These Things Saith He – Overcoming Pergamos

17 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.

The sins of Pergamos are centered around misusing the word of God to justify living an ungodly lifestyle or to otherwise cause others to stumble in the faith.

How might we avoid misusing the word of God in such a manner, especially when many churches do this very thing? How many mainstream Christian teachings are based on misuse of the scripture?

There are secondary doctrines that Christians disagree over. However, one has to wonder how many pastors know that a teaching or two of their specific denomination is incorrect, yet they continue to teach falsehoods in order to retain their pastoral position?

This is one of the many dangers associated with institutionalized Christianity. The institution becomes a god in itself that exalts its falsehoods higher than the truthful teachings of Jesus and His apostles. The covenant bought with the blood of Jesus was meant to remove the barrier between man and God. It was not meant to erect many more barriers in the form of our countless denominations and the structures that we call “church.”

Through the blood of Jesus and the Holy Spirit, we all have access to God. It is true that we do not all teach. We do not all lead. We do not all prophesy. However, Jesus knows how to feed His flock. He knows how to bring His faithful together so that all might be edified, and He does not need our institutions or buildings to do so.

We who have the Spirit of God are the temple of God—not built with hands—and we do not need these man-made structures. In-fact, these structures are very often nothing more than buildings constructed of stumbling blocks lead by men and women who knowingly ignore false teachings or otherwise harden their hearts to the truth for fear of man instead of fear of God and Jesus who Is the Word of God.

Rather than rely on structures of stumbling, we need to put Jesus first of a truth and do our best to learn the word of God afresh. The Holy Spirit can teach us or lead us to faithful ministers of the word of God—many of which are not found in these structures of stumbling that we call churches, but on the outskirts right where the true ministers of God have always been found.

Even so , there are many good pastors who sincerely believe the teachings they preach and they are doing the best that they can. Many have positive impacts on their congregants and community. God knows and He is gracious and merciful to much misunderstanding when done out of a pure heart.

He also allows room for us to disagree on much because not all is fully revealed. So long as Jesus is put first and we disagree in humility and love for the brethren, He will show us all things by the Spirit according to His perfect timing and methods.

However, each individual Christian should do what they can to learn the scriptures and the truth of the teachings of Jesus. The gospel is simple. If we put our faith in Jesus, He will work out the rest for us so long as we put Him first.

This is how we overcome Pergamos.

We overcome by thinking less of our pastors and more of Jesus. Do not assume that church leaders are right just because they have formal training. The Holy Spirit is not institutionalized and neither is the true church of God. His Church is one in Spirit and found in the hearts of all sincere believers of all backgrounds and sects.

The Holy Spirit will teach us all things. He is the best at revealing the knowledge of the Lord to us on an individual level using the perfect timing and method for each of us. He takes the time to work with us intimately, which is something that many churches neglect.

It is not possible to properly feed an audience of many with those same old regurgitated sermons that are void of the leading of the Spirit, which is fresh, new, alive, and able to revive the heart of the individual.

All false teachings can lead to stumbling in the faith, so we should sincerely do what we can to learn true doctrine with faith in the Holy Spirit to teach or to lead us to a faithful teacher that respects the word of God properly.

Most importantly, we should avoid any teaching that uses the word of God to condone sinful living. This can take many forms. This can take the form of misusing the grace and forgiveness of God through Jesus by refusing to promote the change of heart that is promised in the gospel.

This can include using the scripture to re-write what God has called sinful so that unrighteous deeds are made acceptable: deeds like fornication, a love of money, a love of popularity, a love of self and vanity, and a self-righteous hatred towards others.

Love of anything but Jesus—when done in the place of Jesus or in a manner that causes one to neglect Him and the gifts He gives—is idolatry. We cannot use the word of God or the blood shed by the Jesus to justify idolatry, or we are no better than Balaam and Balac.

All of this might make one ask if going to church is a good idea.

Formal church attendance is a matter of personal conscience and can be greatly helpful for many. Especially those who are new in the faith. However, many who grew up in the faith outside of these formal structures find church to be very unsatisfying. This is in-part due to the misuse of the word of God. When not misused, the teachings often have an infantile nature to them. It is no wonder. Pastors and church structures of stumbling need congregants who are dependent on them—like a suckling child—in order to remain prosperous.

A well-fed and well-developed Christian should be able to conduct their life as a Christian without going to preschool every week. That sounds harsh, but that is what many of our churches are at best. Christian preschools. Assuming they teach the gospel at all.

Fellowship is good. Good teaching is good. However, if we want to avoid the perils of Pergamos, we need to be willing to get away from “Satan’s Seat” and into the wilderness like the woman in Revelation 12.

God will cause this to happen when the churches go after the false christ. Those who remain faithful will flee churches out of necessity. Many have done so already because they can see the trajectory that many of our churches are heading towards which is the acceptance of the false christ made possible by the grievous mishandling of the word of God.

17 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.

There is a hidden manna for those who are willing to get out of the corruption of our churches. Just as the people of God were fed in the wilderness, so does He feed us now and so will He when the great apostacy is formed.

“The woman fled into the wilderness where she had a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and threescore days” (from Revelation 12).

We might experience time in the wilderness individually or collectively depending on the time we are in or depending on God’s will for us. This idea has many fulfilments, but we can rest assured that if we seek Jesus and if we truly want to know Him and the truth of what He teaches, He will make a way for us to learn.

However, this way very often means leaving our comfort zones behind as we move forward to that promised land that comes first in heart by the Spirit and will one day come when Jesus returns to join all who are faithful with Himself. We want to grow up into Christ. We want to “bring forth the man child.”

If our churches do not encourage this growth, then they are nothing more than structures of stumbling that are fit to welcome Satan because His seat is already there and His ministers occupy those spaces. They will be cast out. Both the false ministers of this world and Satan and his angels. “Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and of the sea, for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath for he knows that he has but a short time.”

The above is a chapter draft of a book that I intend to compose and publish in a manner that is free to the public for the purpose of edifying the called of God in Jesus Christ.

I wrote in These Things Saith He: Contents that I will publish the drafts here first and offer opportunity for others to share their thoughts before the final work is completed.

I’m open to and greatly value the insight, experiences, and thoughts of my Christian brethren because we are a body knit together in Christ that is meant to work together without over reliance on our leaders. I am not your leader, but I do try to be faithful to what I have received to the best of my ability, and I look to Jesus for gracious judgment of my service and the service of all who truly love Him.

PREVEIOIUS CHAPTER: These Things Saith He – Pergamos Overview

NEXT: These Things Saith He – Scripture for Pergamos

All Chapter Drafts: These Things Saith He

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