THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 11-5-06
LESSON TITLE: "THE SEVEN CHURCHES OF ASIA: THE CHURCH AT PERGAMOS"
"Love suffers long and is kind!" Do you have this kind of love this day toward God and your fellow man? Good morning and welcome to the Living Word Program. It is a great honor to have you with us this morning for this time of worship to God. Thanks for choosing to be with us!
As always, it will be our privilege today to sing songs of praise to our God and to study from His perfect Word! I hope each of us will do our part to make this time together acceptable in His sight. Now, let's approach His throne in prayer.
Do you like to eat? Most of us do, but how about spiritual food? I hope we are as eager to gorge ourselves with spiritual food, as we are with physical food. Our first song of the morning, reminds us of a feast which God has prepared. So, won't you join in with the congregation as we sing our first song of the morning, it's name "All Things Are Ready!"
(SONG # 1)
I read a verse in 2 Chronicles the other day that reminded me of just how magnificent our God is. In Chapter 6, we see the dedication of the Temple by Solomon. What a tremendous accomplishment of great beauty and majesty this structure was. Furthermore, what a glory to God it must have been!
You might remember the construction of the Temple which is recorded for us back in chapter 3. How wondrous and impressive it must have been in size and appearance. As we read we are told of it's worth, as so much of the structure itself was covered in gold.
In verse 4, we are told of the precious furnishings which were found in the Temple, again very lavish - no expense spared! Gold, bronze and only the best was used to make the special furniture for the house of God.
Probably, this was the most magnificent structure on earth at the time. All for the sake of God, all as an offering to the Creator! However, in all of it's earthly splendor and awesomeness - we still see that Solomon realized that it was far too insignificant and small to house the true creator of the universe. Read with me his thoughts in 2 Chronicles 6:18, there Solomon said, "But will God indeed dwell with men on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You. How much less this temple which I have built!"
Here we find that the wisest man who ever lived realized just how great and mighty God truly is. There is nothing in this life that we can every do, say or make - that will really be worthy of such a powerful and magnificent God.
Let me finish our devotional thoughts this morning by reminding us that this same God was willing to lower Himself and dwell among us on this earth, as we have described in John chapter one! In fact, we read there - that Jesus the Word came and dwelt among flesh, that we might know Him as God - the son of the almighty.
Have you forgotten what a holy, perfect and all giving creator we serve? If so, return to your belief this day and once again have the faith which proves to God and this world just how much you believe in His splendor and glory!
We are excited to have brother Andy Heavin with us again this morning, as our guest speaker. Brother Andy is the minister for the Edgar Springs Church of Christ. It is an honor to have him with us today and to have him guide our thoughts from God's Word.
Concerning our topic of study this morning we will again be dealing with "The Seven Churches Of Asia." Our specific lesson today will focus on the "Church At Pergamos." So, please stay with us and in a few minutes Brother Heavin will return with this study from God's Word. Now it's time to join in our second hymn of the day, the name of the song, "All To Jesus I Surrender."
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Andy Heavin
Good morning. It is a pleasure to have this time together this morning as we study from God's Word.
As we prepare to study the church at Pergamus this morning, consider the words of Jesus that John records for us in the book of Revelation chapters 2 and 3 that he wrote in the letters to the seven churches of Asia. Jesus says near the end of each of these letters, he says, "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches." In other words, he says, "Listen up. What I am saying is important. You need to hear these things." These are some words that the churches there in Asia needed to hear and needed to abide by and what Jesus told them was important to the saving of their souls. When it comes to the Word of God, we need to, we must hear what Jesus says, what His Word tells us.
So let us hear the Word of the Lord this morning as John records for us the words that Jesus gave to the church at Pergamus. Follow along as we begin reading in Revelation chapter 2 beginning in verse 12. And to the angel of the church in Pergamus write, "These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword, I know your works and where you dwell where Satan throne is and you hold fast to My name and did not deny My faith even in the days in which Antipus was my faithful martyr who was killed among you where Satan dwells, but I have a few things against you because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balam who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit sexual immorality, thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans which thing I hate. Repent or else I will come to you quickly and we'll fight against them with the sword of My mouth. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna to eat and I will give him a white stone and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives that gift."
