Chapter 8

No Compromise

[8.1]

When the church of the Apostles, the early church of Acts, is placed side by side with today’s church, the differences are staggering. Today many consider the church to be a building. In the first century the church was a body of believers and no thought was given to buildings at all. Today, a body of believers is generally regarded as a congregation which gathers to meet in a steepled building two or three times a week. In the early days, a body of believers was a group of disciples interacting with God and each other daily for the edification of the church and the advancement of the gospel. Today, those who call themselves by his name invest huge sums of his money to erect elaborate structures in which to worship him. In the early church, Christians worshipped God in the homes of fellow believers and used their money to care for those in need. Today, we have a program to guide and direct us in our worship. It’s a step by step guide telling us when to sing, stand, sit, listen, give and go home. In the church of Acts, the Holy Spirit alone had this control; he taught, he led and gave gifts to men so they could edify one another.

[8.2]

What happened? How have we drifted so far from the original plan, the blueprint that the Apostles followed so faithfully? Before we can answer this question, we must first decide a few foundational questions, questions important enough to shape the entire course of our beliefs. These most serious questions are:

[8.3]

1. Did our Lord Jesus Christ leave us an unfinished blueprint for His church or a finished one?
2. Did He leave behind a work fully developed or in progress?
3. Were its walls to be of living stones built up into a spiritual house or was His house to be built of material things?
4. Should we be allowed to compromise His plans and specifications by adding to His design?
5. Did Christ give control of the church to us or did He choose to remain preeminent?

Acts 7:48-50
48 Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet,
49 Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest?
50 Hath not my hand made all these things? (KJV)

1 Corinthians 3:9
9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building. (KJV)

1 Corinthians 3:16
16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? (KJV)

Colossians 1:18
18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. (KJV)

[8.4]

If you’re having trouble answering these basic questions then re-read chapter two of Acts; chapter two should be able to help you reach the proper conclusion. The Architect need not be present during all of the construction. He may leave others in charge of those details while he goes to prepare other dwellings (John 14:2-3) but he will return to the church construction site when all is finished. He must perform a detailed inspection of the church structure to assure himself that the integrity of his design has in no way been compromised but has instead been meticulously followed. Any failure to do so on the part of those trusted with its construction could result in serious penalties. This should be enough to bring seriousness to any leader’s face. Leaders, think about it! Tampering with His betrothed bride could be hazardous to your spiritual health.

[8.5]

Now that we have these questions out of the way and have a common frame of reference we can at last begin to solve the mystery of what happened to the church. In one word, what happened was “Compromise”. Compromise is a technique the world uses to solve its problems. It’s a devise that is used to compensate for people’s lack of ability to agree. It never completely satisfies because it’s based on a flexible, moveable foundation like that of sand. As such, it can never totally satisfy those who engage in it. Unlike truth, which is absolute and never changes, the life of compromise is sustained by movement. It requires that those involved adjust or change positions to facilitate agreement. Agreement reached by compromise can never truly satisfy because neither party involved receives the full measure of their desire. It’s based on the philosophy that “you must go along to get along”. It has proven to be an effective tool in breaking logjams of pride in order to accomplish desired goals. Without total agreement it’s the only practical course we as individuals can take to peace and productivity. Who can ever totally agree on anything? Such absolute unity could only come as a result of a miracle. That’s exactly how it does come to those in the family of God! Our way to accomplish anything is as different and varied as we are and so our only solution as individuals is compromise. There is another way however; his way! Yes, we can do it God’s way, by abandoning our own desires in favor of accomplishing His will and then it happens. The miracle takes place. Once we surrender totally as required in his word instead of part way, as required in compromise, we see the impossible become possible. God does not compromise with man.  God is perfect so any compromise would necessitate a move away from perfection, something God will never do.

[8.6]

Compromise is a pollution of what God has declared to be his divine will. Psychology suggests that compromise is the solution for a happy home. This suggestion is not without merit if the home in question isn’t centered on Christ. If it is, nothing less than total submission will do; submission of wife to husband, husband to wife and both to God and his word. There may be room for compromise on superficial things within a marriage but there can be no compromise on any issue already addressed in God’s word. How do you compromise truth? You can’t? When compromise enters the spiritual community the spirit of truth leaves. When compromise enters the spiritual life of the believer it brings its cousins, deception and legalism with it.

[8.7]

In the early fourth century compromise reared its head in Rome, a nation that had made compromise one of its chief instruments of psychological bondage. Rome had used compromise from the beginning to rise to world power by accepting its conquered people’s customs and ruling through them as well. Now, Rome began to influence the spiritual arena as well as the political by using the same tried and true tactics. By accepting the deity’s of the nations it conquered, their religious icons and celebrations, they could keep rebellion to a minimum. Rome was an expert at compromise, the chief weapon in the arsenal of the politician.

