To the One Who Conquers.
"And to the angel (pastor) of the church in Pergamum write: 'The words of him who has the sharp two-edged sword. 13 "'I know where you dwell, where Satan's throne is. Yet you hold fast my name, and you did not deny my faith even in the days of Antipas my faithful witness, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. 14 But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality. 15 So also you have some who hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16 Therefore repent. If not, I will come to you soon and 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 the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.'
The Word of God is the sword of the Spirit. Jesus is giving His pastor of the local Pergamum church His word that discerns the thoughts and intentions of the heart (Hebrews 4:12). A key phrase Jesus speaks to each church is “I know....” It is comforting that Jesus knows what is going on in the life of the pastor and people of every local church. Some think that God is cruel since He knows what is going on and doesn’t stop it with His great power, but they aren’t thinking that He loved people so much that He died for us. He is coming one day to judge the world and stop all evil, but right now He has given all believers everything they need to live abundantly in a sinful world so they can be His agents to reach and save as many sinners as possible.
Jesus knows the tough circumstances of the Pergamum believers. He knows Antipas died as His faithful witness. He knows the pastor kept preaching the word of God and held fast to the name of Jesus even when it might cost him his life. The pastor set an example for all to follow. He was willing to lose his life for Jesus’s sake. Are you willing to lose your life for Jesus’s sake?
Jesus also knew that the pastor was not doing his duty of protecting the saints from some false teaching. The pastor wasn’t guilty of believing the teaching of Balaam or of the Nicolaitans, but he wasn’t correcting those who did in the local church of Pergamum. Jesus called the pastor to repent and begin to rebuke and correct those who followed the teaching of Balaam and of the Nicolaitans. If the pastor was not going to correct the sinning sheep of Jesus’s fold, then Jesus was going to come and discipline the sinning sheep. He did this in the Corinthian church and some were weak, sick and dead because of the Lord’s discipline (1 Corinthians 11:29-32). Are you rebuking and correcting those in your sphere of influence who live sinfully in sexual immorality or other sinful behavior and think it is alright? If you aren’t, Jesus is also calling you to repent and begin to rebuke and correct false teaching in your sphere of influence.
This message to each local pastor and church is a message for all local churches. We conquer sin and Satan by believing and obeying the truth (1 John 5:2-5). Remember, saving faith desires to obey the Lord.
Three key questions to ask as we prayerfully read the scriptures:
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