Compromise (Dictionary): To come to terms about; to place into danger; to settle a quarrel by agreeing that each will give up a part of which he demands.
Compromise (Bible): Withdraw, draw back, keep back, shun, conceal.
Acts 14: 1-6 ¹In Iconium they entered the synagogue of the Jews together, and spoke in such a manner that a large number of people believed, both of Jews and of Greeks. ²But the Jews who disbelieved stirred up the minds of the Gentiles and embittered them against the brethren. ³Therefore they spent a long time there speaking boldly with reliance upon the Lord, who was testifying to the word of His grace, granting that signs and wonders be done by their hands. 4But the people of the city were divided; and some sided with the Jews, and some with the apostles.5 And when an attempt was made by both the Gentiles and the Jews with their rulers, to mistreat and to stone them, 6they became aware of it and fled to the cities of Lycaonia, Lystra and Derbe, and the surrounding region; (NASB)
As we read this account there is a picture here of serious compromise. If we look at the Jewish culture at this time, we see the leadership in a badly compromised position with respect to God.
They had become lovers of money (see Luke 16:14)
• They had become proud because of their position and authority ( see Matthew 23: 1-7)
• They had developed new rules and laws which God never gave through Moses. ( see Luke 11: 45,46 and Deuteronomy 4: 1,2)
What we see here is a process of falling away:
• First comes an embracing of idols. In the case of the Sanhedrin, their idols were power, money and position.
• Second comes a compromise of God’s Word
• Lastly you will find yourself opposing the Lord and His Gospel
The Pharisees had reached a point where their idols had blinded them to see what God was doing. They had embraced a lifestyle and belief system that was threatened by the light of God’s Word! As a result, we see them doing something which seems so out of character and certainly out of God’s will.
They choose to join themselves to the Gentiles! This is so very much against what God has told them to do back in Exodus. Remember that the Jews despised the Gentiles because of their worship of idols made with hands and their sacrifices. In our Scripture we see the Jews combining their forces with the gentiles against Paul and Barnabas and setting aside that which had been despised to achieve their selfish ends. Their intention was to mistreat or stone them to death. They were not only fighting against what God was trying to do in the city but they had joined with people of idolatry. The fact that there were miracles and signs and wonders did not seem to matter to them.
As we look at the Church of Jesus Christ today, we can see similar trends. Certainly one case is the Universalist Unitarian Church. They have issued some of their humanistic beliefs and here are a few:
• Direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of the spirit and an openness to the forces which create and uphold life;
• Wisdom from the world’s religions which inspires us in our ethical and spiritual life;
• Jewish and Christian teachings which call us to respond to God’s love by loving our neighbors as ourselves;
• Humanist teachings which counsel us to heed the guidance of reason and the results of science, and warn us against idolatries of the mind and spirit.
• Spiritual teachings of earth-centered traditions which celebrate the sacred circle of life and instruct us to live in harmony with the rhythms of nature.
As we read this we see a huge compromise with God’s Word and the idol of humanism!
Finally they also speak against the Gospel:
“We do not, however, hold the Bible-or any other account of human experience-to be either an infallible guide or the exclusive source of truth. Much biblical material is mythical or legendary. Not that it should be discarded for that reason! Rather, it should be treasured for what it is. We believe that we should read the Bible as we read other books (or the newspaper) – with imagination and a critical eye.”
This is such a sad commentary and shows how a church can slip into spiritual darkness and be lost! This took time but it has happened. The Christian music group –Casting Crowns- had a song called “It’s a Slow Fade”. They basically say that the change from walking in the light of Jesus and in His anointing into a walk of darkness can happen but it is a series of compromises over time.
As we minister each week let us keep our hearts and minds on holding forth the Word of life. We know that the Bride of Christ is struggling today. We need to be in His Word and in prayer for Crossroads, our leadership and other churches. We must not fail. As we pray for people each Sunday, let us seek God regarding this issue of compromise. There may be some who have chosen certain idols in their lives and need to be set free. Let us also exam ourselves!