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Friday, March 09 2012

Introduction

The message to the Church in Smyrna was studied in details with lessons which are applicable to our generation and thoroughly examined. The History of Smyrna was briefly examined and the critical appraisal of the church was also studied. Unlike the church in Ephesus, and Pergamos which we will study today, the Lord had nothing against the church in Smyrna. I pray that will be our story on the last day in Jesus name. The bible says that all these things happen to them as examples, and they are written for our admonition. I pray that none of the things we learn will count against us in the day of reckoning in Jesus Name, Amen.

Pergamos - A City of Great Wealth and Culture

Pergamos was the capital city of the province of Asia, about 60 miles north of Smyrna. Pergamos was the famous site of the Greek god of healing, supposed to be the founder of medical science. The city became the seat of Babylonian sun worship, a noble centre of idolatry and demon controlled religions with splendid temples to Nature. People from all over the Roman empire came to seek healing in this pagan temple and the shrine area was inhabited by thousands of harmless snakes. Medicine and science was worshiped here and the symbol of their worship was the serpent. The serpent was the symbol of Aslepius. This was why God referred to Pergamos as the seat of Satan. The snake was carried down into our own day with a staff entwined with serpents, still using the snake as a symbol for the medical arts. This sign is very apparent in the medical councils till this day. Noticed for its great wealth and culture, Pergamos boasted of an immense library of 200,000 volumes.

1)      Power to Convict and Correct - The Sharp Two-Edged Sword [Rev. 2:12]

"Write this letter to the angel of the church in Pergamum. This is the message from the one with the sharp two-edged sword:"[NLT]

The Lord is described to Pargamos as having a two-edged sword. The sword is the word of God and by cutting both ways (i.e. Two-Edged), has the power to convict and correct as well as to convert, distinguishing between soul and spirit (Heb. 4:12). The church in Pargamos were not told to get out of the city but rather to repent of the false doctrine, so the sword here is especially for those who will not repent.

2)      The Omniscience God - The All-Knowing [Rev. 2:13]

"I know that you live in the city where Satan has his throne, yet you have remained loyal to me. You refused to deny me even when Antipas, my faithful witness, was martyred among you there in Satan's city."[Emphasis Mine]

a)      Just as we learnt in the past teachings, God has the capacity to know everything infinitely, He knows everything that can be known about a character including thoughts, feelings, life and the universe, etc.

"He opens up the depths, tells secrets,  sees in the dark?light spills out of him!"[Daniel 2:22 MSG]

God is All-Knowing. One of the lessons we must take with us this season as we study the book of Revelation is that God's knowledge of us far supersedes man's. He will reward and judge us based on both our actions and motives. (Discuss).

b)      Jesus said they sat on the seat of Satan. The province of Pergamos was like modern city of this day, alive with atrocious activities. Prostitution, crime of all magnitude was the order of the day. It  must have been quite a very tempting period for the Christians of that era, yet there were still some who refused to compromise. Can you and I be counted among the faithful (sincerely) by our Maker in this day and age? Also, children of God are not supposed to run from the forces of darkness. The Almighty God does not expect us to run from battles. We are to stand (Ephesians 6: 10-18).

c)       God said Antipas was His faithful martyr. The Greek word for martyr is matheus. It means, to witness. In other words, in those days, to witness Christ meant to be ready to die for Christ, no matter the circumstances. Nowadays, people are afraid of ordinary ridicule, talk less of dying for the Master .

"Stand up for me against world opinion and I'll stand up for you before my Father in heaven. If you turn tail and run, do you think I'll cover for you?"[Matt. 10: 32-33 MSG]

3)      God had a few complaints against these saints [Rev. 2: 14-15]

"But I have a few complaints against you. You tolerate some among you whose teaching is like that of Balaam, who showed Balak how to trip up the people of Israel. He taught them to sin by eating food offered to idols and by committing sexual sin. In a similar way, you have some Nicolaitans among you who follow the same teaching".

a)                  Balaam - Loving the reward of unrighteousness: I believe there must have been some traces of the inkling to compromise in the life of Balaam for Balak to have considered and invited him to come and curse the children of Israel (...because your way is perverse before me  Num.22:32). We should take heed to the prophesies concerning the last days in 2 Tim. 3: 1-9 (Read). There are devils in the church today, parading themselves as saints of God. Men that "will act as if they serve God but will not have power"

Charisma can take a man to the top, but Character will keep him there!

b)      Take Heed! Teachings like that of Balaam are all around! Avoid the Nicolaitian plague also: There were some people in the church of Pergamos who were teaching exactly the same thing that Balaam taught Balak. They teach that once you are saved, you have liberty to do anything you like. This is contrary to the word in Galatians 5:13. See also 2 Peter 2:1-3. These are following the ways of Balaam (2 Peter 2:15). We must be very vigilant and studious in the things of God so we are not blown about by strange doctrines.

"Do not let all kinds of strange teachings lead you into the wrong way. Your hearts should be strengthened by God's grace..." [Hebrews 13:9 NCV]

The doctrine of the Nicolaitans is based upon the recognition of the mercy of God as the ground of salvation, but it makes the fatal mistake that men can freely partake in sin because the law of God is no longer binding! The Lord specifically mentioned in the NKJV of verse 15 "....which thing I hate". We must hate what He hates!

 

4)            God is a Rewarder and NOT a Slave master -       [Rev. 2: 16-17]

"Repent of your sin, or I will come to you suddenly and fight against them with the sword of my mouth. "Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. To everyone who is victorious I will give some of the manna that has been hidden away in heaven. And I will give to each one a white stone, and on the stone will be engraved a new name that no one understands except the one who receives it."

a)  God (as usual) offers an opportunity for a complete change of mind (according to His everlasting mercies). The choice is ours. God said He was coming to fight against those who follow wrong doctrines. He knows how to seperate between those doing His will and those who are not. This is the case in every church in the world. There will always be those who will hear the word of God and do it wholeheartedly and those who care less. We either repent or face the full wrath of His anger. I pray that will not be our portion in Jesus Name.

"The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance." [2 Peter 3:9NKJV]

b)  God said that he that overcomes would get three (3) things. One, the overcomer will be given to eat of the hidden manna (Psalm 78:24-25). Manna is the food of angels and overcomers will eat this food. However, there is a special hidden manna that we will eat on our wedding day with Jesus. Two, the overcomer will be given a white stone. White is the colour of heaven (Rev 3:5; 19:8). Three, on the white stone will be written new Names. No matter what we have been tagged or named with here on earth, there is a new name awaiting us in heaven where everything is new, halleluyah.

 

Conclusion

Our rewards will be commensurate with our level of committment and loyalty to our Lord and savior. How sweet will it be to hear our Lord say unto us;

"His lord said to him, ?Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.'" [Matthew 25:21 NKJV]

Contributor: Leye Olayiwola

 

Posted by: Isekhua Evborokhai AT 01:36 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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