For the past several months, the youth and I have been looking at biblical answers to practical questions. As part of this series, we have ventured into the book of Revelations and consider the seven churches found in second and third chapter. The successes and failures of these churches have been used to help the youth create a paradigm to follow as they make decisions in life.
The third of the seven churches, the church at Pergamum, was noticeably relevant to the present-day church and Christian. This church was situated in one of the greatest city of Asia Minor. This city was known to be the center of the imperial cult and the worship of pagan deities. When confronted with these philosophies, the Christian church stood resolute. The Lord commended the church, for in spite of suffering, it had remained true to God and refused to drop incense on the altar and say that ‘Caesar was Lord’. However, this church did not stand faultless before the Lord. Yes, the church had withstood the frontal assault the enemy but it had left its flank open. The church did not denounce belief in Jesus but it allowed in its fellowship those who doctrines had become corrupt. The church at Pergamum failed to learn from the past (see the story of Balaam, Numbers 22-25), and like ancient Israel, it allowed the good-neighbor philosophy to overcome its good sense. The result of following the idea that there was nothing wrong with being friendly with our ‘neighbors’ was a violation of the churches relationship with the Lord. It may have allowed them entrance into Roman society but it cost them. The compromise with the world brought to the church at Pergamum judgement, both temporal and eternal. The church lost its testimony and their reward. The story of the church in Pergamum ends with a call to repentance. Instead of seeking to be part of Roman society, the church and its members were called to find fulfillment and eternal life in Jesus Christ.
Into today world, believers are faced with same temptation, to achieve personal advancement through compromise. Yet, the church at Pergamum stand as a warning… those who allow their lives to be infiltrated by compromise, who try to find a middle ground between the world and the Word-Made-Flesh with find themselves judged and outside the true faith family.