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June 26, 2022 1:00 am
Pergamum was a spiritual city with places of worship on every corner. False doctrines, particularly about immorality, easily spread through the ancient church there. In this message, we hear Jesus’ declaration that Pergamum was a place “where Satan dwells.” What if our churches are doctrinally sound but morally impure?
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Pergamum was the mention of Asia minor and what is now Turkey. It's giant pagan altar can all be seen in the Pergamum museum in Berlin in Revelation chapter 2 Jesus declared that Pergamum was the place where Satan dwells in the place rife with false teaching. Today will see what the Lord himself says about the church in that city and what lessons we can take home for your church and mine stay with us from Chicago. This is The Moody Church.
Our weekly surface of worship and teaching with pastor Erwin Blitzer today will hear the fourth of eight messages on what Jesus thinks of his church. Later in our broadcast Erwin Blitzer will speak on when Jesus observes our teaching the Moody choir begins today's service and in an thank you so much choir for leading us in worship and reminding us that God's holy Word Psalm 100, which was sung inspires us and leads us into the presence of Almighty God in a moment were going to be standing and singing the hymn that is there in your bulletin.
It's printed out both the words and the music at the name of Jesus. The point of contention. Today is the name of Jesus, but with the apostles we say we shall not stop or cease speaking in the name of Jesus, so be prepared to sing that our Scripture reading today is by William Amonte William for a number of years has been one of our deacons here at The Moody Church and as indicated, we shall have an opportunity to also participate and then a little later on. Just before the message Pete let loose a is going to bless us, by singing about the ultimate triumph of Jesus. It will be worth it all.
When we see Jesus were glad that you are here to worship with us to enjoy this time, but most of all to bless God through giving him all that we have our attention are worship our hearts because we love him and we are here to serve him so I shall lead in prayer and following the prayer, we shall stand to sing at the name of Jesus, would you join me please. As we pray in our father we ask in the name of Jesus that name that is above every name, that you shall be here. We know that you are because you're everywhere but I mean Lord that you would come to reveal yourself to us to remind us of your presence to be here to lift burdens to encourage the fainthearted to save those who need to be saved and to cause to repent.
Those who need repentance Lord of the list of what we need is great, but our focus is upon you.
May we bless you because we give you our hearts and our obedience.
We pray in Jesus name, amen. This money sticker from 119 versus 33 through 43.
Please join you on the blueprints suits me that way of and I'll get it today.
Give me a thought in that time to keep your law and exhibits with my whole heart.
Lead me the path of your commandments. Friday night needs prima hats to your testimonies and not to surface again turn my eyes from looking at swifter things and giving life you always conference your severance your premise that you may vitiate 10 I way the process that the dread for your rules. Good because I know you process it.
All right, this is gave nine a and a and a and I read in the Psalms.
I think it was just last night before I went to bed.
It says all those who seek me will find me.
Let seek the Lord together. Our father, we want to thank you today for your love and for your grace.
We thank you that we can be here and that we can rejoice together.
We thank you for our children and for that great ministry for all who teach them and for the many that are still needed to teach them meant to be helpers in our children's ministry lay that on the hearts of many people. We pray, we thank you father today because our hope is in you, Lord Jesus, I was reading in your word.
This this past week.
In the Old Testament word kept saying that there is a lamp in Jerusalem of father we pray that there may be a lamp in Chicago and is we think of the churches of Revelation. We think of the great message that you're going to teach us today through the church at Pergamum father your word says repent and we all want to do that we want to repent regularly daily and today we come to repent to yield to ask father that couples within our church that are estranged would be brought together to provide a relationship between children and parents, Lord God, we pray may there be forgiveness and understanding and grace.
We stand the old Lord God in great need.
And Lord, even as we read your holy word. We want to pray the prayer that was read to us for ourselves. Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes, and I will keep them to the end of father give us understanding that we might keep your law and observe it with our whole hearts lead us in the path of your commandments.
May we delight in them. Lord, in Jesus name, amen I is a and and will will and in and in. Thank you so very very much. And yes, it will be worth it all. As you well know there's a war going on out there. It's a war of ideas. That's also a war of lifestyle, and what people believe is supposed to guarantee or impact what they do and usually it does but sometimes it doesn't want you to open your Bibles to the second chapter the book of Revelation. Revelation chapter 2 because we're talking today about the church at Pergamum. Pergamum which is about 50 miles north of Smyrna to church that is prospering and Jesus is there, amid the candlesticks. As he says he's walking along and he's giving his evaluation of the church, so with her Bibles open. Now let us simply look at four different snapshots of the church there in Pergamum. Verse 12 and to the angel of the church in Pergamum write to the words of him who has the sharp two-edged sword.
