Summary: The compromises we make with the world today are not worth risking the better world God has in store for us someday.
If Jesus Passed a Note in Church, What Would It Say? (Part 3 of 7)
(Series of sermon content original to W. Herschel Ford)
To the Church That Was Next Door to Satan’s Throne
Oct. 22, 2006 FBC, Chester Mike Fogerson, Pastor
B Pergamum is called "the greatest city in Asia Minor" (65 miles north of Smyrna).
1 The 1st temple to Caesar was dedicated there in AD 23.
a Population 120,000-200,000 (noted for beauty, wealth, library with nearly 200,000 volumes).
b The people joined forces with Rome to defeat the kings of the eastern Mediterranean, which gave Pergamum special favor with Rome.
c Rome granted Pergamum the right to execute capital punishment.
aa Symbol was a "sword"
bb Jesus reminds Christians in v. 12 that His sword, not Rome’s, was the more powerful.
2 "And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: The One who has the sharp two-edged sword says this: 13 ’I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is; and you hold fast My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days of Antipas, My witness, My faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. 14 ’But I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam, 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. 15 ’So you also have some who in the same way hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16 ’Therefore repent; or else I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of My mouth. 17 ’He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, to him I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it.’ Rev 2:12-17 (NASB)
a Jesus warned the church in Pergamum against trading His approval for the world’s acceptance (essence of the text in a sentence).
b The compromises we make with the world today are not worth risking the better world God has in store for us someday (essence of the sermon in a sentence).
C I pray you’ll take steps to be overcomers in a world that wants to overcome you (objective).
1 What steps do you need to take to be overcomers in Satan’s neighborhood? (Probing question)
2 Let’s look at two steps that we can take to be overcomers in a world that wants to overcome us (transitional sentence).
I Keep your faith in the Lord. ’I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is; and you hold fast My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days of Antipas, My witness, My faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.
A Jesus affirmed the church at Pergamum for boldly holding onto their witness.
1 That poor little church was next door to Satan’s home office.
a Pergamum was where the crazy heathens/pagans went if they got kicked out of Babylon. (IL) Billy Idol getting kicked out of Bangkok.
b The city was the center of worship of Dionysus, Athena, Asclepius (snake god of healing), Demeter, Zeus, emporers...idol supercenter.
aa Being a Christian (worshiping the one true Savior, Jesus) would provoke hostility.
bb Pergamum was a city to which Rome had given the rare power of capital punishment, which was symbolized by the sword (pro-consul).
cc Antipas (possibly 1st Christian martyr in Asia, possibly a pastor) was killed.
c Satan was at the beginning & end of this verse (13), & the believer (Antipas) was in the middle! Squeezed
2 This little church stood its ground, won people to Christ in a city where the devil was working overtime.
a They were outnumbered, but did not back down.
b Jesus applauded them!
B Satan is NOT in hell/locked in a bottomless pit this morning.
1 He’s the prince of this world, god of this age, working up & down the world, seeking to drag people down & away from Christ.
a He’s working overtime, busy, developing new strategies...not in hell, but in Chester, our nation.
b If he’s busy, we’ve got to be busier; he makes a new strategy, we’ve got to develop a better one.
2 Sometimes we may feel like Antipas, squeezed from top & bottom by the enemy (we are!).
a The only way you can make a lost person know that you are a Christian is to live differently from his life.
b We spend so much time persuading the world that we’re acceptable because we’re just like them (indistinguishable).