In the first church we discovered the common flaw
with believers is to drift away from doctrine despite an intense positive
attitude toward doctrine, and then misapplication of its principles to
The second church letter covers the persecutions
believers are exposed to by others as well as pressures believers place on themselves.The world
is not fair and we should not expect anything more from this world. If we do, then we only set ourselves up for
disappointment.The doctrinal reminder
in this case is that Christ is the first and the last. Though life here on earth is unfair, life
here on earth is not the end of life, nor is it the sum total of life. Something better exists in heaven, and there
is where our true and greater wealth resides.
The third church letter is directed to
Pergamum.Here Christ stands before us
with His two edged sword.He can bless
with fine surgical skill or curse with the broad swing of discipline. When we drift away from doctrine we fall into
the trap of this wicked world.There,
decadence and evil lay ready to take us deeper into the pit, from which we may
not be able to get out.
Christ’s two edged sword can go either of two
ways.One way to discipline or judge,
and the other way is to heal surgically. With punishment on the one hand and grace on
the other, Christ totally controls the outcome of each of our lives.
The one who holds the two-edged
sword, is Jesus Christ, Rev. 1:16.Bible
doctrine is that sword, Heb. 4:12.
The sword is two-edged and depicts the Word’s
potency and power in exposing and judging the innermost thoughts of the human heart.
The sword is never dull, always extremely sharp, and so too, Bible doctrine
never wields a dull edge.It is able to
strike through any and all of the evil and ambiguity and nonsense that is out
This picture shows Christ as full of grace, but
also as the ultimate judge and executioner.
Not exactly a positive opening to the Church of
Pergamum, but then they had a tendency for worldliness and that will be the
basis for the complaint against them.
They are facing imminent judgment.
The Church in Ephesus became negative, and they
faced the risk of the next step of compromising into worldliness, and that
eventually leads to judgment, which Pergamum faces.
The term, worldliness, generally carries a
connotation of dancing, or having fun, or just doing things out in the world. However, worldliness is the preoccupation
with the temporal system of life to the exclusion of the spiritual life. And that certainly includes a preoccupation
with ones social life, or work, or whatever it is that you do while ignoring a
daily Bible study.
The world is temporary and therefore a perishable commodity,
whereas the spiritual life is eternal, permanent, and non-perishable.
The Bible tells us that we are not a part of this
world, therefore we should transform ourselves by the renewing of our minds in
doctrine, and warns us to not be conformed to this world lest you become an
enemy of God, John 15:19, Rom. 12:2, James 4:4.
The Church of Pergamum failed to heed these
mandates.If you can never find time for
your Bible studies, then you too, face the repercussions of disobedience to