“Searching the Seven Churches”
The Slackness in Discipline – (Revelation Chapter 2 Verses 12-17)
The church at Pergamum had withstood the onslaught of the roaring lion, she wouldn’t be moved. So now Satan comes with a different tactic, he comes smiling. This is a fearful time for the church. Can she escape, flee from this? No, she must stand, continue to confess her Lord. They could have just kept their peace and left the situation as it was. There would have been peace for a time, doubtless. Satan would’ve been more than happy with that. Just be positive, they don’t have to be condemning the paganism. You don’t have to preach against it. You don’t have to preach against the errors of Rome, of Islam or the pervasive statism of our day, just keep the peace, don’t be rocking the boat. Peace at any price, well on my watch anyway says the Pastor. Lift up the banner of Christ yes, positively, yes. But does that not include claiming for him every inch of this whole world and universe for him? Does that not include declaring that every kingdom raised against his rule will fall, will be utterly destroyed (1Corinthians 15:24-27)? Light and darkness cannot live together, for a short while perhaps, but it is impossible that that continue. They are a confessing church and a faithful confessing church will always be a persecuted church. Antipas was known as a faithful witness (13). We don’t know who he is but he is known to the Lord that’s for sure. The reference to my faith (v13) refers to the doctrine of Christ to which Antipas was faithful unto death. He suffered for declaring that Jesus Christ alone was Lord (Philippians 2:11). For declaring that Ceasar, Zeus, the serpent god of healing, Asclepius, were no gods at all and that salvation was found in Christ and Christ alone (John 14:6; Acts 4:12). Antipas, his name means against all, he stood against all the powers of evil. Now, tolerance is the in word both in and out of the church. The pious phrase is bandied about, don’t judge, don’t condemn, don’t disturb the peace, love is all that matters. This is Pergamum.
It’s the slackness in the discipline of the church that’s the issue here (v14-15). How would you feel if your home was intruded? I recall a friend who detected that someone was trying to get into his home. He was not well pleased. But he took measures to ensure the said intruder did not get in. I recall a man who here in the United Kingdom knifed a man to death for breaking into his home. He was duly arrested for this, what the outcome was I forget. But in the United States of America, I’m told that if someone breaks into your home you have the right to shoot and kill that evil person. Does that give you an inclination as to how Jesus Christ feels when someone is seeking to or has, broken into his home, the church? John’s gospel gives you a clue (John 2:13-17). A house of trade? The doctrine of Balaam. Jesus Christ reacts the same way when Christians and churches are seduced by the world. And who in turn bring the principles and practices and music of the world into the church. It’s no harm they claim, we’re just having fun. Fun? Fun? In the presence of Jesus Christ, the mighty, holy Son of God, fun? The flame dies, goes out in the soul of the church. Then there is the same hardness and cynicism that you find outside in the world, except it’s no longer outside, it has been brought in. Well, says Jesus Christ to the angel, i.e., the ministry team, of the church in Pergamum, if you won’t deal with this, I will.
(© James R Hamilton, written Summer, 2011)