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Church of Pergamos

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Text: Revelation 2:12-17
Introduction: germs…
FCF: Please understand this morning that Satan is not trying to get you to quit church. He is not trying to get you to curse the name of God. He is not trying to get you to abandon your commitment to your ministries. He is perfectly good with you being here this morning and loves the fact that you will fill your Sunday morning with activities. His goal is quite a bit different than the Satanic Panic of the 80s will have you believe.
He wants you to try to have both. Be a present father just also have a private porn problem. Be a mother, but concern yourself more with how others percieve you as a mom than whether you are pointing them to Christ.
Seniors he want you to come to church just so long as you put yourselves on a shelf and never think about how you could help another family or individual follow Christ a little better. No come to church for what you can get not to follow Titus 3.
It is a sad to see men give more care to their hobbies than their hearts. I’m not talking about some Whoo Whoo ultra feeling stuff. I’m saying that Satan is fine with you hanging out with men from the church just so long as you spend zero time in the worD.
The thought that has infiltrated the church at Pergamos was what Jesus called the doctrine of Balaam. It became a stumblingblock to the believers, leading them to accept idolatry and immorality while trying to maintain their distinctiveness as Christians. As we will see from Scripture, the danger of the doctrine of Balaam is that it tries to wed the people of God to the ways of the world, and that is something that has never worked and will never work. God's people are to be a peculiar people. God' s people are to be a distinct people. God's people are to be a separate people.
Friendship with the world is not an option. We are not to worship at its altars. We are not to learn its ways. We must not be pressed 'into its mold. Yet, that is what was happening in the church at Pergamos.
Let us not imagine that it doesn’t happen in churches today. The doctrine of Balaam is still finding its way into modern congregations, opening the way for worldliness to destroy the people of God.
It's Location ''where thou dwellest
Pergamos was primarily known for one thing: religion. On a hillside overlooking the city was the giant altar of Zeus a throne of stone rising 40 feet into the air. On every corner, instead of finding a church, you would find a temple or altar to a pagan God. It was a primary center for the worship of the Emperors.
Religions of all kinds thrived in Pergamos. In fact, there is an ancient say-ing that whenever any kooky religious idea was expelled from some part of the world, it would find a place in Pergamos. Something we must understand about ancient religions is that they were usually associated with immorality: prostitution, sodomy, orgies, and lewd entertainment. Thus, Pergamos was not only a religious city. It was a wicked city. And, according to Jesus, it was the capital of Satan's kingdom. It was the location of his seat, or throne. It was the place "he dwelleth" - the place he called home. But God had a light in the heart of Satan's kingdom. And to that congregation, he said, I know thy works, and where thou dwellest.
1. He knew their opportunities.
2. He knew their obstacles to overcome. the culture, the false religions,
3. He knew their opposition.
4. He knew their obedience.
He wanted the church at Pergamos to have the assurance that He knew where they were and what they were up against.
Your service to God Matters, and he notices.
They were firm in their devotion - “holdest fast my Name”
In their personal lives and in their public ministry, the Name of Jesus was lifted high. Everything they did was identified with Christ
They maintained sound doctrine “hast not denied my faith” This was a church that clung to the fundamentals of the faith and would not compromise one precious doctrine of the Word of God, even when public opposition and Satanic oppression joined together to bring about the martyrdom of one of their faithful members. What we see in Pergamos is a church that was unashamed of their Christianity and unwavering in their doctrine.
If you had attended one of their services,
you would have sung songs of praise
heard genuine prayer that sprung from the hear
heard preaching that was doctrinally sound.
They were preaching the Gospel and worshipping Jesus, but they were in need of repentance because they had compromised with the world.
Its Liabilities
1. The doctrine of the Nicolatitines a sect of Jews that made a structure over the believer. Much like a priest that comes between you and God.
2. The doctrine of Balaam Balaam was an Old Testament prophet. His story begins in Numbers 22.
The Israelites, in their wilderness wanderings, had come to the borders of Moab. They had just conquered the Amorites, and it looked like Moab was their next target. So, the king of Moab sent messengers to Balaam to hire him to curse the Israelites. To his credit, before Balaam answered the messengers, he prayed and asked God what he should do. God told him that he could not go with them or curse the Israelites.
And that is what Balaam told the messengers. He refused to go with them. But they didn't want to take no for an answer. So, they upped the price. Balaam went. Along the way, God sent a messenger to Balaam the angel of the Lord. As a result of that encounter, Balaam confessed his sin and offered to return home. Instead, the Angel of the Lord told him to go with Moabites, but only to speak the words that God gave him to say.
