Good Morning Beloved,
I'm glad you're hear today
I believe the Holy Spirit has a Word
for all of us..
It is my prayer, we all hear what the Spirit has to say
We give You thanks for Your Word
We give thanks for its power and conviction.
Thank You Lord, for instructing us.
We give you all the praise and glory Father,
For You alone are worthy
Father, as we study the text today
help us to see the ways that
we can apply to our own lives,
and in our church.
Whether we like to admit it or not
we need the principals of gospel in our own lives;
we need the truths of gospel in our communities.
Lead us O Lord,
guide us to work together to build Your church
in Christs' name, we ask and pray
“And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write:
The One who has the sharp two-edged sword says this:
‘I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is; and you hold fast My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days of Antipas, My witness, My faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. But I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam, who kept teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit acts of immorality. So you also have some who in the same way hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. Therefore repent; or else I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of My mouth. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, to him I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it.’"
Today's Message: The Church At Satan's Seat
Beloved, if we don’t want to be a compromising church. We best not deny what we know to be true. We must deal with error in our fellowship. If we want to be the true church, the true believers, the overcomers who someday will be given Jesus Christ in all His fullness as the hidden manna, who someday will be given the white stone to give us admission in to the eternal feast in heaven.
Then we’ve got to deal with some issues..
Now let's just say this, if you don’t know Jesus Christ, if He is not your Savior, then the hidden manna isn’t for you; the white stone is not yours, and all you will have is the sword of His judgment.
Look, I’m not under any illusion here. I am aware, that there are people even in this church that fall into this category. You are here worshiping Christ, you are living out the doctrine of Balaam.
When you leave, you go from this place right into idolatry and immorality. And believe me, the Lord will come and make war with you sooner or later unless you repent.
I'm just speaking the truth here..
The church of Pergamos, the church at Satan’s seat.
This church is the northern most of all the seven churches of Asia.
The place of Pergamos had been an center of an independent kingdom that had existed for centuries. It was only in 133 B.C. before it came into possession of the Romans. Because of it’s geographical location, the Romans started a trend with this particular city. Sitting on the top of the highest hill in it’s surroundings, the city of Pergamum had a scenic view of the Mediterranean Sea.
Most historians make this location as the first location that an actual physical temple was built for the worship of the Caesars. Although all of the Roman Empire was to worship the Caesars as a deity, not all of them had actual temples.
So somewhere around 29 B.C. a temple was built in honor and worship to Augustus. This is perhaps why the Angel identifies this place as the church at Satan’s seat. There was the double presence of both civil authority of Rome and also the presence of religious authority that rendered worship to Caesar.
Christians were going up north through these various cities and taking the gospel, and it was echoing through all of Asia Minor. During that period of time, no doubt, the church at Pergamos was founded. But it was in a very pagan atmosphere, completely perverse to Christian testimony.
Not only was Pergamum stronghold for Rome, it was also a very educated society. Within the city a library housed some two-hundred thousand parchments that catered to some of the finest academic minds in the world during it’s time. Yet for all of it’s inclination toward academics and human reasoning, human atrocities were committed by the opponents of Christianity.
Revelation 2:13 mentions Antipas, another martyr who was slowly roasted to death in a bronze kettle.
2 Timothy 2:12 – “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him:”
Jude 3 – “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”
Hebrews 10:23-25 – “Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; for he is faithful that promised;” “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:” “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”
Commonly found on the coins in Pergamos was the serpent, identified as the god of healing Asklepios, who was also worshiped there. The temples to Asklepios served as the hospitals of the day. The symbol of this serpent is still in existence today, with the coiled snake on the staff, prominent in the world of medicine. Asklepios was known all over the ancient world as the Pergamese god, the god most associated with Pergamos was Asklepios.
One very famous individual came from Pergamos, his name was Galen. And Galen was the second most famous medical person in the ancient world, the most famous being Hippocrates. Any doctor, before he can go through the processes, takes what is known as the Hippocratic oath which is the ethical statement made by Hippocrates that should be the standard by which any medical practitioner applies his trade. But next to Hippocrates was Galen was the second great shining medical mind.
In the city of Pergamos was a medical school. It was a famous place of medicine. However, mingled into their medicine, of course, was a lot of superstition. Then you went to the temple of Asklepios you went there to be healed. In the temple harmless snakes slithered all over the temple floor. And in order to be healed you had to go in there and lie down and stay there. You slept on the temple floor and while you slept the defused multiplicity of the deity of Asklepios crawled over your body and infused you with his healing power. Satanic? Yes, absolutely!
It is only fitting that the description of the Lord Jesus Christ here is one who has a sharp, double-edged sword in His possession. The Sword in the struggle with the serpent.
The overcomer who found himself in Pergamos would be repulsed by the worship that was given to a serpent. He would look to this symbol with a dread and loathing and something to react against such.
Christ supplied just that with His Sword. To the Romans, the sword was equated with power and authority. But now the overcomer can look to a powerful God who can use the Sword to expose, dissect, and slay all false doctrine.
The commendation for Pergamos is found in Revelation 2:13.
