The Church in Pergamos - the church that compromised
--they harbored some false teachers who taught the doctrine of Balaam
--to eat things sacrificed to idols
--to commit sexual immorality
--they harbored some false teachers who taught the doctrine of the Nicolaitians
What is the doctrine of Balaam?
It was the teaching of Balaam to commit great sin against God by encouraging God's people to marry those outside of the nation of Israel. It was to marry the Gentiles. (Numbers 31:15-16)
He sold his prophetic gift for money (2 Peter 2:15)
He believed that God would curse His own people (Jude 11)
What is the similarity to today?
Believers are permitted to marry anyone they chose except a non-believer. Today, in this age of grace and in the church age, believers are not to marry unbelievers.
What are the consequences or problems with marrying and unbeliever?
· It leads to corrupt worship of the true God in the manner in which God is to be worship by adopting the practices of "worship" of the unbeliever.
· It can lead to the practice or participation in ceremonies, rituals, or organizations that violate God's standards (i. e. the practice of sexual immorality and the eating of animals sacrificed to idols)
· It can lead to the rejection of the worship of God
· It can lead to the rejection of God's standards, God's laws, and God's righteousness and the acceptance of unrighteous or ungodly behavior
What is the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes?
First, we really don't know for sure. There has been much speculation and discussion on this "group" and its practices.
Second, it seems to have been a "sect" opposed to Christianity
--The name means "conquering of the people"
--The name implies the sin of the "clerics" who developed a clerical hierarchy and ruled over God's people and robbed them of their spiritual freedom
The main idea for genuine believers is that they should hate anything that perverts the Word of God and violates the conscience and the spiritual freedom that believers have in Christ.
What are the consequences of or problems with the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes?
First - take careful note, that believers are to submit to one another in love and humility. We are to submit to the Pastors (Elders) of the church as they care for our soul. God has established a chain of command in the society, in the home, and in the church. Godly men are to and do rule over the member of the congregation. Biblical submission is not a sin nor is it eradicated because of the abuse, or sin of the Nicolaitanes.
Second - having said that, those who rule over the souls of men, pastors/elders are to "not lord it over" the sheep but to lead with humility, gentleness, and servitude.
Third - the problems:
· God's glory is impugned
· The precious conscience of the believer is violated
· Believers are led into sin and or sinful practices
· The Word of God is distorted
· The picture, practice, and privilege of leadership is damaged and/or distorted
How Does the sin of Balaam and the Nicolaitanes relate to genuine believers?
· Do you use your position as a Christian to cause other believers, particularly weaker or less mature believers to sin or to practice behavior that is considered sin and condemned by God?
· Do you profit in any way from the privilege and position as a believer as a result of ungodly behavior or teachings?
· Do you violate the conscience of fellow believers?
· Do you use your position to dominate and "rule" over fellow believers, particularly for your own gain?
Be aware that I am taking inventory of my life and asking myself these serious questions. Remember these are thoughts from my daily devotions. I need to be especially alert to these sins because as a:
o Genuine believer
I have the opportunity and occasion to unconsciously or consciously practice the "doctrines" of Balaam or the Nicolaitanes. It is easy in any of these capacities to fall into the sin of using these positions for my own benefit.