Replica of Throne of Zeus from the Pergamum Museum in Berlin, Germany
If you followed my blog post from yesterday, living in a compromised world as a Christian, now more than ever, I see our world rushing towards an end point in its fulfillment of Bible Prophecy. I've always been an absolute huge fan of the Book of Revelation, because like a great stories, it is promising to know how it will all turn out in the end. For some, not so happily of an ending, but for followers of Jesus Christ, we have more hope than ever before in the last days ahead of us.
Again, remember that the Book of Revelation 1:3 ~"Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what it written in it, because the time is near." (NIV).
It is the ONLY book in the Bible that offers a blessing on those who not only read it, but hear it. How wonderful is that? Who wouldn't want to read it? And yet, there are many churches today that are completely avoiding the Book of Revelation in their teaching. I believe we are seeing a change in what the church is teaching, but also who it is trying to gain as members. It is trying to become more of a form of entertainment than teaching the profound and glorious Word of God.
Each of the seven letters are addressed to one of seven churches in Asia Minor, but more importantly they apply to the hearts of a believer. We will all fall into one of the seven categories of where our faith is right now.
In the letter to the church of Pergamum, there's was a church founded on the knowledge and Word of God. (By the way, the entire temple of Zeus has been unearthed and reconstructed in the Pergamum Museum in Berlin. The video is below)
Revelation 2:12-13 ~ "To the angel of the church in Pergamum write: These are the words of him who has the sharp, double-edged sword. I know where you live - where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city - where Satan lives."
Everyday a spiritual dynamic is in play in your life, whether you are at home, at work, or in your community and even your church. No matter where we go, we need to resist the urge to compromise. At no time is this warning needed more so than right now, as Christians remain silent and ignore what is happening all around us. Now I have heard the argument from well meaning Christians, that we shouldn't defend God. He doesn't need our defense, but the Bible does call us to stand up for what is right. He knows about our conviction, but will we stand up for what is right? It seems lately we are beginning to make compromises, and we begin to skew the lines of what is right, in light of what the world wants.
We can see the path of compromises the church in the United States of America has made since it's foundations. Yes, despite what the media or other forms of news communication would lead you to believe, we, The United States of America, was founded on Biblical principles. We have watched as those small compromises have not only changed how we live, to what is acceptable in our society today, while Christians remain the most hated group in the world today. Why is that?
I believe it is because they don't like our absolute moral convictions that come from our knowledge of God's Word and our belief in Jesus Christ. We have watched them strip prayer from our schools, to removing the 10 Commandments from government offices, to nativity displays being removed, our Constitution being called into question to see if it is simply an outdated document, while more laws are being created statewide and nationwide than ever before to appease those minority groups who are demanding their civil rights. Where is the voice of the Christian?
I believe we have remained silent for too long. People have assumed that because we voice no objection, then we must be willing to accept and tolerate what is happening in our neighborhoods, our communities, cities, states and even the nation. We are graying the lines of absolute moral truth. You would think looking around at what you see all around you that we have compromised in a big way. Look at what is on television, the movies in the theaters, on our computers, by way of ads that pop up or are on your sidebar, what is on the news or even the music we listen to. Why do we continue to do so? Well because so might argue, the Bible doesn't say anything about not doing those things?
Oh really? Let's consider this:
Philippians 4:8 ~ "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things." (NIV)
Think back to the last thing you saw or heard on the radio or television. Did this verse of scripture apply? Like that steamy commercial for Carl's Jr's latest burger? Seriously is it really selling a burger?
Romans 12:2 ~"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will." (NIV).
Colossians 3:2 ~" Set you mind on things above, not on earthly things." (NIV)
Romans 8:5-7 ~"Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so." (NIV)
Mark 7:20-22 ~ " He went on: what comes out of a man is what makes him 'unclean.' For from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance, and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man 'unclean." (NIV)
Just taking a look at these past scripture verses outlines what the believer and follower of Jesus Christ should be doing, but are we? Have we allowed compromise to enter our lives?
Think about the computers we allow into our homes. It is like a license to allow subtle things that pop up or appear even when we aren't looking for them, have a way of simply showing up. What are your children viewing on their computer? Do you know with absolute certainty it is wholesome and pure? Pornography is running unleashed in our homes, destroying families and marriages. Seemingly innocent chat rooms are enticing members of the opposite sex to share a conversation with one another. Just how much is this really worth to have in your home? What is the price you are willing to pay to watch your family destroyed?
Not I am not condoning getting rid of the computer, because it helps make our lives so much easier. It's that idle time being spent on a device rather than our relationships with family and friends. You can see the effects happening right around us. Our children are more engaged with their smart phones and computers than with one on one conversations. Einstein even stated, "I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction."
The Bible states what we need to do quite clearly:
Psalm 101:3 ~ "I will set before my eyes no vile thing. The deeds of faithless men I hate; they will not cling to me." (NIV)
1 Peter 1:13 ~ "Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you living in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do;" (NIV)
Proverbs 4:25-27 ~ "Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm. Do not swerve to the right or left; keep your foot from evil." (NIV).
Is this not happening today? In our homes? Are we losing touch with our family and friends because we are more engaged in our technology than in people?
We need to stop being a compromised believer! We need to turn back and repent from our sinful ways and remove these compromises in our homes, and in our lives. We can not allow the lines of what we believe to be grayed.
If the lines are gray, why did Jesus die for our sins?
If the lines are gray, why did He have to suffer?
If the lines are gray, why did God give us the instruction manual for life in the Bible?
In the church of Pergamum, which was literally in a location so evil, the church stopped doing anything about what was happening all around them. They chose to ignore it. Slowly it began to filter into the church itself.
But we need to remember Jesus' authority in Revelation 2:12b ~ "Him who has the sharp, double-edged sword." He welds a sword to cut us down in our sin, to remove it and cut it out through the power of His Word.
Revelation 1:16b ~ " out of His mouth came a sharp, double-edged sword." (NIV).
If Jesus isn't Lord in your life, than He is nothing.
Remember Jesus knows where we dwell. That where you live, life may be very difficult. Christians are supposed to be the most loving people are earth, but we will also be the most hated too by the world!
We need to ensure we are not mean, ugly and hateful, but stand on the Word that is the absolute truth.
Matthew 5:16 ~ "In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in Heaven." (NIV).
We need to step out of the "gray zone" and be the light of this world.