RECAP: BIBLICAL COMPROMISE based on Revelation 2:12-17
The third letter was written to the church at Pergamum. Unlike Ephesus and Smyrna, there is much less known about the church. However, there are two things that are of note: first, their bishop Antipas was one of the first martyred under the reign of Domitian to enforce Caesar worship, and second, the church, within 100 years of the writing of Revelation, ceased to exist. Why did the church at Pergamum cease while the churches both at Ephesus and Smyrna still exist in some form to this day?
Pergamum, like Smyrna, also had a temple to Caesar. In fact, it had the oldest temple to Caesar in the entirety of the Roman Empire outside of Italy, built during the reign of Tiberius (27 BCE). Like Smyrna, they faced the pressure to participate in Caesar worship, evidenced by the martyrdom of Antipas for his refusal. but Pergamum was under great pressure to compromise, especially what they knew to be true in the Bible. Jesus spoke against this church, identifying himself as the one carrying the sharp, double-edged sword, and twice called the city the place where Satan has his throne. In the middle of Pergamum stood two additional temples. One was a temple to Zeus, which had the inscription of “Christ the Savior” after he defeated the great sea serpent to save humanity. The other temple was to Asclepius, the deity of truth, prophecy, and healing, depicted often with holding a staff with a serpent entwined around it! Zeus took a title held only for Jesus, and Asclepius glorified the animal associated with the downfall of humanity! In addition, Asclepius mimicked the divine healing that Jesus alone can provide, and the truth and prophecy that came from his lips were false trails, yet revered by the people of the town.
Why was Jesus so hard? Because the church, instead of following Antipas’ faithful example and allowing adversity to strengthen them, began to compromise, allowing false words and truth to come in their midst and lead them astray. Add to that the teaching of the Nicolaitans, which encouraged them to do whatever they wanted to, for the flesh was separated from the spirit, the church had fully abandoned faithful observance of God’s Word to a following of God’s Word in part with also Caesar worship, Zeus worship, and Asclepius worship, together with the teaching of the Nicolaitans.
How can we stand against Biblical compromise? How can we remain faithful even under pressure to compromise?
1) Use the sword. Jesus encouraged the church to use the sword. The Sword is the word of God (Eph 6:17) which can cut through the thoughts and attitudes of the heart (Heb 4:12). The Word is the sure standard by which all other things can be judged. When under examination of the Word, when beliefs are put to the sword of God, that which is false is revealed and can be put away. Let God’s Word be the standard!
2) Listen to the whole counsel of God. The church was accused of going the way of Balaam. Balaam was paid to curse the people of God in Numbers but instead could only bless them. However, he did teach Balak how to ensnare the people of God, and Israel fell victim because they selectively obeyed God’s Word. They followed cleanliness laws but ignored the laws around sexual purity and idolatry. They fell to the old serpent’s lie “Did God really say” from the Garden of Eden (see Gen 3) and decided for themselves that they did not have to follow certain aspects of God’s Word because they knew better. That same lie is circulating in our land today. Will we listen to the entirety of God’s Word, even if it is not popular or uncomfortable?
3) Avoid the trap of cultural relevance. Pergamum followed the Nicolaitans, giving into the forbidden fruit that was pleasing to the eye. Instead of standing on what they knew the Word of God said, they ignored it because it didn’t fit their narrative. Culture today is trying to rewrite what God says is right and wrong and ignores the radical call of discipleship, that one must carry the cross to follow Jesus (Luke 14), that loving the world is hatred toward God (James 4), and that the love of God is not in the one who hates the world (1 John 2). Just because everyone else is following the new voice that calls itself the “leading of the Spirit” and “truth” does not mean it is the true voice of God!
4) Remove error from your midst. The church was called to repent and take care of the error, or else Jesus would come against them with the sword. Jesus did not say “live with it” or “get over it” or say they should coexist with the error; Jesus called the church to remove the error completely. If we allow that which is harmful to stick around, it will eventually destroy our faith and our witness.
5) Partake of the bread of life. Jesus implored the church to partake of the manna. Jesus himself is the bread of life and calls us to have a deep relationship with him. The more time we spend with Jesus and the more time we spend in the Word, using the sword, the more we will recognize that which is coming to us that is false and what is real. It will empower us to lay down those things that call us to compromise because we don’t want to damage our relationship with Jesus. But if we are not in the Word or spending time with Jesus, how can we know if it is truly God?
Pergamum did not heed Jesus’ counsel, and, as a result, the church was no more within 100 years. Let us heed God’s Word, draw closer to him and stand, and, should the Lord tarry, let Beaver Creek continue to be going strong for 200-plus years into the future!
Questions for Reflection
1) How often do you use the sword, the Word of God, to determine God’s plan or path for your life?
2) What in Scripture have you read recently that has challenged you? What do you try to ignore? Why are parts of the Word hard to want to embrace?
3) Where have you faced pressure to give in and compromise by culture?
4) How much time do you devote each week to building your relationship with Jesus?
