We have begun a new series entitled: “What Would Jesus Say?” It’s a study of Jesus’ words to the seven churches in Asia in the first 3 chapters of Revelation. Are these words just for the benefit of the churches as they were 2000 years ago? Of course not, they have universal application, not only to the condition of the churches then, but to us today as well.
Last week we considered the church in Smyrna. Smyrna is the persecuted Church. The devil is trying to discourage them and destroy their faith through tribulation and persecution. And today we're moving on to the Church of Pergamos. And Jesus identifies Himself in a different way to all seven of these churches. So let's look at how He identifies Himself to the Church of Pergamos.
Revelation 2: 12 “And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write, ‘These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword:
Jesus identifies Himself as the One who possesses the two-edged sword. This sword has a blade on either side; it's like a large dagger. It cuts in two directions and it's sharp. As John describes Jesus in Revelation chapter 1, He sees Him as the sword coming out of his mouth.
What's it all about? Well, it has to do with His Word. His Word is powerful and unchanging, it's absolute and enduring. He doesn't change His mind with regards to sin and righteousness and judgment; His Word stands and prevails.
And so, Jesus has got a sword; it's the truth of His Word. And in Pergamos we understand that there has probably been a problem with the truth, that they have compromised it.
Revelation 2: 12 “And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write, ‘These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword….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.
Jesus starts out this letter to the people of Pergamos by commending them for their work and that they had held fast to His Name. But these people in Pergamos had embraced two false doctrines, the one of Balaam and the one of the Nicolaitans. Balaam, who was a wicked prophet in the Old Testament, was willing to use his God-given talents to curse the people of God.
When that didn’t work, Balaam counseled the Moabite king on the most effective way to weaken Israel. This was through seduction, using Moabite and Midianite women to tempt the Israelites into sexual relationships and into pagan rituals. The doctrine of Balaam teaches compromise, wanting Christians to forget they are called to be separate and holy; the doctrine of Balaam makes believers indistinguishable from the unbelieving world. It’s the attitude that treats sin as “no big deal.” Israel had now moved away from the sound doctrine: the Lord is One, and adopted the doctrine of the world…. that all roads lead to the same place.
Jesus promises “overcomers” will receive “hidden manna” - deep secrets of the Kingdom; a white stone which speaks of acceptance and a new name.
Join us in person on Sunday at 10:00 a.m. or via livestream by going to https://www.firstbaptistsudbury.com and clicking on livestream for “Flirting with Deception.”