You live right in the middle of trouble, of Satan’s nest and have remained faithful.
You hold fast my name and have not denied the faith.
The Lord of the Candlesticks makes allowances for the handicaps presented by social and political pressures during their stance for the Lord.
There is an incredible discovery that one finds in all of this calamity of martyrdom and spiritual declension: A man can live for God anywhere. Serving God never depends on geography but rather it depends on character.
Some plants will bloom in the tropical rain forests but will die in the bitter cold of Antarctica. There are some flowers that will grow only in the high, cold mountain passes of Siberia but will never grow in the great plains. Serving God is different from this. A man can serve God wherever he may live.
Obadiah kept a clean conscience in the house of Ahab.
Daniel preserved his integrity amid the corruption of the courts of Babylon.
Nehemiah maintained his devotion to God in the palace of the Persian emperor.
Even though the Roman army was a very poor school for morals, strangely enough, one finds that when we study the Word of God that many of the centurions mentioned held a high place in their heart for the Lord God of Israel.
Character may take some of it’s coloring from it’s surroundings but ultimately it comes from a man’s heart what he is. It is the choice of a man’s personal will whether or not to allow the surroundings to shape him. It is that same will within that will help him to overcome the circumstances and make them become the servants of his great purpose of life.
But then the words of the Spirit turn ominous in verse 14.
The condemnation of Pergamos begins. It is an incomplete church. It is valiant and passionate at times but it has been oblivious to the corrupting influence of some of it’s members.
"I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is." They existed at the headquarters of satanic opposition. Satan had obviously established the center of his operation there. It was the headquarters for his authority. "Satan's throne", is the mark of permanent residence. Satanic power was being manifested. The throne of Satan was this Gentile base of false religions.
The influences are so subtle that it has endangered the spiritual life of the church. The doctrine of Balaam has crept in. The Spirit retreats to an Old Testament example of a man named Balaam. He is found in all of his underhanded dealings in Numbers 22-24.
Balaam represented a present day problem of one who wanted to serve God and at the same please the enemies of God. He was summoned by Balak who was the king of Moab. Balak was interested in defeating the children of Israel.
Balaam was called by Balak to fulfill this task. Initially, he refused because he would not give him permission to go deal in the treachery. But Balak offered him a richer reward and this caused Balaam to ask God again permission to go. God granted him passage to Moab, but instead of being able to curse Israel all Balaam could do was bless them.
This presented a problem for both Balaam and Balak. Balaam was embarrassed and Balak was exasperated. Finally, Balaam found insight in how to destroy the children of Israel. He instructed Balak to get the young women of Moab to entice the young men of Israel and through illicit relationships, sinful actions, and other vices, Israel brought the judgement of God upon themselves. If you cannot curse them, then corrupt them.
Immorality and idolatry always lead to a bad outcome. Balaam represented those who foster evil and disobedience to God under a guise of devotion and piety.
Such activities were found among the church at Pergamum. They had become compromisers. Satan had not made a frontal assault on them by coming in as a roaring lion (l Peter 5:8) but rather had slithered in the back door and led them astray as a deceiving serpent.
In all three of these churches thus far, Satan has used a different approach:
In Ephesus, the church had lost it’s first love.
In Smyrna, the cruelty of Satan’s forces had come from the outside forces of persecution.
In Pergamum, Satan used the approach of Balaam. A corrupt insider to destroy them.
The Spirit of God was incensed at their activities. Worldliness prevailed because of their toleration of evil and wickedness. Worldly standards had crept into their fellowship. We battle with that same worldly spirit within the Church during our day, and I use the term "church" loosely here.
By that I mean to say, everybody is saved. I have yet to meet someone who is "lost". However, there appears to very little difference in the way the world lives and the way the church lives today!
I hear of church members attending happy hour, going to clubs.. and I'll just stop there...
But as a pastor, I do hear a lot of stories about what people are doing. I also see a lot of what people post online.. some of which, I must admit, is rather, "shocking" behavior for a "Christian."
And I won't even address the language...
Beloved, I sincerely pray that God sharpens our conscience with His Word!!! When a worldly spirit gets into your life, you begin to lose your saltiness. When it becomes difficult to distinguish between the actions and lifestyles of people of God and those of the world, something is sadly wrong.
There is a prevailing thought that comes from Scripture which affirms that there will be a great sorting out one of these days.
" But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God."
I'd like to say here, IF you are participating in any of these, or like activities, I have one word for you, “Repent!!!” You are kidding yourself to think that you will get away with it.
You can fool your parents, your children, your spouse, the person sitting next to you, and you can even fool me, but you cannot and will not fool God! What fellowship has light with darkness?
True faith is not fragile, only false faith is..
Pergamum had it all:
Heretics bringing immorality into the church.
The pastor was not preaching.
The saints were not praying.
No one was fasting.
Men and women were no longer hunger for personal revival.
Holiness was a lost commodity.
There was an indifference to false doctrine.
Apathy had shut down all opposition of sinful practices.
Within Pergamum was also the presence of another group called the Nicolaitans.