This Sunday, Pastor Ryan will continue the series called “Faithful in Unfaithful Times” with the sermon titled, “Moral Compromise,” based on Revelation 2:18-29. Of what did God warn the church at Thyatira? What can we learn from this church under pressure to morally compromise? Come or tune in Sunday to find out!
Daily Bible Readings for August 16 – 22
August 16: Psalm 119:9-16 How can one prevent biblical compromise?
August 17: Psalm 119:33-40 How can one prevent biblical compromise?
August 18: Psalm 119:97-104 How can one prevent biblical compromise?
August 19: Proverbs 3:1-12 How can one prevent biblical compromise?
August 20: Matthew 7:24-27 How can one prevent biblical compromise?
August 21: Genesis 4:8-16 What was the effect of Cain’s moral failure?
August 22: Genesis 19:30-38 What was the effect of Lot’s moral failure?
This Week’s Events:
Thursday, August 18–Leadership Team Meeting @ 7 pm–all budgets due!
Friday, August 19 – Sunday, August 21–Church Retreat @ Natural Chimneys (see below for details)
Sunday, August 21–Pathfinders lunch after church
Sunday, August 21–Chasing the Lion Bible Study at pastor’s study in parsonage @ 4 pm
Sunday, August 28–Lenten Vespers @ 6 pm
Sunday, September 4–return to normal hours!
Sunday, September 11–Instachoir practice begins
Monday, September 12–Pastoral Epistles Bible Study Begins @ 7 pm
Sunday, date TBD (October)–Love Feast
If you are a newer attendee at Beaver Creek, please call the office or leave in the offering plate your birth date so we do not miss anyone!
Bible Study Opportunities!
The Chasing the Lion Bible Study continues this Sunday at 4 pm. We will meet in the pastor’s study of the parsonage this week. This study meets every Sunday at 4 pm.
Pastor Ryan will also start a new study on the books of 1 and 2 Timothy. Paul shared his heart with Timothy and gave him instructions for himself and the church after he was gone. Most of these letters are reflected even today. How can we live our faith? I encourage you to dig deeper into these two short books!
We will meet on Monday evenings beginning on September 12 at 7 pm. Location still to be determined. We plan to meet only one hour each week until 8 pm.
Take advantage of one of these two Bible studies today!
We will have our final summer vespers on the final Sunday of August. We will gather for a meal over the fire, sing some hymns and camp song favorites, play a camp-style game or two, and conclude with a vespers devotional. Come out and enjoy!
Call for Worship Leaders and Children’s Story
We are still in need of both worship leaders and children’s stories. If you would like to serve, contact Alice Over (worship leading) or Tammy Stine (children’s story).
Call to Prayer
Let us continue to pray for our nation in the following ways:
1) National return to God
2) Repentance of personal sin
3) Repentance of corporate sin
4) Healing for the brokenness of relationships
5) Our leaders
7) Guidance for our congregation in the days ahead
We will have our first Church Retreat post-COVID at Natural Chimneys from Friday, August 19 through Saturday, August 21. Come rent a lot, pitch a tent or park a camper, and spend the whole weekend, or come and go as you please. It will be a great time to get away and simply enjoy each other at Beaver Creek!
Friday dinner will be a meal of hot dogs and the fixings in shelter #3 (closest to the chimneys). Bring a side dish or dessert to share. Dinner will be around 6 pm.
Saturday dinner, also at around 6 pm, will be a catered meal, and a time of vespers to follow.
If you have any questions as far as where to set up camp, please connect with the fellowship team!
What do you want to see at Beaver Creek? What are some ideas you have for the long-term growth of our congregation? Any outrageous outreach ideas? Please either email Pastor Ryan or write them down and place them in the brown suggestion box in the narthex. Dream big!
The Christian Education Team is looking for volunteers for the nursery during the Sunday School hour. If you are willing to help, even if it is just for a Sunday, please reach out to the Christian Education Team and let them know.
Four Ways to Give!
1) Mail your tithe into the church office
2) Drop it by the church office on Tuesday, Thursday or Friday, 9 am – 1 pm
3) Our online giving platform: https://beavercreekchurchva.churchcenter.com/giving
4) Drop off in the offering plate on Sunday!
Continue to Keep in Prayer our members in Skilled Care Facilities: Mary G. Miller, Shirley Miller, Stanley Suter & Carolyn Wine
John Bennington (health)
Sandy Bennington (health)
Donnie Cornwell Sr (health)
Patsy Dastoli (health)
Elijah Tucker Dean (health)
Natalie Dodge (health)
John Fix (addiction)
Cindy Heatwole (health)
Bob Hess (health)
Tori Jackson (peace)
Darlene LaPrade (health)
Leroy Makely (health)
Mark Martin (health)
Barbara Meadows (health)
Torrey Meyer (well-being)
Meda McNett (health)
Alda Miller (health)
Betty Miller (health)
Mary G Miller (health)
Marty Moore (recovery)
Tami Plaugher (health)
Lottie Ritchie (health)
Ann Simmons (health)
Crystal Smith (health)
Whitmore family (various)
Mary Whitmore (health)
Winnie Wilfong (knee & health)
Shelvy Wittig (health)
Owen Wright (health)
Pastor Ryan Cooper
Beaver Creek Church