Summary: Combating Compromise with an Evil Age
1. Identified the third church that Jesus spoke to in Rev 2-3.
2. Identified the changing strategy of Satan against the body of Christ. He moved from the strategy of intimidation in Smyrna to a strategy of inticement in Pergamum.
3. Jesus warns this church that although the basic foundation of their doctrine is strong yet there are areas where they have given in and fallen prey to the pressures that surround them.
House in KC began to settle with time: cracks appeared in the walls and ceiling. Jesus is showing us areas that need repair although the foundation(diety of Jesus) is still strong.
4. TONIGHT: Problem - Prescription - Possibilities(beginning in verse 14)
POPULAR WORD IN OUR CULTURE: DÉTENTE: Term used when heads of state meet and discuss important issues. Is means ’an easing of friction between two parties’ and it is based upon such things as tolerance & compromise. Each brings to the table different concessions asked of by the other. We live in a culture which is demanding a DÉTENTE with the body of Christ. It is demanding of us that we bring to the table matters of our faith and calling upon us to become tolerant of sin and to compromise the truth of the Word of God.
TODAY: Surrounded by pressures to compromise. Name of Jesus is under constant fire. Things like Zoning Laws, privacy rights, tolerance pressures, and political correctness are all used by some as new weapons in an old war. An attack on the person of Jesus Christ by the one who hates Him the most and any who would be willing accomplises.
THE PROBLEM - (14) But I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balam, who kept teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit acts of immorality. (15) So you also have some who in the same way hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans.(Had ’this’ against Ephesus but a ’few things’ against here)
1. Twin Heresies which were a problem in the church: Balaanism and Nicolaitanism.
a. Balaam is the Hebrew word meaning ’lord of the people’ and Nicolaitan is a combination of two words ’to conquer’(NIKE) and ’the people’. To conquer the people.
2. Balaam was an actual OT figure who used a position of leadership to lead astray the people of God.
1) NUM 22-25: he was hired by Balak, king of Moab to come and curse Israel. God told him not to go and do but because of money he persisted in going. God stopped him along the way by speaking through his own donkey(Dog suddenly said ____ you need to stop doing that and get your life right). Yet Balaam went on. To Balak disappointment Balaam could not curse God’s people but he did provide Balak with a strategy of destruction.
a) Stedman writes that he paid beautiful women from Midian and Moab to parade before the young men of Israel and tempt them into sexual immorality. To corrupt and intice into sin.
b) Balaam counseled Balak how to bring God’s people down. IF I CAN’T CURSE THEM THEN I WILL CORRUPT THEM.
Kept teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel.
c) stumbling block ’scandelon’ It was the trapstick used when you set a trap. Pulled it when victim was fully caught up and ready to be captured.
d) Idolatry & Immorality were used. Modern equivolents of materialism & sensuality. World is constantly attacking the church with these weapons of mass destruction. Age old counsel meant to bring the church down.
e) Num 25 describes how this act led to a plague by which 24,000 died and it did not end until Phineas the priest took a spear and pierced both a man of Israel and a Midianite woman.
NUM 31:8 adds that when the people of Israel exacted punishment upon Midian that one of the ones killed was Balaam.
3. Nicolaitans are similar but different and it is not as clear as to what this ’teaching of the nicolaitans’ is. ’Conquerers of the people’ who were also a concern in Ephesus. ’you hate the deeds of the…’
a) Center around a teaching of there being a distinction in the body of Christ. Some claimed to have a special relationship with God, more intimate revelations, the inside track with God. They took advantage of people because of personal ambition.
b) Idea’s that developed out of the Jewish priesthood that is was necessary to have special people pray for you, that there was a need for individuals to set themselves up between God and the people.
Friend in TULSA: Lived as a roommate with a man who worked with at this time Oral Roberts ministries regarding schemes and ideas for appealing for people to give funds. Ideas such as having people send in money for prayer cloths, holy land oil, letters to say how their letters were part of those being constantly prayed for. Lived in a large 4 story Condo overlooking a lake. Years later I would be watching 20-20 or something that was Checking out a TV preacher who had supposedly gotten letters, taken out the checks, and trashed the prayer requests in a dumpster. The hidden camera captured this same man describing how they used various trinkets and schemes and how successful it was in increasing the giving. NICOTILAITANISM