The Book of Revelation (part 8): The Seven Churches (part 3)
September 18, 2019
The Book of Revelation (part 8)
The Seven Churches (part 3)
The Church in Thyatira – The Corrupt Church
We are going through the book of Revelation verse by verse on Wednesday nights. Our world is changing. Jesus’ return is soon! I want you to be informed as to what the scriptures have to say about His second coming and what we should be doing to prepare for that day!
We are currently looking at Jesus’ message to the seven churches in Asia Minor.
John had been exiled to the penal colony of Patmos in the Aegean Sea by the Roman Emperor Domitian because of his Christian faith.
Jesus appeared to him there and revealed to John what was happening in seven churches in Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey) and revealed to him what would happen in His second coming.
These seven letters were directly from Jesus to the seven churches. This in itself is amazing, as this is the only time in the Bible that Jesus spoke directly to churches and had His words printed for the rest of the church age.
Jesus’ message To the church in Ephesus: To come back to their first love is an appeal to keep our heart affection close to Jesus as His second coming approaches.
Jesus’ message to Smyrna is that persecution is part of the normal Christian life, and that we should not let up in our convictions when the pressure to compromise comes.
We left off last time with the church in Pergamum, the compromising church. The church in America has been challenged with compromise. Jesus is asking us to be a light in the darkness and to refuse to compromise our standards as believers, even though our culture is changing.
Thyatira Church – the Corrupt Church
Revelation 2:18-29 – NKJV
(18) “And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write, ‘These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass: (19) “I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first. (20) Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. (21) And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent. (22) Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds. (23) I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works. (24) Now to you I say, and to the rest in Thyatira, as many as do not have this doctrine, who have not known the depths of Satan, as they say, I will put on you no other burden. (25) But hold fast what you have till I come. (26) And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations — (27) ‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron; They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’ — as I also have received from My Father; (28) and I will give him the morning star. (29) He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”‘
If you’re looking at the seven churches as fulfilling a particular time in church history, the Thyatira Church reflects the period from 600 A.D. to 1500 A.D.
This is when the Roman Catholic Church came into full bloom, so to speak.
Thyatira was about 30 miles southeast of Pergamum near the Lycus River. Many of its businesses were dedicated to a god or goddess, as idol worship was strong there. Many of the social events in the city were held around the worship of these false gods. Christians were tempted to engage these social events for financial reasons.
Thyatira was a center of commerce.
This letter to Thyatira is the longest letter of the seven to the Asia Minor churches.
The spiritual warfare in Thyatira is parallel to what will happen during Daniel’s seventieth week.
The Ephesus church left its first love; the Smyrna church was persecuted seriously. The Pergamos church was full of compromise, and this Thyatira Church embraced heresy!
(18) And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write, ‘These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass:
Jesus is addressed as the Son of God for the only time in the entire book of Revelation. He is reasserting His deity among those teaching false doctrine there.
Jesus reminds them that He can see clear through what they are doing. Hebrews 4:13 tells us that nothing is hidden from His gaze.
Hebrews 4:13 (NKJV)
And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.
Feet like fine brass is a reference to Jesus being the judgment for and hence the Judge of sin. The idea of the judgment of sin is in view, by His feet being like fine brass that has been refined in a furnace. (from The Bible Knowledge Commentary)
The bronze altar in the temple was related to the sacrifices for sin and the judgment of God that was on the sacrifice. (from The Bible Knowledge Commentary)
(19) I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first.
The Thyatira church was a growing church.
We need to remind ourselves that Jesus is fully aware of who we are and what we do for the Kingdom of God.
Hebrews 6:10 – AMP
For God is not unrighteous to forget or overlook your labor and the love which you have shown for His name’s sake in ministering to the needs of the saints (His own consecrated people), as you still do.
Galatians 6:9-10 – NLT
So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. (10) Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith.
1 Corinthians 15:58 – NLT
So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.
(20) Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. (21) And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent. (22) Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds. (23) I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works. (24) Now to you I say, and to the rest in Thyatira, as many as do not have this doctrine, who have not known the depths of Satan, as they say, I will put on you no other burden.
This person Jezebel called herself a prophet, and involved those who followed her in the sin of immorality. This is the same sin that infected the church in Pergamos.
It may be that this lady had another name, but John referred to her as Jezebel to link her to the Old Testament figure Jezebel who was so corrupt.
She taught that the church members could be Christian and still commit sexual sin just like the rest of the culture. This was spiritual adultery!
She also taught that they could worship Jesus, but also worship some of the pagan gods in the pagan temple there in Thyatira, and these gods were worshipped with sex rituals with pagan temple prostitutes. Many of the temples had paid male and female prostitutes, and were worshipped with gross forms of deviant sexual behavior.
