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Pergamum wk.4


pergamum - compromise in the perg

Revelation 2:12-17

It is deadly to compromise your conviction because of cultural convenience…welcome to Pergamum. Jesus commends the Church at Pergamum for withstanding physical, political, and religious persecution in their city, where Satan’s throne is. However, he rebukes them for their apostate beliefs (false doctrine) and behavior (sexual sin). The sin at the Perg was the sin of compromise.

Pergamum was built on a large mountain; elevated about 1000 feet up – – -which was really high for that region. Because of this it’s often referred to as the “Acropolis”, which just means “the high point” or “the high place”. If you go back a few thousand years to the days of the New Testament – what had happened is that Christianity started basically in and around Jerusalem. And around 70AD the temple was destroyed resulting in people starting to scatter and Christians scattered on mission. So, within early Christianity the scatter branched out to what’s now modern day Turkey and inclusive of that was Pergamum; and this city was really strategic and important to the Gospel.

In its prime Pergamum was anywhere from 60 thousand to 150 thousand people – – which is essentially the same size of Clarksville, TN today. And the way it worked was that the most affluent and the most wealthy citizens would live at the Acropolis on top of the mountain, while most of the commoners would live down the hill in the villages. And typically the people from lower town wouldn’t go to the upper town unless there was a play or game or recreation of some type.

Pergamum was also really diverse in its religious affiliation. It was both polytheistic & pluralistic in the way they did life. Zeus was worshipped there. Athena was worshipped there. Dionysus was worshipped there. You’d have lots of gods and goddesses that you would worship. And people would come there to the high place to do just that. This was the entertainment capital of the area and so there were parties and prostitution, kind of like the Vegas of that day, “What happened in Pergamum, stayed in Pergamum.” People would go there to do things that they shouldn’t be doing.

On the other side of things, they were so obsessed with a love for the state that patriotism had crossed over into this line of idolatry. In fact, if you didn’t line up enthusiastically with the preeminence and politics of the state then you had failed to be a good citizen. Because see, only Caeser was supposed to be Lord….not this so-called “Christ”. And Christians could follow Jesus if they wanted to, but society expected that they wouldn’t let their Christian convictions get in the way of their public duty to obey the government.

As a result of this polytheistic worship of gods + goddesses + government = the resurrected Jesus came to the Church at Perg. through John and told them in that if they didn’t repent that He would come to them soon and wage war against them with the sword of His mouth.


questions for reflection

What are some of the external threats to the Church? What are some of the internal threats?

Why is compromise such a deceptive and dangerous temptation for the Church?

How should Christians respond to government leaders, even when they don’t agree with them?

How can you support those believers around the world who are being persecuted for their faith?

What are some of the idols that often accompany and fuel the immorality we often see around us?

A Notable Mention

This past week the great leader and Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias stepped out of this world into a new one, finally meeting His Savior face to face; what an incredible day for him. A generation of Bible teachers and gospel defenders are in debt to this spiritual Father. So, I would like to share with you one of my favorite quotes from him – – I’ve held it close to my heart since the moment I heard it, Ravi said, “The biggest battle you will face in life is your daily appointment with God; keep it, or every other battle will become bigger.” My prayer for you today and everyday Church is that you would never miss that appointment. AMEN.


memory verse

“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

Hebrews 4:12 ESV