Pergamos: a church of compromise
And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges;
I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.
But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.
So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate.
Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.
Pergamos and Thyatira had, for the most part, similar issues in their churches, and that came from compromise! However, the degree was different in each church.
But what is a compromise?
It is essential from a personal risk management perspective to remember God sent these letters to churches full of individual Christians to address behaviour. This point is of particular importance, as compromise is the first step to falling away altogether.
Satan does not need to get us to fall away, just to compromise.
From there, we either fall away or become so consistently compromising that we can be entirely unrecognisable as soldiers of the cross.
Our lives start to look like those of the unsaved; which, when we read these letters carefully is exactly the type of person we have become!
When thinking on the word compromise, we see it is made of two words, com + promise. So, we see that by adding the prefix, ‘com’ we compromise the word, ‘promise.’
Taking that thought a step further, when we look at it from the perspective of our Christian walk, we see that our promise to God now has this prefix, which changes more than the meaning but our manner of life and walk with him.
We have all compromised at some time in our Christian walk, but we are called to higher ground! That higher ground is something of a mystery to many of us; however, the secret lies in the history of the Kings.
For instance, we see how King Asa, a great King before the Lord, used his wisdom and applied his understanding to produce peace in the hearts of the people: not just any peace, but a national peace well beyond our understanding.
King Asa applied the principles that ensured there was no compromise, and for that, his reward was both personal and national peace with the living God.
2 Chron 14:2-6 And Asa did that which was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God: For he took away the altars of the strange gods, and the high places, and brake down the images, and cut down the groves:
4 And commanded Judah to seek the Lord God of their fathers, and to do the law and the commandment.
5 Also, he took away out of all the cities of Judah the high places and the images: and the kingdom was quiet before him.
6 And he built fenced cities in Judah: for the land had rest, and he had no war in those years; because the Lord had given him rest.
It is this rest King Asa had that we all seek; a rest freely, joyfully and bountifully provided by our Lord.
Roadblocks to glory
Often the things that roadblock that peace is what we have going on in our high places — the higher ground to which God is calling us.
As we look at this scripture, we see that the ‘higher ground’ for King Asa were the places he found some of the images, altars, and strange gods, sanctioned by those previously in charge. The higher ground had been taken over by the insidious worship of non-sense, and God wants it!
So, when we put this illustration into our own lives, we can then look and see what areas the Lord does not yet have under his control, and commence offering them over.
The tough ones are the higher ground — the high places, where we hold things not of God or not entirely of God, and keep them there, despite the Holy Spirit trying to get them out.
Quite often we don’t mean to keep them there, but we find these things that cause our compromise come into our lives one millimetre at a time.
We begin simply by letting them in a little bit, then a bit more, and we keep going until that thing becomes part of our life.
By that stage, it is often so hard to remove that either we live with it and enjoy it, or weep daily because it has got us under its control, and not the other way around.
Like it or not, it is either voluntary or forced worship of that thing!
One of the main lies we believe when in a state of compromise, is that we deserve it, in a positive way; and this is when that battle begins; the battle of whether we will ‘deserve’ the sin, and fall— again, or fight and preserve the godly path within us.
When we give those areas over, that is the beginning of the end of our personal compromise.
Galatians 5:17-24 provides us with a short list of particular works that have no part in a church or an individual, and yet some of these works were seen in both Pergamos and Thyatira.
17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
19-21 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall NOT inherit the kingdom of God.
Scripture states that if these things reside in a person, those who are in possession of them at death shall NOT inherit the Kingdom of God.
We see in people within these two churches that fornication and idolatry were both re-introduced to their lives.
Once dead, these sins should have remained that way, dead; but resuscitation took place; hence the stern letter of warning to those people engaged in them.
Once saved, where we have asked the Holy Spirit into our lives to remove the fleshly person within us and give us peace, this list of high-risk items in verses 19-21 should be reducing rapidly if not immediately.
We let the Holy Spirit put a spear through the side of each issue, ensuring it bleeds to death; not coming to life again within us.
Then, when completed, we begin moving on the opposite of those other issues in verses 22-23, as we come to realise a lack of these may also be within us.
