Peter Barnes: Revelation 2:2-17
(3 December 2017)
SERMON NOTES : PERGAMUM: COMPROMISING ITS WITNESS (Rev.2:12-17)
– Sometimes it can be easier to face persecution from the outside rather than seduction from within.
1. Christ with the sword of judgment.
– 2:12. Why is Christ described in this way? For Smyrna the problem was persecution so Christ speaks appropriately to His people in such a situation – hence 2:8. But at Pergamum Christ speaks of His sword of judgment. He threatens to use this against those who are inside the Church and undermining her message and testimony – 2:16.
2. Faithful under persecution.
– 2:13. A later report says that Antipas was slowly roasted to death, but that may just be legend. In a church of perhaps 40-50 members, meeting in someone’s house, one of their number was put to death.
3. Compromising with sin and error.
– 2:14-15. The NIV makes it sound like there are two groups – one that taught what Balaam taught and the other called the Nicolaitans. But it is more likely that the doctrine and practice of the Nicolaitans is similar to the doctrine and practice of Balaam – Numbers 25:1-3; 31:16.
– 2:16. The two options are ‘repent’ or ‘Christ will declare war on you’.
4. Promises to the faithful.
– 2:17. Manna from the Exodus was preserved in the temple (Ex.16:33; Heb.9:4; Christ as the true manna from heaven – John 6:27-35. A juror put a white pebble in the urn if he considered the prisoner innocent and a black pebble in if he considered the prisoner guilty (Acts 26:10?). The new name obviously refers to salvation – Isa.62:2-3.