[8.8]

Christianity was on the rise. Rome had unsuccessfully tried to stamp it out under the foot of violent oppression. The Roman nobility had even been affected and Rome’s Emperor was at a crossroads as to what to do. Christianity was heretofore illegal and the consequence, though now relaxed, could be severe. Constantine had no desire to persecute his political allies among the nobility but they were continuing to advance Christian beliefs. What to do? Compromise; take Christianity out of the illegal category and make it legal in exchange for its control.

[8.9]

Some today have compromised their Christ-purchased, New Testament liberty by mixing the old covenant law of commandments with God's new covenant grace. Some insist on Friday evening or Saturday church meetings using the fourth commandment as justification. Others insist on serving a priesthood made up of those who have received special training like the Old Testament Levitical priesthood. Many if not most of today's worshipers have chosen to regard the church meeting house as the house of the Lord and as such have lavished huge sums of money on it in spite of what Acts 7:48-50 has to say.

Acts 7:48-50
48 Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet,
49 Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest?
50 Hath not my hand made all these things? (KJV)

[8.10]

Have we somehow failed to realize that we are no longer bound by Old Covenant law? Are we willing to give up our blood bought liberty to wear the bracelets of bondage?

Galatians 3:3-5
3 Are ye so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?
4 Have ye suffered so many things in vain? If it be yet in vain.
5 He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?

[8.11]

Have we failed to realize that seeking to conform to the law of commandments brings about separation from Christ and separation from Christ results in the loss of our very salvation?

Galatians 5:4
4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.
 
James 2:10
10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. (KJV)

[8.12]

If keeping the Sabbath or dietary restrictions is still a requirement why did Paul under the anointing of the Holy Spirit, write Romans 14:5 or Colossians 2:16 or 1Timothy4:5? Those verses clearly set us free from old covenant laws and ordinances. Do we really want to compromise the new blood covenant of Christ by polluting it with old covenant law? Do we now think the old covenant wine skins are strong enough to contain the new covenant wine?

[8.13]

If compromise was marred it would have as its mate justification for when God's word is compromised justification always makes itself heard.

[8.14]

Throughout the Roman Empire each deity had its own temple, so why not this new Christian God? Until now Christians had gathered in private homes, obscure buildings, burial places or any place where they might be out from under the watchful eye of Rome. It had been this way for three hundred years but now, Constantine would provide Christianity with temples like all the other gods of Rome. He would become, through compromise, the benefactor of the church and its leader even if he had to destroy it in the process. He didn’t, he couldn’t, but he was successful in polluting it with idols, material wealth, false doctrine and a political structure that mirrored that of Rome, with himself, as both the leader of the state and leader of the church. Christianity had now taken first place among the religions of Rome and would soon occupy the only place in Rome.

[8.15]

Rome carried out its missionary work in the same way it accomplished its political goals and conquests. Once again using compromise, Rome, eager to expand its spiritual influence around the world, allowed pagan practices to be adopted into Christianity often substituting so called “Christian holiday’s” for pagan observances. It kept just enough of the pagan flavor, however, to attract the pagans to join. The pollution it picked up like an infection, spread through Christendom like a plague. After a time, it was difficult to determine who was having the most influence on who. The church still suffers from many of these same spiritual diseases today.

[8.16]

History vividly displays the corrosive effect that compromise had on the church, but what about other areas equally affected? Most individuals who regard themselves as Christians allow their occupations to compromise their relationship with God. How many times have we been kept from a church meeting because of our employment?  Sometimes it’s an important business meeting, other times it’s overtime or some other seemingly critical situation that we allow to interfere with our relationship with God. How many times have we seen others affected in the same way? Too often, at a church meeting we hear, “Where’s John tonight?” Too often the answer is, “He had to work.” What’s worse, is we accept this excuse as valid. If this excuse has validity then clearly Christ is not first in our life. We must not serve God at the pleasure of our employer but rather our employers must have our attention when it pleases God. It pleases God to allow a man to feed his family and thus work but not at the expense of his relationship with that man.

[8.17]

Social activity often compromises our relationship with God as well. Too many are caught at little league with their children or out on the golf course on occasions when serving the body of Christ should have come first. Not all activity of this kind is wrong, most of the time it’s healthy and good but not when it interferes with the will or work of God and not when it negatively affects our relationship with him.

[8.18]

Perhaps the most dangerous place to compromise is within our own heart and mind. When we compromise our beliefs we become no better than Judas; we betray the very word of God. If a belief can’t stand the test of scripture then it should be changed or eliminated to conform to God’s word but if it has scriptural integrity then compromise can only change the truth into a lie. Many in the spirit of ecumenicity believe they're accomplishing a greater good by promoting unity through compromise. In so doing they join forces with Rome for that is Roman church thinking and we’ve already discussed that and the power behind it.