She taught them to believe that they could sin with their bodies, enjoy the temple sex, and it would not affect their spiritual life. This degraded sexual conduct and belief was called the depths of Satan by Jesus.
Another problem they had in Thyatira was the eating of meat offered to idols. The city of Thyatira was known for its many artisans who worked in the making of garments, wool, linen, leather and bronze. The city had numerous trade guilds, which would be like trade unions today. These people manufactured clothing, created cloth dyes, they were potters, bakers, and they traded slaves.
These trade guilds were also part of the pagan deities and their worship. They provided common meals in the pagan temple, where each worker would bring some food offered to various pagan deities in sacrifice by a temple priest, and the rest of the food was given back to the worshipper who would bring it to the common meal. Jezebel taught that this practice was just fine. But it amalgamated the gospel with paganism and held it on the same level with paganism, which watered down the gospel and its effect on the culture.
Jesus warned that without repentance judgment was sure to come to them.
God always gives space first for repentance, then, if there is no change, judgment will come.
There are those today who teach grace in an exaggerated way and say that Jesus never sees your sin, and there is no need to confess sin. WRONG!
1 Corinthians 11:31-32 – NLT
But if we would examine ourselves, we would not be judged by God in this way.
(32) Yet when we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned along with the world.
Remember that the man in 1 Corinthians 5 who committed adultery with his stepmother was judged after refusing to repent.
God gives us an opportunity to repent, and if we do not follow through, judgment comes.
(25) But hold fast what you have till I come. (26) And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations — (27) ‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron; They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’ — as I also have received from My Father; (28) and I will give him the morning star. (29) He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
Jesus is able to keep us from the corruption in our culture if we cry out to Him and stay close to Him. Repent, turn from anything that you allow yourself to get involved in, in this hour so close to the return of Jesus. He has grace to enable us to resist and stay pure.
The promise for those who overcome is that they will rule and reign with Jesus during the millennium over the nations that survive His second coming and the judgment for refusing to protect Israel.
Personal application of what Jesus said to the Thyatira Church
Don’t allow the morals and ideas of our culture to deafen you to the voice of God through the Word! Just because the majority say it’s ok, it isn’t. The majority are usually not right! Broad is the way to destruction, narrow is the way to life (Matthew 7).
The Narrow Gate
(13) You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. (14) But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.
As a Christian, the Word is our infallible rule of faith and practice!
Same-sex marriage, fornication, or sex outside of marriage, and cohabitation have become common in our culture. And God has called you to a different lifestyle.
These things will not improve before Jesus comes back, and God has placed us here to be a light.
2 Corinthians 6:14 – 7:1 – NLT
Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? (15) What harmony can there be between Christ and the devil? How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever? (16) And what union can there be between God’s temple and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God said: “I will live in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people.
(17) Therefore, come out from among unbelievers, and separate yourselves from them, says the Lord. Don’t touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you. (18) And I will be your Father,
and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” (7:1) Because we have these promises, dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body or spirit. And let us work toward complete holiness because we fear God.
Romans 12:2 – NLT
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
1 Corinthians 6:12-18
(12) You say, “I am allowed to do anything”— but not everything is good for you. And even though “I am allowed to do anything,” I must not become a slave to anything. (13) You say, “Food was made for the stomach, and the stomach for food.” (This is true, though someday God will do away with both of them.) But you can’t say that our bodies were made for sexual immorality. They were made for the Lord, and the Lord cares about our bodies. (14) And God will raise us from the dead by his power, just as he raised our Lord from the dead. (15) Don’t you realize that your bodies are actually parts of Christ? Should a man take his body, which is part of Christ, and join it to a prostitute? Never! (16) And don’t you realize that if a man joins himself to a prostitute, he becomes one body with her? For the Scriptures say, “The two are united into one.” (17) But the person who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with him. (18) Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body.
Don’t allow yourself to be involved in anything that would hinder your witness for Jesus.
Matthew 5:13-16 – NLT
(13) You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.
(14) You are the light of the world — like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. (15) No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. (16) In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.
1 Peter 3:15-16
Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. (16) But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ.
1 Peter 4:1-5 – NLT
(1) So then, since Christ suffered physical pain, you must arm yourselves with the same attitude he had, and be ready to suffer, too. For if you have suffered physically for Christ, you have finished with sin. (2) You won’t spend the rest of your lives chasing your own desires, but you will be anxious to do the will of God. (3) You have had enough in the past of the evil things that godless people enjoy — their immorality and lust, their feasting and drunkenness and wild parties, and their terrible worship of idols.
(4) Of course, your former friends are surprised when you no longer plunge into the flood of wild and destructive things they do. So they slander you. (5) But remember that they will have to face God, who will judge everyone, both the living and the dead.