By Rick Cowman
I invite you to read chapter 2 of the last book of the Bible again as we continue to look at Jesus’ letters to His Church. God’s call on our lives is to live up to the reality of who we are in Christ through the power of His life in us as believers. You probably remember from your world history class about Alexander the Great, the great conqueror of the third century BC. It was recorded that one day a young man was brought before him along with some charges of crimes he had committed. After reading these charges, Alexander the Great asked for the boy’s name. The reply was, “Alexander, your lordship.” Upon hearing that he bore his same name, the great king rose up out of his chair, pointed his finger at the boy and shouted, “Young man, either change your conduct or change your name!”
What about us? If we’ve trusted Jesus Christ, we belong to Him and are identified with Him, called by His Name! We call Him Lord and say we are following Him, but does our lifestyle prove we are His? Think about this: If you and I were charged with being a Christian in a court of law, would there be enough evidence in our lives to convict us? We are called to imitate Jesus, but too many of us live lives which are contrary to the life Christ modeled for us. Too many of us live lives which cause the world to cry, “Hypocrites!” You do know what a hypocrite is, don’t you? A hypocrite is someone who is not themselves on Sunday! A hypocrite is someone who is really sick and tired of all the trashy, ungodly programming on their VCR!
In verse 13 of Revelation 2, Jesus says to the church at Pergamum, “I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is!” This city of Pergamum was a cesspool of sin — and Jesus knew all about it. And He knows all about what it’s like where you live and work. He knows the temptations you and I encounter every minute of each day, and He understands our struggle! You might remember Jesus’ encounter with every temptation the devil could throw at Him in the wilderness experience (see Matthew 4). Jesus demonstrated there for us how we must resist the temptations we face in life. What did He do? He faced each temptation with “It is written!” He conquered the lies of the enemy with the truth! Look in verse 12 of our text at the words Jesus spoke to this church which had been pulled down by giving into sin: “The One who has the sharp two-edged sword…” Every temptation to enter into sin must be dealt a lethal blow from the “sword” of God’s Word! The next time the enemy comes at you and temps you toward an unholy, unwholesome thought or action, HIT HIM with God’s Word! HIT HIM with the truth about who God says you are in Christ, and then tell Him to hit the road!
Jesus gives this church at Pergamum a warning in verse 16. He say to them, “REPENT!” He says to us, “Turn away from this sin in your life!” But if we refuse to turn from it, He will “make war against us with the sword of His mouth!” How many of us want to be “at war” with God? Yet, we are when we allow our sin to be a stumbling block in our lives and in the lives of those around us. I didn’t say that, God did! You see, God’s intent is that the “sword” of His Word will cut through our blindness and our pride and convict us IN our sin, allowing whatever necessary to drive us out of it and into His loving arms! God will not tolerate sin in our lives, or in His church. He hates it, and we need to hate it, too! And He will make war against, because it separates us from full fellowship with Him and keeps us from showing Jesus to a lost world!