Pergamos- Warning to the Compromising Church

Pergamos- Warning to the Compromising Church

Pergamos is one of the 2 compromising Churches in Revelation, the other is Thyatira.

1st: What compromising with the world is not…

  • Taking steps to protect your congregation during times of major illness.
  • Being subject to the Civil Authority when they ask you to do something that is not outright sin.

Before we discuss compromise with the world, let’s remember the words of Jesus. (re read text)

He who has the sharp two-edged sword: In Revelation 1:16, John observed of Jesus out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword. Now, Jesus “showed” this two-edged sword to the Christians in Pergamos.

The description of the sword in Revelation 1:18 helps us to associate it with the mouth of Jesus. Jesus will confront this church with His word, and they will feel the sharp edges.

Sharp two-edged sword: This reminds us of the passage in Hebrews 4:12For 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. Jesus would use this sharp two-edged sword to make some separation among the Christians in Pergamos.

If you recall earlier lessons, we said that at any time of judgment, the Word of God is the standard against which we are judged and this includes both the Person and the Book.

“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.

I know your works: Jesus said this to each church. It is true of each one of us. He knows our works, even if there isn’t much to know.

Hebrews 4: 13, Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

Think back to the description of Jesus in chapter one and recall the eyes as a flame of fire. This spoke of penetrating judgment from which there is no escape. We also saw that being Alpha and Omega references the omniscience of Jesus so all the works of all the Church are known to Jesus.

And where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is: In many ways, Pergamos was a stronghold of Satanic power.

There are many different opinions as to why Pergamos was such a stronghold of Satanic power. Some believe it is because Pergamos was a center of pagan religion, especially of “Asclepios Soter” or “Asclepios Savior.” Some believe it was because Pergamos had a huge throne-like altar dedicated to the Roman god Zeus. Some believe it was because Pergamos was a center for the ancient Babylonian priesthood, but this is tough to prove conclusively. Others believe it was because Pergamos was the political center of the worship-demanding Roman government.

If there was a modern parallel to Pergamos it would probably Las Vegas, albeit the parallels are not really strong. However, there is no question that it is a stronghold of satanic power but there is still a thriving church in the city.

And you hold fast to My name: Despite the fact they lived in such a difficult city, the Christians of Pergamos held fast to their faith in Jesus (hold fast to My name… did not deny My faith).


Did not deny My faith: Jesus praised the Christians of Pergamos because they did not deny His faith. It is always important to make sure that the faith we hold on to is the faith that belongs to Jesus.

I have a few things against you: The Christians in Pergamos were rightly praised for holding fast to the name of Jesus and keeping his faith. At the same time, their difficult environment did not excuse the few things Jesus had against them.

You have, there, those who hold the doctrine of Balaam: Balaam was a prototype of all corrupt teachers. According to Numbers 22-24 and 31, Balaam combined the sins of immorality and idolatry to please Balak, the king of Moab, because he could not curse Israel directly.

Idolatry runs rampant in the church today. The most well known of our churches are not, in fact churches, but are in reality temples to Mammon. Don’t believe me? Listen to the message they preach- your best life now, riches and prosperity, success, renown. These are what Satan offered Jesus during His temptation in the Galilean wilderness.

Self has become god. What is passed off as church is a show followed by a talk from a life coach not a pastor.  Now it is not wrong to have cushioned chairs and air conditioning but when a chocolate cake has better theology than the morning music, we have a major issue.  Further, you hear people talking about what “they got out of worship” this morning or what they did or did not like in the sermon. Frankly, I don’t give a tinker’s cuss about what a person thinks they got out of the service- you aren’t here to get, you are here to give God what is His, unqualified worship and praise.

On the immorality front, there have been dozens of pedophiles occupying the office of the “priest,” homosexuals trying to be ordained into church leadership, unmarried worship leaders living together but still putting on the morning show, women trying to fill the role of the Elder. It’s enough to make you vomit. Often times you will hear the justification that “I was born this way.” Or you will have someone say, “I know what the Bible says but that was for a different age or I know what the Bible says but I feel God called me to ________”

First, God never calls anyone to do anything that He has already prohibited in His word. The text was not for a different age; God stands outside time and so does His word. As for, “I was born this way” what’s your point? Every one was born with a predilection to sin. I was born with a tendency to over indulge in food and a propensity for my eye to look at things it should not see. That does not mean you throw up your hands and say God made me this way and that is who I am.

Jude warns us to contend for the faith and uses the word agonizomai, from which we get agonize. It is an agonizing struggle to be holy. That it why Jesus said to take up your cross instead of put on your backpack.

The Nicolaitans

We don’t have a ton of information in church history about this sect but we can deduce two things. 1. These were most probably an oppressive sect. Nikao means to conquer and laos refers to the people. It has been suggested that the Nicolaitas were precursors to the Catholic Priesthood but I cannot concur. The pattern of Elders and Bishops in both the Old and New Testaments.  2. That they had a doctrine suggests that they were spreading a false teaching and persecuting those who did not cooperate.

What to do?

Repent. There’s that word again. It will keep coming up, too. The message of Revelation is Repent. Turn to Christ and forsake your unholiness. Then you will be with Him forever.

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