Church at Pergamum

Will you follow your calling or your culture?

“To the angel of the church in Pergamum write: These are the words of him who has the sharp, double-edged sword.  I know where you live—where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, not even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city—where Satan lives. Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: There are some among you who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin so that they ate food sacrificed to idols and committed sexual immorality. Likewise, you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans.  Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it.” Revelation 2:12-17 NIV

Before our world changed drastically this past week or so, we had begun to look at the seven churches in Revelation. Each week we would dig deeper individually and bring something we personally received to our weekly Bible Study. Due to the change in how we are able to meet in the present moment, we have decided to continue with our weekly study online and give each member of the body an opportunity to offer something themselves. While changes abound, we can still grow together as we dig into the Word for our strength and continue to allow this powerful, living Word to change us. Let’s do this and let’s find ourselves dug deeper into Christ than we could have ever imagined.

Pergamum was a magnificent city in its day, but today all that remains are the ruins of what once was. Known for its innovation, its inventors, and its temples to many different gods, Pergamum was a city where many would gather and would travel miles to participate in activities that would be considered an abomination to our Great God. The church in this culture was being pressured to bow and conform to the pattern of the world around it. They were being required to declare that the emperor was god and unfortunately some were doing it. Persecution of Christians was intense and harsh during this time but the church still grew and many were coming to faith in Christ.

However, the outside pressure and even the pressure of those who pretended to believe came at them in force. For those who began to compromise it was not long before they embraced the culture around them and the call to be separated from the world seemed like a call to legalism.

Jesus, speaking to this church presents the renewed call to come out from the world and to be his true disciples, even it if cost them everything. The reward they would receive for full devotion would far outweigh anything they would experience in the present age in which they were living. That call is true for us as well.

While there is much to look at regarding this church, the need to follow your call over culture stands out as the most dominant challenge to them.

Unfortunately, when we choose culture over following the call of God upon our lives it leads us to a place of compromise.

When we compromise we are often found professing a faith that we are no longer practicing. This will cause us to blend rather than stand out.

Jesus was calling the church in Pergamum to stop sitting on the fence and his call to us is the same today.

It is time for us to see that comprise will lead the strongest man to become weak. Little by little we give away the strength we possess by making small compromises to fit in. The next thing we know, our strength is gone and we are left powerless over our enemies.

Jesus calls this church to repentance. He is asking them to change direction and to renew their commitment to follow Him fully!!

Let’s hear His call to the church and find ourselves turning to face Him and following Him with all of our hearts.


  1. Reply
    Roberta&Sandy says:

    We really like this idea of a group chat. Thank you, Pastor and Sue for setting it up.

  2. Reply
    Roberta&Sandy says:

    It is easy to continue using the right words to sound extremely spiritual and loving, but your heart is slowly drawing away to seek its own end. So can make appear that you are clearly on the “right” side of the fence, while resides on the other.

    The scripture: “To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna.” is interesting in that it says Christ will give “some” of the hidden manna. We wonder about this: Does it refer to the opening up of the Word?

    Also, the reference to the “white Stone”, where there is a name on it that only you and Christ will know. It would seem reasonable that this relates to the passage in 1 Cor 13:12: “Now we see dimly, but then face to face now we know in part, but then I shall know as I am known.”

  3. Reply
    J.Holmes says:

    Maybe it would be good to begin with the question: Whom do we fear? over What do we fear? Matt.10: 28 says that we are “not to fear those who can kill the body, and cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Jesus is our salvation. We are to work out our salvation with fear and trembling.(Phil.2:12,13) Our study begins with One who has the sharp two edged sword. (Rev.2:12). All things were created by Him (Jesus, the Word), through Him, and for Him.(Col.1:16). He created us. The very word that He speaks is spirit, it is life. (John 6:63). We are reminded that the very word of God (according to Heb.4:12) is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Rev.2:9 says Jesus knows our works and dwelling place. Nothing is hid from Him. He stands before us with the sword of judgement. He knows our heart to the uttermost of our being. He not only will judge the nations(Rev.19:11,15), but each of us. We are warned as to the true nature of Satan….that he is a deceiver…and that such deception can creep into our lives. He is a lier and he will take advantage of our weakness in the flesh….enticing us to walk according to the flesh and enticements of the world. If we walk according to the flesh we die, if according to the Spirit we live. The sword Jesus carries will ultimately clarify and reveal the motivations of our heart, cutting to the depth of who we are. Gluttony and sexual immorality is wrong and separates us from God. We are not of this world. Our life is hid in Christ so that Jesus is seen in us. Jesus is the bread (manna) of life. He is our life. He gives us a new name and are called into an intimate relationship with Him, because He overcame the world…we too can overcome in Him…in Christ.

