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Revelation Part 7 -

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We must confront compromises to Yeshua's Kingdom rule in the Body of Messiah.

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Revelation Part 7 - A Bumper Crop of the Compromised Believers

Introduction: Develop the need to confront compromises in the Body of the Messiah.
Proposition: We must confront everything and anything that compromises Yeshua kingship.
Analytical Question: After so much time has passed, can Yeshua really make a claim of kingship over our lives, our cities, our world? With so much compromise in the church today, in messianic judaism, is it possible to still be a subversive movement. Luckily, the answers to both questions are in our passage.
Confront Compromises to alternate Claims of Yeshua Kingship.
Explain: The cultural compromised Yeshua’s Kingship.
Illustrate: That lunch break guy I will not eat with but will talk to when the going gets tough.
Apply: How many believers say Yeshua is the King of their lives when really He not at all?
Confront Compromises to the Direction of Yeshua’s Kingdom.
Explain: You will reap what you sow, more than you sow, as much as He knows.
Illustrate: It has by the fall of 2018 become commonplace to describe the 499 known victims of Larry Nassar as “breaking their silence,” though in fact they were never, as a group, particularly silent. Over the course of at least 20 years of consistent abuse, women and girls reported to every proximate authority. They told their parents. They told gymnastics coaches, running coaches, softball coaches. They told Michigan State University police and Meridian Township police. They told physicians and psychologists. They told university administrators. They told, repeatedly, USA Gymnastics. They told one another. Athletes were interviewed, reports were written up, charges recommended. The story of Larry Nassar is not a story of silence. The story of Larry Nassar is that of an institution, a group of people so resilient, so impermeable to common sense, that it believed it could avoid reaping what it sowed for years and decades of turning a blind eye to the abuse of one man and the allegations of so many women.
Apply: What sin are you sowing right now that you don’t think you will reap the consequences of?
Confront Compromises as Agents of the True King and His Coming Kingdom
Analytical Question: How?
Explain: A subversive movement will receive kingdom authority.
Praise Him as the Only King
Illustrate: East Tennessee Rebelling Against the Rebellion. See Subversive Kingdom by Ed Stetzer
Yeshua alone purchased the Kingdom.
Put out of your life all rivals to his Kingship
Apply: Rebelling against the rebellious Kingdom.
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Revelation Part 7 - A Bumper Crop of the Compromised Believers

Today, there is a murderer sitting in this congregation today.… Yes, I mean it. Just yesterday she murdered someone. She didn’t think it mattered. She did not think that anyone saw her, but she was wrong. The King has eyes everywhere, he saw the whole thing. She did not think anyone cared if she comprised forgiveness for hatred. Yet, I have a written statement from the King of Kings that says he will not tolerate this compromise,
Today, there is a murderer sitting in this congregation today.… Yes, I mean it. Just yesterday she murdered someone. She didn’t think it mattered. She did not think that anyone saw her, but she was wrong. The King has eyes everywhere, he saw the whole thing. She did not think anyone cared if she comprised forgiveness for hatred. Yet, I have a written statement from the King of Kings that says he will not tolerate this compromise,
Matthew 5:21–22 TLV
“You have heard it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever commits murder shall be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be subject to judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca’ shall be subject to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be subject to fiery Gehenna.
Matthew 5:21–23 TLV
“You have heard it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever commits murder shall be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be subject to judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca’ shall be subject to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be subject to fiery Gehenna. “Therefore if you are presenting your offering upon the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you,
Video: Church Hunters Episode 2
The congregation was lively, worshippers were happy, and Glendale’s Church of Joy was the envy of its fellow southwestern churches. Even while the church exhibited signs of success, senior pastor Walt Kallestad was having difficulty sleeping he knew he was making large compromises to create all this success.
We laugh at this video because while it is an over exaggeration in so many ways, we all know that what goes on today in the name of “meeting the expectations” of our current culture is often far removed from living under the rulership of Yeshua as our King.
