Thursday, October 28, 2010

Will you be among those who are victorious? You could be!

Rev. 2:12-17 NLT 
  12“Write this letter to the angel of the church in Pergamum. This is the message from the one with the sharp two-edged sword:
  13 “I know that you live in the city where Satan has his throne, yet you have remained loyal to me. You refused to deny me even when Antipas, my faithful witness, was martyred among you there in Satan’s city. 14  “But I have a few complaints against you. You tolerate some among you whose teaching is like that of Balaam, who showed Balak how to trip up the people of Israel. He taught them to sin by eating food offered to idols and by committing sexual sin. 15 In a similar way, you have some Nicolaitans among you who follow the same teaching. 16 Repent of your sin, or I will come to you suddenly and fight against them with the sword of my mouth. 17  “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. To everyone who is victorious I will give some of the manna that has been hidden away in heaven. And I will give to each one a white stone, and on the stone will be engraved a new name that no one understands except the one who receives it.

Church number two-- or, perhaps the second type of decline that was to occur across history in Christ's church-- sexual compromise. I don't know about previous centuries but I do know that today's churches are fraught with people who are conflicted in compromise over sin that often involves sex in one way or another. Yes there are other sins too-- gossip and slander are among them to be sure, but in almost any Christian church today you are going to find members violating God's laws about sexual purity. Whether it is married adults involved in adultery or unmarried persons in fornication, or lust, or lewd and lascivious behavior, there are people who think that they can claim to be Christ followers yet violate God's standards for sexual purity.

This church, in Pergamum, Christ said, was where Satan has his throne. This was because Pergamum was the center of four devil worshiping cults that involved sex in worship activities. And some members of Christ's church there were enticed into making compromise with those activities, thinking that to engage in them did not injure their faith in the Lord. But the Lord wanted them, and us today as well, to know that it would hurt them badly. He wants us all to understand that there can be NO compromise with God's standards. It was the sin of those "Nicolaitans," whom Jesus hated, that tricked believers into thinking they could engage in physical lust and sex outside of marriage without conflict in their Faith in Christ. However, when one has faith in Christ, then Christ is Lord. And, since Christ taught that his followers would be doing as HE did, and no longer pursuing our own personal preferred activities-- as He pursued God's priorities-- then it does not sit well with him for a Christian to choose to violate God's laws regarding sexual relations. For the record, NO! One cannot continue to engage in adultery or fornication and still be a man or woman of faith. NO! One cannot engage in homosexual activities and remain a Christian in God's eyes. NO! One cannot engage in violations about relationships with people covered in the commandments, and still be a member of the body of Christ. I am not the one saying so, it is Christ Himself who says so. So, when our brother or sister in Christ is known to be so engaged, we do them disservice by ignoring it. We should really warn them-- that is, if we love them. Christ can deliver us from all sin, if we will let Him.

Will you be among the victorious who receive the "hidden manna" and the new name on a white stone from Christ?

Your servant in Christ's love

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