There in verse 12, Christ is described as the One having the sharp two-edged sword, the Word or the sword recognized there in the New Testament times by the Romans. The sword was a sign of authority and power. However, we read and we know in the New Testament that all authority and power had been given to Jesus Christ there in chapter 28 and verse 18 of Matthew. Jesus said, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth." The authority in the New Testament times did not lie with Rome. It does not lie with the United States today. It does not lie with Russia, Japan or China, but the authority and the power lies with God, with Jesus Christ. He is the One who will judge us and according to His Will.
Turn there to John chapter 5 and verse 30. We see there Jesus the one who will judge us righteously before all. There He says, "I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge, and My judgment is righteous because I do not seek My own Will but (who's Will?) the Will of the Father."
Look over to John chapter 12 beginning in verse 47. Jesus says there in verse 47, "And if anyone hears My Word and does not believe, I do not judge Him for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. He who rejects Me and does not receive My Word has that which judges him. The Word which I have spoken will judge him in the last day."
So Jesus has given to us the Words, the Words by which we will be judged righteously. And we see Jesus as the One who holds the sharp, two-edged sword.
We see the Word there in Hebrews chapter 4 being referred to as a sword. Beginning in Hebrews 4 and verse 12. It says, "For the Word of God is living and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword piercing even to the divisions of the soul and spirit and of the joints and marrow and is a discerner of the thoughts and intent of the heart." Now listen to verse 13. It says, "There is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account."
Jesus, the One who holds the sharp, two-edged sword is the One we must give an account to and we will see that the church at Pergamus was held accountable for the things that they were doing to God. In fact, Jesus says there in verse 13, "I know your works." He said this to each of the seven churches that are mentioned there in Asia. "I know your works and what it is that you are doing." Jesus fully knew every work good or bad with the church, and He was not going to overlook their faults and He wasn't going to overlook what they had done that was right, their good deeds. He was not going to forget them. He knows our works today.
We might remember back in the Garden of Adam and Eve there in the garden of Eden. They tried to hide from their sin, but God knew where they were. He knew their sin and what they were guilty of.
There in Luke chapter 16 and verse 15, Jesus says some words to the Pharisees there. He says, "And He said to them, you are those who justify yourselves before men but God knows your hearts." He knew their hearts and what they were thinking. He goes on to say, He says, "For what is highly esteemed before men is an abomination in the sight of God." This was part of the problem in Pergamus. They were doing (inaudible) and they were forgetting about God who knew their works and what they were doing.
There in Psalm chapter 44 and verse 21, God is there and it says that, "He knows the secrets of the heart." He knows of what we do whether it be good or bad and He knows us all inside and out and will judge us according to the works that we have done.
There in 2 Corinthians chapter 5 and verse 10 it says, "For all must appear before the judgment seat of Christ. Everyone giving account for the works that they have done."
And we see there at Pergamus that Jesus did mention some good works that the church was doing there, things that they needed to continue in and what they were doing and encouraging them and showing that He knew their works. There in verse 13, He says, "They held fast to the name of Christ." This during a time when the Roman emperor was demanding that he be called a god, that they bow down and worship him, but yet they had confessed Christ and they had not allowed any of their tribulations to deny them this confession of who Christ truly was.
Notice what Peter said there in 1 Peter chapter 4 telling the Christians here, giving them some encouraging words about the tribulations that they were facing. There in 1 Peter chapter 4 beginning in verse 16, he says, "Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian let him not be ashamed but let him glorify God in this manner."
Paul in 2 Timothy chapter 3 and verse 12, he says, "For all who desire to live godly will suffer persecution."