The Phoenix metropolitan area displayed signs of trouble. Rates of crime, alcoholism, divorce, and unwanted pregnancies were steadily climbing. Yet attendees at the Community Church of Joy seemed oblivious to the city’s social problems, as if they were happily separate from the rest of the population.
Today, there is an adulterer sitting in this congregation. Yes, I mean it he slipped out from under the canopy of his wife’s love and care and sought refuge in another lover. She was not someone he was every planning to leave his wife for, don’t worry, he just wanted to imagine being with her. He did not think anyone saw, but he was wrong. The King has eyes everywhere, he saw the whole adulterous affair go down. I have a written statement from the King
The real question, the dangerous question, that many, many leaders are asking is this, “Who really rules Messiah’s Body? Is the consumer King or is Yeshua the King of His body?”
Recalling Yeshua’s summons to care for society’s most vulnerable, Kallestad asked himself disturbing questions such as, if our congregation disappeared, would the larger community even miss us or know we were gone? He knew he had made compromises to get to this place. He used to call them subtle but now he saw them for what they were.
He used to tell people to take up their cross but now he preaching best practices to be the best success. He use to tell people that the mission of Messiah was a narrow road but now he was telling people the narrow road was much, much broader. He used to tell people that sacrifice was inspirational but now prosperity was the new inspiration. He used to end every message with a call to repentance and an invitation to receive Yeshua as Lord, now he ended with an encouragement to be the best, they could be.
I want you to hear me today, the problem is not mega-churches, the problem is not small congregations, the problem we face today is an age old problem it is the problem of compromising the Kingship of Yeshua to meet consumer expectations. It is being inspirational about the benefits of faith but not about the sacrifices of the cross, it is about compromising discipleship for better programs, it is about compromising biblical ethics for the sake of being a better success in life.
He saw how his compromises showed up in the ethical decision making of his congregation. Adultery, Abuse, and Alcoholism, you know AAA, were as rabid as mosquitos in Texas summer. But they were able to keep it all very “hush-hush.”
Compromising Yeshua’s Kingship has massive consequences. Today, there is a murderer sitting in this congregation today.… Yes, I mean it. Just yesterday he murdered someone. He didn’t think it mattered. He did not think that anyone saw him, but he was wrong. I have a written statement from an eyewitness that I am going to read. Here is what it says, “Everybody who hates his brother is a murderer.” []
It dawned on him, he said, “They didn’t really want to engage with God. They wanted relief and inspiration.” In his attempt to become a successful pastor he had become like the culture rather than changing the culture.
His church had become a formidable institution, a financial powerhouse, an influential machine that was no different than the culture it was a part of. He had compromised the Gospel, He compromised Yeshua’s Kingship, His absolute rule over this local body.
After twenty years in ministry and a track record of celebrated accomplishments, Kallestad went before his gathered flock and tearfully repented. On his watch, he said, the church had become a “dispenser of religious goods and services.” From now on, for the sake of God, gospel integrity, and society, life inside his congregation would have to change in a big way.
Kallestad purged frills churchwide. Gone were the talented professional musicians who had no personal passion for the faith. Churchgoers bid adieu to group trips to favorite restaurants and in its place mission trips to the most destitute places in the world, square-dancing classes were replaced with Bible studies on family life and ethics, and social drinking gatherings that had nothing to do with the Messiah were stricken from the roster. Rebellion quickly followed. One out of every three members and about half the staff quit the church in protest. Members who remained were expected to read their Bible, pray, practice generosity, and serve alongside poor neighbors. Six years later, the congregation still hadn’t recovered even one-fourth of its lost members. But the remnant had learned important lessons: faith is costly, and spiritual growth involves sacrifice. “I tell people every week, ‘If you’re a spectator and a consumer in here, then you are living in disobedience to God,’” Kallestad says. “‘And it’s time you grow up.’”
Matthew 5:27–28 TLV
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that everyone who looks upon a woman to lust after her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
We must concede that in many ways, we have allowed the Kingship of Yeshua to be compromised not be what we believe but by our actions. We must concede that not only have we done it but we have justified to ourselves and if we are being truthful we have justified it to others why it is okay.