Balaam obeyed. Instead of cursing Israel, he blessed them. Four times he blessed them. And throughout the process, he up-held the Name of the Lord and refused to deny the Word of God. That is the condensed version of Numbers 22-24.
Numbers 25:1–3 KJV 1900
And Israel abode in Shittim, and the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab. And they called the people unto the sacrifices of their gods: and the people did eat, and bowed down to their gods. And Israel joined himself unto Baal-peor: and the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel.
And Israel abode in Shittim, and the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab. And they called the people unto the sacrifices of their gods: and the people did eat, and bowed down to their gods. And Israel joined himself unto Baal-peor: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel.
The infiltration of Moab came by their daughters. They came into the camp of the Israelites and caught the eyes of their men. They invited them to their sacrifices feasts full of immorality and idolatry. Soon, the men are eating at the tables of false gods, sleeping in the beds of pagan women, and bowing themselves down to worthless idols. How did it happen?
Numbers 31:13–16 KJV 1900
And Moses, and Eleazar the priest, and all the princes of the congregation, went forth to meet them without the camp. And Moses was wroth with the officers of the host, with the captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, which came from the battle. And Moses said unto them, Have ye saved all the women alive? Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the Lord in the matter of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the Lord.
Balaam held fast the Name of the Lord. He would not deny the word of God. But he taught Balak (the King of Moab) to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel. To keep from losing the reward he had been offered, He counseled Balak to send his women to seduce the men of Israel to make marriages with them and blend with them. It was a teaching that attacked the separation and sanctification that God expects His people to maintain. That is the doctrine of Balaam. It is the teaching that God's people can mix with the world while maintaining their Christian distinctiveness, and it is widespread in our churches today.
We are being taught that we can take the music of the world and mix it with Bible truths and that will make it Christian.
We are being taught that we can take the fashion of the world and put it on a believer and that will make it Christian.
Today we have believers who hold fast the name of Christ and are fundamental in their doctrine, but who see no harm in drinking wine, dancing, or going to movies full of vulgarity and sensuality.
Hear me Christian You have two ways before you…
God’s Way …………Your Way
Proverbs 14:12 KJV 1900
There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, But the end thereof are the ways of death.
Anything that attempts to settle the difference is the doctrine of Balaam.
Doctrine of Balaam attempts to wed the people of God to the ways of the world.
And God calls it whoredom and fornication an unholy alliance. And just as Moab corrupted Israel, so the world is corrupting Christianity. Our churches are full of people who hold the values of the world, find their pleasure in the world, and take their priorities from the world.
The doctrine of the Nicolaitanes
Ruling over the flock
Neither the identity nor the teaching of the Nicolaitanes has been preserved for us today. Although the word itself means to conquer the people, the Bible doesn't tell us what the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes was. All we know for sure is that God hated it.
However, there may be a reason why God has left the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes a mystery: as a reminder to us that many false doctrines can creep into the church, doctrines hated and despised by our Savior. We must guard against every false doctrine and prove every teaching by a clear and correct interpretation of the Word of God.
Here is the issue before us today.
Somewhere in all their following God the church made serving God about what they wanted as well.
Here me this morning you would never think of Christ this way. His message was Matthew 5:8
Matthew 5:8 KJV 1900
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Jesus never bought the lie that the world had anything it needed. In fact he looked to His father as the source of all his needs. When we practice this compromise we live lives denying a faith in God alone as if the world has anything to offer.
God told this church to repent to change its mind about its worldly ways or to face the discipline of God. Since at the heart of their error was false doctrine, God points them to the sharp two-edged sword of His mouth the Word of God. That is the only way to correct error, is through the teaching and preaching of a rightly divided Scripture. If they repented, he promised them two things:
If they quit eating at the table of the world things sacrificed to idols they would be fed with hidden manna. God would satisfy them in ways that the world could not.
If they broke off their relationship with the world, God would give them a white stone engraved with a new name.
In that day, special stones known as Tessarae were given to victors of battles or Olympic games that entitled them to special privileges and community of friendship.
By showing the stone, they could expect to be re-ceived and be given friendship and hospitality.
What Jesus was telling us is that the person who rejects the friendship of the world will enjoy the unique friendship of God.
What Pergamos teaches us is that we can boldly call our-selves Christians and hold to the fundamentals of the faith the inspiration of Scripture, the deity of Christ, the Virgin birth and lose the blessings and friendship of God by refusing to maintain our separation from the world and its ways.
Here is the Issue at Hand somewhere along the line the church of Pergamos believed that the world was offering something more that God and his word.
No they knew they needed to hold to the truth but they lacked the faith to deny the world as an empty shell in comparison to the satisfying fulfilling promises of God.
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