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Satan's Citadel and Broken Antlers

An Exposition of Revelation #5
The Church at Pergamum
Revelation 2:12-17

About Citadels and Antlers

The Alaskan Bull moose is one of the strongest animals on the planet for a reason. Males spend their whole summer preparing for the head to head collision during coming during the fall breeding season. Their only weapon is their antlers. Broken antlers ensure defeat.

Pergamum means "citadel." Jesus called Pergamum the city where Satan dwells. Satan will attack. What you do to strengthen your antlers know will keep them from breaking then.

Text

12 “To the angel of the church in Pergamum write: These are the words of him who has the sharp, double-edged sword. 13 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. 14 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. 15 Likewise, you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16 Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. 17 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.

How to Sharpen Your Antlers Now

(1) Realize an honorable past will not meet the challenges of the present (13-14)

In the Text

(1) Past contrasted with Present in 13-14

(2) Man named Antipas made the ultimate sacrifice for his faith in Pergamum. And the church honored and remembered him for his virtue

(3) Some among you hold to teaching of Balaam (syncretism) and Nicolitians (immorality under the name of Jesus)

Principles

(1) Great past doesn’t mean that we are meeting the challenges of the present.

(2) Heritage is good but comes with a danger: not following their example.

(3) We should remember heroes of the past; but where are the new ones to meet the challenge of the present?

How to

(1) Stand up and say this: issues we face are spiritual first and moral second

(2) There is immorality on our streets because there is irreverence in people’s hearts before God

(2) Realize the greatest thoroughfare for spiritual battles comes through the least expected door: the back one (14-15).

The Balaam Example

(1) Balak, king of Aram hired Balaam to curse the Israelites

(2) One problem: he couldn’t curse the God of Israel or the Israelites directly. He could only bless them instead.

(3) Though he heard a word from the Lord, he was compromised enough to suggest that the best way to curse the Israelites was to entice them to bring a curse upon themselves: food sacrificed to idols and prostitution.

(4) It eventually worked. The story of the OT is that Israel looked so much like their neighbors they had nothing to offer it.

Principles

(1) In the name of love, Pergamum held to a loose gospel and even looser morality

(2) As a result, without blinking, what was sinful didn’t appear to as sinful anymore.

Application

(1) Come one, come all, come just as you are has it’s place – before Gospel.

(2) But when pressed too far it’s the exact mentality that leads to a mixture of error and truth, and a mixture of purity and impurity.

(3) As a result, what is wrong looks more beautiful than what is right.

(3) There’s no such thing as finding common ground with diabolical influence (12; 16)

Frightening Images

(1) Jesus with a sharp double edged sword (12)

(2) fighting against them with the sword of mouth (16)

The Most Frightening Image

Who the repenting is addressed to; not the false teachers; but the church for tolerating it in the name of wanting to be perceived as loving, etc.

__Why the Images are Important_

(1) In the name of open-minded and building common ground we can compromise the Gospel.

(2) Church at Pergamum cared more about perception in the eyes of the world more than they did about the Good News of God.

Application

(1) According to the Scriptures, man is hostile to God before conversion (Col 1:21-23). And our view of sin directly impacts our view of grace.

(2) A Gospel without the mention of sin and repentance necessary, there is no Gospel. Only a message of the Devil without the need for the crucifixion of God.

(4) We cannot live without a word of hope from the Lord (17)

Hidden manna

Legend had it that manna was hidden in Noah’s ark for sustenance during flood and will be found at end of time – Jesus is Ark of the Covenant; the Hidden Manna; the Bread of Life

White stone

legal acquittal; black and white stones – black guilty and white not guilty. We have been declared innocent.

We are never lost in the crowd: Jesus knows our name personally.

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