There is a murderer sitting in this congregation today.… Yes, I mean it. Just yesterday he murdered someone. He didn’t think that anyone saw him, but he was wrong. I have a written statement from an eyewitness that I am going to read. Here is what it says, “Everybody who hates his brother is a murderer.” []
We have tried to hide our compromises behind a thin veil of good works but there is someone who sees behind the veil, someone who knows all too well the compromises we have made, someone whose eye sees deep into the recesses of our hearts and minds.
I want more than anything else to put the brakes on the sermon here. I want to tell you a joke that will alleviate that feeling of, “I am the man but. I am the man.” I would love to turn this into a message about “them out there” but it is about “us right here” and the compromises we have made.
It is not like all hope is lost. Don’t hear that. There was hope for Israel in the worst moments of compromise and their is hope for you and for me but it will come only with a radical commitment to Yeshua’s Kingship. I think only a radical commitment to Yeshua to Yeshua’s Kingship will keep you anchored in grace and fleeing the trappings of rigid legalism. Because it is at King Yeshua’s throne that both mercy and justice perfectly meet, grace and truth shake hands.
Today’s message is a clarion call for some and for others it is wake-up call to return to Yeshua’s Kingship and for others it will be the one that causes them to walk and not return again.
We must be a movement that subverts everything and anything that compromises Yeshua kingship.
Proposition: We must be a movement that subverts everything and anything that compromises Yeshua kingship.
Proposition: We must be a movement that subverts everything and anything that compromises Yeshua kingship.
Proposition: We must be a movement that subverts everything and anything that compromises Yeshua kingship.
I believe the original purpose of the Body Messiah was to be a movement that by its nature subverted Empires, False Religion and everything and anything that challenged Yeshua kingship. A movement that challenged power with weakness, that challenged hate with love, that challenged power based wealth with sacrificial generosity, that challenged a pleasure based culture with a belief that purity paved the way to intimacy. A movement that said what we do in private, in the secret hidden places of our lives matters as much if not more than what we do in public.
Throughout the centuries and today there has been so much compromise that has entered into the Body of the Messiah that their now needs to be what Jacques Elul called a “Subversion of Christianity.” And trust me, I am not just talking about the church out there, or the messianic movement, I am talking about right here at Beth El Shalom.
I am talking about the rotting effect of daily compromises to Yeshua’s kingship. The kind of compromises that destroys core teachings of Yeshua and the Torah about human dignity, about love of neighbors, frenemies, enemies, legal, or illegal. I am talking about all those heart choices that are really compromises to the direction of Yeshua’s kingdom and compromises to his exclusive claims of Kingship.
The question that I am asking myself is this, “With so much compromise is it possible to be a subversive movement? A movement is in rebellion against the rebellious kingdom that is exerting so much influence on this world?” A movement that stands for a kingdom and a king unlike any of the kingdoms and kings of this world? Fortunately, the answer is in our passage; but, also, unfortunately, the answer is in our passage today, a passage that is the longest of all the messages given to the seven congregations, a passage that is toughest of all seven.
Confront Compromises to alternate Claims of Sovereign Kingship.
Revelation 2:18 TLV
To the angel of Messiah’s community in Thyatira write: “Thus says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire and feet like polished bronze:
Sub-Points: In what situations were they being asked to make compromises to their belief that Yeshua only was King?
At work.
Thyatira was the least important city of the seven and yet has the longest letter of the group. It was a commercial town on the Lycus River (the same as Laodicea and Colossae) and was well-known for its guilds in trades such as cloth, bronze, leather-working, and pottery.
Unlike today, work and religion were completely united together. Towns in the Roman world were laid out in squares, with each guild controlling its section. These guilds also were at the heart of religious life, with each having a patron god and frequent feasts in honor of their god.
Grant R. Osborne, Revelation: Verse by Verse, Osborne New Testament Commentaries (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2016), 60.
And Yeshua’s title “Son of God” is a direct attack on the central deity in Thyatira,
depicted astride a warhorse and wielding a battle-ax, but it is Christ who is the true Divine Warrior.
