The Compromising Church

Bible Book: Revelation  2 : 12-17
Subject: Compromise; Church, Compromising; Church, Faithful
Series: Deeper - Seven Churches of Revelation

Unlike Ephesus that had forsaken their love for Christ and Smyrna that had suffered for their devotion to Christ, Pergamos compromised the truth of God and embraced the cultural norms of their day.

Pergamos was a religious city. It was a city where religion and religious ideas seemed to thrive. There was an ancient saying that whenever any weird idea was expelled from one place, it would end up in Pergamos. It had many religious institutions and organizations and was given over almost entirely to wealth and foolishness.

Pergamos was the 1st city of Asia to receive permission to build a temple dedicated to the worship of a living ruler. In 29 BC Augusta granted permission for the erection of the temple.

A. W. Tozer wrote, “blessed are they that tolerate everything, for they should not be made accountable for anything.” Compromise has been a cancer in the church from its inception.

Citizens were required to burn a pinch of incense at the foot of Caesar Augusta’s statue, honoring him as a god. Those who refused to do so were immediately arrested and imprisoned.

Pergamos was a city that understood authority and the chain of command, therefore, Jesus introduced Himself as the one “has the sharp two-edged sword.” In ancient times, the highest symbol of authority was the sword. When one talked about the sword, one talked about absolute authority.

Hebrews 4:12: “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

The one who carried the sword in ancient times had the right of life or death. Jesus introduced Himself to a city which was a political headquarters as the One with the sword. He is the One in charge, who has absolute authority.

Hebrews 4:13: “And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.”

I. Their Devotion 13

Here the Lord commends the works (fruit) of their believers who stayed faithful in the midst of such evil. He was well aware of the conditions and pressures under which they worked as they lived out their commitment to Christ.

A. Their Location

“where Satan’s throne is” - “where Satan dwells” - It was the center of cultic worship, a place where Satan thought he would best use his influence. This was Satan’s headquarters and he lived here during this time period. Satan set up his operation in the center of learning and the healing arts, introduced idolatry, and sought to control people’s minds through learning, their bodies through healing, and their souls through pagan religions.

Yet, the Church was faithful!

B. Their Loyalty

1. To His Name

“you hold fast to my name” – loyal to the person of Jesus Christ. The name is the symbol of the person; it represents His character. This church confirmed Jesus Christ as Lord. They confirmed His honor, His glorious nature, His holy character, His redeeming power. His name was above all names!

2. To His Faith

“did not deny my faith”- They had not denied the purpose of which Jesus came. They had complete confidence in His mission and atoning work. They had not turned their backs on the Gospel. They confessed explicit faith in Jesus as the only true God.

His name marks the glory of His person.

His faith marks the perfection of His purpose.

His church held fast to His name and His faith.

3. To Their Death

II. Their Doctrine 14-15

Truth To Remember - Satan will attempt to destroy Christianity from without, yet he has failed. His next move will be to destroy the Church in its true character and testing from within.

Also Remember that when a minister begins to compromise in the least, the compromising will spread and grow. If we give the devil an inch, he will take a mile. Jimmy Draper refers to vv14-15 with the word Détente- an easing of friction between two parties. It means compromising so as not to muddy the waters. The church at Pergamos had not denied the faith but they were tolerating false views. They tolerated what ought to be expelled.

A. Doctrine of Balaam 14

Numbers 22-25 King Balak requested Prophet Balaam to curse Israel and offered him lots of money. He attempted to curse them 3 times, each time he blessed them. Since he couldn’t curse them, he sought to corrupt them through compromise. He sought to pollute the people socially and spiritually.


Idolatry - Infidelity - Immorality

It was to compromise the things of God. It was to believe the right things but to deny them by the way in which they lived. The people were conservative and fundamental as well as orthodox in their beliefs yet they began to buy this philosophy characterized by the wisdom of the world. It was an attack on the standards of separation that God expected Israel to maintain.


Infidelity - Marry Moabite women, mixed marriages, corrupting and destroying Christian families.

Idolatry - “eat things sacrificed to idols”

For the Christian, any object, any person, place or thing that occupies the place God should occupy in the heart and life of the individual, is an idol and thus becomes idolatry.

1 John 5:21: “Little children, keep yourselves from idols Amen.”

Jesus, I love you and I will worship you as long as it doesn’t conflict with _____.

“What is an idol? It is anything that absorbs your heart and imagination more than God, anything you seek to give you what only God can give.” Tim Keller

Immorality - “commit sexual immorality” – the corrupting of our moral purity.

Acts 15 Jerusalem Council deals with these.

B. Doctrine of Nicolaitans 15

Freedom to live without a moral law and practice lascivious living all in the name of Christian liberty. It’s a picture of the church married to the world. The church is the Bride of Christ!

How did God respond in Balaam’s day? Numbers 25:9 - 24,000 died

III. Their Discipline 16


A. Contrition of Heart
B. Confession of Sin
C. Change in Conduct

“I will come to you” - “and will fight against them”

If you as a church don’t exercise discipline, I will. You judge them or I will judge them.

IV. His Delight 17


Hidden Manna

The believer may feast upon Christ in a hidden place.

The White Stone Speaks of acquittal; a stone of unity

New Name - The Lord gives knowledge of Himself no one else can share.