YOU CAN BE VICTORIOUS
Lord, keep me free of damaging doctrinal beliefs.
Read REVELATION 2:12–17
To the Church in Pergamum
12 “To the angel of the church in Pergamum write:
These are the words of him who has the sharp, double-edged sword. 13 I know where you live—where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, not even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city—where Satan lives.
14 Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: There are some among you who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin so that they ate food sacrificed to idols and committed sexual immorality. 15 Likewise, you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16 Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.
17 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Jesus said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me” (Mark 8:34).
Staying true to Christianity is no easy task in Pergamum, since it invites severe repercussions. Pergamum is the greatest city in Asia Minor at the time and with multiple temples—including one dedicated to Caesar (the likely meaning of Satan’s throne in verse 13). Jesus encourages the church for its stand in spite of having to live amidst idolatry and persecution. However, Jesus is not satisfied to leave his bride totally content, always wanting us to aim higher.
What does he have against the Christians in Pergamum? For openers, they are two-faced. Antipas has been faithful and also martyred. For others in the church, being aware of the cost, a peaceful co-existence serving God and the world is appealing. Jesus calls them to account and challenges them with the word of truth—they have sinned, committing sexual immorality and allowing false teaching: the doctrine of Balaam and that of the Nicolaitans. Both equated freedom in Christ with freedom to sin, believing that grace would abound (in Ephesus—Rev. 2:6—the church is praised for hating their practices—as does Christ!). This idolatry would have given them access to the Roman guilds and even Roman protection from persecution—but at the cost of their integrity and their inheritance.
We face our own challenges. Will we make a stand on what goes into our hearts and minds, what we watch, read or view online? Are we living double lives, looking holy before others but unclean before God? God calls us to be pure and holy whatever the cost. The church at Pergamum had to repent or face the Word of God (16). Feast on the bread of life and accept this white stone (a new creation) and an invitation to the feast of the King. Don’t let compromise and sin destroy your relationship with Jesus. The enemy can lie to us, saying we are too corrupt to be God’s people. We see from this letter just how much Jesus cares for his people.
Do you long for a real, active relationship with God? Perhaps modern-day idols or blatant sin stand in the way. Don’t leave it to fester. Be victorious!
Lord, my affections are set upon You, not upon this world, and I am aware that I can’t straddle the fence and have both.