  4. Reply
    Sue Holmes says:

    Christ is identified here as “ Him who has the sharp, double-edged sword”. In Ephesians 6:17 Paul identifies the Word of God as “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God”. 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) We have seen earlier (in Rev 1:16) “ coming out of His mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword.”
    One thing that stands out for me is the power of God’s spoken Word (sharper than a 2 edged sword) … maybe that means even the Rhema Word of the Holy Spirit spoken specifically to the believers at Pergamum.
    A strong message is needed here because the church had been infiltrated with false teaching. And not just any false teaching. First we have the teaching of Balaam. Balaam was a prophet for hire. To be more direct … Balaam was a prophet for profit. In the New Testament Christ would describe certain shepherds as hirelings. They loved their paycheck more than they loved God’s people. I think this would describe Balaam. Secondly, the false teaching that the Ephesians had rejected was being welcomed in Pergamum. God hated the Nicolatians & their teaching.
    Paul instructed Timothy to “ Guard and keep unchanged, the treasure [that precious truth] which has been entrusted to you [that is, the good news about salvation through personal faith in Christ Jesus, through [the help of] the Holy Spirit who dwells in us.”
    I see this as being about the TRUTH! We MUST guard the gospel … the simplicity of God’s plan of salvation. False teaching & religion strives to make a lie out of truth. The simple, pure Gospel then becomes a complicated web of lies that only exists to trip up believers and keep us from the true intimacy with Christ. It exists to nullify the cross. This God hates. We need to heed the example of the apostle Paul & present “Christ & Christ crucified.” A pure gospel that is enveloped in grace & mercy.

    For me the hidden manna is also significant. That it is hidden signifies that we are to be completely dependent on God for our supply. God only supplied the Israelites with enough manna for the day. When they went to bed at night they were dependent on God alone to provide for the next day.

    What does this look like for us in 2020?
    In our present circumstances we see people in panic mode. The mundane items we previously gave little thought to becomes hard sought after treasures (toilet paper & cleaners, etc. for example). We raid the grocery stores because fear tells us that there will be no manna tomorrow.
    People question us & mock us for leaning on our faith in Christ. Neither faith or Christ can be seen they say. “There is no God”. And yet we are seeing wide spread panic because of a virus that we cannot see. We cannot see it but we certainly see & feel its effects.
    Pergamum had a virus running through it … religion & lies = false teaching,. And this virus was causing spiritual death. Pergamum was a university town that thrived on false teaching. Unfortunately this false teaching was infiltrating the church. The vaccine was & is Christ alone … our supply & our source. We only overcome through our reliance on God … not by might nor by power but His Spirit.

  5. Reply
    Tracy Auton Stuit says:

    I am sad that we have to cancel Bible Study — although I am 100% on board with it. I wish I had started attending ages ago. I am happy that we have this forum to discuss and study together. Over the past year or so, God has birthed in me a hunger and thirst for the Word that I have never had. I would say that for most of my life I have been a “complacent” Christian. I have never lost my faith, or belief in Christ as my Saviour, but have been guilty of straddling the fence, and compromise. I am so very thankful for His grace, and mercy, and love, and that He has never let me go. My heart’s desire is truly to know Him more, to be a light, and to proclaim Him! To have ears that hear, and to obey!

  6. Reply
    Tracy says:

    I love what you shared, Sue! I resonates deep in my heart!
    And Freda, what you spoke on Sunday, about the fence, belonging to Satan. It’s true.

  7. Reply
    Karen says:

    Just getting this today. Sorry I’m late.
    The first part of this passage challenges me to take a close look at where “deception” has a place of encampment in my life, and I REPENT!

    Next is the “white stone” image. I looked the words up in original Greek and it means:

    “white pebble” worn smooth by handling as a counter or ballot, a verdict of aquitttal, a ticket of admission, a vote or a voice.