I know where you dwell, were Satan's throne is wow what is Satan's throne come with me to the ancient city of Pergamum and you will see a whole complex of temples. There is a temple to Athena and the snake goddess. There is a temple to Augustus and Roman Emperor worship, and then the largest temple of the mold is a temple to Zeus very probably the throne of Satan. Maybe the whole complex was the throne of Satan, but that temple which stood there in the midst was skewed and very impressive.
In the 1920s that Germany archaeologists went to Pergamum and they took the Temple of Zeus apart piece by piece, brick by brick, stone by stone and they brought it to the city of Berlin.
In Berlin, has today a Pergamum Museum which I've had the privilege of visiting on a number of occasions and you can see this huge huge altar and you can walk up the stairs and as I take groups of people on the stairs. I say very probably.
You are walking here on Satan's seat from the city of Pergamum the altar to the goddess susu I think it's the father or at least was believed to be an apology, the father of all the other dogs. Jesus says I know where you are.
Your were Satan's seat is the headquarters of pagan religion. This was also the place. By the way, that was the Lords of it today. It supposedly had healing waters and people came from all of the country to be healed and many of them no doubt were healed because there are many healings today in pagan religion. Now how did they do in the midst of a situation like that, Jesus goes on and says I'm still in verse 13 you hold fast my name and you did not deny my faith even in the days of Antipater's, my faithful witness, who was killed among you were Satan dwells. Says it again. Jesus said that in the midst of this, you did not deny my name. Think of the pressure that the church had the pressure of broad mindedness, the feeling that we should worship all of these gods and on the way home from work to stop it all of the temples to pay tribute to all of the gods. The church resisted that the church also resisted the idea of an unmoral kind of religion that says that we don't have to be redeemed or we can be redeemed in our own way because there is no fall in pagan religion therefore there is no redemption in pagan religion and that the church did not deny the name of Jesus in the midst of that pressure. The Scripture says that you held fast to my name you still believe that I was the only way to the father you believed in my uniqueness in the midst of this plurality of religion in the midst of this religious tolerance and pressure because remember those who did not obey. Sometimes were killed and we had the name of a martyr listed right here Jesus is even in the days of Antipater's, my faithful witness, who died as a martyr you were a faithful church. You did not deny uses the faith. List all of the doctrines of the Christian faith in this church would have believed them, and Jesus commends them at don't you wish that we could be like the church at Pergamum well so far but now we come to the weakness of the church and this is remarkable because what we really have is in the midst of doctrinal accuracy you have tolerance of immorality. You wouldn't expect it.
Would you church that prides itself in being true to the faith and believing the right things but look at what Jesus has to say because he's is obviously not yet finished as he look at the weakness of the church. In verse 14, but I have a few things against you, actually to as are given here. You have some there who hold the teaching of Baylon, who taught bearlike to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel so that they might eat food is sacrificed to idols and practice immorality, so also you have some who hold the teaching of the Nicollet attends. Therefore repent what kind of the teaching was it that they are willing to tolerate. Jesus said that these kinds of teachings come from the teaching of Baylon member in the Old Testament. It's in the book of numbers, it's a remarkable story. There was a king of Moab by the name of bearlike don't get daily. Can Baylon confused. It happens that they are in the very same story Bannock was the king of Moab and he hired Baylon who was an occultist to come and to curse Israel because they like was afraid that if God blessed Israel, Moab was dead meat so to speak. So he said please come and curse Israel. So for a fee. Baylon decides that he's going to curse Israel. And while he's cursing Israel. Some of the most remarkable blessings come from his mouth. I shall see him, but not now. I shall behold him, but not knife the scepter shall arise that of Judah and a star out of Jacob that came out of the mouth of Baylon, of all things. Who is the quintessential example in the New Testament of the false prophet which reminds us that there are false prophets and the airwaves is filled with them and sometimes they say very good biblical things we live in a very confused world Beltway. But anyway I Baylon couldn't couldn't curse them and only open his moms that want to curse Israel and all the blessings would come. So he said to bearlike, is that I can't curse them. I'm sorry but he said I do have an idea for you. Let's get the Moabite women to seduce the Israelite men and let's argue this way that to Israel is under the covenant of God. There, under God's blessing so because they have this covenant with God. They can kind of do whatever they like because God is going to accept them anyway because God is faithful and there under his blessing, and they are the people of the covenant. So let us make sure that our women seduce their men and commit immorality and even though they are under the covenant of God, you know what will happen.
