As we conclude the letter to the Pastor and Church at Pergamum, we need to remember that the letter is firstly to them and then to the other six Churches and to all Gospel Churches of all time and that includes us today. Although the Church and pastor were steadfast in their faith and ministry (v13), The Lord Jesus named two major issues He was unhappy with. It was the teachings of Balaam and the Nicolaitans. Both seemed to teach and encourage feasting with paganism and indulging in sexual immorality of the most sordid kind in public for all to see in broad daylight.
1) You will notice the word “repent” in verse 16. Repent therefore! Many Churches today play a low key on this issue, yet it is a Gospel Issue! As Paul pleaded his case he says
Ac 26:19 “So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven. 20 First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds. 21 That is why the Jews seized me in the temple courts and tried to kill me. 22 But I have had God’s help to this very day, and so I stand here and testify to small and great alike. I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen— 23 that the Christ would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would proclaim light to his own people and to the Gentiles.”
Paul’s evangelism to all peoples whoever they were started with repentance (v20). In verse 22-23 he shows that the Gospel Message was preached in the Old and New Testaments. It was the same message! Then …
(a) The need to repent. This is turning away from the rebellious life. Stopping to sin. Ceasing evil and wickedness. Refusing to follow the acts of the sinful nature. Putting off all the old habits that displeases God. It is nothing less than a change of life. But as we will see later, repentance is not a once of matter. Although it is deep and radical and life transforming … it must be progressive.
(b) The need to turn to God. Once one turns away from the old sinful lifestyle there is a turning to another lifestyle. This new lifestyle is diametrically opposite to the old one. God is holy, sinless and righteous and wants and requires His subjects to pattern against his character … which is being transformed into the likeness of the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29). Like with repentance, turning to God is progressive. It never ceases.
(c) The need to prove repentance. To use a well-known slogan … “This is where the tyre hits the road.” Proving repentance is all about showing God, others and yourself that you have been transformed.
(d) The need to behavior proves repentance. Paul puts it like this … prove their repentance by their deeds. These deeds refer to living a holy life … one that honors God. Remember Christians are not sinless but we need to show our Lord that we are making strides in holiness making. This includes ceasing those petty, repetitive sins as well as those habitual sins. It also means understanding the holiness of God and the sinfulness of man. When you grasps that what God did in coming to our planet for the express purpose of paying the penalty for our sinful depravity, His death for our life, you will strive to avoid purposeful, planned and irresponsible sin!
2) The letter is directed to the Pastor and his duty is to inform the congregation of the contents. It is serious. This body needs immediate action
Rev 2:16 Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.
(a) Otherwise … pastor do as I instruct or else! This is serious. We need to do as our Lord requires or else we will suffer the consequences.
(b) Refusal to repent … that is getting rid of those who teach Balaam’s message and especially the Nicolaitans message will result in Jesus coming to do what the pastor and Church leaders ought to do … clean the Church of all false teachers and teachings! Why is it that the Christian Church throughout the world is saturated with false teachers and teachings? (Naturally there are many, many Churches in all countries who hold true to the Gospel and the Bible). It is because of tolerance … and when Churches tolerate a little false teaching here and there, soon it infiltrates the Church and morality slips and the Churches witness and integrity are shatters. O my friends … should you think I am harsh or intolerant, investigate where many main lines Churches are today when it comes to the Bible, the Gospel, sin, hell, Jesus’ birth, miracles, ministry, death, resurrection, ascension … and the Bible itself! You will be astonished. Lovely, genuine and innocent people in great numbers are being caught up in tolerance to the point where one needs to question whether they are saved or not. Jesus is saying … clean up the Church, be radical … excommunicate!
(c) If you don’t repent I will come and sort the matter out. It is uncertain as to what … will fight against them … means … but I am certain … the sword of my mouth … refers to Jesus pronouncing judgement on the false teachers and their followers … and the pastor, Church leaders and congregation might be affected too.
3) There is encouragement and blessing for those who obey the Lord Jesus Christ.
Rev 2:17 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it.
Obedience is giving an ear to the Spirit to hear what He says …. repent! Note
(a) Overcomers will receive the hidden manna. In Moses’ time manna meant life, food for the body. Hidden manna is the symbol of eternal life.
(b) Overcomers will receive a white stone. Twelve such stones were used when Israel crossed the Jordon, perhaps as an entrance ticket. To enter public festivals and royal assemblies white stones were used as a ticket. This white stone refers to an entrance ticket to the royal banquet of the Lord Jesus.
(c) The new name has been widely discussed. It seems as though the new name is that of Jesus Christ, identifying the recipient of the stone as His.
Thank You Lord. Amen.