The third church addressed in the letters to the seven churches is known as Pergmos or Pergamum. That city was said to be given to more idolatry than all of Asia. A prominent hill rising one thousand feet stood behind the city and was covered with multiple heathen temples. Prominent was a sculpture of Zeus cut from rock and standing on a platform. Sexual immorality was rampant and had infiltrated the church. The church found itself in a hostile environment and had also become compromising. They were holding on and had not denied the faith, even when one of their members was killed for his faith.
Jesus identifies Himself to each church with a description that is most relevant to its particular need. To this church He comes as the One with the sharp two-edged sword. This immediately brings to my mind the Hebrews passage: “For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires” (Hebrews 4:13 NLT). Jesus is the Living Word who will expose and cut away the sin that harms. Like a skilled surgeon He will use the scalpel of the word to bring healing to our lives if we allow Him to do so.
Just like the church at Pergamum, the church in the 21st century lives in a hostile environment. Satan is actively at work in our culture. He seeks to infiltrate the church with a compromising attitude toward sin. May we be ever alert to his schemes. May we determine to be faithful to Christ and hold firmly to His word. Let us love Jesus and His word. May our hatred of sin be strong and our love for sinners be even stronger.