“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
When Jesus began His public ministry, He spoke of the nearness of the kingdom and the command to repent and believe the good news (cf. Mark 1:15). Repentance is not negative, but a positive response to the call of God’s Word. To repent means a change in thought or behavior; it means to reverse direction. It is to submit to God’s Kingdom rule for every area of our lives.
The church in Pergamos was called to repent, to reverse direction. Those who held to the doctrine of the Nicolaitans were to be confronted with the truth so they might reverse direction. The Bible teaches that when the church fails to exercise spiritual discipline, she might expect to experience severe chastening from God’s almighty hand. The church at Ephesus hated the deeds of the Nicolaitans, but the church at Pergamos tolerated them. The Nicolaitans held a view of life that perverted grace and exchanged their liberty with license. Jesus reproves the church at Pergamos for allowing heretical teachers and abominable practices into her midst and calls her to be faithful to the truth.
Every believer and every Christian church needs to take to heart the fact that sin will take you further than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay and cost you more than you want to pay. When there is a cancer in the church that cancer needs radical treatment. It must be cut out. “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
Suggestions for prayer
Pray for growth in repentance and faith. Pray that the church to which you belong would be steadfast in the life of repentance and faith and thus in fighting against compromise. Pray for that same grace for yourself.
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.