Emmaus Lutheran Church - LCMS

Pastor David W. Kern
Worship Service: Sundays at 10 A.M.
Sunday School and Bible Class: Sundays at 9 A.M.

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And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: ‘The words of him who has the sharp two-edged sword. Revelation 2:12-17


Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus,


A few years ago, I read the advice of Steven Covey, in His book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Simply put, he equates that “compromise is a quick road to failure.”


God's people have often in times of temptation sought to compromise what they believe. The children of Israel faced this situation, as did Simon Peter, when addressed by others in the courtyard, as Jesus is being tried.


In the temptations of the Church at Pergamum, citizens of that community were well-known for their loyalty to the Roman emperors, as they lived in the center of Asia Minor, where the practice of cult activity and worship of the emperor was common. Idol worship, as at the altar of Zeus was prevalent at the city's citadel. St. John says, "‘I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. Yet you hold fast my name, and you did not deny my faith even in the days of Antipas my faithful witness, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells" (Revelation 2:14). Some in the congregation, were led astray. "Caesar worship" was encouraged, and Roman soldiers were even known to lead citizens to the a nearby statue of the emperor, asking them to bow down and to say, "Caesar is Lord." Of course, this would be a severe test for Christians. If they would counter that claim saying, "Jesus is Lord," they could be accused of treason.


St. Paul may have avoided certain death, but resolutely demanded, as a Roman citizen, that he be tried in the audience of Caesar. His mission was to witness the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ before Caesar’s court. How might that message otherwise have reached Rome? Some Christians in our world today have faced certain death, not compromising their faith in places such as Iran, Somalia, Libya, Nigeria, and North Korea. The stakes are high; still, those Christians remain resolute in defense of their faith in Jesus Christ.


At the time of our Confirmation, each of us were asked the questions, "Do you intend to live according to the Word of God, and in faith, word, and deed to remain true to God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, even in death; Do you intend to continue steadfast in this confession of the Church and to suffer all, even death, rather than fall away from it?" (Right of Confirmation, page 273 LSB). How many of us intended to carry out lives, worthy of such confession, in the presence of God?


The ultimate temptation to compromise came when our Lord Jesus was on the cross, when the scribes and the Pharisees mocked Him. "He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross" (Matthew 27:42). Jesus could have come down from the cross, but chose not to compromise. In carrying out the Father's will, He maintained the means of grace, in our salvation.


We pray that we may never be tempted to compromise our faith, when faced with a life/death situation. Such faith is generated, when we consistently hear the Word of God and receive the benefits of our Lord’s grace in His means of grace. May we continue to receive that means of grace, that we would never be tempted to compromise the gift given us by the works of our Lord Jesus Christ.


In His grace,


Pastor


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