    So…… V17……to him who OVERCOMES will be given some hidden manna and a white pebble of admission.

    OVERCOMES????? Could it refer back to the previous verses about Pergamum? Overcoming being “enticed” (v14) to consume (take into our lives) deception.

    OK, now HOW?

    For me the answer is in 1 Corinthians 12.
    The community of believers manifesting the gifts of the Spirit for the edification of HIS body to be brought into RIGHT fellowship with Christ and each other. I would choose to seek out the gifts of wisdom, knowledge and discernment……to combat deception. If I have not been given those gifts by the Spirit, I would seek out those who have them.

  8. Reply
    Paul Sampson says:

    What is the significance of the “two-edged sword” referred to in Hebrews 4:12? If you start looking, you’ll find out this phrase regarding a “two-edged sword” appears all over the New Testament, so it must be pretty important.
    For instance, when the apostle John received his vision of Jesus on the isle of Patmos, he said, “And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength” (Revelation 1:16). Notice that this “two-edged sword” came out of Jesus’ mouth! Why would Jesus have a sword in His mouth? Shouldn’t the sword have been in His hand?
    The phrase “two-edged” is taken from the Greek word distomos and is unquestionably one of the oddest words in the entire New Testament. Why is it so odd? Because it is a compound of the word di, meaning two, and the word stomos, which is the Greek word for one’s mouth. Thus, when these two words are compounded into one (distomos), they describe something that is two-mouthed! Don’t you agree that this seems a little strange? So why would the Bible refer to the Word of God repeatedly as a “two-edged sword” or, literally, a “two-mouthed sword”?
    The Word of God is like a sword that has two edges, cutting both ways and doing terrible damage to an aggressor. Ephesians 6:17 calls it “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (see February 8). As noted, the term “word” is taken from the Greek word rhema, which describes something that is spoken clearly, vividly, in unmistakable terms and undeniable language. In the New Testament, the word rhema carries the idea of a quickened word.
    Here’s an example of a rhema or a quickened word: You are praying about a situation, and suddenly a Bible verse rises up from inside your heart. At that moment, you are consciously aware that God has given you a vers
    e to stand on and to claim for your situation. You’ve received a word that came right out of the mouth of God and dropped into your spirit! That word from God was so sharp that it cut right through your questions, intellect, and natural logic and lodged deep within your heart.
    After you meditated on that rhema, or that quickened word from God, it suddenly began to release its power inside you. Soon you couldn’t contain it any longer! Everything within you wanted to declare what God had said to you. You wanted to say it. You want to release it out of your mouth! And when you did, those powerful words were sent forth like a mighty blade to drive back the forces of hell that had been marshaled against you, your family, your business, your ministry, your finances, your relationship, or your body.
    First, that word came out of the mouth of God. Next, it came out of your mouth! When it came out of your mouth, it became a sharp, “two-edged” — or literally, a “two-mouthed” — sword. One edge of this sword came into existence when the Word initially proceeded out of God’s mouth. The second edge of this sword was added when the Word of God proceeded out of YOUR mouth!
    The Word of God remains a one-bladed sword when it comes out of God’s mouth and drops into your heart but is never released from your own mouth by faith. That supernatural word simply lies dormant in your heart, never becoming the two-edged sword God designed it to be.
    But something happens in the realm of the Spirit when you finally rise up and begin to speak forth that word. The moment it comes out of your mouth, a second edge is added to the blade! Nothing is more powerful than a word that comes first from God’s mouth and then from your mouth. You and God have come into agreement, and that agreement releases His mighty power into the situation at hand!
    So begin to willfully take the Word into your spirit by meditating on it and giving it a place of top priority. This is how you take the first necessary step in giving the Word a “second edge” in your life. Then when you are confronted by a challenge from the demonic realm, the Holy Spirit will be able to reach down into the reservoir of God’s Word you have stored up on the inside of you and pull up the exact scripture you need for that moment.
    As that quickened rhema word from God begins to first fill your heart and mind and then come out of your mouth, it becomes that “two-mouthed sword” described in the Scriptures. That’s when demons start to tremble in terror!

    When I was reading this it reminds me of when the spirit of the lord would come upon Diane when we were in some different Ministries in tough situations it was pretty awesome to see The Lord use her!! I miss that.

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