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PERGAMOS, AMONG SATAN
Revelation 2:12-17, Stan L. Caldwell

Pergamos was a large city built on a hill overlooking a broad and fertile valley. It was a royal city, the political capital of the province. It had the largest library outside of Alexandria, Egypt. It had a temple dedicated to Roma and Augustus, erected in 29 BC. It had a second temple to Trajan and a third temple to Severus. Four patron deities were said to be from this city. Thus, there was much pagan worship here.

I. SALUTATION IS GIVEN TO THIS CHURCH from Christ, who has the sharp sword with two edges (Rev. 1:13-17). He knows the working of this church, both the good and the bad. The good is commended but the bad is condemned. It is needful for a congregation to constantly review itself with the Word of God to see how it stands.

II. COMMENDATION is given to the Pergamos church for their faithfulness to the Lord. Men can be faithful to the wrong things. Men can be faithful to themselves as was Diotrephes in 3 John 9 and to their associates above the Lord as the Corinthians were, 1 Cor. 1:12. Men can be faithful to false doctrine as were some during Paul's day in 2 Tim. 4:3-4 and to the traditions of men as Jesus pointed out in Matt. 15:8-9. But those faithful brethren of Pergamos were faithful to the Lord, even when it meant death if you would not deny Him. Antipas was put to death for Christ, but the faithful at Pergamos held to the Lord in spite of this. How faithful are you to the Lord and truth and righteousness?

III. CONDEMNATION is also given to the church at Pergamos. He mentions specifically putting a stumbling block before the children of Israel, idolatry and fornication. These sins were among them. Balaam was fighting against God's people and as a result he was condemned by God (See Num. 22-24). There was idolatry greatly practiced, as we have already noticed, in Pergamos and fornication was often associated with pagan religions of that day. Gnosticism was a false doctrine which permitted and encouraged immorality. Harkrider in his commentary on this verse says this condemnation "may be equivalent to the modern doctrine, ‘It doesn't matter what one does if he is sincere'". If a practice was socially acceptable, Christians were encouraged to join in even if contrary to the gospel. Such practices might include social drinking, dancing, the lottery, gossip, etc. of today. Here such practices are referred to as "the doctrine of Balaam" or "the doctrine of the Nicolaitans". Are we guilty of such?

IV. EXHORTATION, A PLEA TO HEAR AND A PROMISE are given. The Lord calls upon these brethren to repent or else He will fight against them! It is hard for men to repent unless they are convinced they have sinned. So the Lord says, "He that hath an ear, let him hear". So often we get so involved in sin that we cannot see ourselves as the Lord sees us and we will not repent! We no longer have ears to hear but, "An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief", Proverbs 6:18. If we will see ourselves and repent the Lord promises to receive us again. This is our only hope! Let us every one resist the devil and draw nigh to God, James 4:7-8.

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