Together We Rise
Together We Win
“And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write, ‘These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword: “I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. And you hold fast to My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. 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. Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth. “He who has an ear, let him he
ar what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.”’
Leader or pastor of Pergamos
Remember the Ephesian Church had lost its first love
The church in Smyrna was the persecuted church
Pergamos is the compromising church
Sharp two edge sword
In ancient writing the author always signed his letter at the beginning so as John the scribe is writing we see the writer sign His name
He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength.
Jesus is saying I am the one writing this letter!
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
The picture that Jesus give of himself to this church is one of Judgement
To the church of Ephesus He was the one who walked among the churches
To the church in Smyrna he says you may be dying for your faith but I am the resurrected one.
The Word is the base line
It is the plumb line
It is what we must examine our heart and lives by
Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS
This particular city is less than a hundred miles from Ephesus. Smyrna would be about half way if you were moving north, and that’s what I told you. The route of these letters follows the route that would be taken to deliver them. Ephesus the starting point, and then on to Smyrna, and then on about 50 miles, 55 miles or so north to the city of Pergamos. It’s about 20 miles inland from the Aegean Sea. On the ancient side of Pergamos there is a village today. It’s called Bergama. It’s a Turkish corruption of the word Pergamos. There is still, I understand, a small Christian community in Bergama. Legend says that Pergamos was built by a son of Hercules. Supposedly was built on a lofty hill in the broad and fertile plain of the Caicus valley by this son of Hercules. By the time John penned this letter, it had been the capital of the Roman province of Asia Minor for somewhere between 250 and 300 years. The word Pergamos literally means parchment. You know what parchment is? Parchment is a writing material developed from animal skin. And apparently it was first developed in this area and thus the city of Pergamos took its name from that.
It was an important religious center where the pagan cults worshiping Athena; Asklepios; Dionysius, which is another name for Bacchus the god of drunkenness and debauchery; Zeus – all of these things were there. The worship of the Roman Emperor was very big. In fact, this was the first city in the ancient Roman world to build a temple to Caesar. It was built in 29 A.D., right about the time, of course, of the flourishing of the ministry of Jesus Christ. The emperor worship had reached the point of cultic form. He was no longer seen as a political or military leader, but he was seen as a god. And in this city they built the first temple to Caesar. Further years indicated that they built further temples, and so the city had perhaps several temples of worship for Caesar. It became then the capital of Caesar worship. That city which was more given over to that than any other city in ancient Roman territory.
They had developed along with Caesar worship, of course, all of these other pagan forms of worship. And as long as you worshiped Caesar, you could worship somebody else. What made it tough for Christians was they didn’t worship Caesar at all. They worshiped Christ and Him alone and refused on the one day a year when you had to burn incense to Caesar to do it, and therefore lost their citizenry rights and lost their lives in some cases. That would have been intensified in Pergamos, because it was the capital city for Caesar worship, and probably it was required more than just one day a year in this city. And that’s what precipitates the fatality that occurs in this city to one of the members of the church.
In the city of Pergamos also was a large university and a library we are told – and this is quite remarkable in ancient times – a library of 200,000 volumes. Now if you stop and realize that you’re talking about volumes which are hand written, because there is no printing – not for a long, long, long time, like 1500 – and they were having to copy those by hand, you can understand that a library volume of 200,000 is a tremendous significance. In fact, it was such a significant library that it was later sent to Egypt as a gift from Antony to Cleopatra. So the city had some prominence and some significance.
What about the church? We move from the city to the church. How did it start? Well again we don’t know. We do know, according to Acts chapter 16 that Paul passed through the area. This city, Pergamos, was in a region of Asia Minor called Mysia. And in Acts 16:8 it says Paul passed through there, whether in passing through there he effected some gospel ministry which brought some people to Christ in the city of Pergamos – which was probably on the toll road, the Roman toll road through Mysia and Paul perhaps went through it – whether or not he had ministry there, we don’t know. There’s nothing in the book of Acts to tell us that he founded the church. The best understanding would come from Acts 19:10, because in Acts 19:10 you remember that the Apostle Paul had this wonderful ministry in the city of Ephesus, and it was so powerful and so far-reaching that verse 10 says that all who lived in Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks. So at some point during the time of three years ministering in Ephesus, the word was bouncing out. People were traveling and moving. Christians were going up north through these various cities and taking the gospel, and it was echoing through all of Asia Minor.
