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March 27, 2023

Pergamum and the Problem of Compromise

By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

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Read Revelation 2:12-17.

From the outside, the church at Pergamum looked like a solid and successful congregation. In today’s terms, it was like a fast-growing megachurch that every young pastor wants to lead. But on the inside, something was rotten. The people’s tolerance of sin and their acceptance of sexual immorality was destroying them from the inside out. These problems affected not just the membership but also the leadership.

To be clear, the Christians at Pergamum did not deny the virgin birth or the resurrection of Christ or any of the other great doctrines of the church. They were orthodox in their theology, and they attracted lots of members. But tragically, they winked at sin and accepted it as an alternative lifestyle.

If you look at our culture today, things are similarly falling apart. We see the symptoms all around us, but there is one root cause: The people of God wink at sin, tolerate it, and even celebrate it. It’s no wonder that these sins are impacting us in every area of our society. Let’s not point our finger at our pagan culture until we point the finger at ourselves.

To the Christians in Pergamum, and to us today, Jesus says, “Repent!” When it comes to sinful behavior, it does not work to discuss it, explain it away, or rationalize it. The only remedy is to repent of it. Sin always has consequences, but the gracious, merciful King Jesus invites us to let go of every wicked thing and turn completely to Him.

Prayer: Father, thank You for Your tremendous grace. May we, as Your people, turn away from sin and call one another to sincere repentance, that we might experience the glory of a life of holiness. Jesus, You are my righteousness, and I want to live for You. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“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” (Revelation 2:14).

Learn more in Dr. Michael Youssef’s sermon Letters from Jesus, Part 4: WATCH NOW

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