Revelations 2:12-17 Devotion Sharing

Submitted by Sara Hong, Gracepoint Berkeley

What would it have taken for the church of Pergamum to remain true in this kind of environment? In order to remain true to the Gospel in the midst of idolatry and living in a city “where Satan has his throne,” the Pergamum Christians needed to take God’s Word seriously. They would have had to personally experience the wounding effects of God’s words, the “sharp, double-edged sword” that has the power to divide soul and spirit, joint and marrow, via concrete acts of responding to God’s Word.

They would also need one another for encouragement and the “spurring one another towards love and good deeds,” and the reminder from one another that this world and its glitter are not it, but that heaven and the day of judgment are real.  This would involve genuine Christians who not only talk the talk, but walk the talk by putting their faith into action.

I’m thankful for all the church plants that happened this year, and the many people we sent off with tearful farewells, since these people are part of that “great cloud of witnesses” that help me to run the race faithfully and to put off everything that hinders (idols of having just a comfortable life, career and ambition) and the sin that so easily entangles.  Without a zealous community to combat the Pergamum-like world, it is extremely difficult to go against the flow of idolatry in our culture.

What is the modern church’s response to today’s idolatrous culture?  What has been our church’s response?

Our church’s response has been to rid our hearts of idols, specifically through weekly prayer times led by Kelly that ask us to confess and repent of the idols in our hearts.  Another thing our church does to combat idols is to offer rededication times—times where we can respond to the message we heard, the Holy Spirit convicting us of our sins, by physically moving to the altar and asking for prayer.  This is a powerful way to express and embody our rejection of idols in our lives, and we experience the truth that “the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective” as we receive prayers from leaders.

Along with collective times we have together to pray, listen to God’s Word, and respond, our church also combats idolatry by having close relationships with one another.  Because we literally see one another day to day in our ministry group, we have a chance to be pointed out about the “blind spots” of idolatry we have in our lives.  Because idolatry is anything that preoccupies our hearts more than God, we may be deceived about what the specific form of idolatry is in our lives.  Because we have people who can act as mirrors for us, our relationships form a natural hedge of protection against the surrounding idols.

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