And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things said he which has the sharp sword with two edges;…
I. THE WICKEDNESS OF THE CITY.
1. No slight importance is attached by the horticulturist as to the soil in which he seeks to rear his plants. Arctic zones and sandy deserts give little promise of success.
2. Is it not a matter of highest importance whether our homes are well ventilated and are free from malarial and sewer poisons?
3. In a spiritual point of view, healthful surroundings should be carefully sought.
II. THE EXCELLENT FEATURES IN THE CHARACTER OF THIS CHURCH.
1. Unflinching firmness in upholding Christ's name — "Thou holdest My name," etc.
2. Unflinching firmness to Christ's cause — "Hast not denied My faith," etc.
3. Unflinching firmness under severe trials.
(1) There is nothing more valuable in human character than unswerving adherence to Christ, especially when persecuted for Christ's sake.
(2) Nothing more detrimental to true growth than unstability.
(3) The great lack of our day is moral backbone — power to stand for Christ amid the difficulties of life.
III. SERIOUS DEFECTS IN THE CHARACTER OF THIS CHURCH.
1. "Thou boldest the doctrine of Balaam!" How many a young Christian has been led away from Christ and His cause by being tempted to attend an evening party, where a taste for worldly pleasure was again awakened, which ultimately destroyed all relish for spiritual things! And are there not Churches in our land, nay, in our city, who are seducing their own members away from Christ by providing for them worldly amusements, on the plea that if they do not provide amusement they will go elsewhere to enjoy them? What is this but the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to cast a stumbling-block before the children of Israel?
2. "So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate" (ver. 15).
(1) What the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes was cannot be fully determined.
(2) The testimony of the Fathers is that it was something akin to the doctrine of Balaam.
(3) It was, at all events, that which the Lord hated.
(4) And it was very evident that our Lord Jesus Christ holds pastors and Churches to a strict account for what they allow to be taught and practised by their members.
IV. OUR LORD'S SOLEMN WARNING.
1. We must never lose sight of the real thing here advised.
(1) To repent in Scripture language is "to change one's mind"; and this means a change which affects the life.
(2) The real life is ever the expression of the mind's sentiment.
(3) There can be no true conversion without repentance, as there can be no true regeneration without faith; and the only real evidence of both is a life of holiness.
2. We must never lose sight of the judicial element in Christ's dealings with His people.
(1) "I will fight against them."(2) A Church of Christ cannot go counter to the expressly revealed will of its great Head without suffering for it.
(3) This is no less true in respect to every individual Christian.
2. We must never lose sight of the fact that the words of Christ are the source of our weal and woe.
(1) If He says, "Come ye blessed," etc., who can rob us of the joy?
(2) But if He says, "Depart from Me," who can prevent our doom?
(3) "My words," says Christ, "they are spirit, and they are life."
V. OUR LORD'S EARNEST COUNSEL.
1. The meaning evidently is this: "Let every one who hears this heed it!"(1) Let there be no listlessness.
(2) Let there be no indifference.
(3) Let there be no worldliness to neutralise the effect of the Word.
2. Oh, how much need there is to-day of this counsel!
(1) While listening to the blessed Word of God how many there are who scarcely realise what is said.
(2) How many who pay attention forget what they have heard!
(3) And many who truly desire and pray for grace to be obedient to the Word find themselves so involved in the cares of the world that they constantly come short of their fervent desire.
3. How may it be done?
(1) We must cultivate the habit of submission to God's Word.
(2) We must become more familiar with God's Word.
(3) We must be much in prayer while the Word is expounded.
(4) And we must take the Word to ourselves.
VI. OUR LORD'S MOST GRACIOUS PROMISES.
(D. C. Hughes, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges;