Revelation 2:12-13 ESV “And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: ‘The words of him who has the sharp two-edged sword. (13) “‘I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. Yet you hold fast my name, and you did not deny my faith even in the days of Antipas my faithful witness, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.
A community of evil. Have you ever thought about this subject? An entire community having an appearance of godliness, yet denying its power.
I live in just such a place.
In this small town, there are many, many churches. And while there are lots of people who do not belong to them, there is nevertheless a facade of Christianity. There is even an unstated assumption that if you are going to go anywhere in your career, then you need to be in the happening scene of one or two particular churches. There is a ministerial association where the pastor movers and shakers gather. How proud they are of their religious ecumenism where doctrine is not allowed to divide!
Over the years, something remarkable has happened here. There has been, from day one, a strong and harsh hatred for Christ in this “christian” crowd. You see it when you open up the Scriptures and begin to teach accurately what God’s Word says. And particularly when you imply that the Lord would have some changes made because the religious “business as usual” here is not of Him.
Now, that is not the really remarkable thing I want to point out. It’s just the first part. While the gospel and God’s Word and Christ are hated and rejected here by the community, and especially the religious community, so that as time progressed fewer and fewer people were left in our pews, at the very same time a hungry hearing of that same Word began to evidence itself in many parts of the world! I was going to say “many parts of the nation” but in fact it has been growing in places around the world!
Think about this. Why is it that the very same truths, the very same Scripture, the very same Lord, has met with longstanding opposition here in this local community – a community with an appearance of godliness – and yet has grown and continues to grow in the midwest, in the south, in Canada, in Mexico, in Scotland, in England, and more? Same message. Radically different response. Why?
The reason is the same as what we see in Scripture. Always, always, always there are a few who believe. Not massive crowds, but a few. Furthermore, and to the point of this article, there are communities, towns, cities and regions that are hardened against Christ. Places where, well – places like this:
Matthew 10:11-15 ESV And whatever town or village you enter, find out who is worthy in it and stay there until you depart. (12) As you enter the house, greet it. (13) And if the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it, but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. (14) And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town. (15) Truly, I say to you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town.
At what has been the clear working and leading of the Lord (no voices from heaven, no voices in dreams, just His doing) I came to the realization some time ago that my energies were not to be expended any longer preaching to this community. Instead, I am to go where there are people who are hungry for and who receive Christ and His truth. And that is exactly what we are doing through our blogs, through social media videos of sermons and Bible studies, and through email and other communications with people who respond to Christ and are invigorated and validated by His truth.
I am convinced, and I think there is scriptural justification for this conclusion, that there are indeed places and people who have heard the gospel, who have rejected the gospel, and who we are to be done with.
And that is still another reason why I will not waste my time in any “ministry” that supposedly works to help, change, teach, etc – abusers. If there ever was a kind of person who we are to shake the dust off our feet and depart from, surely these kind fit that bill.