Grant R. Osborne, Revelation: Verse by Verse, Osborne New Testament Commentaries (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2016), 60.
Domitian’s son was deified in 83 and this was commemorated by minting coins with his image sitting on a globe surrounded by seven stars.
Domitian’s son was deified in 83 and this was commemorated by minting coins with his image sitting on a globe surrounded by seven stars.
Domitian’s son was deified in 83 and this was commemorated by minting coins with his image sitting on a globe surrounded by seven stars.
Thyatira is one of the least significant towns of all the seven towns that letters are sent to by the risen Yeshua but it also receives the longest letter. That great shepherd cares for the 10 as much as he does for the 100. He cares deeply about what is poisoning one of the smallest gathering of believers in Asia Minor.
This is the only place Yeshua uses the title “Son of God” of himself. Daniel Boyarin, the Jewish scholar, correctly points out this a title taken from and for the royal king of David’s line.
To call Yeshua Son of God was at a minimum grounds for loosing your career and at a maximum could be seen as an act of treason.
Compromises to His Divine Judgment: Fire in His Eyes. The eyes like blazing fire is meant to convey Yeshua’s penetrating insight and power to judge. Yet, these believers were going to find themselves looking in the eyes of human judges and authorities who wanted to make a claim over the. There was a temptation to fear the human sword more than the divine throne of Kingship.
Thyatira prided itself on being a guild city. Much like Chicago or New York prides itself on being Union cities, Thyatira had many guilds. As a matter of fact, the town was built with guilds in mind, laid out in square quadrants for each of the representative guilds such as cloth, bronze, leather-working and pottery.
Unlike today, work and religion were not separate. You were a hard worker because each day you paid tribute to your god, you prospered because you bought and sold in the name of your patron god.
The patron god of Thyatira was none other than Apollo the son of Zeus. There was no doubt a statue to Apollo in Thyatira astride a warhorse and wielding a battle-ax, a statue meant to re-inforce that Apollo was the “son of God” and he was the warrior King.
Apollo may have often been depicted astride a warhorse and wielding a battle-ax, but it is Christ who is the true Divine Warrior.
I know today we think this ludicrous because we watch Marvel movies and scoff at the meager pettiness of the Greek gods but don’t read your Western view of the Greek gods into the ancient people. They were as zealous for their gods as ISIS is for their god and prophet in radicalized Islamic countries.
Grant R. Osborne, Revelation: Verse by Verse, Osborne New Testament Commentaries (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2016), 60.
The believers would be expected to honor Apollo as Son of God, Son of Zeus at work, they would be expected to celebrate at guild festivals and pay tribute to this Warrior-King.
When Yeshua says He is the Son of God, with fire in His eyes, and bronzed feet He is speaking in symbolic language.
Son of God - title of Royal Davidic Kingship ;
Fire in His Eyes - Fires of War and Wrath
Bronzed Fee - He will walk through the Fire of War He has Set
In the market you could not simply buy and trade without some acknowledgment of your submission to Apollo.
Compromises to His Divine Power: Polished Bronze Feet.
In relationships you would have to work hard to have any social life. And it seems like the believers in Thyatira had found way. Yeshua gives them one of the greatest sets of accolades.
Revelation 2:19 TLV
I know your deeds and your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your last deeds are greater than the first.
Thyatira
You have heard me say it, “Be Doers, Not Just Hearers.” These folks were doers.
Whether they were at work, at the local market, or in their key relationships they were doers of the Word. In every way, it appears they had submitted their life to Yeshua’s sole kingship.
Not only did they submit but they were getting better and better at doing it.
Illustrate: Scrabble is a challenging game.
d
Scrabble is a challenging game. It involves the bringing together of letters to form words. Although at first glance this may seem like an easy game to play because there are only twenty-six letters in the English alphabet, these letters come together to form enough words to fill the Encyclopedia Britannica, the Library of Congress, and the World Wide Web!
The game of Scrabble involves the ordering of items that originally have no implicit order. The words already exist, but the letters must be arranged a certain way to be made into words. The goal of this game is for players to set out letters so that they now make sense.