22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
For instance, a lack of love is the antithesis of the Spirit within in us.
Therefore, even if we have grown up with a distinct and clear lack of love ourselves, or have been offended by a loved one and now find love difficult to show, it is no excuse to be in possession of that problem all our lives, while still calling ourselves Christians. We need to let the Holy Spirit heal it, so we can move on and pour godly love on others, remove bitterness, and the range of issues which stem from this.
We have a similar situation with Meekness. If we are not meek when we come to the Lord, it is important that we become meek.
Meek does not mean weak, as some might think to interpret it. We are talking about strength under control!
It is so easy to think we have meekness until we find the definition: “yielding our personal rights and expectations to a desire to serve.”
It’s embarrassing when we read this, as we find it the opposite of most of life’s arguments. If we still have the arguments, do we have Meekness?
Again, if we do not appear to have a joyful spirit, this also needs to change.
From a sincere heart, we are to initiate praise and thanks to the Lord for the multitude of blessing we receive daily and maintain that throughout the day. If Christians can praise and thank him while in a prisoner-of-war camp awaiting death, we can do it here in easy-land.
Pergamos had within it some that held the doctrine of Balaam. That doctrine was to bewitch believers into thinking fornication and eating things offered unto idols was tolerable to God because of Grace. So here we have physical sin and theological sin.
Now, why would anybody join a church with a desire to change it? Why would anybody seek the gospel of Christ in the first place and yet want to modify it?
We often see this in politics; where individuals, under the guise of aspiring politicians, seek to obtain the voting preference, with the particular interest of changing our laws or constitution.
Why don’t they go to some other nation, where the laws and constitution may not be as offensive to them?
And here at Pergamos, we see the same thing. Wolves hid under a sheep’s fleece of righteousness, who are seeking to introduce a different gospel into a church that was already preaching the truth.
The truth is the issue!
Some people in churches even today do not like truth — the whole truth; as it exposes areas of their lifestyle, they are disinclined to change.
So what could these wolves in Pergamos have done differently?
Perhaps they could have ventured to an establishment of another god: one that endorsed fornication and couldn’t care less about idol food. There were plenty around. If they wanted to share their love and idolatry that way, they could have identified numerous synagogues that would have welcomed them and their extra-ordinary activities.
But they didn’t.
Rather than attend another institution, they preferred God to change his definition of righteousness, to change his definition of purity, and to change his definitions of spot, wrinkle and blemish. In fact, they would have preferred the whole believing world to modify its belief to suit their decadence, than stop it.
Rather than go somewhere liberal, or be ashamed of their depravity, they tried to amend the gospel, as only then they could feel comfortable in the pew.
We know, and they knew, scripture does not teach that fornication or eating things offered unto idols is acceptable; however, if you twist a verse here and there and place your interpretation on it, you can make it say whatever you want.
In the end, all our lives come before the author of the original gospel, who will either authenticate or repudiate our lifestyles!
It is evident in the letter written directly to the wicked in this church, that God had audibly denounced what the church elders should have done long before it got to this stage.
These letters are similar to Paul writing to the Corinthians, from afar. If we adjudicate accurate judgments promptly, there is no need for letters from afar, as the local elders have effectively (legally according to the Word, and morally) dealt with the problems.
It is odd to have so much trouble in a church, don’t you think?
Do you ever wonder if God looks down and shakes his head, thinking, “I have given them clear direction as to their pathway, instructions at every turn, shown them how to repent to keep their lives on track with the Godhead, provided them with an abundance of biblical examples, given them more love than one could ever imagine, shown them how to shed the past and live for the future, given them a hope for an upcoming inheritance they will not get anywhere else in this life; and still, they try to squeeze into heaven with the degeneracies they are meant to put off and bury, thinking we will let still let them in!”
Churches can be the most loving places on earth. At times, though, we can find them active with mini-conflicts and issues.
We cannot get despondent when we see this, as conflict is often a way of finding out what lies beneath the surface. Within every problem is an opportunity.
If it is wickedness, like that of Pergamos, then that needs to be raised quickly and dealt with quickly.
