White Rocks – The leader will need to provide a smooth, white rock for each member of the group as well as some permanent markers (or rock paints). Have each group member decorate their rock with a name or word that is meaningful to them and their relationship with God. Members can carry this rock with them throughout the week (or set it in a prominent position such as their work desk) to remind them of the white stones that Jesus will give to all those who conquer in the end.
1. In this week’s passage, Jesus describes Himself as “the one who has the sharp two-edged sword.” Read Revelation 1:16, 2:12-17, Ephesians 6:17b, Hebrews 4:12 and Revelation 19:13-16. Why do you think Jesus starts the letter with a warning symbol? (Intent: The sword is a symbol of God’s words and judgment. It is used offensively to penetrate the heart. Christ does not take a compromising and worldly church lightly.)
2. Read Acts 15:28-29. Some people in the church at Pergamum were engaged in idol worship and some combined idolatry with sexual sin, contrary to the decree from Acts by the Council at Jerusalem. Why is this decree and Jesus’ strong words to the church of Pergamum important to us today in our American culture? (Intent: We may not think of ourselves as an idolatrous nation, but idols are anything that takes God’s place on the throne of one’s life. Among those things could be entertainment, material things, pornography, sex, gluttony, money, recognition, etc.)
3. Revelation 2:14 talks about eating food sacrificed to idols. Verse 17 speaks of” hidden manna.” Read John 6:49-51 and 56-58. What “food” replacement is Jesus offering “to him who overcomes”? (Intent: To get a better understanding of the teachings of Balaam, read Numbers 22-25, 2 Peter 2:15, and Jude 11. God will withhold no good thing. He has something better, Himself.)
4. In Revelation 2:16 the church of this city is told to repent. These words seem to include those who were commended in v.13 for remaining true to Jesus’ name and not denying their faith amidst days of persecution. Why do you suppose Jesus is telling the whole church to repent and not just those with whom he will fight if there is no repentance? (Intent: For insight, see Dan. 9:1-19 – Daniel’s intercession for Israel, and Matt. 18:15-18 – church discipline. The Lord seeks intercession on behalf of sinners. Also, the church is commanded to discipline and correct those in the church claiming to be Christians. Perhaps the church at Pergamum did neither.)
5. Some churches in America are guilty of compromising, allowing the trends of the culture to creep into the church. Several of the seven churches in Revelation 2-3 dealt with false teachings. What are some false cultural teachings that have crept into some churches today? Use one of these as an example and discuss how that teaching should be tested. (Intent: An example might be the acceptance of same-sex marriage. The teaching should be tested and addressed through relevant Bible passages and examination of the fruit produced by the teaching. Leaders should steer the discussion toward examples of obvious error rather than issues that are not clearly addressed or resolved in Scripture.)
6. Read Revelation 2:17b. How is it significant to you that the Lord Jesus will give you a white stone with a new name known only to you and Him? (Intent: Discuss how this intensely personal act signifies a unique relationship between each individual and their Savior.)
Ask the members of the group to think of someone they know in the church who is engaging in some form of idolatry, sexual immorality, or other sinful behavior. Allow the group about five minutes to pray silently. The prayer should include: repentance for not addressing the person sooner; courage, wisdom, and words from the Holy Spirit needed to communicate with this person; and a potential member or leader of the church to assist them in having this conversation with the person.
1. Is there something that has replaced Jesus on the throne of your life? Identify it, repent and ask God to move, drawing you back to Him wholeheartedly.
2. Do you know a brother or sister in Christ who is struggling with a particular sin? Contact them this week and begin a dialog toward connecting them in a greater way with their Lord.