Bearlike Baylon is saying God may come along and judge them and that's the only way we can get Israel weekend I can't curse them, but if I get them to commit immorality and offer things sacrificed to idols.
God will do it for us. He will judge them and you know it says in the Bible that 24,000 people died because of this great sin. Now imagine here's Pergamum, a church with all the right doctrines and the right beliefs and that they have among them. Some who hold the teaching of Baylon. Some who would say that if you're saved by grace and I making this contemporary now if you're saved by grace because of Jesus, you are eternally secure.
Therefore, it is safe to sin. You don't have to worry about it. Grace will cover it. Grace will come along like an elastic band and stretch over your sin no matter what you do. It's safe now to sin and then Jesus says that you also have the Nicollet attends. We are not sure exactly who they are.
There are several theories, but very probably for our purposes, let's just say this, that in the church at Ephesus. It's very interesting. Jesus said you hate the deeds of the Nicollet attends, which I also hate here in the church in Pergamum.
The Nicollet attends are accepted they are woven into the congregation and they are a part of the teaching of Baylon.
It may well be that the teaching is that of Baylon but the teachers who taught it were known as the Nicollet attends very clearly the Nicollet attends were immoral. We know that much. So Jesus says them in on the one hand, I commend your accuracy and your willingness to actually suffer for my name, but you are tolerating within the congregation. The idea that you can commit immorality and still walk with God, and there are many different ways that bolder justify that and the fact that because your under the covenant of God that sin isn't as bad as it would be otherwise was a woman who came to her pastor who said you know I I'm living in sin, but but to it's not that bad. I'm a Christian and he said very wisely. It is worse because you are a Christian is worse. It's not better. It's worse.
So we see here the weakness of the church. Let's hurry on and look at the warning to the church now I'm in verse 16 where Jesus is. Therefore repent. If not, I will come to you soon and will war against them with the sword of my mouth.
Jesus is saying you have to repent. To repent means a change of mind. It means a change of direction. It means that we now go in the opposite way. That's what repent. It's an humble acknowledgment of sin. It is when God makes us so miserable in our sin that we are willing to put up with anything to get fully right with him.
That's what really leads to repentance. Sometimes it is said well you know I've had people say to me regarding a certain situation. Do you think that this person has seen the light of my experiences been that people do not change when they have seen the light, we as human beings only change when we feel the heat. Then we change takes more than light to their people with tons of light walking in grave darkness. And so what God does is he says you know you have to repent. Yet the layer sends down you have to come to me in repentance. And then he says these words and isn't it startling to see that the image of Jesus in the seven churches is so radically different and actually throughout the whole book is so radically different than the image of Jesus in the world today as the world today.
Well, you know wasn't Jesus. Just saying we should love everybody in. That's kind of the end of it, then didn't he love everybody.
He loved everybody but this is the same in Jesus and he says if not I will come to you and what did he say and war against you. I personally don't want to be at war with Jesus, but he says I will come in war against them with the sword of my mouth.
Now, now is the time for us to comment on verse 12 and to the angel of the church in Pergamum write the words of him who has the sharp two-edged sword. What is the two-edged sword you were to ask Augustine the great philosopher and theologian of the third and fourth centuries really. I guess he lived in the fifth he would say that it was the Old Testament and the New Testament because the word of God is sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing of the sender of the soul and spirit, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Well the sword is the word of God. It says in the 19th chapter of Revelation that Jesus is coming, and of the sword of his word is coming out of his mouth and later on, you have the great battle, and the great victory that Jesus one now it's interesting that the word of God does many things to us the word of God cleanses us, now you're clean through the word which I have spoken unto you the word of God saves us being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the living word of God which lives and abides for ever. It has an effect upon us.
It encourages us and blesses us, but the same word that does all that also judges us in the same gospel that is transformed. This is the same gospel that is going to judge us. I was rereading this this morning as I always do before I am preaching here I get here early to the church and think through my message and read the text many times I was astounded by the fact that the same Bible that talks so much about grace is so incredibly intolerant when it comes to sin. Have you ever noticed that in all this grace out there. Yeah, that's wonderful. And then so intolerant of sin, but thankfully it isn't just intolerant about sin.
