Monday, August 25th, 2014
The Call To Overcome (Part 15)
The Compromising Church
I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth.
Revelation 2:14-16 (NKJV)
Why do you indulge that Balaam crowd? Don't you remember that Balaam was an enemy agent, seducing Balak and sabotaging Israel's holy pilgrimage by throwing unholy parties? And why do you put up with the Nicolaitans, who do the same thing? Enough! Don't give in to them; I'll be with you soon. I'm fed up and about to cut them to pieces with my sword-sharp Words.
Revelation 2:14-16 (The Message)
A compromise is a settlement. A settlement to give up possessions for peace can be good. But a settlement to give up holiness in church is not. God says, 'Be holy, because I am holy' (1 Peter 1:16). To be holy is to conform to the will and Image of God.
It's a process designed by God and modeled by Jesus. Our success will be seen by an increasingly fruitful life: a life full of 'love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness' and 'self-control' (Galatians 5:22-23). Holiness is the Character of Christ.
If a church compromises the Character of Christ 'to accept standards that are lower than is desirable',* if a church gives up the practice of holiness to accept standards of unholiness (like greed, lies or immorality), then it's a compromising church. One example is the story of Ananias and Sapphira in the Book of Acts. They gave the early church a gift, but they lied about the amount of the gift.**
The gift was good. The lie was not, and God struck them dead. Perhaps to new Christians then or to older Christians now, the punishment seems harsh for a partially generous act. But we don't serve a partial god, nor a lying god.
We serve the 'God of truth' (Deuteronomy 32:4), and He expects our whole-hearted devotion. 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind' (Luke 10:27).
In our Lord's rejection of Ananias and Sapphira, in His Letter to the Church of Pergamos,*** He gives us a 21st century lesson; the acceptance of compromising behavior in a congregation can be fatal. It becomes like an untreated cancer.
Because Rule-bending acceptance becomes Rule-bending encouragement. But when did God give us permission to bend His standard of holiness?
Actors, models and talent for Christ: the holiness of your church is vital. 'Examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good' (1 Thessalonians 5:21). 'The one who practices righteousness is righteous' (1 John 3:7).
No one is perfect: no church and no pastor, but the practice of righteousness is key. When we sin, correction and repentance turn the key that opens the door to forgiveness: to be cleansed by the Blood of Christ.
Within your assembly of saints, don't settle down with those who practice unrighteousness. Don't settle down with those who overlook sin in pursuit of man's approval--or worse, his money. Accept nothing less than The Truth. In this pursuit of Truth, do not compromise.
'The reason why men do not look to the Church today is that she has destroyed her own influence by compromise' (G. Campbell Morgan).****
To Be Continued...
* Oxford English Dictionary definition of 'compromise.'
** The Story of Ananias and Sapphira: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=acts+5%3A1-11&version=NKJV
*** Previous AMTC Devotion on The Compromising Church: http://www.amtcdevotions.com/which-church-are-you-part-5-the-compromising-church
*** Additional brief articles on The Compromising Church: http://www.gotquestions.org/church-in-Pergamum.html; http://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/66-8/pergamos-the-church-at-satans-throne
**** G. Campbell Morgan: http://christian-quotes.ochristian.com/G.-Campbell-Morgan-Quotes/
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the The Call To Overcome series.