In every local church, some members are loyal to Christ and growing in grace while others mix their faith with non-biblical teachings. The first century churches at Pergamum and Thyatira were no exception, and when Jesus wrote to these believers in Revelation 2, His words “I know you” contained both praise and warning. In this message, Alistair Begg explains how we can apply these principles in our lives today, avoiding moral compromise and affirming the authority of God’s Word.
12“And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: ‘The words of him who has the sharp two-edged sword.
13“‘I know where you dwell, where Satan's throne is. Yet you hold fast my name, and you did not deny my faith2 even in the days of Antipas my faithful witness, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. 14But 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. 15So also you have some who hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16Therefore repent. If not, I will come to you soon and war against them with the sword of my mouth. 17He 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.’
18“And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: ‘The words of the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like burnished bronze.
19“‘I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first. 20But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants3 to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. 21I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality. 22Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works, 23and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works. 24But to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not learned what some call the deep things of Satan, to you I say, I do not lay on you any other burden. 25Only hold fast what you have until I come. 26The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, 27and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father. 28And I will give him the morning star. 29He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’
Everyone loves to receive mail, especially when it’s from someone we deeply love or respect. How much more, then, would we long to know what Jesus would say in a letter to us?
The truth is that He did write letters to His Church – specifically, to seven first century churches – and sent His mail through the Apostle John in the Book of Revelation. As Alistair Begg guides us through these letters, we learn that the issues addressed by the Lord Jesus 2000 years ago are timeless in their application. Churches and individual Christians today face the same challenges, and we need to hear the same words of warning and encouragement as those early believers: words that say He knows our circumstances; words that call us to reject compromise; words that promise faithfulness will be rewarded in the coming Kingdom.
The risen Lord Jesus has sent the Church some mail. Are we prepared to read what He’s written?
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