Pergamum was a city about 100 miles (160 kilometres) north of Ephesus. Ephesus and Smyrna were sea ports, but Pergamum was in the hills, about 15 miles (25 kilometres) from the sea.
The church at Pergamum seems to have had similar problems to Corinthís church at the time when Paul wrote 1 Corinthians. Some church members were behaving in an evil manner; they were guilty of wrong sex acts. Some members wanted to eat the meat that other people had offered to false gods; perhaps they even entered the temples (houses of false gods) to do that.
Also, members of a group of people called the Nicolaitans had joined the church. They were trying to teach the other church members. However, they were teaching things that God hated (verse 6).
You might think that such a church would be very weak. In fact, like at Corinth, its members were strong and bold. That happened at Corinth because the church members were all new Christians. They did not know the Bible well yet; they did not understand how to serve God properly. However, the Holy Spirit was active among them and they were eager to learn.
The church members at Pergamum had probably been Christians for a longer period. However, they too probably had wrong ideas about freedom. The leaders did not want to make rules because the Holy Spirit should guide a Christianís life. The leaders were right that the Holy Spirit should guide Christians. However, they were wrong to allow the church members to do whatever they wanted. The result was that many church members were behaving in a completely wrong manner.
Christ told them that he had a sharp sword. The sword means Godís word (Hebrews 4:12). By means of it, he would separate the people who were truly loyal to him. By means of it, he would make his judgement against the evil people who had joined Pergamumís church.
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© 2016, Keith Simons.