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Live into Holiness


We are in the third week of our sermon series titled, "A Message for Today's Churches." In this series, we've been diving into the book of Revelation and exploring questions such as these: "Is the church today what it was created to be?" "What happens when the people of the church lose sight of their purpose?" "What devastating blow does the church deliver to its community when it forgets the people of God are to serve others and instead serves itself?"

On a Sunday morning in the year AD 96, the apostle John, who was living on the prison island of Patmos in the middle of the Aegean Sea, received a revelation, otherwise known as an apocalypse, from Jesus. In this revelation, Jesus stands in the middle of seven lampstands, which represent seven churches on the mainland, and dictates seven extremely important messages to these seven churches.

In his message to the church in Pergamum, Jesus speaks an amazingly relevant word to us and to other followers of Jesus who seek to be faithful in a post-modern, pluralistic culture. We live in a culture where there's this mindset of, "Whatever floats your boat" and "Do what makes you happy" and "YOLO." It turns out that the church in Pergamum was struggling with this kind of mentality too. Pergamum was a 1st century city, now located in modern day Turkey. It was an important center for pagan and imperial religion. Worshipping false gods and idols was the norm in this city and the church found itself right in the middle of it all.

The church in Pergamum was doing a good job standing firm against the overt pressure of the pagan city. But, there was a major problem within the church: they were either unaware of, or carelessly tolerant of, the covert pressure coming from within the Christian fellowship. This is the way it has been throughout Christian history. Most growing Christians are relatively able to spot and resist ideas that are blatantly contrary to God's will and way. However, it's the ideas that come to us wrapped in seemingly harmless religious language which are more difficult to spot and resist.

From the church in Pergamum, we learn a deeply important lesson: that as believers that live in the world, we must wage war against being of the world. We overcome conforming to the things of this world by transforming it in the powerful name of Jesus Christ. We are not holding our ground against the kingdom of darkness because the kingdom of heaven is forcefully advancing, and it takes forceful men and forceful women to lay a hold of it. Do you know how we are forceful? Do you know how we can live into holiness? We see Jesus, we fall in love with Him, we repent of our sins, and we don't just repent to kind of sit there and go, "Oh, the rescue boat is fun." Rather, we repent and then we go fight evil and darkness in the name of Jesus Christ. We fight to defeat the enemy.

This world at best only offers circumstantial happiness. That is the best this world has to offer. And so many people, even so many "Christians" who claim with their mouths that Jesus is Lord and Savior, choose this temporary, circumstantial happiness with their hearts. This pursuit of happiness never satisfies us and always leaves us wanting more and more and more. Whether it's choosing to be temporarily sexually satisfied or comfortable or powerful, everything this world has to offer us absolutely fails in comparison to the intimacy, glory, and power that Jesus Christ has given to us, as His chosen people.

We have been called to live a holy life and holy does not mean perfect, it just means "set-apart." That we would not let the things of this world rule over us and define/label us but rather we would stop, turn around, and head in the direction that leads to an abundant, everlasting life. That we would fight the good fight and stand up every day against our enemy. That's what it means to live a holy life: to repent and to set our eyes on eternal, everlasting things that will not only give us happiness, but will more importantly give us deep, profound joy too.

— Pastor Marge


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