It seems that the brothers in Pergamus were willing to put their lives on the line for the gospel of Christ because they held fast to the faith. They were doing what they needed to do. They understood that there was no salvation than in Jesus Christ as it says there in Acts chapter 4 and verse 12, "And they were not going to deny the faith that they had been taught even in the face of persecution and martyrdom, there where Antipus, one of their own, had been put to death, they did not deny the faith in such a matter." If these brethren could live where Satan's throne was and endure the kinds of persecution they did, certainly today we can remain faithful in our circumstances in the things and the battles that we face today no matter what they may be, we can stand strong and hold to the faith.
We can rest assured that if we deny Christ, He will deny us before the Father in heaven as it says there in Matthew chapter 10 and verse 33.
Look at what Paul wrote to the brethren there in 1 Corinthians chapter 15 concerning the stand and the strength that we need to have in our lives. There in verse 58 of chapter 15, he says, "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord." He says, "Be strong, immovable. Keep doing the work of the Lord. Keep doing what it is that you need to do so that you might stand strong.
Even there in chapter 16 of 1 Corinthians and verse 13, he says, "Watch, be careful, watch out for those who may persecute you, for the trials that may come your way, but (he says) stand fast in the faith. Be brave, be strong. Don't let those things that come along in this life cause you to deny your faith or cause you to lose your faith and trust in the Word of God, but to stand strong."
He understood these things about the church in Pergamus and saw these things as a positive thing, the good works that he noticed from them there. But certainly, as he knew their works both good and bad, he knew there were some things that the church in Pergamus needed to cut out of their lives. One thing that they were doing there in verse 14 was they were following after the doctrine of Balam. We might remember there in Numbers chapter 22-24 where we have it recorded for us about Balam and the prophecies that he gave. Balak was wanting Balam to curse the nation of Israel for they were about to enter the land of Moab. But Balam said, "I cannot curse these people and his prophecy." He said, "I cannot do it. Forbear it." But notice what happened. He did however counsel Balak to send the Moabite women to entice the men to join them in their lascivious worship. Look there in Numbers chapter 31 and verse 16. He says, "Look these women cause the children of Israel through the counsel of Balam to trespass against the Lord in the incident of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the Lord." Even though Balam told them that he could not curse this nation, what he did do was he compromised the Word of God. He said, "I can't curse these people, but if you want to get the children into trouble, this is what you do." He compromised what God had told him to do.
The point being is that the compromising Christianity or the compromising church today wants to keep one foot in the world and one foot in the church. They want to stray away and compromise the Word of God.
But what did Paul tell the brethren there in Rome in Romans chapter 12 beginning in verses 1 and 2. He says, "I beseech you. I charge you brethren by the mercies of God that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God which is your reasonable service." Notice verse 2, "And do not be conformed to the world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect Will of God." He says, "Do not for one minute compromise the Word of God. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed to this world, being the example that you should be, standing as Christians, standing strong, and do not compromise false doctrines." The church today must cut out any doctrine or worldly idea that contradicts the scripture that goes against the Word of God, our final authority today. The Word of God that we must follow. But, we must not pervert the gospel of Christ as Paul warned the brethren there in Galatians chapter 1 verses 6-10. He was amazed that there were so many that were turning away from the gospel. He said, "Do not turn away to another gospel which is really not another, but continue in the doctrine of Christ, following what God's Words says."
We today must not seek the approval of men, but we must do what God's Word says. We must not be guilty of compromising the Truth or tolerating it for one moment which is what these brethren were trying to do in Pergamus. They were holding fast to the faith. They weren't denying it, but they also weren't standing for it. They were allowing things to come into their worship service and into their church there, the things were causing problems before them. The plea though for Jesus was for this compromising church was that they would repent. He wanted them to repent. This plea is the same for us today, for those who are compromising the Word of God, who are not following the Truth must stand forth and repent. If the church does not stand up today for the Word of God, it is going to be lost. How great the reward in heaven for those who overcome the world.
(SONG # 3 - "Angry Words!")
Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today for the Living Word program. I hope and trust, that together we have all benefited from this service to our Lord. Let me also invite you to join us every Lord's Day morning at 7:30 as we give this time to our Creator.
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May we learn from our lesson today to never be a compromising church, but rather to always be willing to stand up for God and to do all things which are according to His Precious Word.