From Idolatry to Intimacy

This past Sunday I had the pleasure of preaching Revelation 2:12-17. You can watch the sermon here and read below the follow up blog posted today on the Pastors’ Blog hosted on our Church website.

Every human being desires intimacy. Not only do we desire it, but we need it. There is something about life that is meant to be shared and experienced with other people. We all have the shared sense of wanting to know and be known, and we all have felt the ache of not having that in our lives.

In our search for intimacy, we actually do not take it seriously enough. We are too often willing to give some of the most personal aspects of who we are to almost complete strangers. But at the heart of real intimacy is commitment. Real intimacy is not just emotional, spiritual, or physical closeness. It is those things, but they can only lead to true intimacy if they are born out of a committed relationship.

This past Sunday we saw that the church at Pergamum (Revelation 2:12–17) had some in the church that were living sexually immoral lifestyles, searching for intimacy in the wrong places. Jesus tells this church to repent or face his judgment, and then he says in verse 17:

To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.

The promises of hidden manna and a white stone with a new name on it are essentially promises of eternal and satisfying intimacy. In ancient times, the white stone represented acquittal and forgiveness, while the act of naming someone meant to have a personal intimate relationship with them. Jesus promises that those who repent of their sin and trust in him for eternal life will have long lasting intimacy with God.

This only comes, however, through a committed relationship with Jesus. A husband and a wife cannot have intimacy with one another if options are available to other persons. The intimacy they experience is born out of their singular commitment to each other. Similarly, we cannot have intimacy with God apart from Jesus. This reward is only given to those who conquer by repenting of their sin and trusting in Jesus for eternal life.

The intimacy that God offers through Jesus is greater than any intimacy this world offers. But what keeps people from seeing and experiencing this? Why is it so difficult to have this type of eternal perspective?

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