“I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet, saying, ‘I am Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,’ and, ‘What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamum, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea’…’He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches'”
Revelation 1:9-11; 3:22 NKJV
Jesus called out the church in Pergamum for its compromising tendencies. This should cause believers who live closer to the end times to sit up and take notice!
What is so lethal about compromise is the implication of its definition; “to settle by mutual concession.” True mutual concession involves the mixture of opposing points of view, which is good as long as it doesn’t require one party to depart from what is true and right. When this happens, the nature of the compromise gives way to its secondary definition; “to bring into disrepute or danger especially by indiscretion or folly” (“Reader’s Digest Oxford Complete Wordfinder”).
As with every group of people gathering around a single purpose, the church in Pergamum obviously made many good working compromises. Jesus praised them for keeping the faith in the midst of the worst circumstances of all these churches. They lived in a city the Lord Himself notes as being the center of satanic activity in the region and as a result they had the first martyr for Christ!
Unfortunately, however, Jesus also had a “few” things against them, which were serious enough to warrant His own direct attack on members of the church if the leadership did not deal with them! Their compromises had gone too far, allowing wrong doctrine or erroneous teachings to become a cause of stumbling to the congregation. Normally, any serious believer would know that idolatry, immorality, and class distinctions are not compatible with the teachings of Jesus or His disciples.
When the devil introduces sin little by little, through the process of compromise, naiveté can become all out indiscretion in any church. We have more than enough similar cases in our day to understand how easily this can happen! The only way to avoid this mistake is to “hold fast to Jesus’ name” refusing to “deny His faith” (Revelation 2:13).
Although Satan has been defeated spiritually, he remains a formidable foe. As a genius tactician our wiles are no match for his, if we give him place. The secret is that Jesus, his conqueror, is the One we must fear displeasing!