I didn’t set out to write a series based on Revelation 2-3. As I began reading the book of Revelation during my quiet times, I wanted to find truths written to the churches that apply for my life. What came from that desire to find one thing in each letter . . . is this series.
The churches to whom John wrote dealt with many of the same issues we face in an increasingly godless culture. Just as the early churches made choices about whether they would live for Jesus or themselves, so too, do we.
We have the gift of being able to look at back at their strengths and weaknesses and learn from them.
This isn’t an in-depth theological rendering of these letters. Rather, each post reflects what God has taught me through studying both the letters and the churches. As we walk through Revelation two and three over the next seven weeks, I hope you’ll be encouraged and share your thoughts here! Past posts can be found here: Revelation Series
As the grocery clerk rang up my purchases, she shared about how a loved one had recently died from something she too should have died from. As I listened to her words, I heard the pain, the guilt, the confusion of why she was left to live while her loved one died.
The Spirit pressed hard on my heart, encouraging me to share about Jesus with her. I had prayed for this gift of opportunity . . . and I faltered.
I opened my mouth. I closed it. I told her I would pray for her, and wheeled my cart out the door. I made the short drive home, all the while beating myself up for not answering the prompting God had given me.
The previous Sunday, our pastor challenged all of us to pray for an opportunity to share His good news with someone.
I compromised and took the easy way out and didn’t share.
Twenty some years later, and I still regret that missed opportunity.
It wasn’t that I didn’t have faith in the Lord. I did.
I still do.
It was that I compromised. It was easier in my thoughts to stay silent.
Don’t get me wrong, there are times to remain quiet.
But, when God prompts, and swings wide the door, a person should walk through in obedience.
In Revelation 2:12-17, Jesus addresses the church at Pergamum. He acknowledges the difficulty of the culture in which they lived. He called their city the throne of Satan, because idol worship and sexual immorality was the accepted, expected norm. They were a city of learning, but also of extreme darkness.
Jesus praised this church for holding to their faith in Him in spite of the city where they lived.
He also rebuked them. Because some people in their church exalted false teachings. Others compromised and lived out some of those teachings.
Theirs was a culture similar to our own. Sexual immorality is rampant. Our moral foundation has shifted and cracked as people indulge in and applaud the behaviors that ultimately shatter the human heart.
“Leaders” often tell us there is no absolute truth. Too many Christians hold to this. There are all kinds of teachings about God and what His word supposedly says.
Many church-going people don’t open their Bibles during the week. They have no idea of how society’s “truth” lines up with God’s truth.
Even those of us who read the Bible regularly must guard our hearts. God gives us grace in many of the choices we make. Survey any church and you’ll find a vast array of opinions on what to drink, what to watch, what to listen to, etc.
God offers grace in choices we make. We aren’t to judge, but we must be careful to not be too tolerant of things the Bible speaks clearly about.
Jesus is all about our hearts . . . are our hearts desiring relationship with Him?
If not, we need to repent and pray and seek Him, seek His heart and His wisdom in the decisions we make.
Jesus praised the people of Pergamum for clinging to their faith in the face of persecution. One of their members, Antipas, was martyred. He was faithful. He probably shared his faith with others, and that’s what got him killed.
My form of compromise is often more cloaked. I’m pretty good at living out the more obvious tenets of God’s word. It’s in the hidden things where I’m tempted to compromise.
Like staying silent when God gives a perfect opportunity to share about Him.
Like making a “small” decision of compromise because it’s more comfortable and allows me to remain anonymous.
Compromise is compromise. The people of Pergamum had faith, but they also compromised in some blatant ways.
Whether we choose to compromise in the choices we make that others see, or in the choices that only God sees . . . God still sees.
The Lord wants us to live out our faith unafraid. To not be ashamed of His name. To share with others the fact that He loves them. No matter what they’ve done.
Each choice we make leads us closer to Jesus or further from Him. May we each live lives of uncompromising faith.
What about you? When have you chosen integrity over compromise? Encourage us, share one time when you shared about Jesus with someone and they truly listened.