Quick judgment reaps immediate rewards. On the other hand, slow judgment, as was in Pergamos, has the righteous, if there were any left at this church, removing themselves from the communion table and crying out to God saying, how long, O Lord!
From there we end up with the church splitting and further fragmentation of the body of Christ, which is more a modern thing. Of course, this isn’t the only reason churches split, but God knows who are his, and calls us all to be ever watchful for the many deceptions of Satan within and outside the church.
Thyatira – a church of GREAT compromise
Revelation 2: 18-29
18 And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass;
19 I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first.
20 Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.
21 And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.
22 Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.
23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.
24 But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden.
25 But that which ye have already hold fast till I come.
26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:
27 And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.
28 And I will give him the morning star.
29 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
Here we have a church, similar to that of Pergamos regarding sin, but further down that highway to hell.
Fornication and eating things offered unto idols were not only in the church at Thyatira, but a woman was teaching it and seducing the congregants; a woman the Lord named Jezebel, who called herself a prophetess and was busy in that church trying to normalise sin.
This passage to the Thyatira church is the longest of the seven letters. When we read it and understand the issues, we see why it needed to be this long. The wickedness and penalties needed a lengthy explanation to ensure the recipients were in no doubt as to the Lord’s intentions.
Despite the wickedness, God’s grace was extended to this Church, long after we would have shut it down.
Psalm 103:17 states, “But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children;” and within this church were also them that feared him.
We all know his mercy has extended to all of us well after our use by date! Praise him for his mercy!
In this letter, the Lord introduces Himself as “the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass.”
He establishes from the outset as having the authority to say and do what he says he will; and with eyes aflame, he is not coming to celebrate but repudiate! He is annoyed and angry. Our parents when angry at us as children looked like this.
If we received a similar letter from the Son of God, would we be attentive? Would we be as afraid as we would if it were our parents?
This church was divided. It had those within who followed the Lord, and beside them in the pew were the wicked trying to change things.
Sometimes Christians can be as divided as this church; seemingly having a demon and an angel wrestling within; with the angel winning some days and the demon winning others. In this dichotomy, we see what the Apostle Paul wrote about, where at times he felt he was doing what he didn’t want and not doing what he wanted.
This struggle is within all of us at some point and can be all our lives unless we put in some quite serious effort to overcome. If we are to overcome our demons, the Lord needs our strength for the battle as much as we need his. Overcoming is a joint effort!
Looking back at the tribes of Israel, as they struggled to take over the ‘old man’ (enemy) in the land, that fought hard not to die, we can take comfort knowing that consistent effort will rid ourselves of the demon and give the angel the territory, as it did with Israel.
Our walk should be battle-planned and then followed, and not left to time and chance as do some Christians. We should engage the Lord this way; by asking him to go before us into this battle, and then follow his principles after that, so we walk in his footsteps, behind him. Much like walking through a minefield.
Trouble comes when we ask the Lord to go before us; then we don’t follow directly in those footsteps, or principles, or laws, or instructions, and wonder why we trod on a landmine. It’s easy to see why!
As we celebrate the birth of Jesus tomorrow, think about ways we can follow more closely in his footsteps, and bypass much of life’s troubles.
The key issue with ‘compromise’ is that the Christian spirit is always the one compromising!
We do not find Satan or his demons compromising unless it is to give temporary ground to draw us further toward the addiction of wickedness.
Likewise, we do not see to see our human spirit compromising, as it seems to fight all the way to the very end until our reins or the holy spirit within brings it under control.
God is forever calling us upward to that higher ground, so why is it we find ourselves giving way to sin or rudeness or mockery or meanness, or some other alternative to the fruit of the Spirit, which all reside on the lower ground?
In this church at Thyatira, many gave way to follow the sin of fornication and eating foods offered to idols, as they followed the false teacher, who fantasised their human desires sufficient enough to believe. However, many did not give way, and these are they whom we should follow. These are they in our churches to whom we should join ourselves. They encouraged each other in the word daily and remained hopeful in their Lord. They were content with the word is it was written and were not inclined to change it to suit that alternative way of life. Their aim was to grow in Christ, not lower his high value and esteem. They were not those to whom the ”Letter’ was written.