Disciples of Yeshua are to live their lives in a way that their actions come together to form the picture of Yeshua’s Kingship Over Our Lives Alone. Yeshua’s kingship is an exclusive, he does not share his throne with anyone for any reason. He does not share His glory.
Tony Evans, Tony Evans’ Book of Illustrations: Stories, Quotes, and Anecdotes from More than 30 Years of Preaching and Public Speaking (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2009), 37.
Apply: The real reason why we become compromisers of Yeshua’s Exclusive Kingship, the reason why the Scrabble Board has so many illegal words is because we forget how great a chasm lies between acceptance and agreement.
At work, we don’t want to come across as snobby and prudish so we have conversations we should not, go to work parties and stay too late, drink too much in the name of “acceptance” but that is not acceptance that is just good old fashion agreement. Agreement that a racist joke is funny, agreement that some people need to be thrown under the buss, agreement that “kissing the ring of the boss” by going to every work party is the fastest way to the top. That is just agreement with another king, the king of the flesh, the king of the darkness.
I can accept you but I don’t have to agree the joke is funny, or that stepping on the back of others is the best way up, or that charachter assassination is the best way to get noticed. I can accept you but I don’t have to agree with you.
It is amazing how much sin entertainment goes on in the name of “acceptance.” But, I think about Yeshua with the woman caught in adultery. Yeshua makes her feel accepting by him despite the hideous act she had just committed against her husband - whether it was a set-up or not is besides the point, adultery is adultery. But Yeshua never agrees with what she did, never condones it he says, “Go and sin no more.” This is not a graceful “Aw shucks, its all right, just do your best, keep your chin up.” No, it is a rebuke “what you did was evil” and the next time the consequences could be worse. In affect, he says, “I accept you but I don’t agree with you.”
When you confuse acceptance with agreement you will compromise Yeshua’s sole Kingship over your life or you will try to live in isolation.
From the initial statements it would appear that the believers in Thyatira were exactly the kind of subversive movement Yeshua was looking for. A true rebellion against the rebellious kingdom.
The kind of congregation that knew all the right words, had all the right deeds, and never let agreement and acceptance get confused. But appearances are not always what they seem and lurking deeper in the hearts of these believers there was a terrible compromise that had taken place.
Have you ever had someone serve up some awesome compliments to you and then immediately say something that just invalidated all the compliments and showed them to not really be compliments at all?
They were supposed to confront compromises to the direction of Yeshua’s Kingdom but instead they were sowing the seeds of misdirection.
Explain: Supposed to Confront compromises to the direction of Yeshua’s Kingdom. - . How has it been compromised?
Revelation 2:20–21 TLV
“But this I have against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess—yet she is teaching and deceiving My servants to commit sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her immorality.
In the Direction of Leadership
Jezebel is symbolic prophetic language about an internal threat to the direction fo God’s Kingdom. Remember in 1 Kings God raised up the prophet Elijah to give direction to God’s kingdom in the North but Jezebeel as the antithesis, she was sowing the seeds of mis-direction.
Jezebel is symbolic prophetic language about those who sow seeds of misdirection not a teaching about women in ministry.
The congregation had forgotten that Yeshua had given ground rules about so-called prophets: by their fruits you will know them but at Thyatira they just accepted anyone who called themself a prophet.
In the Direction of Teaching
We are called to be the kind of community that discerns, the kind of community that does not just buy everything that everyone is selling
Mini-illlustration:
Deception is like the solicitations that so many of us receive from credit card companies. A person from a bank will call your home and say, “I am happy to let you know that you qualify for our new Visa card. We are privileged to tell you that we have raised your limit to twenty-five thousand dollars and it would be our honor to send you your card today. You will be one of our preferred customers.”
That conversation might leave a person feeling pretty good.
“Oh, I’m worth twenty-five thousand dollars!”
“Wow, I’m a preferred customer!”
“I’m somebody!”
Here’s what they won’t bother to tell you. They won’t tell you that if you will simply use the limit, if you will simply spend twenty-five thousand dollars, if you will take advantage of everything they are offering, they will own you for the rest of your life. They don’t tell you that they will tack 18-21% percent on everything you purchase.
