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May 13 – To the angel of the Church in Pergamos (1)

“And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: ‘The words of him who has the sharp two-edged sword. I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. Yet you hold fast my name, and you did not deny my faith even in the days of Antipas my faithful witness, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality. So also you have some who hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. Therefore repent. If not, I will come to you soon and 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 the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.’” – Revelation 2:12-17

Scripture Reading: 2 Kings 18:1-9

Holding fast is a very important quality in Christian discipleship. The church must keep the truth as received and not accommodate the whims of doctrinal or social change. In the final exhortations the Apostle Paul gave to the church at Corinth, he writes, “Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love” (I Corinthians 16:13-14). In the sermon to the Hebrews we read, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering for He who has promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:23).

The all-seeing eye of Christ commends the church gathered in Pergamos for holding fast. The city of Pergamos was no stranger to the adultery of idolatry. It was home to many pagan cults and was the first city in Asia to build a temple to Caesar. It was a city where people believed in the greatness of man and had eyes closed to the living Almighty God.

Also in our age, the pressures both from within and without to cave in are great. Never must we forget that we live in a world which is not a friend to grace. Societal sin is growing stronger and presses against the church and we who are faithful members must know something of what it is to push back.

Does the church you are a part of make any difference at all in the community you live? Are you a stick-tu-ative Christian? Jesus never said it would be easy.

Suggestions for prayer: Christ’s followers are called to hold fast to the truth and to live out of the truth. Pray that would also be true for the church where you are a member. Pray for the same graces Hezekiah enjoyed.

Pastor Peter Vellenga serves as an itinerant preacher in the churches of Southern Ontario. This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional.

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