Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Thyatira: The Church That Tolerated Sin

Revelation 2:18-29
(18)  And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass;
(19)  I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first.
(20)  Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.
(21)  And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.
(22)  Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.
(23)  And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.
(24)  But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden.
(25)  But that which ye have already hold fast till I come.
(26)  And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:
(27)  And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.
(28)  And I will give him the morning star.
(29)  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

Last week we studied Pergamos, the church that married the world.  We saw how that there was a pressure for them to compromise and give in to the world. 

If Pergamos married the world, Thyatira is celebrating anniversaries!

Just like the camel asking the Bedouin to be allowed to put his nose under the tent flap, and then his head (ears were cold) and then his neck, and then moved in and took over!  So is the church in Thyatira, the camel (the world and compromise) is in the tent and taking over!

Jesus describes Himself as the one with eyes as a flame of fire and his feet like they were molten brass.  This is descriptive of Him seeing right through the pretense and hypocrisy and dealing with the true heart of the matter.

It is here in Thyatira, that He instructs John the author of the book of Revelation, to use the term Son of God.  Up till now, He described Himself as the Son of man, one who could relate to our infirmities, one that could have compassion on us, but now He uses the term Son of God. This is the only church He uses that term with.  Play time is over and it is time to get serious with God.

Thyatira itself was located at the end of a valley, and had no natural defenses.  It was often ransacked and destroyed by marauders, only to be built again.  When the Romans brought peace, this city began to prosper and flourish.

It was a city that was known for its purple dyeing of cloth.  They had discovered the secret of getting dye from the madders root (a plant) instead of getting the purple color from a shellfish that would only yield a small drop of dye.

When we read in the New Testament, we find Lydia, was a seller of purple, and was from this city.  Paul showed her Jesus and she became a Christian.  It could very well be that she was the reason there was a church in Thyatira.  That once she became a Christian, she returned to her city and began to win others to Christ.

Thyatira was the smallest city of the seven churches, but we find that Jesus wrote the longest message to them.

The beginning of the letter seems to go well.  They are commended for their faith, service, works and charity (Love).  This is the only church that gets commended for their love.  We know that God is love and He has told us over and over, that we should love God and love one another.
Yet here, we find that though they were filled with love and good works, they were guilty of the filthiest sins.

It is true, that some people, who have an addiction, or alcoholism, actually perform well at work!  They work hard so that their glaring faults (their addiction or alcoholism) don’t stand out.  I can imagine that this is one of the reasons that Thyatira was so involved with doing loving works, to somehow cover their guilt from all they were doing and to make up for the things they were failing so miserably at.

It didn't fool Jesus then, and it doesn't fool Jesus now.  We are certainly called to loving works after we have received Christ as Lord, but no amount of works can take away our sin!

Thyatira was a city that had many guilds, almost like our modern day labor unions.  In their time, each guild had a god that they were expected to worship.  You can see how Christians would have a hard time with this. “You want a job?  You have to join our guild and worship our god!”  Not only did each guild have a god, but they were also required to participate in their sinful get-togethers.  This sometimes equated to illicit sexual acts and filthy parties.

Jezebel, probably not her real name, was allowed by the church to teach in the church and encouraged them in giving in to these demands.  She probably said something like “Well you need a job to support your family and to give to the work of God!  It is just your body, it isn’t defiling your soul, go ahead, it will be alright!”  This is satanic, almost like the words that the devil used with Eve: “Ye shall not surely die!”  Same devil, same tactics, and unfortunately in this case, same success.
Or, she could have taught the damnable lie that “Well, once you are saved, you are always saved, so it doesn’t really matter what you do, God will have grace on you!”  Both of these ideas are wrong, and Jesus had dealt with her and warned her, gave her space to repent, but she repented not.
Now the judgment was going to come! 

I will cast her into a bed, (probably a bed of sickness) and those that commit fornication/adultery with her would be given great tribulation unless they repented of their sins.

Sin always brings a judgment.  It is either judged at the foot of the cross, when we repent and receive Christ as our Savior, or it will be judged by God, either in this life or in the life to come.
Jesus goes further and says that He would kill her children with death!  This is a stunning statement but it reveals just how serious sin is to God! 

Think of it: What Jezebel and her teaching was giving birth to (her children) or the results of what she is teaching, needs to be killed!
When it comes to sin and compromise, it is kill, or be killed!  We must rid ourselves and our church from this deadliness.  The bible still tells us “The soul that sinneth, it shall die…” Ezek. 18:20 and

James 1:(14)  But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.(15)  Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.(16)  Do not err, my beloved brethren.

There will be times when we will have to make a stand for Jesus and righteousness and it will cost us something.  They didn't want to lose their jobs and get kicked out of the guild, so many compromised and went along with the sin!

Then Jesus moves to comfort those that were hearing this message that were not involved in this sin.
To the rest that are in Thyatira, that have not known the depths of satan…There were those that were faithful even in the middle of all of the compromise, and as they were hearing this news of judgment, He didn't want them to be swallowed up in fear, so He comforts them. 

The promise to them was He would give them no other burden, and power over the nations that they would rule over them with a rod of iron, and finally, that He would give them the morning star.
Who is the morning star?  It is Jesus!  He promises them the greatest reward if they would stay faithful in that filthy atmosphere!  The greatest gift that we can receive isn’t a huge promotion, a big raise, or a fancy house, but Himself!

Joh 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Jesus is the greatest gift to receive, as Savior and Lord, and He is the greatest gift to give, to share Christ with someone else and bring them into the family of God!

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