Friday, April 12, 2013

The Immoral Church

"...I have a few things against you:  You have people there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin by eating food sacrificed to idols and by committing sexual adultery."  Revelation 2:14

The Church in Pergamum is considered the church that is immoral.  Jesus starts out with commending them for being faithful to his name among many who were under the influence of Satan and even killed Antipas who was a faithful witness. However, when Jesus was speaking to the church in Pergamum, he came to them saying "these are the words of him who has the sharp, doubled-edged sword."  He clearly was coming to bring truth to them by the word of God.  The word of God is what divides the soul from the spirit.  It is what brings truth, light and life to the believer.  He was coming to them with the double-edged sword because of their participation in tolerating the teaching of Balaam and the Nicolaitans.

Balaam was an old testament prophet in the book of Numbers.  He was a prophet ordained by God.  However, Balaam became greedy.  He was approached by Balak, King of Moab, who came to him and offered to pay him if he would curse the Israelites so that he could defeat them.  They brought to Balaam a collection taking up a fee for divination to pay him of which Balaam considered.   God tells Balaam not to associate with these people because the Israelites are blessed.  Greed caused Balaam to entertain the idea of doing this where he opened up the door to Satan to pervert his mind.  They came back again and offered him whatever he would like and he again let them stay overnight.  Because Balaam did this again and kept persisting with God to do this, God allowed Balaam to go with them.  However, God only gave him permission to do this based upon the authority that Balaam would do only what God told him to do.  Yet Balaam had already fallen when he left with them because he was disobedient to God's initial instruction.  God knew the heart of Balaam was impure.  An angel was sent to destroy Balaam for his disobedience.  However, out of his mercy God allowed the donkey to rebuke him. Yet, Balaam still went forward.  Although he only speaks blessings over the Israelites, he sold the Israelites out by sharing with Balak how to destroy them.  He told them that they should have them intermarry and this would lead them worship other gods, then God would take his blessing away from them.   This lead them into spiritual adultery along with sexual immorality.  

God was addressing Pergamum for this because they were allowing leaders and prophets to do the same among the body of Christ.  They were approving of the sexual immorality leading others astray into adulterous idol worship.  They were doing this for personal advancement and monetary gain.  They were teaching that a saving faith and a lifestyle of immorality were compatible.  

Jesus warns them that if they do not repent that he will come soon and fight against them with the sword of the mouth.  He is a righteous God and cannot tolerate this.  However, he is loving and seeking that the church will repent so that they may overcome.  

His final blessing is for those who will overcome: he will give some of the hidden manna and a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it.  He promises to minister his living words of life to those who are truly seeking him with a promise that they will be called by God.  Let us hold fast and hear what the spirit is saying!

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