Revelation Church #4 You are doing well in deeds, love & faith, but you tolerate Jezebel who is sexually immoral. I will strike her children dead. Revelation 2:18-29 MESSAGE To THYATIRA - INTRODUCTION Thyatira was a frontier town, the least important city of the 7 and the smallest of the 7 churches. It lay in a valley between Pergamos and Sardis. Thyatira was renowned for its trade unions. These unions had two purposes business and social. The city1s two major industries was dye and wool. These products plus the major road that ran through the city brought merchants from all over the world. So everything was centered around these unions. Their functions often involved a meal that was usually held within the temple precincts. The social included a sacrifice to the gods and usually ended up being a drunken immoral affair. The church knew the attraction of Jezebel's seductive teaching. It is believed that a woman within the church was teaching that believers could support the social functions of their trade unions, even if the function was worldly. Believers had to participate in the social and business functions in order to secure themselves land their jobs and in order to prosper. Lowering Christian holiness and morality was necessary in order to guarantee social acceptance and the survival of one's job or business. It was felt that God would understand. Thyatira was the city from which Lydia, the seller of purple came. Thyatira was a compromising or permissive church. Compromise will destroy a church. People young and old will do almost anything to get attention, promotions, money, power, to secure their jobs and to be popular and acceptable. The list could go on and on. People compromise what they know is right in order to get what they want. This was what the members in the church at Thyatira was doing. Thyatira was a church full of believers who were compromising with the wold to fulfill their personal desires. This letter is addressed like the others. Unto the angel (pastor) of the church. When members begin to compromise it is the ministers duty to declare the Word of God and what it says to them. Verse 18 Once again Jesus is speaking. Look how he describes himself to the compromising church. He declares that He is the Son of God. Christ declares that His eyes are like a flame of fire. Christ see1s all. He see's when a person is compromising in the dark, behind closed doors, in parked cars, offices, and houses of the world. He see1s all compromise that lies, steals, cheats, commits immorality, becomes intoxicated, takes drugs, sees all teaching that misleads people within the church. He sees and hears and rewards all according to their works. His feet are like brass. His feet is able to crush those who compromise with the world, those who are false teachers, leading people astray. Jesus is the only true messenger of God Jezebel Denied the Messiah Verse 19 Thyatira was a very active church. He says I know all about your works. 1. He commends them for their works of love and service. Ministries that showed love. Evangelism, needy, poor to name a few. 2. He commends them for their works of faith and patient endurance. Ministries that demanded strong faith and endurance in order to carry them out. Facing opposition, persevering in ministry, being required to sacrifice time or money, to name a few. 3. He commends them for the growth in the ministries of the church. This was a church meeting all the needs of the community, it was full of activity and energy, crowded with people. Yet the church was a far cry from what it should be. It was a compromising and corrupted church. You say, but this church was doing all the right things or it seemed it was. Verses 20-21 This church is charged with allowing a Jezebel to teach in the church. 1. The church was allowing a false prophetess to teach within the church. She calls herself a prophetess. She claimed that God had called and gifted her to teach and proclaim the truth. Because of this the church had appointed her as a teacher and gave her the right to teach in the church. And allowing her to spread her false teachings. 2. She was being allowed to seduce the Lord1s servants. Shew as presenting reasonable arguments, deceiving, misleading, followers of the Lord, and the church was allowing it. 3. This Jezebel or false teacher was seducing the believers to commit fornication, all manner of immoral acts. There is something very important here that we need to remember. The question is asked "How could such teaching be allowed within the church ?" The teaching was done very subtle like. This type of teaching has continued on down through the centuries, so much so that it now infiltrates many churches today. Let1s take a look at what she was teaching: 1. Believers could not separate themselves from the world, without becoming exclusive and snobbish. 2. Believers needed to be sensible, in dealing with the world, they needed to be participating in some of the worlds functions in order to be friendly, keep their jobs, secure promotions, help their businesses, keep from being considered fanatical, and win the lost. 3. Believers could reach the world more easily by associating and fellow-shipping with the world. 4. She was teaching that if a person really worshipped God, he would be acceptable to God even if he did not know about Jesus Christ. That Jesus is not the only way to God, that he is not the only Savior. We are hearing those very same things being taught today. 5. Believers should attend the social functions of neighbors and fellow workers and not be exclusive and separatists. This false teacher was also seducing believers to commit idolatry. Some of the believers were participating in the functions that gave thanks to false gods. Remember an idol is anything that a person puts first in his or her life. It can be a job, money, family, power, just to name a few. Some church members were apparently putting their jobs and social acceptance before God. But God has given this false teacher a period to repent. She knew deep down in her heart that she was teaching contrary to God1s Word. But she refused to change, refused to repent. Revelation 2 - Verses 22 to 29 Verses 22-23 God has a warning for those who compromise and are corrupted. Jesus promises to judge this Jezebel prophetess and those who have committed spiritual adultery with her. He says he will cast her into a bed. We don't know for sure but she was probably guilty of physical as well as spiritual adultery and fornication. This could have been some venereal disease like cirrhosis of the liver due to excessive drinking, or if it were today it could be Aids. Her judgment was to match her sin. A direct result of her sin. She was to reap what she sowed. She would reap what she has sowed. There is also a warning to those who followed her, to those who refused to repent and turn to Christ and separate themselves from the world. They would suffer great tribulation. Possibly some kind of fatal illness or pestilence upon them. Or it could have meant that they would not only lose their lives but also their salvation. The churches then and of today need to know that Jesus is more than the gentle Saviour, he is also the judge. He searches, examines, investigates the center of our feelings and hearts. He searches the innermost parts of our being, our minds and hearts, our thoughts, motives, and feelings. He knows what is behind our works, deeds, actions, and as our judge he will reward each of us "according to our works", not as we see them but as he see1s them. Sometimes the church tolerates such false teachings because of indifference, fear of confrontations, or personal friendship, or because of a desire for peace, harmony, personal advancement, or money. God will destroy such a church and its leaders. Verses 24-25 There were those in Thyatira who held fast to Christ1s Word and His righteous standards. God knows them and promises that they will rule with Him over the nations. "The depths of Satan" may refer to the false teaching that says in order to fully experience the grace and salvation of God, one must enter into the depths of sin and become acquainted with all kinds of evil. Verses 26-29 In these verses he gives some promises to the overcomer. 1. The overcomer is given power over the nations. This is the promise of ruling and reigning with Christ throughout eternity. The day is coming when Christ will return to earth and conquer all the forces of evil. Every knee shall bow and confess that He is the Lord God of the universe. Overcomers shall participate in that day. 2. The overcomer is given the morning star. Christ is the morning star. Malachi 4:2 in the O.T. states this sun has "healing in his wings," in its rays. So by giving us the morning star, Jesus will give us himself in a new and wonderful way that will be full of healing, restoration, and all the promises of God. In verse 29, Jesus emphasizes this message, like the others, is not for one church but for all churches. The spirits message is if we have ears to hear we have no excuse. All those who do not listen will be shattered by the judgment to come. There is a warning here for Christians today. A church which is crowded with people and is a dynamo of activity is not automatically a true church. Many churches are crowded because people come to it to be entertained instead of instructed, to be soothed, instead of challenged. Too many of todays churches become highly successful Christian Clubs rather than a dedicated humble group with the desire of winning others to Christ rather than heaping benefits on self. The state of the church at Thyatira should direct us to examine our own lives, who, and how we worship. There are traces of Thyatira in existence today. These fragments of columns built in the streets but it has been renamed Ak Hissar. Christians still live in the place.
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