In Ephesus, it was the “deeds” of the Nicolaitans.
In Pergamos, it was the “doctrine” of the Nicolaitans.
What was tolerated as a deed over the course of time later becomes tolerated as a doctrine.
We have certainly witnessed such travesties in our current culture.
The behaviors that are being accepted and tolerated in the churches today, and again, I use the term "church" very loosely, is nothing less than shocking.
The correction given to Pergamos is blunt, brusque, and very brief. “You better Repent!” If you don’t I am coming quickly and will come with the Sword of the Lord.
Some want to argue, "Oh pastor, relax, I’ve got plenty of time!"
"I will take care of this matter of my soul, next week, next month, next year. . . . . ."
"Come on pastor, you can be a Christian and commit fornication times have changed!"
And men buy into this lie of the enemy week in and week out.
We have people like that today who think they're free in Christ so they're also free to behave anyway they want. They defended themselves on the basis of grace and Christian freedom.
THIS IS ABSOLUTELY FALSE!
I've had some people ask why I preach on some pretty controversial topics.. it's offending people.
Well allow me to just clear this up. I want to be faithful to hold fast the name of my Lord. I want to be faithful not to deny the faith and I also want to be faithful to expose error, lest the Lord Himself come against me. I will always teach what the Holy Spirit calls me to teach! It is never to be a place where unbelievers feel safe and secure, rather to be a place where unbelievers feel a little uncomfortable and frightened yet feel loved, fearful but welcome, and where they can hear the truth and be saved.
I want unbelievers to hear the truth about Christ and experience His love, experience our kindness and our graciousness. However, I will never give them the false security that they belong until they come to know Jesus Christ, and knowing Him is made manifest in their life. Now, if that causes some of you offense, perhaps, it has struck a raw nerve.. The truth isn't always pretty and pretty isn't always truth! You just cannot suppress error by compromising with it. Compromise is very very serious!
So best you take that up with the Almighty Himself!
The longer that a debt remains unpaid, the longer the interest is accruing in that account. The longer that sin remains, the harder it is to repent. Watch a man backslide and pray back through twice and it becomes progressively more difficult for him to do so. By the time he makes it back for the third time, the sin that has his heart and mind is almost like chains of iron. It takes so much more power and strength of God to free that man.
Beloved, many today have attached themselves to churches that are being sucked into the world.
The doctrine is worldly, the behavior is worldly.. what is acceptable and tolerated is definitely worldly! And if we intend to change it, we must meet the enemy on his own ground.
James 4 says, "Friendship with the world is enmity with God." There can be no compromise. There can be no intermarriage with unbelievers.
In Revelation 2:16 we find that there is a fierce command given by the Spirit. “You better repent!” Nowhere in Scripture can you find such a fierce discharge of an expression of vengeance against any sinner as the Spirit of God who is confronting those who delay their return back to God.
Abuses the grace of God.
Causes guilt to kick at mercy of God.
Familiarity causes one to take advantage of compassion of God.
Shows that a man does not value the love of God, he merely uses it as an escape.
The man who demonstrates these principles states that he will live a sinner and will then on his deathbed will become a man who is repentant.
May I just insert something here, Do Not Count On That, You Must Repent Now.
The conclusion: In verse 17, the council is so rich, so wonderful. "He who has an ear let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches." Which is a long way of saying, "Hey Listen." Listen. Don’t miss this. You’ve got to hear this message. And it’s the Holy Spirit inspiring it as John writes it, as Christ gives it. "To him who overcomes" Who is the overcomer?
1 John 5:4-5 says, "Who is the overcomer? The one who believes." The true believers!
"I’ll give some of the hidden manna." Manna was some kind of honeyed bread out of heaven.
I suppose we could call it "angel food."
I’ll give you Jesus Christ. I’ll give you the true bread, the spiritual bread from heaven which the world doesn’t see. I’ll give you that bread which will sustain you.
Let's turn back quickly to John 6.
"I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh."
An overcomer will always have an ear for what the Spirit is saying. And quite frankly, it is only the small few that will find themselves in the position to hear what the Spirit has to say.
Let me just give you the benefits of knowing Christ. Not only are you an overcomer, and that is all you will ever need to sustain your life ... forever!
I have had some ask, "What is written on the white stone?"
I can’t even begin to tell you how many people have asked me that...
The truth is, I don't know.. what I do know is what Scripture says:
"A new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it."
If I had the answer to that, the verse would have to then read, " No one knows, except for Pastor Monzon," and let me assure you of this, that is NOT what it says! It says "which no one knows but he who receives it.." That tells me it's personal, very personal. Who knows, perhaps its some sort of personal message from Christ to the one He loves, an admission pass into eternal glory.
But I do know this, I'll know mine and you will know yours! We will also know that the Lord wrote them for each of us and for none of the others of us. That is about as personal as it can get beloved!
Don’t keep living in your past.
Take hold, seize the day, seize the future for God.
Put your life on a personal growth plan.
Let someday start today...
I pray that I will see you for supper there...
And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.
Now and forever, in Jesus' name
Brian Monzon Ministries