Pergamum was a city of compromise; the worship of anything was allowable in that city; and the Church at Pergamos had become engulfed in compromise too.
One of the gods they worshiped was Esculapius…
Writing of Esculapius, J. Vernon McGee wrote,
“Then the other outstanding temple was of the god Asklepios. Down from that great ancient world. It was the Mayo Clinic of that day. It was, first of all, a temple to Asklepios. If you are looking at the Greek god Asklepios, it is a man, but when you see the Anatolian or Oriental Asklepios, it is a serpent. There in Pergamum it was a serpent. I have pictures which I took of that great marble pillar which stands like an obelisk now but apparently was a pillar in the temple of Asklepios. The construction of the temple was unusual in that it was round. There they used every means of healing imaginable. They used both medicine and psychology – and about everything else.
Put yourself in this situation: you go down long tunnels, and above are holes that look like airholes for ventilation but are not. As you walk along these tunnels, sexy voices come down through the holes, saying to you, ‘You are going to get well. You are going to feel better. You are going to be healed.’ (Does that have a modern ring?) You go down to the hot baths where you are given a massage. There is a little theater there where they give plays of healing. If they haven’t healed you by now, as a last resort they put you in that temple at night and turn loose the nonpoisonous snakes which crawl over you. (That is known as the shock treatment in our day!) If they don’t heal you, they will drive you crazy, that’s for sure. They have a back door where they take out the dead. They don’t mention the ones they don’t heal; they speak only ot those who recover.” (From Thru The Bible pg. 908 by J. Vernon McGee).
Warren Wiersbe wrote of this also,
“The city aslso had a temple dedicated to Aesculapius, the god of healing, whose insignia was the entwined serpent on the staff.” (BE Commentary vol. 2, pg. 573).
I. THE ONE WHO HOLDS THE SHARP TWO-EDGED SWORD (v. 12).
A. The Sword is Both and Offensive and Defensive Weapon.
“And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God…” Eph. 6:17
B. The Word of God is Likened to a Two-Edged Sword.
“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Heb. 4:12
C. Jesus is the One who Has the Sharp Twoedged Sword Out of His Mouth.
“…And out of His mouth went a sharp twoedged sword…” Rev. 1:16
II. THE WORKS ARE KNOWN BY JESUS (v. 13).
A. They Dwelt in the Seat of Satan – It Was a Very Pluralistic Culture Worshiping many Deities, and Tolerant of Moral Depravity.
B. While there Was a Remnant of Faithful Believers; the Church had Given in to the Culture – They were compromising on morals, Doctrine, and the Gospel.
C. It is Known Also as the Church of Faithful Antipas Who Give His Life for the Sake of Jesus Christ and the Gospel
III. THE CHURCH HAD ALLOWED THE DOCTRINE OF BALAAM AND THE NICOLAITANS INTO THE CONGREGATION (v. 14-15).
A. The Doctine of Balaam is the Way – the Doctrine of Compromise.
1. THE WAY OF BALAAM = Ministry for pay. “Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness…” 2 Peter 2:15
2. THE ERROR OF BALAAM = To think that God would do the opposite of what He promised. “Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.” Jude 1:11
3. THE DOCTRINE OF BALAAM = Counseling others on how to curse God’s people (See Num. 25 and 31) “But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.” Rev. 2:14
B. This Church also Had Trouble with the Nicolaitans, Only Giving in to Compromise with Them.
1. To Overcome the People; to Rule, overrule, to Dominate.
2. Setting up a Heirarchy of Domination over them – even a Priesthood.
“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light…” 1 Peter 2:9
C. It Should become Quite Clear to the Church of 2018 that The Lord Hates Compromise in the area of Doctrine, the Gospel, and Morality.
IV. REPENTANCE IS NECESSARY TO AVOID THE SWORD OF HIS JUDGMENT (v. 16)
A. The Compromise Must be Dealt With Quickly, and Severely – There is no room for compromising with compromise.
B. Repentance is the Key – a Turning From Sin Back to Christ Jesus, and Faithfulness to Him.
C. The Call is to the Compromising Reprobates Within the Church.
“Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” 2 Cor. 6:17-18
V. THE REWARD FOR THOSE WHO WILL OVERCOME (v. 17).
A. A Call to Pergamos and All the Churches to Hear.
B. A Hidden Manna – Heavenly Food that is Only Available for Those Who Overcome the Sin of Compromise.
C. A White Stone – A word for assurance to the Faithful
D. A New Name – A Name which Speaks of One’s Character, Honor, and Faith.
1. We can be certain and assured that the Lord Jesus is the One who has from His Mouth the Twoedged Sword, and that He will Judge.
2. He knows the works of the Church, every individual professing Christ; He knows the works of compromise with Satan and sin; He knows the works of the Faithful; He knows of the moral depravity around and within the Church, and will Judge it.
3. Jesus Knows of the failure to adhere to Bible, Gospel doctrine, faithfulness, and purity of life.
4. The call to all who compromise the word, the Gospel, faithfulness, and morality is to Repent.
5. The Reward for those who are faithful will be to overcome; and to receive eternal rewards of heavenly portions; have the assurance of eternity with the Lord; and receive a new name; He has already called those who believe Him “Just and Righteous” by calling us “Saints” (Rom. 1:7; 1 Cor. 1:2; 2 Cor. 1:1; Eph. 1:1; Phil. 1:1; Col. 1:2)