It shows us the way estimate so then you have the warning repent or else I will judge you with the sword of my mouth. This is the meek and mild Jesus. Finally, what is the reward to the over comers. Verse 17 he says now he who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches I've commented on this before and reminded you that there are many people who hear the words but they don't have an ear to hear the words are there, but the heart somewhere else where he has an ear to hear, 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 no set one who receives it. The hidden manna. What is the hidden man of the hidden man of course is Jesus Christ because the Bible tells us that he is the bread of God that came down from heaven to give his life for the world. He is the hidden one. Yes, but he has been revealed and and we come in. We each have that bread and we drink of that cup so he's the hidden manna, and he says I will give to him the hidden manna because there's a secret connected with it in conjunction with the over comer look at the second blessing or reward is as I will have a new name written on a stone that no one knows except the one who receives it. What is the new name. Lots of speculation.
Speculation about the white stone people going back into culture and history to try to find out what it is will look at it very simply what Jesus is saying is that I'm going to give you this new name and I don't think it'll be a new name for us were probably stuck with the name. Our parents gave us.
But it is a new name about Jesus. In fact, to the church of Philadelphia, Jesus says, I believe that that's the text.
He says I will give you my new name. And no one is going to know the name I gave you except you, your wife won't the person standing next to you in the choir of heaven and by the way, Jerry. That's when all of us get to saying thank you very much. The person standing next to you in the choir of heaven will not know just you and me. What were talking about here is that in heaven it isn't going to just be, you know, this mass of humanity, and we are one number on God's computer. There is going to be such intimacy with Jesus that only you and he will really know what is going on between the two of you and no one else will know it.
That's why will be worth it all.
When we see Jesus life's trials will seem so small when we see him imagine what Jesus is willing to give the over comers and Jesus is saying you have to overcome yet overcome doctrinally. Most assuredly, the church did that, but you also have to overcome morally and in your walk with God you must be an over comer. If not, I will come and I will judge you with the sword of my mouth and I will or against you notice how in the Bible there really only two categories of people. It is nothing do with black or white, rich or poor, educated or uneducated has to do it over comers and those who follow God and those who don't and the lion is clear some things that we need to think about as we think about this passage in relationship to us transforming observations number one. As you look at the text. You realize that Satan is the one who stands back of all false religion.
I know where you dwell, were Satan's seat is back behind those temples to Athena back behind the temple to Zeus back behind all of the sacrifices that went on, there is an intelligent, powerful, evil, malicious deceiving spirit called the devil and back behind all the television shows that have to do with the occult, charmed, and all those other things that young people listen to back behind. There is the devil and back behind all false worship is safe.
Remember I told you in the last message that primarily when you're trying to find the devil you should go to church or the synagogue or the mosque that's his place to deceive, to mislead and to misdirect and end the bottom line here is that that means that we are in a very spiritual battle.
It's not one that can. It's not just a war of ideas because all the good arguments are on our side. It's a spiritual battle with the spirit who wants to have a religion that is completely in harmony with the person or persons desires. It is desired, driven theology.
I want God to be this way.
Therefore God is this what now if you are to go to visit these places.
The seven churches which you would find in at least two or three instances is this interesting fact that beside these temples. These complex pagan temples beside them is a church sometimes right next to them. Now let's take a moment to folks today. Let's think about that.
How should we interpret that there are two ways to interpret it.
One is to say that the church was so much a part of their culture and a part of false religion that they said we can worship right next to you because were happy with what's going on next door. That's one way to interpret it that the church succumb to the culture and absorb the culture and therefore was not a threat to pagan religion.
There's a second way to interpret it and that is more optimistic and hopeful way and I hope that this was true that what the church was saying is this, we want to plant a church right next to the throne of Satan.
That's where we want to be. Show us where the devil is and that's where we want the church to be because we want to invade his space. We want to invade his space and we want to show that right in the midst of the most demonic place that's where the church can be separate from the culture in terms of belief and lifestyle, but not separate from the culture geographically or in terms of our ministry right smack in the middle of Everett show was the place where Satan's most active in the city of Chicago. That's where we want to be right there right where the devil works overtime right in the drug culture we think for example of some of the housing projects, and that's why we thank God so much for by the hand club for children right in the most hopeless difficult situation. We want to be there to say this is where we have a church. This is where the gospel goes out but I want you to be aware that when we talk about preaching the gospel in sharing in our culture, we are speaking of out nothing less than spiritual warfare were going into enemy territory.
