Revelation Study 3) Compromised Church (Chapter 2.12-17)
In our series in Revelation we come to Pergamum, a church that was in need of some corrective instruction by Jesus. His words are incisive and painful but like a good surgeon the wounds are intended to bring healing and wholeness, if they will repent in time.
1. Jim reminded us that “Pergamum was an impressive place, but Jesus says it is hell’s headquarters” – how did this opposition manifest itself against the church? What are the spiritual consequences of living so close to such a dangerous place? Do we feel the pressure to conform that this church faced?
2. While Jesus commends the church for its faithfulness under persecution, they are rebuked for their immorality. Their personal integrity didn’t match their public profession – they are being defeated from within. Where are our greatest challenges to be faced? Does a lack of integrity inhibit our (collective and individual) public witness?
3. What would you say to someone who said “everyone is compromised – the bible itself says there is no one who is perfect, so don’t be a hypocrite and criticise me”? Does wholeheartedness mean sinlessness / perfection, and if so is it unobtainable? What do the following verses say about the “blameless” or “righteous” person? (Psalm 15, Psalm 19.12-13, Psalm 66.18-19, 2 Tim 2.20-21).
4. Why does Satan use sexual immorality to destroy the witness of this church? What are the spiritual consequences of sexual immorality? In a sex-obsessed world, how can we protect our personal integrity?
5. Jim reminded us that the church in Pergamum had two problems, “those who fail, and those who fail to speak out” – some had been seduced and others had remained silent. Are there things that need to be put right among us? Do we need to be more willing to confront sin in each other? How do we do this with grace and love? (Matthew 18.15-17, 1 Timothy 5.1)
6. “The compromised church is in more danger from Jesus than from its enemies” – what are the marks of a compromised church, of a compromised individual? What is the remedy to compromise? (Revelation 3.19-20)
7. For those who give themselves wholeheartedly to Jesus he has the ability to sustain them. Are we struggling to live for Christ in our own strength or in His? Do we utterly trust Jesus to fill us with his joy that is greater than our short-lived thrills?
To the socially excluded Jesus promises acceptance, identity and victory. What a message to take to an anchorless and orphaned world! May God grant that we would know the depths of our union with Christ, so that we would be able to choose to live a life of costly faithfulness over superficial mediocrity. “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose” Jim Elliot