jesus Christ, as He penetrates each heart searching each one's condition today!
Now 2:12-17 Letter #3
Part one: Meet the Assembly
God Can Grow His church Anywhere!
First the Assembly - The word Pergamum literally means, "mixed marriage".
Geographically, this city was 80 miles north of Smyrna, 15 miles inland from the Aegean on a hill 1000 feet above the fertile valleys.
Historically in 95 AD as John wrote it was an old city, it had been the capital of Asia Minor for 300 years.
Culturally it was a university town (with the largest library in the ancient world rivaling with Alexandria). With 200,000 volumes, in fact, Pergamos is noted for parchment (boiled animal skins) that books were written on.
Religiously it was a sacred (to pagans) city.
Dionysisus (Bacchus) worship Gods of orgies, wine and debauchery.
Zeus worship (King of Greek/Roman Gods). Largest and most famous wonders of ancient world the altar of Zeus was extending 40' over cliff.
Ascelapius worship (God of healers) - snakes that slithered over people on dark and wet floors to cure them.
Satan's throne (He was running his global operation out of this city)
What an Awful Place to Live for Jesus
So this assembly was right in the middle of:
- The IMMORALITY CENTER of the ancient world . Bacchus/Dionysisus
- The IDOLATRY CENTER of the ancient world to the king of the gods of the pagan Graeco-Roman religion of Zeus or Jupiter.
- The false healing center of the ancient world with drug induced stupor's, snakes, and the false god of healing: Ascelapius
- Finally, Satanic center of the ancient world, the Devil himself had a personal throne there for the time as headquarters for his global rebellion.
And in that place was a church... the assembly at Pergamum.
Lesson One, Christ can save! The vilest offender who truly believes, that moment, from Jesus, a pardon receives.
Christ has one message to this church and that is to repent of being wed to the world, stop worldliness in your life.
Beware of the New Paganism in the Church
The majority of those who call themselves Christians in our world today follow a way of worship that would have offended the apostles and early saints.
What do I mean?
- The statues of Christ and saints with candles and incense burning before them are idolatrous.
- The incense, the orders of priests and monks (would be contradictory to Christlike humility), the calendar of observances, the titles of pontiff, vicar, most excellent, holy water, purgatory, and so much more. All that came directly from the pagans.
There was the Ephesian period --30-60 AD a period of warmth and love and labor for Christ
Then came the Smyrna period --60 -300 AD the era of martyrdom, and of the sweet savor unto God of faithfulness unto death
Then followed the Pergamite period , 300-500 AD in which true faith more and more disappeared from view, and clericalism gradually formed itself into system, and the church united with the world, and Babylon began to rear itself aloft. It is the historic portrait of the era when the true Holy Catholic Church united with Roman paganism.
It is the timeless portrait of any so called Christian who loves and joins in with unbelievers and in the world system.
It warns of the deadly sin of being in love and communion with that which God has condemned and will destroy.....God has told us there is only one action to take when confronted with worldliness and apostasy: SEPARATE FROM IT!
2 Corinthians 6:14-17 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?15 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever?16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people." 17 Therefore "Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you."
James 4:4-8 Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, "The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously"? 7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
1 John 2:15-17 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.16 For all that is in the world-the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life-is not of the Father but is of the world.17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.
Revelation 18:1-4 And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. 2 And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. 3 For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. 4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.
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