The following introduction is borrowed from the Bible Study guide for CITAM BURUBURU
Texts: Revelation 2:12-17; 2 Timothy 3:1-9
It is a common Christian cliché that we are in the world but not of the world. We live in a time when the world is at war with Christian faith (including the other religions), the pressure is so overwhelming and Christians often get into the mix. The letter to the Pergamum church is a stern one where Jesus highlights the issues of idolatry, false teachings and doctrines that the church is entangled in but seems not to realize. The tone as he called them to repentance is more like how he drove out the money changers from the temple (Luke 19:45-46). All can attest to the fact that the description reflects our society today. Moreover, with the digital age that seems to be making things relative, the situation is not getting better. In fact, we may not realize it; certain sections of the body of Christ are caught up in certain cultural indulgences that are contrary to the sound Christian doctrines. The call to be a disciple is a radical one where Jesus challenged us to have a commitment to Him that surpasses out attachment to our families, property or wealth and anything on earth in a world whose gravity tends to draw us away from Him openly and subtly. How then can we effectively live our Christian faith and witness in such circumstances?
Jesus commended the church of Pergamum for remaining true to his name. They also did not renounce their faith. He charged against them for the teaching of false doctrine, sexual immorality and eating food sacrificed to idols.
Jesus described the surrounding of the church as “where Satan has his throne” (V.13). This is because the area surrounding the church was evil. The church was also described as one that tolerated idolatry and false teaching. These realities are very similar to what we experience today. People value wealth, fame and money more than the love of God. People have rebellious children who do not obey.
The church today needs to be as bold as Jesus was in condemning evil and remind Christians that the Christ is lord over all. It is said that 80% of Kenyans are Christians and therefore many of us should be emulating the positive aspects of the church in Pergamum.
Revelation verse 17 NIV states that: Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it.
The verse above encourages us that in the midst of all the evilness in this world, the grace of God is available to all who believe in Christ. I am personally encouraged that even though I will be tempted to sin, Christ is available to help me overcome these temptations. The hidden manna in this verse signifies the nourishment you receive when you pray.
The white stone signifies that we are free from condemnation. As a Christian you and I will face and overcome temptations but we are determined to live a faithful life in Christ.