A mixed bunch - Hope 103.2

A mixed bunch

By David ReayMonday 18 Jul 2016LifeWords DevotionalsFaithReading Time: 0 minutes


Read Revelation 2:12-17

12 “Write this letter to the angel of the church in Pergamum. This is the message from the one with the sharp two-edged sword: 13 “I know that you live in the city where Satan has his throne, yet you have remained loyal to me. You refused to deny me even when Antipas, my faithful witness, was martyred among you there in Satan’s city.

14 “But I have a few complaints against you. You tolerate some among you whose teaching is like that of Balaam, who showed Balak how to trip up the people of Israel. He taught them to sin by eating food offered to idols and by committing sexual sin. 15 In a similar way, you have some Nicolaitans among you who follow the same teaching. 16 Repent of your sin, or I will come to you suddenly and fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

17 “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. To everyone who is victorious I will give some of the manna that has been hidden away in heaven. And I will give to each one a white stone, and on the stone will be engraved a new name that no one understands except the one who receives it. (NLT)

Any church is a bit of a mixture. A church may do well in one area of its life and not so well in another area. Some are strong on outreach and weak on pastoral care. Others are strong on organisation but lacking in sound teaching. The church mentioned here at Pergamum was both loyal to the faith and compromising the faith.

This particular church was based in what was the centre of Emperor worship in Asia Minor. Such worship was big business. This church had not entirely succumbed to the Imperial cult but it had succumbed to unfortunate compromises from some of its members. We understand that the heart of their false teaching was sexual immorality—an adoption of the lax sexual standards in their surrounding culture.

It is a fact that a church can grow and even flourish whilst there is sexual immorality amidst its leaders and members. We might protest that this seems illogical but it happens. A revivalist evangelist can bring people to Jesus even as he is sleeping around with members of his retinue.

We are not to conclude that sexual or any other misconduct is right and proper. Rather we conclude that God works out his purposes despite such failures. He calls us to account for these failures even as he affirms faithfulness in other areas. The church at Pergamum, like other churches, was a mixed bunch and yet God was at work in it. Imperfection does not mean uselessness.

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David Reay