Thursday, October 13, 2016

Revelation 2:12-17

Revelation 2:12-17
And write to the messenger of the assembly in Pergamum.  The one who has the sharp double-edged broad sword says these things.  I have known where you made a home, where the throne of Satan is.  And you are strong enough to grab the name of mine and not deny my faith even in the day of Antipas, my witness – my faithful one – who was killed among you where Satan makes a home.  But I have a few things against you: that you have some there who are strong enough to grab the teaching of Balaam who was teaching Balak to throw a stumbling block in the presence of the sons of Israel to eat offerings sacrificed to idols and to commit fornication.  In this manner you even have those having the strength to grab the teaching similar of the Nicolaitans.  Therefore, repent.  And if you do not, I come to you quickly and I will combat with them by using the broad sword of my mouth.  The ones who have and ear hear what the spirit says to the assemblies.  To the one who conquers I will give to him of the manna which has been hidden and I will give to him a brilliant stone.  And upon the stone a new name has been written that nobody has known except the one who receives.

Thoughts for Today

First Thought:

As we look at the church of Pergamum, Jesus once more gives a very profound identity.  Jesus is the one who has a double-edged sword.  For what are double edged swords used?  They really only have one major function: cutting and slicing.  Double edged swords are a weapon.  They are used for attack and defense.  The people of the church of Pergamum should take notice.  When Jesus wants to reflect an identity to them, it is an identity of battle, warfare, and conflict.  I believe that this is a warning.  We don’t get a kind and loving reminder of Jesus and eternal life.  Instead, we get an image of battle and a tool designed to cut things away.

How do you react to this image of Jesus?  Which image do you prefer: the warlike Jesus or the Jesus who holds all things in His hand?  How do you think you would react to someone reminding you that Jesus is a warlike, powerful being?

Second Thought:

When it comes to the words of compliment, you should not be surprised to hear that these words are sparse.  Why else would Jesus wants to remind them that He could cut the people of Pergamum away unless He didn’t have very many complimentary things to say about them?  So what do they have going for them?  Well, they are bold enough to try and be faithful in a place that is running rampant in the ways of Satan.  In the midst of such rebellion, they are not willing to deny the name of God.  That is something.  In fact, that has been enough to keep them from being cut away!  In order to stay in the Lord, we must have a solid foundation resting completely upon God.

Where is your foundation?  How willing are you to dwell in the midst of sinfulness and remain faithful to God?  How could this produce a challenge to life?

Third Thought:

Now we turn to the list of complaints and the challenge.  The list is long.  There are a number of people in their presence who are willing to place stumbling blocks in front of other people.  There are people who are actively willing to live idolatrous lives.  They are willing to fornicate.  There are people who are holding to the teaching of the Nicolaitans.  (Remember, that is likely the teaching that the religious elite are more holy than the rest of the people.)  So what is the challenge?  They need to repent.  If they don’t, Jesus promises to come to them with that double edged sword of His and contend against them.  To those who repent and stay faithful, they are told that they will receive true manna from heaven and give them a new name which only God knows.

What are your idols in life?  Are you willing to repent of the rest of the sin in your life?  How might you respond to the challenge of Jesus?  How can you stay faithful in your life?

Passage for Tomorrow: Revelation 2:18-29
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