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Summary: Discover how to overcome the dangers of bending too far in a threatening culture.

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As a boy one of our favorite fun activities was riding tree saplings, much like you would a wild horse. This is how it worked. We would bend a 3 or 4 inch sapling to the ground. A friend would help us hold the tree while we climbed aboard. After sitting astraddle the sapling the tree was released from its bent position. We experienced a short but wild ride. One day I learned a painful but memorable lesson. On this particular day the sapling broke as I was at the peak of my ride. I went crashing to the ground and had my first encounter with having the breath knocked from me. In playing that game, as in life, it is possible to bend too far.

In Revelation 2:12-17 we find a church that bent too far. The church was the church at Pergamum. "And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write, `These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword: "I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. And you hold fast to My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. "But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. "Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. `Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth. "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.’’ The church was the church at Pergamum. Jesus commeded the church at Pergamum for remaining faithful to Jesus. However he criticzed them for tolerating the false teachers who taught the doctrine of Balaam and those called the Nicolaitans. From this text we learn some valuable principles that will help us avoid bending too far. Look with me at our text.

1. Principle: determine to overcome difficult situations. The believers at Pergamum faced a difficult

situation. Jesus said they dwelt near Satan’s throne. This phrase referred to the cultic Roman empire in which they lived. It was a tough situation. We learn a coupe of valuable lessons that will help us face challenging situations.

A. God does not shelter us from difficulty. The believers at Pergamum faced difficulty. Throughout the Bible we find God’s people facing difficult situations.

Examples:

-Adam and Eve faced a servent in the Garden.

-Moses faced the trials of living in Pharoah’s home and the desert experience.

-David faced temptation with Bathshea.

- Jeremiah faced a "cistern" experience.

B. God does not shelter you from difficult situations; however, he wants to give you victory in your situation.

2. Principle: do not let compromise rob you of your blessings. Jesus said the church at Pergamum was compromised by the false teachers. Those believers experienced the Lord’s displeasure over their compromise. Compromise will still rob you of blessings today.


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