During that period of time, no doubt, the church at Pergamos was founded. But it was in a very pagan atmosphere, completely perverse to Christian testimony. In the middle of that was situated this little church to which Christ addressed the letter. In fact, in verse 13 you will note that He says, “I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is.” Satan’s got his operations all over the world, but he’s got his throne there. That’s quite an amazing statement. Make no mistake, my friend, his throne is not in hell. It’s in this world. This is the field of his operation. Hell is the place of his incarceration. This is the place of his operation. His power was unleashed from this city and some in the Pergamos church had fallen victim to Satan and become thoroughly engulfed, enmeshed, and even married to the world. Frankly, not persecution but this kind of compromise is the fastest way to destroy the church’s life and testimony.
I know your works
Where you dwell
Where Satan’s throne is
You hold fast to my name
true faith is not fragile, only false faith is, and they were standing against it. Some of them, however, who had attached themselves to the church were being sucked into the world. They were having to meet the enemy on his own ground, and it was not easy. But they would succeed, the true church, because you remember the words of Jesus, “I will build My church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” I will build My church and the throne of Satan will not prevail against it. There was a true church here; there was a growing church here; there was a real church there, a saved church, waging an uncompromising war right at the throne of Satan. They were doing well enough to be commended. “I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is, and you hold fast My name and did not deny My faith.” They were true. I say it again, true faith is not fragile. It is indestructible. It survives everything, even the onslaughts of hell.
You did not deny My faith, even in the days which Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where satan dwells
This information is also in the video
My witness, My faithful one, who was killed among you where Satan dwells.” Antipas. My witness, My martus, My martyr, My faithful one. Notice the My’s, would you? My name, My faith, My witness, My faithful one. Christianity is so personal, isn’t it? So personal. You didn’t deny My name. You didn’t deny My faith. That’s your commitment to Me. And then there is My witness, Antipas, My faithful one, that’s My commitment to him. I belong to you and you don’t deny it. You belong to Me and I don’t deny it either. I’m yours and you’re Mine.
He identifies Antipas only as My witness, My martus. And that word went through an interesting metamorphosis. It basically means witness – martus – but it came to be martyr. Because so many of the witnesses who were faithful to Christ died, the word martus eventually became transliterated into English as martyr. And here is a person who is right in the transition, a witness becomes a martyr because the witness pays the price. You were faithful. You never denied My name or My faith, even in the day of Antipas. My witness, My faithful one who was killed among you, in your midst. Tradition says – fascinating – he was burned to death inside a brass bull. They had created a brass bull hallowed out, they set afire, and put him in it. You saw that. It happened among you. You watched My faithful one. You watched My witness become My martyr, and you never deviated from your faith and you never denied My name. The faithfulness of that little church should be a challenge to all of us today. Antipas paid the supreme price for not compromising.
These few things against you
The doctrine of Balaam
What’s the doctrine of Balaam or his teaching? “Who kept teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit acts of immorality.” Balaam was a prophet for hire. Balak, king of Moab, wanted to get rid of Israel. The Moabites and the Israelites were always after each other. Balak wanted to get rid of Israel. So he went to Balaam who was a prostitute prophet and could be bought. And he paid him to curse Israel. He felt that if Balaam would curse Israel, he had such prophetic powers, that Israel would be under the curse.
Three times Balaam tried to do it. Every time he tried to do it he failed. So he got another plan. If he couldn’t curse them, he’d earn his money another way. He’d corrupt them. So what did he do? He devised a plot. His plot went like this, the Moabite women will move in among the Israelite men and the Moabite women will sexually seduce the Israelite men, suck them into intermarriage. And once they’re intermarried, it will pull them in to all the idolatry life of Moab.
The doctrine of the Nicolaitans
It advocated an extreme indulgence in sin, uncleanness, immorality, and orgies based upon a perverted understanding of God’s grace. It was an abuse of freedom.
The greek word means to conqueror the people or the laity
But their doctrine was one of compromise and mixture with paganism
Which was founded by Nicolas
Repent. There are two types of people in this church those who kept the faith
Those who compromised it under the pressure of their culture.
Arise shine change the way you think
I will come quickly and fight against them with the sword of my mouth
Compromise can not stand up under the power of Christ’s two edged sword.
So Here is where we rise
If our heart is open to hear what the Spirit is saying
Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, And deep darkness the people; But the Lord will arise over you, And His glory will be seen upon you.
We will stand out in the midst of darkness just like the true believers in Pergamos
They were bright lights they understood their identity was in Christ and they were the light of the World. Even where satan’s throne is, and even where satan lives.
If we overcome we will eat of the hidden manna
Christ is the Bread of life
He will sustain us
The manna was hidden in the Ark
The nourishment that we need to stand strong and shine is found in His presence
As we worship
As we devote ourselves to His Word
We eat that hidden manna
A white stone a new name written that only you who receive it will know what it says
It is for your eyes only
And no I don’t know what it says and neither does anyone else.