Allen Raynor Weblog: “Pergamos: The Compromising Church” (Pt. 2)
(July 16, 2019)
The Apostle Paul gave strong warnings about mixing the Word of God with error and entanglement with non-believers. In 2 Corinthians 6:14-17 he writes “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For ‘you’ are the temple of the living God. As God has said: ‘I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people.’ Therefore ‘Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.’”
Sadly, some at the Pergamos church believed a person could attend pagan feasts, engage in debauchery and sexual immorality and still be a part of Christ’s church and worship! But, as James 4:4 puts it “Friendship with the world is hostility toward God. Therefore, whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”
The second heresy at Pergamos, the Nicolaitans, were already mentioned when He addressed the church at Ephesus. Nicolaitans taught that Christians could participate in pagan rituals, particularly sexual ones. The majority of the church as Pergamos remained faithful, but still many were seduced into compromise and error.
Jesus offers corrections by pointing them toward the one and only remedy for their condition – repentance. The word “repent,” as it is used in Scripture, describes a change of mind that results in a change of behavior. In our culture, compromise, tolerance, etc. is celebrated; however compromising the eternal truths and principles of God is not cause for celebration! John MacArthur writes “Error will never be suppressed by compromising with it. Today’s non-confrontive church is largely repeating the error of the Pergamos church on a grand scale, and faces the judgment of the Lord of the church (John MacArthur; New Testament Commentary; Revelation Vol. 1; 90) For the unrepentant, Jesus will use His power for the purpose of judgment.
The Lord concludes by offering encouragement to the congregation. To overcomers He will give to eat of “the hidden manna.” “Manna” was the honey-flavored bread God fed the Israelites with during their years of wilderness wanderings. This was so important in Israel’s history that a jar of it was to be kept inside the ark of the Covenant as they traveled. The “hidden manna” represents Jesus Christ, the Bread of Life who came down from Heaven (John 6:48-51). The “white stones” Jesus spoke of refer to the Roman custom of awarding white stones to victors in athletic contests. A white stone, inscribed with the athlete’s name served as his ticket to a special awards banquet. So, by saying this, Christ is promising these “overcomers” entrance into the eternal victory celebration in Heaven. The question each person must answer for themselves its “Will I be handed one of these white stones by Jesus or be given of the hidden manna to eat?” If you truly know Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, then the answer if yes, but if you do not know Him as personal Lord and Savior, then the answer is no.
The dangerous compromises of the modern church are almost incalculable. While the church has been arguing over minutia like paint and carpet colors, worship styles, and programs Satan has moved in and started fooling people. When people are fooled they start compromising on the wrong things. Not all compromise is good. In fact, much of it is bad. We cannot compromise on essential doctrine or we are right there with the church at Pergamos and the hard words of Jesus apply to us as well.
Dr. Allen Raynor, Pastor