The Church at Thyatira
Text: Rev. 2:18-29
Thesis: To prove that one must practice church discipline in order to be approved by the
1. Jesus Christ addresses the church at Thyatira.
a. His eyes are like unto a flame of fire.
(1) Old Testament writers often associated fire with the judgment of God (e.g. Isa. 66:15-16; Psm. 97:3).
(2) Such eyes are all-knowing, penetrating, and discerning (cf. Dan. 10:5-6).
(3) One must also add that such eyes are judgmental (Heb. 4:13).
b. His feet are like fine brass.
[This shows Him as a glorious Judge indeed who can “trample” all opposition]
2. We will be judged by Christ and we need to know that He will trample all opposition and that we may even be that opposition by our way of living; thus, we need to repent (cf. John 12:48; Luk. 13:3).
3. The church was tolerant of sinners.
a. This is similar to the church at Corinth
(I Cor. 5:1).
(1) They were told to practice church discipline (I Cor. 5:4-5).
(2) What was the purpose?
(a) To purge out the bad leaven
(I Cor. 5:6-8).
(b) Hopefully to save the soul of the one who is in the sin (I Cor. 5:5).
b. Church discipline must be practiced.
(1) One is to withdraw from a disorderly brother (II The. 3:6).
(2) Thus, he is to have no company with the erring brother in order for him to be ashamed in a correct way (II The. 3:10-11).
c. The correct process is described in Matthew 18:15-18.
4. The text will be examined in the following areas:
a. The positive points of the church (Rev. 2:19).
b. The problems of the church (Rev. 2:20-23).
c. The promise to the faithful (Rev. 2:24-29).
I. The positive points of the church (Rev. 2:19).
A. Christ, the judges, knew their works, both positive and negative (cf. Ecc. 12:14;
II Cor. 5:10).
B. He knew their charity.
1. “Charity” is from the Greek “agape.”
a. This is a sacrificial love.
b. This is an everlasting love (cf. I Cor.13)
2. This love extended up to God, out to each other and toward the saving of their own souls.
C. He knew their service because they were not selfish but mindful of others.
D. He knew their faith.
1. He knew that they were walking by it (cf.
II Cor. 5:7).
2. They possessed a faith that worked (James 2).
E. He knew their patience and that they were enduring hardship, suffering, and toil; thus, they were steadfast.
F. The last works were greater than when the members first became Christians; thus, they were growing (II Pet. 1:5-11).
II. The problems of the church (Rev. 2:20-23).
A. They permitted, allowed, or tolerated Jezebel to restructure the church there.
B. This woman is called Jezebel because she bore the character of Ahab’s infamous wife who was an idolater and a fornicator.
1. The ancient Jezebel had an unbelievable record of evil, including murder (I Kings 21:1-16; 19:2).
2. This “Jezebel” operating in the church also broke down all boundaries of moral separation from the world.
C. She styled herself as a prophetess.
1. She was not the Lord’s prophetess.
2. Thus, she was a false prophetess.
a. Christ had warned of false prophets
b. Paul had warned the elders of Ephesus about false prophets (Acts 20:29-31).
c. John wrote concerning false prophets
(I John 4:1).
(1) He tells them to try the spirits.
(2) How? God’s Word (cf. Acts 17:11;
I The. 5:21; Rev. 2:2).
D. Because of their tolerance of this woman, many were led astray.
1. Subtle corruption, immorality, and idolatry permeated this “loving” church.
2. The Lord’s servants were being seduced.
E. She had been given time to repent, but she chose not to repent (Rev. 2:21).
F. The Lord’s patience had come to an end with her (Rev. 2:22).
1. He is longsuffering and wants all to be saved (cf. II Pet. 3:9; I Tim. 2:3-4).
2. Those who will not will be told to depart from the Lord (Mat. 7:21-23).
G. Those in the church who either tolerated or followed this woman were all in “the same bed.”
III. The promise to the faithful (Rev. 2:24-29).
A. There were some who had not been involved in either tolerated or following this woman and her doctrine (Rev. 2:24).
1. They had no voluntary contact with the Jezebel sect or its practice.
2. They would have “none other burden.”
a. God never demands of man what man cannot do (Mat. 25:14-30).
b. The faithful ones can succeed for God is on their side.
B. These faithful ones had the truth (Rev. 2:25).
1. The “burden” of false brethren should be no deterrent to those who would adhere to that truth which they already had (cf. John 8:31-32).
2. This exhortation is given because Christ did not want them to forfeit their salvation and come over to Jezebel’s side and Satan’s camp.
C. If they would remain faithful, then they would be blessed (Rev. 2:26-28).
1. They would be given power over the nations, rule with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken.
a. This is familiar with Psalm 2:9, which is Messianic (cf. Acts 4:25-26).
(1) Time of His reign is the Christian dispensation (cf. Acts 13:33).
(2) Christians will rule when Christ rules and He is now on His throne (cf. Acts 2:33).
(a) Christians rule through conduct and influence.
(b) Christians live under God’s Law which is an inflexible “rod of iron” (I Cor. 4:6; II John 9).
2. They would be given the morning star (vs. 28).
a. Jesus is the “bright and morning star (Rev. 22:16).”
b. Jesus is their heavenly reward.
3. John later wrote that he that overcometh shall inherit all things (Rev. 21:7).
D. How much better to work toward this end than to follow in the idolatrous, sensual lifestyle of the vanity element, Jezebel and her followers.
1. One needs to practice all of the faithful works for which this congregation was commended (cf. I Cor. 11:1).
2. One must not be tolerant of sin such as were the members of the congregation at Thyatira.
3. Church discipline must be practiced in a congregation of the Lord.
4. Those who are faithful will be blessed!