[8.19]

In the world of governments and politics, compromise may be a necessary instrument to maintain peace and accomplish goals but in the family of God, his church, it’s a dirty word. There can be no room for compromise. Our God is perfect, he requires no modification or change. He is truth and there is no shadow of turning in him. Brethren, friendship with the world is enmity with God (Js 4:4). We cannot serve two masters, we cannot serve God and money (Matthew 6:24). We must not compromise!

[8.20]

This world is one big ball of temptations. It calls to every soul. It says, “Come, play with me.” It flashes a myriad of colorful images that appeal to our fleshly appetite, it beckons us to taste, touch, and see, indeed, it’s pleasing to the eye not to mention our other senses. It calls us to stop, relax, and take a moment to listen to its sales pitch. It points at its many pleasures and invites us to try them. It dares us to walk in dark places, promising us adventure and suggesting it will share secrets with us unknown to others.

[8.21]

It begs us to compromise our love of God, our loyalty, our faithfulness and our commitment. It promises much but delivers only death and destruction. With one voice let us answer, “No Compromise!”

[8.22]

A rock-hard sinner can enjoy sin for a season. Sin has its pleasures, if it didn’t where would the temptation be? If that rock hard sinner allows just a little of God’s truth to enter, a little, and no more, then the rewards of sinful pleasure will quickly pass and lukewarm misery will soon replace it. A little truth is either too little or not enough.

[8.23]

This same truth holds when reversed also. A “wannabe” Christian, living a double life, is of all people, the most unhappy. Unhappy because he won’t allow himself to completely receive sins' full benefit package free of guilt, and unhappy because living in this lukewarm life style he can never enter God’s kingdom and realize the full inheritance of salvation and its joy.

Revelation 3:16
16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. (KJV)

[8.24]

Many who attend a church today spend their entire life chasing the wind. They spend most of their life seeking power, fame or riches when they should have been involved in giving rather than getting. To achieve their goals, they stole time from their mate and children and justified it by telling themselves, their families, and their friends, that they were building a better life for their loved ones. They’ll give their families material gifts but fail to supply the spiritual and emotional necessities needed to sustain a healthy marital and parental relationship. They fail to nurture the spiritual life of their loved ones in preparation for the kingdom to come. What does it profit, brethren, if we gain the whole world and loose our own souls or perhaps the souls of the children God entrusted to us (Mk 8:36). Even though God’s prophetic wife, Israel, acted like a harlot, when he forgave her he took her once again to be his wife and made a vow to her that demonstrated his understanding of her basic problem. She really never knew him.

Hosea 2:19-20
19 And I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies.
20 I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness: and thou shalt know the LORD. (KJV)

[8.25]

Israel had been compromised; she had compromised her love, her faithfulness and her righteousness. She no longer walked in the light of belief but had been overtaken through compromise with the darkness of sin. Solomon, considered to posses more wisdom than any man alive, was brought down by compromise when he allowed his many wives the liberty of religious freedom, which is to say, he allowed them to worship and serve any god they chose. He ultimately became the victim of his own compromise (1 Kings 11:3-12).

[8.26]

His father, King David, compromised his relationship with God when he murdered a faithful subject and stole his wife, having already committed adultery with her (2 Samuel 11:1-27). David had been chosen by God to replace Saul, a king who had compromised God’s trust in him by deliberately disobeying the word of the Lord (1 Samuel 15:1-23). So totally compromised was Saul that he actually consulted a witch for help before dying an enemy of God (1 Samuel 28:7-17).

[8.27]

This world is very tempting and pleasing to the eyes but the Spirit cries from deep within, “my child, don’t you compromise.” Some may have great enormous wealth, but the love of it will steal your soul, my brethren, don’t you compromise. Some may twist the word of God and think themselves so wise, but that still small voice from deep within says, “my child, don’t compromise.”

[8.28]

What fellowship has light with darkness (2 Corinthians 6:14)? Can a fountain bring forth water bitter and sweet (Js 3:11)? Your family will ask you to compromise for their sake, you employer for theirs and your friends for theirs; even your spiritual leaders will beg you not to take a different path, though it may lead to greater truth. All of these lie ahead, but the greatest call for compromise will come from within and will bring reams of justifiable reasons to do so. You may note that each reason will be self-serving rather than God-serving.

[8.29]

Compromise is like a self-inflicted wound that won’t stop bleeding until your spiritual life has completely drained away. It happens so slowly that you barely notice that you're spiritually growing weaker and weaker until finally there is no spiritual life left in you and only the silhouette of what used to be remains like an empty, abandoned shell. Let our battle cry be, “No Compromise!”