Daily Devotional – I’m Normal.™ I AM Ministries
“To promote Godly living in a culture committed to destroying it”
Friday, April 15, 2016
Compromised Convictions – Balaam’s Legacy
The Church at Pergamos – Part 2 of 2
Despite dramatic testimonies from individuals such as Antipas, Jesus declared the Church in Pergamos had compromised its faith. It had capitulated and conceded its Biblical and historic beliefs to accommodate the fallen and depraved culture in order to gain acceptance. It has become a politically-correct Church.
Jesus was not willing to accept this compromise, a compromise induced by Satan’s relentless attacks. Jesus knows what happens to a Church when it begins to compromise – the witness of the Church is destroyed, the authority is weakened, the power is defused, and the respect is obliterated. And, so it seems, the Church today is under no less pressure to compromise its values and beliefs than was the Church in Pergamos.
Jesus understood completely the problem of a compromised and politically-correct Church. Jesus uses the story of Balaam to remind the Church of the danger and destruction. Balaam was an early prophet in Israel who was “for hire” – he was willing to compromise beliefs for money, no doubt prompted by Satan. You might say Balaam was a “for-profit prophet” – he could be bought for a price. He was not particular which deity you wished him to contact, he would use incantations and talk to whichever deity you preferred – as long as the price was right (Numbers 23-26).
When Balaam was foiled by God in his repeated attempts to curse the Children of Israel on behalf of his client Balak, king of Moab, Balaam turned to recommending compromise. He figured if he couldn’t curse them, he’d corrupt them. He encouraged the Children of Israel to intermarry with the Moabites, and it wasn’t long before they were worshiping false gods, eating food sacrificed to idols, and committing acts of sexual immorality (Numbers 25:1-3). Compromised convictions had corrupted their culture.
Jesus told the Church in Pergamos He did not appreciate a repeat performance. “I have a few things against you: You have people there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin by eating food sacrificed to idols and by committing sexual immorality.” (Revelation 2:14)
Jesus is telling both the Church in Pergamos and the Church today that He does not condone compromise and political correctness. He knows compromise is a vile and sinister plan from Satan himself, a ploy that has proven successful over and over again. Jesus knows we have a dilemma – the Church must communicate to the culture, but it must avoid compromising with the culture. It must contextualize the ministry without compromising the message, a difficult line to avoid crossing.
The problem is political correctness is very enticing. It all sounds so logical and reasonable. The children of Israel must have been asking themselves the same questions we are using to compromise our faith today: What right do we have to come in and condemn the culture of the Moabites? What right do we have to impose our morality on the Moabites? Who are we to condemn them? Why should we be so narrow-minded, intolerant, and bigoted that we judge them? Shouldn’t we try to fit into their culture? Shouldn’t we compromise a little here and be open to other people’s ideas, belief systems, and lifestyles? Wouldn’t it be both easier and nicer to compromise so we can be accepted?
God sent a plague to judge the Children of Israel and 24,000 people died (Numbers 25:9). In the New Testament Church at Pergamos, people again bought into the same temptation that trapped their forefathers. In the 21st Century, the same situation exists. The Church today is compromising to the pressures of the culture.
Jesus knew the Nicolaitans had contributed to the problem (v.15). The Nicolaitans tried to merge Christianity with Gnosticism, a prevalent philosophy of the day. It believed the material world was basically evil and totally irrelevant to the spiritual world. Gnostics believed you could do anything you wanted with your physical body without affecting your spiritual life. The Nicolaitans taught that, as a Christian, you could practice sexual immorality and it would only impact your physical body, with no impact on your spiritual life. Much of the New Testament was written to combat this wicked and destructive philosophy in the Church.
Living according to God’s normal ways in our daily lives is a dilemma His children have faced for centuries and has confronted the Church throughout its history. It is an important dilemma we all face as the culture is preaching compromise and tolerance. Compromise is also one of the most subtle and seductive dangers facing individuals and institutions. It’s the old story about the camel sticking its nose in the tent – once he gets his nose in, the rest is sure to follow.
Jesus calls us to emulate His faithful witness Antipas, who refused to compromise or capitulate with the world in an effort to gain their affections. The reality, however, is that, unlike Antipas, hardly a one of us is willing to risk our job, social status, or other Earthly reward in order to be a faithful witness for Jesus Christ. We place a higher value on the comforts of the world and the praises of man than we do on the gift of salvation we receive through the blood of Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul sends us haunting words when he writes, “For everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 2:21).
Compromise is not normal in the eyes of our LORD Jesus Christ. Our mandate is to change the world by being in the world, but not to be “of the world”. Satan is using to world to try to squeeze us and the Church into its mold. Compromise and political correctness are some of the evil one’s most effective tools. They are subtle and seductive dangers, we faced by both individuals and as the corporate body of the Church. He who has an ear, let him listen. Jesus is calling us to reject and avoid the calamity of compromise in our lives.
In His love and service,
A servant of Jesus Christ
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