The Lord spoke the word “Compromise” to me for 2011 and we can quickly surmise from His Word that He never compromises therefore we should not! He gives a great warning about compromise in Revelation 3:14-17 “And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.’ Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’-and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked”
These are strong words we ought to take to heart and get hot for Him! Remaining lukewarm leaves us in compromising positions in faith and in life. The words “Because you say…and do not know” stand out as some of the most powerful words the Spirit of the Lord spoke to this church and they are equally reflective of some in the Church today. We can “say” anything we want about ourselves but we still do not know the truth if we do not know the Truth – who is Jesus! And I mean really KNOW Him and what He says! In truth these people were wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked! Imagine the shock of being told this news! They had compromised their time, devotion, and dependence on God leaving them in a state of wretchedness and misery, but were completely ignorant of the fact they had become lukewarm. The same happens today when we are not hot after God and compromise our faith in Him.
Notice how God introduces Himself to this church; as the Faithful and True Witness. God is faithful to only share truth! When He speaks we must listen because not only does He search and examine our hearts to expose our deepest thoughts and motives, He longs to see us respond to His enlightenment by accepting His appraisal and doing something about it! Sometimes what He has to say “hurts” initially as I’m sure it did this church but when we know He brings good news we know something good is coming!
The Laodiceans could have lost all hope when their true state of being was laid bare but God was about to decimate the ugliness of their compromise with the beauty of His counsel. Friends, when God shines His light to reveal the darkness in us, the exposure is painful but necessary to receive what is coming next! God was about to restore hope but first they would need to admit they were wrong in their assessment of themselves and follow His counsel. Compromise was killing them but God offered true life, richness, and sight if only they had ears to hear and would take action!
Revelation 3:18 “I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.” God’s counsel is not difficult – buy from Him! The great wisdom, provision, and generosity of God is evident in this counsel. As desperate as these unknowing people were, they were not beyond His reach. If they would let go of their self-attained richness which had made them poor, they could buy gold refined in fire and be rich in Him. He did not send them to gold mines but drew them to Himself.
God’s counsel to us is the same! First, buy gold from HIM refined in the fire and we will be rich! This gold is the purity and hidden treasures found only in Him! When we lose our own sense of richness and buy into His gold we will experience richness that words cannot express. Second, buy white garments from Him and experience no more shame in our nakedness! Remember, these people didn’t “know” they were naked so the first step in removing compromise is admitting what He says is true. Then we will desire to buy His garments of holiness and righteousness in order to be clothed in Him. And thirdly, we are to anoint our eyes with His eye salve in order to see into His Word by His Spirit! With His sight we walk in the Light as He is in the light! Rather than standing back and trying to figure this all out, we simply need to go to Him, buy from Him, and enjoy our purchases! They all come with instructions and once we “possess” them and read His instructions, it will all make sense!
We see this same counsel to buy from God without money in Isaiah 55:1-3 “Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters! And you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance. Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear and your soul shall live…” Again, the counsel is to stop compromising and go only to Him. Listen only to Him, eat only from Him, and live!
God does not make it difficult to buy from Him and live in Him! It only becomes complicated when we compromise how and what we buy! Beloved, in order to buy wine, milk, gold, white clothing, and eye salve from God we must part with everything keeping us from receiving His true riches. This includes the desires and affections consuming our time and attention, the addictions and obsessions which enslave us, and the compromises we make which diminish truth. These things only fill us with temporary pleasure and leave no room for eternal contentment. As we acknowledge and then rid our lives of self-sufficiency we come to Christ with a sense of need, realizing our own poverty and emptiness thereby making room for Him and His hidden treasures.
Now God reveals His motive -LOVE! We should just stop and let this truth sink into our spirits! “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.” (Revelation 3:19) This should not be difficult for us to understand since it is the very reason we discipline and punish our children. We do not do it because it brings great enjoyment but because we love them. Training, rebuking, and chastening is all part of loving! When we are rebuked and chastened we know we are loved by God so there is no need to feel sorry for ourselves, get defensive or angry, or live in denial. If you are reading these words about compromise and feeling rebuked, it is only because you know you are loved.
Unfortunately we often miss the love message in rebuke and chastening because we live in a society which frowns upon what it calls “negative reinforcement” for wrongdoing, preferring reasoning and compromise in order to bring correction. Parents prefer time-outs to spankings and our legal system prefers plea agreements over punishment! God does not give us a time-out when we disobey nor does He make plea bargains or compromise with us when we sin. His rebuke calls us to account for wrongs we commit by openly showing our fault. His chastening/punishment brings repentance on our part, a desire to turn away from our sin. People do not like to think of God in terms of punishing, but chastening literally means an infliction of pain (not abusive) in order to bring about correction.
I recently heard a preacher speak about compromise and he said God told him in whatever areas of the Word Christians compromise and gain from the world, those things will be taken from them. For example, if they compromise in sowing unto the Lord, whatever they have reaped will be taken from them. But he said the devil, who is the thief will take it from them, not God. My question is how does that line up with the Word? Yes, the devil is a thief but if we are compromising the things of God, why would the devil steal them from us? It seems to me he propagates compromise in the Church! He would encourage God’s children to continue compromising and stand back and enjoy what he sees. And it seems the Word would indicate God would be the One who would minister to His children in love by taking from them whatever they have gained through compromise. However, that would not be “stealing” from them, rather rebuke and chastening because He loves them! How can we take God’s Word so lightly and still expect His blessings to be poured out on us? Has He ceased to be a just God? Has He ceased to love us? If we KNOW He loves us we KNOW He rebukes and chastens us. We cannot have one without the other! When “we know” we have done wrong, confess and repent of our sin, He is faithful and just to forgive and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. When we “do not know” we are sinning, in love He rebukes and chastens us so that “we know” and then will confess and repent.
Once the rebuking and chastening is complete, (which is rarely a one-time deal by the way), God tells us what to do in order to avoid further rebuke and chastening. Two things; be zealous and repent. Again, these are not difficult things. He is not asking us to perform miracles, jump out of a plane, climb a mountain, or even be challenged beyond our comfort zone. He is simply telling us to be zealous and repent. How hard can that be? Being zealous, active and unreservedly enthusiastic in Christ frees us from compromise! Repenting, recognizing our sin, being sorry for it, and changing our behavior turns us from our self-centered, self-absorbed, self-righteous ways to a God who is always right! Be zealous and repent! Awesome words of encouragement!
God ends this message with an invitation to open the door because He is standing and knocking. Revelation 3:20-22 “Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
The truth is that we can pray all we want for Him to change, renew, help, and take our pain and agony. But if we are not going to open the door and dine with Him, they are just words. It is by opening the door when He knocks, it is by dining with Him and eating at His table, it is by buying from Him, it is by being zealous and repenting that we overcome and are changed, renewed, helped, and released from pain and agony in life. I have never had a day in my life where I have not known Jesus is my Lord and Savior yet there are days when I hear Him knocking. It is at those times I wonder where He went since He is outside knocking again. Then I quickly know it is I who escorted Him out by buying what I wanted in this world rather than His gold refined in fire. I know I have clothed myself in my own righteousness rather than buying His white robe and putting it on. And I know I have depended on my own wisdom and reasoning rather than living in His Word and by His Spirit.
By His grace and through His Spirit He draws all men to Himself, giving us the desire and encouragement to say yes to Him. He provides us with all we need to overcome compromise. Let us pray for ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to us today! Let us sit down at His throne with Him! Let’s eat! Amen!