Today were going to take a look at the Pergamum church. This is one of the churches that Christ has both favorable and negative things to say about. I should hazard to guess that the state of this church resembles more closely than any other church in Revelation 2-3 howwe all tend to be. For it has its strengths and flaws.
Who was the church in Pergamum?
Like many churches in their day the church in Pergamum had recently faced persecution. Jesus even tells the church that he knows that they lost an important leader, Antipas, to martyrdom.
Even despite the persecution the church in Pergamum was still going strong. Jesus acknowledges that the place they live in is where Satan’s throne is. He recognizes that they have it tough.
However, in their midst they have some who are following false teaching. Some of them are following a man Jesus identifies as “Balam” (probably symbolic) and the Nicolatians.
In the opening of this message Jesus identifies himself as the one with the “sharp two-edged sword” (Rev. 2:12). In closing Christ tells the church that if they continue to tolerate the false teachings of the “Balam” and the Nicolatians he will come at them with his sword and make war against those who aren’t faithfully following him.
What this means for us
As I mentioned above this church is probably a little easier to identify with than the other churches. They are not completely awful like the church in Sardis nor do they receive flawless commendations like the Philadelphians.
They have areas where they shine and they have areas where they’ve failed. When it was time for them to stand for what they believed in they stood. Even if that meant one of them paid the ultimate price.
However, within their ranks they have not been so dutiful. They’ve tolerated some false teachers. Christ does not give us a reason. Perhaps the false teachers didn’t start out so bad but slowly grew worse. Maybe the false teachers have too many people following them for anyone to stand against them.
That’s the way we are today too. We know what falls in the black and what falls in the white. However the gray areas are another matter. As we mature we ought to be able to distinguish the good from the bad. And sometimes, just as importantly, we should be trained to distinguish the best from simply the good.
Evaluate your own life. Have you had big successes morally or spiritually only to let something else creep in and trip you up just as the false teachers were doing in Pergamum?
We need to constantly evaluate our lives and ask God to examine us to see if there is any “grievous way in us” (Psalm 139:23-24).
Beginning this week I’m going to get back to posting everyday (Mon.-Fri.). I had to take a little break from my blog but now I’m back Let me know what you think of this post in the comments below. If you have anything you would like to see me discuss feel free to contact me and let me know.