Will you follow your calling or your culture?
“To the angel of the church in Pergamum write: These are the words of him who has the sharp, double-edged sword. I know where you live—where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, not even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city—where Satan lives. Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: There are some among you who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin so that they ate food sacrificed to idols and committed sexual immorality. Likewise, you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it.” Revelation 2:12-17 NIV
Before our world changed drastically this past week or so, we had begun to look at the seven churches in Revelation. Each week we would dig deeper individually and bring something we personally received to our weekly Bible Study. Due to the change in how we are able to meet in the present moment, we have decided to continue with our weekly study online and give each member of the body an opportunity to offer something themselves. While changes abound, we can still grow together as we dig into the Word for our strength and continue to allow this powerful, living Word to change us. Let’s do this and let’s find ourselves dug deeper into Christ than we could have ever imagined.
Pergamum was a magnificent city in its day, but today all that remains are the ruins of what once was. Known for its innovation, its inventors, and its temples to many different gods, Pergamum was a city where many would gather and would travel miles to participate in activities that would be considered an abomination to our Great God. The church in this culture was being pressured to bow and conform to the pattern of the world around it. They were being required to declare that the emperor was god and unfortunately some were doing it. Persecution of Christians was intense and harsh during this time but the church still grew and many were coming to faith in Christ.
However, the outside pressure and even the pressure of those who pretended to believe came at them in force. For those who began to compromise it was not long before they embraced the culture around them and the call to be separated from the world seemed like a call to legalism.
Jesus, speaking to this church presents the renewed call to come out from the world and to be his true disciples, even it if cost them everything. The reward they would receive for full devotion would far outweigh anything they would experience in the present age in which they were living. That call is true for us as well.
While there is much to look at regarding this church, the need to follow your call over culture stands out as the most dominant challenge to them.
Unfortunately, when we choose culture over following the call of God upon our lives it leads us to a place of compromise.
When we compromise we are often found professing a faith that we are no longer practicing. This will cause us to blend rather than stand out.
Jesus was calling the church in Pergamum to stop sitting on the fence and his call to us is the same today.
It is time for us to see that comprise will lead the strongest man to become weak. Little by little we give away the strength we possess by making small compromises to fit in. The next thing we know, our strength is gone and we are left powerless over our enemies.
Jesus calls this church to repentance. He is asking them to change direction and to renew their commitment to follow Him fully!!
Let’s hear His call to the church and find ourselves turning to face Him and following Him with all of our hearts.