Many positive things were going on in this church.
The Lord acknowledged they had works, service, charity, faith, and patience. He intimates they were involved in real things in and around the city. They were getting out there and displaying their Christianity, and performing some marvellous works. The neighbourhood knew them for their works. They rattle the tins at street corners to raise money for the poor and needy, and their service to the church and others is also well recognised.
When the Lord himself acknowledges your hard work in the form of a letter, it would be like receiving a commendation; which they did; and yet it was overshadowed.
When we look at this church, we may be apt to think that it was rebellious in every way. However, again the Lord recognised them for an attribute, and one that astounds us — Faith. He recognised them for their faith.
When was the last time you got known by the Lord for your faith?
Faith underpins all things in the church. It is the sole thing that turns a mountain into a molehill, a mustard seed into a great tree; it is the evidence of things we cannot see but believe. Furthermore, it is the very thing through which we are saved.
So we may wonder how they can be identified for their faith when they were involved in such wicked practices. Would you have recognised them for their faith under similar circumstances, or simply closed them down?
We all must be thankful for the Lord’s mercy, and the manner in which he judges. Praise him today!
The Lord said he would be gracious to whom he will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom he will shew mercy. He dispenses his levels of grace and mercy upon whom he wishes.
And so, he also recognised them for their patience.
Patience is a big thing in churches, as they are a place where people need to grow, and that requires patience!
They are a place where the young grow in the Lord, first as babies being nurtured by their believing parents as they listen to the message from the back room through the glass, then through Sunday School and the loving mentoring of mature Christians, then onto youth group. From there, they join the myriad of adults listening, learning and worshipping their way through their spiritual journey. This needs patience!
Often we have people in congregations who are slightly deaf, or blind, or intellectually challenged. We have the aged, who at times may need particular attention. They too need patience.
Yes, patience is required in a church, and this church had it!
Seeing the Lord recognised this church for its patience, we can expect it to have been a nice church to attend.
But Patience wasn’t enough to stop the rebuke.
The Lord also acknowledged that their works were getting better all the time, and even said the last works are more than the first. It was clear they had made plans and were growing that side of the ministry. They were a helpful church.
The Lord is keen to see us all develop both hearts and strategies for helping people with what resources we have at our disposal. Jesus said, ” And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”
Some churches today have great ministries for helping the widows, orphaned or neglected children, and the aged, as well as others who cannot help themselves.
James 1.27 said, “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”
Despite this church accomplishing half of that scripture, it was not able to keep itself unspotted from the world, notwithstanding the righteous within it. God sees our spots first. If we don’t wake up and clean them up by repenting and becoming obedient, sooner or later the world will see them, even with all our cunning disguises to hide them. We take on an odour that the world and God can smell.
Works were not enough to stop the rebuke
Again, Thyatira is acknowledged by the Lord for some great attribute. And again it reaches the top in being recognised for Charity!
Charity is a different quality. It is agapē love. As the Greek Lexicon puts it, love enkindled by the Holy Spirit. It is profound and complex.
The oft-used wedding scripture, 1 Cor 13:3-8, states, “And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth:”
Charity appeared to be working in this church; maybe not in all the senses above, but certainly in a few. A great church? It means that congregants had this quality.
As ministers have challenged their congregations in the past, to transpose their name for the word, Charity, and see if we live up to the scripture. We cannot throw stones if we live in glass houses!
To emphasise the Lord’s hatred for wickedness, we see in 1 Peter 4:8, “And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.
Despite the godly recognition of Charity, in this case, Charity could not cover its sins!
According to Titus 2:11-12, God has called us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, stressing that we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.
Numerous in the Thyatiran church were doing just that. As is evident, despite the great things this church was doing, it was not sufficient to free them from extreme criticism from the Lord God Almighty.
It is a stark reminder to us all as we grow in Christ that, we, too, will not be above condemnation if we think our ongoing sin will be accepted providing we are doing good works, or have faith or patience, or some such thing.
It is nonsensical, and a New Age thought created by a fabricated ideal of God’s grace and distorted comprehension of his love.
