Revelation 2:12-17 / The Dangers of Compromise

Posted on February 14, 2015


This is the eighth in a series of verse-by-verse expositions of the book of Revelation. This message was delivered at Hillcrest Baptist Church on the morning of February 8, 2015. This message deals with the dangers of compromising God’s Word. This post contains an audio recording of my message, along with my sermon notes and a study outline. Please note that the sermon notes are not a full transcript.

Rev 2:12-17


Pergamos was about 20 miles inland from Smyrna. Like Ephesus and Smyrna it was a wealthy city, but it was wicked. The city was largely pagan, and worshipped a multitude of Roman mythological gods.

Pergamos was famous for its university with a library of about 200,000 volumes, and for manufacturing parchment.

The culture of this city was contrary to Christian values. As such, the church here had learned to compromise. They had become tolerant of evil and immorality. This was, no doubt, an attempt to be accepted by society. It sounds a great deal like much of the American church and American culture.

Jesus identifies Himself here as having a sharp, two-edged sword. The implication is one of judgment. The sharp two-edged sword speaks of the Word of God’s ability to condemn the world for its sin, and to cut off the unbeliever.

They had compromised the Word, and they would be judged for it.

We cannot begin to think that anything is hidden from our Lord, for He knows our works.

In this case, they were in a difficult situation. They lived “where Satan’s throne is”. Pergamos was a hotbed of idolatry, evil and immorality.

They did not deny their faith, even in very difficult situations. Antipas was likely a former pastor of the church, and even with his martyrdom, they did not deny the faith. The Christians at Pergamos had been true to God under severe testing but had compromised their testimony in other ways, as seen in the next two verses.

The result of compromise in God’s church is devastating.

They had allowed pagan teaching into the church. The doctrine of both Balaam and the Nicolatians had been incorporated into the church. These things involved the acceptance of idolatry and sexual immorality.

A Parallel exists in the modern American church. Many have allowed other doctrines to taint their faith. One of the biggest infiltrations today is the acceptance of evolution within the church. With a desire for acceptance, evolutionary beliefs have been mixed with the Word of God. The end result has increasingly produced generations of children who are led to believe that the Bible is not true or trustworthy. Many children are being led astray, and many churches have been complicit.

They have become complicit in one of two ways.

  1. Some have directly incorporated evolutionary teaching into their doctrine. Over 500 churches in the U.S. celebrate Darwin day annually.
  2. Others are complicit by failing to confront, refute, and rebuke such teaching.

Either way, it eventually leads to a disbelief of the Bible. As such, they are inviting judgment on themselves.

Mark 9:42

This desire to be accepted by the world is simply a poison to the church.

James 4:4

God created, and He didn’t use evolution to do it.

Genesis 1:1

Genesis 1:24-25

Genesis 1:27

1 Corinthians 15:39

Despite this clear teaching, Many have attempted to insert contrary teachings.

The end result has been an increaing lack of faith. The Word of God is no longer seen as trustworthy or authoritative.

This belief that humans are just a more highly evolved animal, coupled with a disbelief of Scripture, has led to many other compromises. It stands to reason that when the authority of Scripture is compromised, other compromises are sure to follow.

  • Homosexuality is increasingly accepted, even in our churches, despite the clear teaching of Scripture. Why not if we are just animals?
  • Abortion is more and more mainstream. Why not kill your babies if you are just animals?
  • All manners of sexual immorality are becoming more and more common. Why not, if we are just animals?
  • Alcohol and drug abuse are the norm. Why not, if we are just animals?

Even so, calling anyone’s habitual immorality a sin is often considered hateful.

We have a large church culture in this country that has accepted evil and immorality, simply by their failure to confront it with the Holy Word of God!

If they don’t clean up the church, God will.

The bottom line is, we don’t add to the Word of God.

Proverbs 30:5-6

We should not seek acceptance by adopting worldly standards and beliefs. We should seek to be different.

Romans 12:2

  • The draw and appeal of Jesus Christ has never been because He was a reflection of the world. Jesus is appealing because He is a reflection of the father.

John 14:9

  • Jesus did not draw people because He accepted their sin. He preached repentance and said “sin no more”.

Matthew 4:17

John 8:11

  • The church’s appeal won’t come by being a reflection of the world, but by being a reflection of Christ.
  • The Church’s appeal won’t come by accepting sin, but by promoting righteousness.

He who remains faithful to God’s word in the midst of a perverse culture, has a wonderful promise to look forward to.

A white stone was often given as a prize to victorious athletes. It served as a pass for admission to the celebration banquet after the games. As such, this white stone will serve as a pass to a special heavenly feast, reserved for those who “have overcome“.

Another very important feature of the white stone, is the message it contains. It’s message is unique to each recipient. It is a personal message from Christ to the ones He loves. It is a new name, which only that person will know. Christ’s own personal name for you.

These amazing rewards should be more than enough motivation for us to keep the pure, un-compromised doctrine of God’s Word. Any worldly rewards and recognition we may get for compromising, pales in comparison to these eternal heavenly rewards.

Posted in: Eschatology, Sermons