The following post is the third in a series focusing on Revelation 2-3, the letters to the 7 churches. I have written these posts to supplement the Sunday School class I am teaching on the same topic, however they will be helpful to you independent of the class as well. Enjoy!
“I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is…” Revelation 2:13
Perhaps my favorite location on earth (at least of those I have visited) is the Texas Hill Country. I’m not talking about San Antonio or even New Braunfels, but the places where there are actually hills, without endless neighborhoods built on them. My wife’s parents live on some land right in the middle this hill country. Their house is the only one you can see and the sound of cars is faint, if audible at all. It really is one of the most peaceful places on earth. Most of us have a place like this. A place that we would have no problem spending the rest of our lives.
Reality is, however, that most of us do not live in a place like this. Most of us are surrounded by brokenness and things that we would change if we had the power to do so. On top of that, we are surrounded by those who are less than welcoming to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We just wish sometimes that we could reside in a Christian bubble, where everyone spoke our language and no one was around to tempt us or to push us off of our mark.
The church in Pergamum was in such an environment, but to a much more serious degree. Pergamum was the civic, cultural, and religious center of Asia Minor in the 1st century BC. Being a capital city, they were the originators in the area of Caesar worship and you could not miss the giant altar to the god zeus overlooking the city. A god by the name of asclepios, a so-called god of healing, was referred to by the residents of Pergamum as “savior.” Everything was so religious yet so very much opposed to the Gospel.
It is in this context that the Risen Christ tells the church that He knows where they dwell. The Greek word for “dwell” here means “a permanent residence.” This is a very unusual word to refer to Christians being that most of Scripture refers to believers as sojourners, or those without a permanent residence.
Christ is reminding this church that their home is in the very place where evil and paganism are so prominent that it is said to contain the very throne of satan. This is not a place that they are passing through. They reside there. They are to conduct their day-to-day business there and interact with the people. They are to take the Gospel out to the lost and build churches there.
That could not have been easy, but they persevered and never denied their faith, even in the face of severe persecution.
The key here is that they stayed put. They did not pack up and go to a “safe place” when things got difficult. They recognized that God had planted them in Pergamum and that they were to stay there until He specifically called them out. It was, as far as earth is concerned, their permanent residence.
We live in perilous times as well, and while your situation is probably very different from those believers in Pergamum in the 1st century, you still probably have days where you are tempted to flee to a safer, more comfortable place.
Let’s face it, life would be much easier with no trouble or difficulty around us, but we were not called to a place like that.
You were called to reside right where you are. Where do you find yourself right now?
Maybe it’s the office where you feel like you are the only Christian. Maybe it’s a marriage that has been on the rocks for what seems like forever. Maybe it’s a neighborhood with neighbors that you would never want to interact with much less let your kids hang around.
Wherever you are, remember that God has called you to “dwell” there. You have been planted right where you are for a purpose. What is that purpose you might ask? It really is very simple. We are to
“Make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…” Matthew 28:19
Being obedient to your commissioning begins right where you are. There are souls to be won right next to you. Are you up for the challenge?