And it seems from time to time is of all of America is drifting towards enemy territory. I don't want to have a negative view but when you find the name of Jesus so malign and when you will find the church marginalized all public expressions of Christianity and the so-called public square, criminalized you know that we have a wonderful God-given glorious challenge ahead of us. That is to see the glory of God. Even in the midst of a culture that no longer has even respect for Jesus to remember all false religion back of it is Satan. Satan's throne. There's a second lesson that's very important and that is this doctrinal accuracy. Doctrinal accuracy can never be a substitute for moral purity. Doctrinal accuracy cannot be a substitute for moral purity.
You can't say well I believe and defend Jesus you know there have been those who have been defenders of the faith and usually they're very very particular and all of their defenses and, nevertheless, and I'm bringing it down not just to a church, but to an individual very often within their secret life.
There is rot. And you never know it because Jesus might say of them.
You know your holding fast my name, you did not deny my faith you are willing to put up with persecution you or even on hand when my faithful witness and tip us was killed but I have this against you, your tolerating immorality in your life. Repent therefore or I will come to you quickly, and war against you with the sword of my mouth. I need to say it very clearly.
Today, folks. Just because were under grace that does not mean that it is safe to send just because were the covenant people does not mean that it is safe to sin. The two things in Scripture that I've referred to the wonder of grace and the other is the wonder of this intolerance for sin was in it Augustine the great theologian who when he was converted he he had a mistress and he knew that he had to give that up and he prayed one time and said something. Oh God, I seek deliverance but that of course didn't change his lifestyle. Then he prayed and said oh God deliver me, but not now. Do it at a later time, but until the Holy Spirit of God worked mightily in his life and he couldn't take it anymore. He finally said God deliver me and do it now. My wife and I know a woman who used to be a prostitute and that she told us the story that when she was in a brothel.
She frequently prayed over God get me outta here, prayed with tears, God get me out of here. God didn't get her out of there until she was so desperate.
She said she got on all fours hands and knees and said God either get me out of here or till May.
Right now, but do one or the other kill me or else get me out of here. That was the day she walked out of the brothel, never to return.
She's wonderfully married to a Christian husband and God's blessing her life. You see, there is that point of desperation. And Jesus is saying to us today. I know I know which will you do repent therefore or I will come and declare war against you while you're ready to pray. I guess that's easy to do. I should really ask are you ready to repent. Let's pray father we ask in Jesus name that you might use this wonderful letter with its marvelous promise of intimacy with Jesus. Imagine his new name that no one else shall ever know just Jesus and give us that vision father of what you have provided.
Give us the vision Lord, we pray to respond in faith and in holiness to your word now before I close this prayer and after we close the prayer, we shall saying. But before we do that I wanted time of silence. What is it that you need to say to God, and by the way give never received Jesus as your Savior. The good news of the gospel is that this Jesus that I preached about today actually save sinners and forgives your sin and cleanses you and brings you into God's presence and declares you to be righteous.
You know who you are. If you need to receive Christ. You and Jesus know it don't you respond to him right now our father we think today the church at Pergamum and know that it no longer exists, and we ask that you shall help us to repent that future generations will be able to benefit from our impact that we might be faithful and that we might be found faithful to pass on the torch to others that The Moody Church and other churches that are listening may be able to pass on to the next generation. Their commitment their zeal and their faith pray in Jesus name, amen and on today's Moody Church. Our pastor looks or spoke on when Jesus observes our teaching taken from Revelation chapter 2 the fourth of eight messages on what Jesus thinks of his church next week will learn about a message to the church of fire tiring as we hear Dr. lutes or preach on when Jesus observes our holiness. What Jesus thinks of his church can be yours on CD for a gift of any amount to The Moody Church. Our call 1-800-215-5001. Let us know you'd like to support Moody Church's ministry are. Thank you to you is a CD album with eight powerful messages. You can hear and then pass on to others. Call 1-800-215-5001 or you can write to us at Moody Church media 1635 N. LaSalle Boulevard Chicago, IL 60614 online go to Moody offeror.com that's Moody offeror.com. Join us next time for another Moody Church. Our with pastor Erwin lutes or in the congregation of historic Moody Church in Chicago