Poor understanding is the crux of this issue. Even today, we are apt to think that teaching fornication and eating things offered unto idols would never happen in a real contemporary Christian church, and yet it does!
The two current instructions from the pulpit which provide us recipes for confusion on very clear biblical issues, are;
The principal that ‘grace’ is boundless and borderless, and
That Christ’s commandments are different to God’s commandments.
These two teachings alone are at the core of sin in today’s church, which is rife, and most likely that of both Pergamos and Thyatira.
When God has outlined clear instructions, and we preach or think his son and heir to the throne will have an entirely new set of laws, which are presently unwritten and fundamentally opposed to the old set, and which will be miraculously placed in our hearts and minds; we are living in fantasy land.
Both God and his son are very clear on fornication and idol-communion and also in complete accord on all other matters of sin.
Relating to sin, the Old and New Testaments are one seamless book, with Christ taking over the roles of High Priest and sacrifice. He is not re-writing the rule book or penalties. He tag-teams with the Holy Spirit to assist only the true-hearted seeker and will overlook many issues as they walk toward him and his kingdom. But will not ignore sin in those who pretend to be walking toward him.
To teach that God will turn a blind eye to our sin, without repentance, is false teaching, and places us in the same category as the sinful of this church.
We should not forget the Letter stated, “And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.”
He is talking about those within the church who want and desire to commit sin but, at the same time, want the respectability of the saved.
The Lord is very clear. He is making an example of this church and intimates that the great tribulation to come upon those who commit adultery with her on her bed, will be like a disease they cannot cure and is derived directly from the act!
God looks on the heart, but what we sometimes fail to understand is that he created us with inbuilt innocent/guilt indicators. These are hard-wired into our deepest and most minute regions — between bone and marrow, soul and spirit, thought and intent — and inform God immediately we begin ‘thinking’ of sin.
Therefore, our two greatest enemies besides Satan and his demons are (1) the preacher who brings new and watered-down doctrine, stating we are ‘free’ in Christ or that we cannot help sinning; and, (2) our own lusts to commit sin but gutlessly blame it on that preacher.
This scripture states that both the whore and the whoremonger will be on trial in this judgement and receive their due penalties, while the others in the congregation, whose hearts and minds are scripturally based, will be encouraged to stand firm in their belief.
Which one are you?
An interesting statement in the letter is where the Lord said he “will kill her children with death”.
A quite strange objective from a loving Lord? Not when you take into account the actual purpose of the Jezebel in this church.
Most people in a church are considered to be the Lord’s. They are his children! Here is a woman, a presumed caretaker of the children (a teacher), who is attempting to rewrite and redeliver the instructions of the parent to the children.
This Jezebel has undertaken the evilest of all activities, that of turning children against their father. She is trying to convince God’s children that he did not mean what he said to them; that it’s not against God’s will to sin; that there will be no punishment if they do wrong.
In essence, she is trying to kill God’s children by getting them to sin without repentance or fear, and therefore end up in hell!
Jesus said that whoever offends one of these little children, it would be far more lenient to place a millstone around the neck of the offender and they be dropped into the sea to drown, rather that God get his hands on them.
God moves directly across to harsh judgment, as any parent would, when people hurt his children or try to sway them out of ‘The Way’.
James 3:1 contains a warning to all who desire to teach God’s word to his children, “My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.”
In the great mystery of the relationship between God and his church, God is the husband, and the church is the wife. The wife being submissive to the will of the husband, as per scripture.
The husband has written his instructions for the wife to follow and to teach them to anyone coming into the church — the children.
The ‘teachers’ (Pastors and other leaders) of the Church, are to teach only the will of the Father, which includes the will of the Son. If it was good enough for the son, Jesus, to do the will of the Father, as in John 6:38, “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me” it should be good enough for the teachers.
Teachers should not falsely interpret or twist that will as they deliver it to the children, but from time immemorial some have.
Ephesians 5:1-7 is a short letter from God to his children, to remain on full alert at all times for their behaviour and what they are taught.
“Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them.
