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August 9, 2012

COMPROMISE: Webster says compromise means the expedient acceptance of standards that are lower than is desirable. God says that the preeminent prohibition for a follower of Christ is to “have no other gods before Me.” (Ex 20:3) Stated another way, we are to have no idols, nothing that compromises our covenant communion with Jehovah. 

In the early 1900’s, an American ship was wrecked off the coast of England. The sea had been calm and the weather clear, but the vessel was caught in a treacherous current that slowly lured it off its course. Before the captain and the crew realized what had happened, the ship had crashed into the rocks. Every believer needs to be aware of those powerful “currents of compromise” which can catch our soul and carry us to “shipwreck.” (cp 1Ti 1:18-19sermons) Spiritual drifting is usually slow and imperceptible, but you know it has occurred when you have lost the strong resistance to evil and the passionate desire for truth you once knew! H W Robinson reminds us that the best defense against drifting is “the compass of God’s Word (which) will keep us from spiritual shipwreck.” Are you examining “the compass” daily to make sure you stay on course? (cp Matthew 4:4sermons)

S. Coley commenting on the danger of COMPROMISE wrote “In Brazil, there grows a common plant, which forest-dwellers call the matador, or murderer.” Its slender stem creeps at first along the ground; but no sooner does it meet a vigorous tree, than, with clinging grasp, it cleaves to it, and climbs it, and, as it climbs, keeps, at short intervals, sending out arm-like tendrils that embrace the tree. As the murderer ascends, these ligatures grow larger, and clasp tighter. Up, up, it climbs a hundred feet, nay, two hundred if need be, until the last loftiest spire is gained and fettered. Then, as if in triumph, the parasite shoots a huge, flowery head above the strangled summit, and thence, from the dead tree’s crown, scatters its seed to do again the work of death. Even thus worldliness has strangled more churches than ever persecution broke.”

Daniel was a man of integrity (morally sound, honest, free from corrupting influences or motives) and a man of “no compromise” from beginning to end! In Daniel 1:8-note we read that as a teen “Daniel made up his mind (KJV = purposed in his heart) that he would not defile himself with the king’s choice food or with the wine…So he sought permission from the commander of the officials that he might not defile himself.” Daniel continued to be a man of integrity to the end, Scripture recording that Daniel, by now in his 80’s, refused to compromise with the king’s “no-prayer edict” and “continued kneeling on his knees three times a day, praying and giving thanks before his God, as he had been doing previously.” (Da 6:10-noteDaniel refused to compromise and God elevated him to a position of prominence all the days of his life. When we imitate Daniel’s attitude (cf Heb 6:12-note) and accept whatever our sovereign God has for us, we can be sure of success, no matter what form it takes. The next time you are tempted to compromise your principles, don’t give in. Dare to be a Daniel! Daniel did not compromise because Daniel had convictions.

Daniel’s three companions, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, were also mighty men of faith, men of “no compromise,” declaring (in face of King Nebuchadnezzar’s threat to kill them if they did not worship his idolatrous image) “If it be so, our God Whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” (Da 3:17-18-note)

Joseph was a man of “no compromise” for even when Potiphar’s wife tried to entice Joseph whispering softly “Lie with me,” Joseph steadfastly refused, declaring “Behold…my master does not concern himself with anything in the house, and he has put all that he owns in my charge. There is no one greater in this house than I, and he has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do this great evil and sin against God?” (Ge 39:7-9)

The longest Psalm in the Bible begins with a description of men and women of integrity and “no compromise” – “Happy (blessed) are people of integrity, who follow the law of the LORD….They do not compromise with evil, and they walk only in his paths.” (Ps 119:1,3NLT)

In the NT, Paul  addressed the problem of compromise in the saints at Corinth quoting God Himself Who called for them to “COME OUT (verbs in red = commands, not suggestions!) from their midst and BE SEPARATE,” says the Lord. “and DO NOT TOUCH what is unclean and I will welcome you.” (2 Corinthians 6:17-note by J C Ryle)

Jesus taught that “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” (Mt 6:24-notes)

Paul said it this way “Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mold (Note this is a command, not a suggestion), but let God remold your minds from within (also a command), so that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good, meets all His demands & moves towards the goal of true maturity.” (Ro 12:2 J B Phillips Paraphrase-note)

Paul capped off his warning to the Corinthians regarding compromise with an exhortationTherefore, having these promises (What promises? See 2Cor 6:16-18), beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (2Cor 7:1-note)

The apostle Peter instructs us “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One Who called you, BE HOLY (command we can obey only in dependence on the Holy Spirit Who enables us to make choices that set us apart from the world and unto God) yourselves also in all (Greek means 100% of) your behavior. (1Pe 1:14-15-note)

James warns us that “friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” (James 4:4-note)

So what’s the take home message? For the follower of Christ, the sad results of compromise with the world are a lot like the dread “matador” vine, which chokes the life out of the host tree! Indeed, compromise with the world will “strangle” the “spiritual life” of believers (and churches).

As John Blanchard put it “If you are holding something back from God, then God is holding something back from you!….We must never settle for HARMONY at the expense of HOLINESS, nor for PEACE at the expense of PRINCIPLE.” Those who follow the crowd are quickly lost in it. 

Van der Puy adds that “Anything that takes God’s PLACE is OUT OF PLACE!” Or as the pastor of pithy precepts, Vance Havner, put it “The middle of the road is a poor place to walk. It is a poor place to drive. It is a poor place to live!…Look out for a compromising spirit. They had that in Pergamos and Thyatira, with the result that Balaam and Jezebel took advantage of a false tolerance and corrupted the life of the church. Sometimes we mistake compromise for charity and PUT UP WITH what we should PUT OUT!”

Francis Schaeffer warned “Accommodation leads to accommodation–which leads to accomodation!”

Spurgeon was right when he said “If you yield today, you will have to yield tomorrow.”

And finally as Malcolm Watts said “We can tell when we have been influenced by the world. It is when we find ourselves neither hot nor cold, just compromised.” (cf Rev 3:15, 16-notes)

We need to imitate the example of Jonathan Edwards (cf Heb 6:12-note): Resolved: To follow God with all my heart. Resolved: Whether others do or do not, I will.

Take a moment to listen to a 1980’s Keith Green song entitled No Compromise” and consider making it your prayer today. Here are the words…

Make my life a prayer to you
I wanna do what you want me to
No empty words and no white lies
No token prayers, no compromise
I wanna shine the light you gave
Through Your Son You sent to save us
From ourselves and our despair
It comforts me to know You’re really there.
I wanna thank You now for being patient with me
Oh, it’s so hard to see when my eyes are on me
I guess I’ll have to trust and just believe what You say
Oh, You’re coming again, coming to take me away
I wanna die and let You give Your life to me
So I might live and share the hope You gave to me
The love that set me free
I wanna tell the world out there,
You’re not some fable or fairy tale
That I’ve made up inside my head
You’re God the Son, You’ve risen from the dead

Integrity – A Few Thoughts on this Topic
Backsliding – A Close “Cousin” of Compromise!
Are You Entangled?

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