There are people today who are owned by Satan. He may have told you to just take one look, or just take one moment for this personal pleasure, or just take a little off the top no one will know, God forgives anyway, just confess and be forgiven later. What he didn’t say was that after that, he’d own you.
That’s what Satan does through deception. He captures you with a thought, then owns you with that thought.
In the Direction of Accountability
In the Direction of Accountability
Notice that it is not like this is a spiritual blindside.
Somebody warned this person, somebody warned this congregation and I bet the person who gave the warning was turned into the enemy of the congregation.
She was given time to repent of her “immorality” of her “fornication.” It is the some word we derive our word “pornography” from. What is pornographic is how she is pulling people from a pure commitment to Yeshua to a double commitment of the heart. -
1 Thessalonians 5:23 TLV
Now may the God of shalom Himself make you completely holy; and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept complete, blameless at the coming of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah.
She is telling God’s people, God is okay with an open marriage, with many lovers. The imagery is like Jeremiah or or when the Lord said,
Hosea 4:12 TLV
My people consult their wooden idol and their divining rod informs them. For a spirit of prostitution leads them astray and they have been a prostitute— out from under their God.
Hosea 1:2 TLV
When Adonai first spoke with Hosea, Adonai said to Hosea: “Go, get yourself a prostitute as a wife and children with a prostitute! For the land is an unfaithful prostitute, far from following after Adonai.”
Explain: A strong warning here this is provokative imagery. If you sow misdirection into Yeshua’s Kingdom, You will reap what you sow, more than you sow in His wrath. -
Revelation 2:22–23 TLV
Behold, I will throw her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation—unless they repent of her doings. I will also strike her children with a deadly disease. Then all of Messiah’s communities will know that I am the One who searches minds and hearts, and I will give to each of you according to your deeds.
Certitude of Reaping His Wrath
He will come in wrath.
He will do this to all involved.
Severeness of Reaping His Wrath
Totality of Reaping
Sickbed
Deadly Disease.
Purpose of Reaping His Wrath. -
Revelation 2:23 TLV
I will also strike her children with a deadly disease. Then all of Messiah’s communities will know that I am the One who searches minds and hearts, and I will give to each of you according to your deeds.
There is no public and private reel with Yeshua.
There is a grace that saves to the uttermost and at the same time something very frightening about falling into the hands of the living God.
Illustrate: It has by the fall of 2018 become commonplace to describe the 499 known victims of Larry Nassar as “breaking their silence,” though in fact they were never, as a group, particularly silent. Over the course of at least 20 years of consistent abuse, women and girls reported to every proximate authority. They told their parents. They told gymnastics coaches, running coaches, softball coaches. They told Michigan State University police and Meridian Township police. They told physicians and psychologists. They told university administrators. They told, repeatedly, USA Gymnastics. They told one another. Athletes were interviewed, reports were written up, charges recommended. The story of Larry Nassar is not a story of silence. The story of Larry Nassar is that of an institution, a group of people so resilient, so impermeable to common sense, that it believed it could avoid reaping what it sowed for years and decades of turning a blind eye to the abuse of one man and the allegations of so many women.
Apply: What sin of misdirection are you sowing right now that you don’t think you will reap the consequences of later?
Confront Compromises as Agents of the True King and His Coming Kingdom
Explain: Confront Compromises as Agents of the True King and His Coming Kingdom.
They are the Remnant of Messiah’s Kingdom -
Revelation 2:24 TLV
“But to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not hold to this teaching and have not learned the so-called ‘deep things’ of satan—I place on you no other burden.
Revelation 2:24 TLV
“But to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not hold to this teaching and have not learned the so-called ‘deep things’ of satan—I place on you no other burden.
Yeshua reveals that there is a very real presence of evil behind all this.
Yeshua knows the remnant that is in the fight.
They are the Resistance for Messiah’s Kingdom -
Revelation 2:25 TLV
Only hold firm to what you have until I come.
Revelation 2:25 TLV
Only hold firm to what you have until I come.
