Faithlife Sermons

The Church in Thyatira

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Mission and Vision

Intro

Continuing our sermon series on the 7 churches in revelation 2-3
The letters are written in context to a group of people who really lived in 1-2 C in ancient turkey
These people were going through some stuff that Jesus wanted to address directly.. but from that we get a word from Christ to his church today
These letters, though contextually sent to a people in Turkey in the first century, have application and relevance for you and me here in Plainville KS in 2019

Context

Thyatira was along the trade route, or the roman road that connected all 7 of these churches
It is one of the smaller communities that Christ addresses but he has the most to say to them
This town was known for its craftsmen. They had multiple craft guilds that were like the secret societies of today. They had their God’s that were the gods of that particular guild and they would worship this gods with banquets and temple prostitution

Text

Jesus starts off buy introducing himself as he always does in these letters
He is the son of God
Usually Jesus identifies as the son of man which is a throwback to the book of Daniel and is identifying his diety.. but he didn’t want any confusion about who he was at this point
Identifying his divinity.
This speaks to his righteous indignation toward their sin
The sins that he’s going to speak on are coming from God and not just from man. He wanted to reaffirm his identity
Eyes and Feet
He is the one who sees through all the nonsense. Whose eyes can burn away the dross that is trying to hide the truth and sees with righteous discerment
His feet that are firm and solid.
Speaking to the identity of him being strong, firm, immovably righteous
He is steadfast in his judgements and his discernment
I know your works
He starts off with his commendation
I know what you guys do there in Thyatira. I know your love and faith and service and edurance
This is the kind of commendation that you want from the Lord. And if the letter stopped at vs 19 we would be set
I mean. Jesus commends them for their works for being a church that is full of love and faith.
Notice the 2 couplets… Love and faith and service and endurance
Your love should propel you to serve and your faith is what allows you to endure
Jesus is saying to this church that they have been allowing their love to move them into serving others and that their faith has been keeping them and sustaining them in times of trials
Your latter works exceed the first
This is almost a direct dig at the first letter to the church in Ephesus
that church started off with such zeal and love and then lost their first love
But not Thyatira… the church as a whole had increased as the years have gone on. They have stepped out further in faith, more paitient in time of suffering.
Again if the message stopped here we would be set… but he has to bring some rebuke
But I have this against you, you tolerate that woman Jezabel who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols
So the rebukes starts off with this … that you tolerate that woman
That you have identified yet you tolerate this woman
Listen… not commenting on society, but in the church we can’t tolerate Jezabel
Who was Jezabel?
Wicked queen of the northern kingdom of Israel
wife of Ahab
Brought hundreds of priests of Asherah and Baal into Israel and killed the prophets of the Lord
Seduced the king into walking away from the Lord and leading the people away from the things of the lord and taught them to worship lesser gods… to worship idols
Now Jesus isn’t saying that the literal Jezabel is in Thyatira but there was someone there who was operating in the spirit of Jezabel
there was some woman in that church who had positioned herself in a seat of power
She called herself a prophetess yet all she was doing was establishing her seat of power and leading people in the church to worship lesser gods
leading people to eat food sacrificed to idols and to practice sexual immorality
Teaching people that following the world, the way of these secret societies was okay for Christians
Teaching people to compromise the truth of Gospel community for a lie
And she did this in order to maintain her seat of power, to continue to exert her control over that church
Jesus’ rebuke is for her… but the issue with the church is that they tolerate it
Remember in the other letters.. in Ephesus … he commended them for weeding out false prophets. For not tolerating false teaching in their midst
He’s saying to the church… there is this woman in your midst in the spirit of Jezabel who is leading people astray, fighting for power, leading people to focus and worship lesser things, and the church is just letting her operate with impunity
The church isn’t holding her accountable. There are no checks and balances. The church is operating with this broken leg and they are just acting like its all good
Jesus says what’s going to happen to this woman Jezabel and her minions
FIrst he says that he gave her tie to repent but she refuses
He’s saying that this person who was focused on leading the people of the Lord away from Jesus had ample oportunity to repent.
In the body of Christ there is always grace and opportunity for repentance… until and unles you refuse it
Here’s an example for you all
The forgiveness of the cross is yours if you accept it… but if you don’t accept it you will never experence it
God isn’t going to force you into relationship
you have to start with repentance and then comes relationship
In the church is the same thing
If you do something that is wrong and you refuse to repent… that doesn’t mean that people are being mean by holding you accountable.. it means that you are being stubborn and proud and not accepting the grace that has been extended
But since she refused… Jesus says
I will throw her onto a sickbed and those who commit adultery with her wi will throw in great tribulation
He’s saying that in this life she will have to deal with physical ailments
There’s also this really cool play on words here
He says he’s going to throw her onto a sickbed… the same proverbial bed she was using to lure people away from the Lord will now be her place of punishment
An all those who commit adultery with her… all of those who have followed her and her ways instead of the Lord. They are going to be thrown into great tribulation
He’s going to allow the punishment for those following this false prophet… this self-righteous person… their life is going to be chaos
UNLESS they repent of her works
Again speaking of the grace of God
Even in the face of all their transgressions Jesus is saying that there is still a possibility for them to avoid the chaos they are bringing on themselves and its called repentance
Jesus will throw them into such disarray that all that follow her will know that Jesus is the one who searches mind and heart and that I will give to each of you according to your works
He’s not going to sweep away the faithful with the faithless
Anyone who is dealing with chastisement from the Lord will understand that it is because of their own disobedience
He closes the sandwich… the correction sandwich by giving props to the ones who have held tight
Those who don’t follow Jezabel.. he’s not adding anything extra… just hold fast what you know. Hang on to the truth of Christ and do not fall away because of the lusts of the flesh or the sinful pride of life
Those who overcome are going to get exactly what Jezabel was fighting to gain in a sinful way… except overcomers will get it the right way
authority over the nations to rule with a rod of iron
Strength and power over the nations.
That false sense of authority that Jezabel gains from her deceitful and wicked work… Jesus is going to grant to those who stick to the truth of his word and who persevere and who allow their faith to be turned into service
Time to respond
Have you been sacrificing to idols
Have you been following
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