The letter to the church at pergamos
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It was known throughout the world for its Paganism, idolatry, imperialistic worship, and occult practices. Nevertheless, there were some in that ...

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The Letter to Pergamos

  • Address: To the angel of the church in Pergamos.

  • Speaker:

    • He who has the sharp two-edged sword.

    • This two edged sword came out of His mouth (Rev. 1:16).

    • The Hebrew writer uses this picture to refer to the word of God (Heb. 4:12).

    • Thus, this sword proceeds from His mouth, as does the word of God.

    • This is key for understanding the letter.


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What Was Right With the Church

  • They hold fast His name.

    • Even though they dwell where Satan’s throne is.

      • It was the first city to erect a temple to a Roman emperor, it was the location of “alter of Zeus,” one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.

      • All (even Christians) were ordered to offer worship to Caesar.

      • It was known throughout the world for its Paganism, idolatry, imperialistic worship, and occult practices.

    • Nevertheless, there were some in that city who were converted and came together to work as a local church.

    • When most others called out to Zeus and the Egyptian gods, the Christians held fast to the name of Jesus.


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What Was Right With the Church

  • Do not deny the faith.

    • When the vast majority of people around us contradict the doctrine that we teach it is difficult be strong in our faith.

      • Teenagers—peer pressure.

      • No denomination, no instrumental music, Bible authority are strange.

      • Small group in the midst of large denominations.

      • Intimidation.

    • In spite of the hardship the church faced in light such extreme paganism, they held firm to their faith.

      • Christ more important that popularity, than majority (Matt. 7:13-14).


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Source of Authority

  • Most in this city worship that for which they had no authority.

  • Be impressed with the manner in which Jesus establishes His own authority.

    • “He who has the sharp two-edged sword” (vs. 12).

    • He is affirming that there is only one who has authority in spiritual matters.

    • The words (comes out of His mouth) of Christ will cut/penetrate all that stand against them (2 Cor. 10:5).

    • Combined with His descriptions given to the other six church, Jesus established that He is the only true source of authority and He alone is worthy to be worshiped.


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What was Wrong with the Church?

  • A few that hold to the doctrine of Balaam.

    • Though the congregation as a whole was on the right track, it only takes a few to ruin everything.

    • Though some of the members were doing good things, they were tolerating those who were “out-of-step” with the Lord’s commands.

    • Balaam: cowardly compromise and immoral living. Cite modern examples (evolution/day-age; denominations/making peace, etc.; choosing worldly activities over spiritual.)


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What was Wrong with the Church?

  • Those who hold to the doctrine of the Nicolaitans.

    • Different from the church at Ephesus which hated such deeds (2:6).

    • This doctrine is described by Irenaeus as “living in unrestrained indulgence,” and by Clement as abandoned themselves to pleasures like goats in a life of shameless self-indulgence.”

    • Such is the case for many today who call themselves Christians but walk in all manner of lewdness and immorality.

    • Notice Christ’s reaction to these things, “which things I hate.”

    • We must take care lest we find ourselves doing the things that Christ hates.


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Admonition

  • Repent:

    • Turn, about-face.

    • Cast of those deeds and begin doing that which Christ loves.

    • Cast off self-indulgence, put on godly living.

    • No longer compromise with the world, but hold fast to the faith and the doctrine of Chris.


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Warning/ Threat

  • Fight against them with the sword of My mouth.

    • Word for fight here is to do battle, make war.

    • Such would Christ do with all who do not turn to Him and obey Him.

    • He will do battle with the two edged sword, His word of judgment.

    • Proclamation of condemnation.


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Promised Reward

  • Eat of the hidden manna.

    • Familiar to the Jews who had been sustained by manna in the wilderness.

    • Spiritual manna even better.

    • If Christians refrain from sinful indulgences and be faithful to Christ, they would be able to eat of this heavenly food.

  • A white stone:

    • In judgment, white stone presented for innocent verdict, black stone for guilty verdict.

    • Those who remain faithful would receive an innocent verdict.

  • A new name: Isa. 62:2

    • We are given names by our earthly fathers.

    • When we prove God to be our Father, He will give us a new name, we shall be His.


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