The Thyatiran church would have had a copy of that letter to the Ephesians, as Ephesus was in the region; and the leaders should have known what was or was not scripture.
We also as dear children, are to look at these verses and see which ones the Lord would think we are succeeding or failing in. Have a look at each point in yesterday’s scripture and see how you fare. It is another important mark in our lives to be able to tick off each one of these as being auditable by the Lord. But it can also be challenging to come across scriptures such as these and test ourselves.
You see, as we have read before, this is all about people preaching and hoping for another Jesus. One that would have a different gospel; not vastly different, but with a few changes.
All Christians think they are bible believers. Yet, it is so easy to wish for another Jesus. 2 Cor 11:4 states, “For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him. “
We should all commit to memory the message of this most important scripture, as here Paul challenges Christians in a functioning church. He said that if someone came preaching a marginally different type of Jesus than the one he preached, they would probably listen to that preacher. This scripture implies two important issues:
That, if other preachers came preaching a different Jesus to Paul, it wouldn’t be the true gospel, and the Corinthians were probably hoping for another gospel
that if preachers present another gospel in our time, we might give them our ear, if we don’t know our Bible, and follow it.
In this passage, Paul is challenging the Corinthian church for not implementing God’s word. We can find ourselves under similar condemnation if we don’t adhere to his word, implementing it in our lives, and rejecting the snake oil salesmen’s messages. We simply need to let ourselves off on a few points of scripture, relax a little here and there, and we have changed it from the truth.
Today, like yesteryear, preachers and others present us with all sorts of spin on the truth; some like to be controversial. Whether it to sell books or make themselves famous, or just because they don’t want to hear the whole truth themselves.
We should not forget that Simon the Sorcerer, of Acts chapter 8 fame, would have been preaching the gospel under the influence of greed and sorcery if the Apostles had not stopped him. Therefore, if he can do it, many others can follow.
For instance, let’s look at some simple changes to the truth that we accept today:
We celebrate the birth of Jesus on December 25, yet it is not his birthday but that of a pagan idol. Jesus appears to have been born around Sept-Oct.
Easter is another pagan worship period used by Christians globally.
Churches globally hold services on Easter Friday and Easter Sunday, to commemorate the death and resurrection of Christ. Jesus himself said in Matt 12:40, “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” Dying on Friday and being resurrected on Sunday is not three days.
In movies and paintings, they depict Jesus as having long hair and being effeminate, yet, Paul states in 1 Cor 11.4, “Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?”
Jesus would not have taught Paul in that manner while doing the opposite.
Some preach Jesus was rich due to all the gifts that were given to his parents at his birth, therefore seeking riches in this life is his will.
Hit and miss faith healing, and blaming the non-healing on the injured party for lacking faith. This finger pointing has brought much confusion and heartache to the Christian world.
Sunday is not the seventh day of the week. The Sabbath was changed many years ago to suit Sun worshippers.
The days of the week are named after other gods: Suns Day, Moon’s Day, Zeus Day, Woden’s Day, Thors Day, Friggars Day, Saturn’s Day
These examples may not turn us away from Jesus. However, they are all significant movements away from the truth he wants us to know, and presents us with another Jesus.
When a lie is introduced and is in operation for a while, it becomes truth to the next generation.
“A different gospel we are sold to the one that he has told”
In closing, several things are clear:
This Jezebel presented another gospel (another Jesus) to the church at Thyatira.
Some congregants followed it, while others didn’t.
Those who followed wanted her gospel.
God reserved a severe punishment for this Jezebel and her followers.
Other gospels, once introduced, quickly permeate a church. Such as people barking and crawling around the floor like dogs, or ministers stating that if they don’t get millions of dollars God will take their life, or pastors living lavish lifestyles while their congregants go hungry, or introducing altar calls without the need for repentance, or pastors preaching for congregants to have faith and God will bless them financially.
God gave them time to repent, as his mercy is great. Did they repent, as God had asked them, or not? What are your thoughts?
Other gospels (other Jesus’s) come in many shapes, but, in the end, they all sound the same.
Luke 9:23 states, “.And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.
Mark 8:35 says, “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.”
There is but one gospel. Resist the urge. Stay the course!