Power of the Word

Revelation 2:12–17 (ESV)

12 “And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: ‘The words of him who has the sharp two-edged sword.

The Lord does not tolerate teaching that undercuts the gospel. In response to such a threat, he fights back using not violence or force but the power of the Word. That Word is never powerless or harmless in relation to his enemies.

It would not be helpful to assume that those whom Jesus faults with false teaching are only others in the church. The fact that there are those in the church of Pergamum who hold false teaching means that everyone in that congregation would need to do the self-examination required to see where they sat in relation to Jesus’ analysis of congregational health. Equally, both those who embraced these errors as well as those who tolerated such teachers needed to repent, and that’s a point that speaks to our obligations today as well.

The Word as it is faithfully preached has a way of cutting deeply into people’s hearts and lives. It can lead to pangs of conscience so that one repents of sin; it can also lead to hardening in sin so that one leaves the church. Either way, the preaching of the Word is effective. Preachers should not be surprised at either result; both repentance and hardening are fruit on the preaching.