They are the Rulers in Messiah’s Kingdom. -
Revelation 2:26–28 TLV
To the one who overcomes and guards My deeds until the end, ‘I will give him authority over the nations and he shall rule them with an iron rod, as when clay pots are broken into pieces.’ Even as I have received from My Father, so I will give him the morning star.
Revelation 2:26–28 TLV
To the one who overcomes and guards My deeds until the end, ‘I will give him authority over the nations and he shall rule them with an iron rod, as when clay pots are broken into pieces.’ Even as I have received from My Father, so I will give him the morning star.
Illustrate: East Tennessee Rebelling Against the Rebellion. See Subversive Kingdom by Ed Stetzer
I enjoy the study of history and one area that fascinates me is American War History especially the American Revolutionary War and the Civil War. There is a little nugget from the Civil War that I think can help us understand the challenge we are facing to confront compromise.
The state of Tenessee which you know is basically shaped like a parallelogram and can be divided into three sections: west, middle and east. They are equally sized regions but differ greatly in their political views. During the slavery and civil rights debates the West and the Middle of Tennessee sided with the separatist sentiments of the Confederacy. They felt like the Federal Government was intruding into their private, personal affairs and they thought the only way to preserve their rights and independence was to stand in Rebellion to the government in Washington and join the Rebellion.
However, the folks in East Tennessee saw things differently. They disagreed sharply with their neighbors in the Middle and West of the state. They so disagreed that eventually East Tennessee received the nickname “Little Boston.” So when, Tennessee became the last state to secede from the United States in 1861, the folks in East Tennessee seceded from Tennessee.
East Tennessee was in rebellion against the rebellion.
They were treated as cross-state enemies, armies invaded and militias sent in, people they knew from the other side of the state to suppress these rebellious East Tennessee folks. They were forced into a guerilla warfare for daring to insist that the rightful right to rule resided in Washington, DC, not Richmond, Virginia.
Apply: In many ways, we as followers of the Messiah are much like those folks from East Tennessee in Civil War America.
We are in rebellion against the rebellion.
We are rebelling against a rebellious Kingdom that is seeking to invade and either completely eliminate the body of Messiah or so compromise it that it is as useless as salt that has lost its taste and light that no longer shines. We live in a World System that will ultimately bow before Messiah’s throne, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess Him Lord, but temporarily there is a competing, unjust, unrighteous authority trying to lay claim to this whole world.
The book of Revelation tells us that this unjust authority will create a kingdom of evil like we have never seen before and it will do so with the help of a compromised form of belief, faith described in much the same way the congregation at Thyatira is described: immoral, idolatrous, lured away by the pursuit of wealth, power, and personal gain. This future kingdom will not have a false prophetess but a false prophet who will take control of this compromised religious system.
Whether we are talking about Thyatira, the Western Body of Messiah, Eastern or otherwise this rebellious kingdom must have those who will confront its illegal, unjust authority on earth. Just like the Supreme Court, for example, ruled that the secession of the southern states was criminal and illegitimate so to the day will come when the only true King will break the back of this rebellious Kingdom like Lincoln and Grant did to the Southern Rebellious States.
We are either in rebellion against the rebellion. You may feel outnumbered, you may feel like the sacrifice will be great, you may feel like you will have to leave some things that you have been clinging onto in darkness but it is time to hear the radical call to confront the compromises in our lives.
Conclusion
There are really three ways to respond to this passage in Revelation. One, you could shut the door on everyone you think is compromised and become super rigid and pietistic. But, we saw that this was the problem at the congregation at Ephesus. Love went cold and we are not called to abandon but to proclaim truth. Or, you could hike the Appalachian trail with Jezebel (remember the Senator) and take your chances but I want to warn you you will reap what you sow on this trail. Or there is a third way, break the silence without breaking the love, join the rebellion against the rebellion, come back to the real weapons of our warfare: faith, righteousness, the Spirit, truth, the Gospel declaration and prayer, hang up a big post it in your favorite mirror that says, “Maximum Freedom is Found Under Yeshua’s Kingship.
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