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But I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam, who kept teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit acts of immorality. So you also have some who in the same way hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. Therefore repent; or else I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of My mouth.  He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, to him I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it.’ Revelation 2:14-17

God has messages for church leaders, just like church leaders and pastors have messages for people. The angel (church leader) of Pergamum received a commendation, a condemnation, and a recommendation. He was commended for holding fast to the name of Jesus, even as some, like Antipas faced persecution and death for their identification with Christianity. But, the angel was scolded for letting God’s standards of holiness be relaxed in the same way Balaam compromised in his day. In addition, some doctrine or teaching of the Nicolaitans had entered life in the church fellowship. While no one is certain today what that meant, it is likely a hierarchical approach to ministry, wherein some are placed in positional leadership contravening Jesus’ servant-leader model. But, don’t miss the recommendation: repent! There was still time and room to live life God’s way. And when we do- we overcome, we are sustained (manna), we are adjudicated as righteous (white stone), and we receive a precious personal new nature and relationship with God (new name). Wow!

Would Jesus speak for me or against me? How do I need to repent and enter fully into His provision, righteousness, and relationship?

God, as this day begins- I am willing to turn from my ways to Yours. Would you cleanse me, call me by a personal name of Your choosing. Reveal a white stone declaring me not guilty. And I will live for You today as a humble servant.

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