Sermons

Summary: What does Jesus think about churches that compromise?

Pergamum: The Church Compromised in Commitment

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Pastor Brad Reaves

Grace Community Church

www.gracecommunity.com

Revelation 2:12-18

If you have your Bibles, find Chapter 2 of Revelation and put your finger there, and I want to take you Exodus, Chapter 20. The reason I want to take you here is that we better understand the significance of God’s message to Churches in Asia Minor. Most people know that the Israelites found themselves enslaved by the Egyptians for nearly 400 years. God heard their cries and delivered from Pharoah. God delivered them out of slavery. After redeeming them from slavery, He brings them to Mt Sinai, and there gives Moses the 10 Commandments. Pay attention here to the first 4 verses and the first 2 commandments:

20 And God spoke all these words, saying, 2 “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 3 “You shall have no other gods before me. 4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. (Exodus 20:1-4)

I want you to clearly see something here. First, as sort of a Preamble, The LORD says, “I am the LORD your God who brought you out of slavery...” This isn’t God holding some sort of carrot over the Israelite’s heads, it is reminding them of where they came from. They were in the world, they were in a pagan place full of pagan gods and pagan worship. They are no longer a part of that. The first two commandments specifically, tell the Israelites that they will only worship God and have nothing to do with the pagan culture and worship God delivered them from in Egypt. Sounds pretty reasonable right?

Egypt was a land of almost infinite deities. For the Israelites, the idea worship was perverted and unclear, because they had been exposed to the madness of the worship of idols in Egypt. Even though they said they were set apart for God their tendency is to hold onto polytheism and paganism. God tells them they are out of the pagan world and will not live or worship that way any longer. And so, even while Moses is on Mt Sinai, the Israelites are at the foot of the mountain worshiping a golden calf. Everyone says they must’ve been pretty stupid, right? Hold that thought.

If you go from Exodus over to the next book in the Bible (one of my favorite Old Testament Books), the book of Leviticus. The Book of Leviticus is essentially a manual for the nation of Israel on righteousness and worship. God admonishes the people of Leviticus over 125 times in the first 16 chapters alone to be pure and throughout the book, the Phrase “be holy as I am holy” appears over 50 times (MacArthur).

In fact, in Chapter 18 we find the issue of nakedness and sexual immorality. 20 And you shall not lie sexually with your neighbor’s wife and so make yourself unclean with her. 21 You shall not give any of your children to offer them to Molech, and so profane the name of your God: I am the Lord. 22 You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination. 23 And you shall not lie with any animal… on an on… 24 “Do not make yourselves unclean by any of these things, for by all these the nations I am driving out before you have become unclean.

Why all this? The reason God has instructed Israel this way is to renovate, if you will, man’s tendency for worldly and pagan living and worship (and let me also say these things are not separable). This is a call for separation from a sinful, pagan culture that includes sexual immorality. Now there are those who would say, “Big Deal. That’s the Old Testament. We’re under the New Testament, right?” This is where so many err. It’s early replacement theology. Nowhere does the Bible tell we were exonerated from the Law. In fact, just the opposite:

17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. (Matthew 5:17-18)

God’s expectation for his people to be separated - or holy - has never diminished; in fact, the cross has underscored it

Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. (1 Peter 4:4)

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