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FOR EKKLESIA

The Church in Thyatira

- The Church in Thyatira (Thigh-uh-tee-ra)

- I want you to think about this for a moment; the churches of this time were experiencing great persecution for their faith, to the degree that they lived impoverished, in lack, excluded from society, nothing to leave their children to inherit except their debts, and to top it off, they could have been killed for their faith (remember Antipas from Pergamum).

- But if they “sinned” all that would change in their favor. All they had to do was renounce Jesus as Lord and accept Caesar as lord, and their situation would change drastically.

- We live in a day and time where we can live for Jesus, and still, go out and make a living, build a business, have the ability to leave an inheritance for our kids, and not have to fear for our lives.

- It’s time we take notice to what Jesus is saying to the church of today before He removes our lampstand.

 

- The Church in Thyatira, after doing some research, was known as the “corrupted church”;

- This church, thus far, was the most corrupt church John was instructed to write to.

- Here’s something to note; this church was in the smallest city, and yet, it had the most from Jesus to write about. John’s note to this church contained the most to say, both in commendation and correction.

- Just like the other churches, John started out with commendation; as corrupt as they had become, they still had some good in them. They were commended for love, service, faith and perseverance. But the complaint was their tolerance of Jezebel and her wickedness. Apparently there was a “prophetess” who was leading several people astray. And because they had allowed this Jezebel spirit to run rampant in this church, they were being instructed to repent, immediately.

 

- Rev. 2:18, “These are the words of the Son of God,”

- Why was it important that John started out his portion to Thyatira with this?

- It’s because this city boasted a special temple to Apollo, the sun god. And since Thyatira bragged about its “sun god”, the Lord made it a point to start out by saying, “I am the Son of God; this is the only time in Revelation that this title is used.

- Jesus was proving a point here.

- If first impression was important to Jesus, then it must be important to us!

 

- Rev. 2:18 goes on to say, “whose eyes are like blazing fire…”

- In other words, His eyes are light, light that pierces through the darkness. What’s that saying church? It says that He sees all the way to your darkest places in your life, and He shines light in those dark places.

- Psalm 90:8 NIV,

- His light is exposing the things you are trying to hide from Him; But He wants to light up your life; not to embarrass you, but to set you free!

 

- Rev. 2:18 goes on to say, “and whose feet are like burnished bronze.”

- In other words, His feet represent the brazen altar where we need to lay our sins down. Once his light lights up our life and exposes our sin, we need to lay down our sins at his feet.

- you can come to the feet of Jesus, anyplace, day or night; His feet are open 24/7 and that is where you lay your sin down, never to pick it up again!

 

- Rev. 2:19 (here is the commendation)

- I’d like to point out, “you are now doing more than you did at first.”

- That tells me there has been growth; vision has expanded. Jesus is looking to bless churches that are growing both spiritually and numerically.

- the most important thing to remember, no matter how big we get, holiness is our priority.

 

- Rev. 2:20 (here comes the correction)

- In a nutshell, the church in Thyatira was permitting a false prophetess to influence the people and lead them into compromise.

- In fact, they were falling into a very similar trap that Pergamum fell into: sexual immorality and eating of food sacrificed to idols. Pergamum’s problem was that they had fallen prey to the Balaam spirit.

- But specifically, the church in Thyatira had a Jezebel spirit that was running rampant in the church, and she was collecting followers, and the church was tolerating it.

- the Jezebel spirit’s main agenda focuses on two things: Idolatry and immorality.

- Idolatry: Anything that replaces God seat in your life.

- Immorality: Anything that is contrary to God’s Word and anything in your life that grieves Holy Spirit. If it is immoral that means it is not holy and it and Holy Spirit cannot coexist in your life; something has to go.

- These were two great enemies of the early church; idolatry and immorality. I would say confidently that idolatry and immorality are still two great enemies of the church today.

- And the church in Thyatira wasn’t addressing this spirit and Jesus had to put an end to it.

- WE have to be aware of the Jezebel spirit, not to tolerate it, and address it appropriately.

- this prophetess in this church taught believers how to compromise with Rome and its religious practices, so that Christians would not lose their jobs or their lives.

- Now here is how Jezebel works her agenda through idolatry and immorality today: it’s the same way; she gets people to fall in love with their livelihood over obeying God.

- The spirit of Jezebel in this church was causing them to commit spiritual adultery.

- Remember, idolatry is simply idolizing things over God.

- what do you idolize over God? What keeps you from being here? What keeps you from connecting? What keeps you from church events? What keeps you from serving in the church? What keeps you from sowing into this ministry? What keeps you from coming in alignment with corporate fasts?

- when we stop and take personal inventory and we find things in our lives we are actually idolizing over God, naturally we don’t think of these things as “living in sin” but Jesus addresses this way of living, “as sin.”

 

- I wanna shoot back to the church in Ephesus; there is an interesting contrast with the church in Ephesus and the church in Thyatira: The Ephesian church was weakening in its love, yet faithful to judge false teachers (they wouldn’t have allowed the Jezebel spirit to run rampant in their church) – their problem was they loved truth more than they loved people. They judged people harshly, corrected people without love, even condemned people. And Jesus said, “You have lost sight of your first love.”

- Mark 12:31

- The church in Ephesus had lost sight of their first love, Jesus, when they stopped loving His people.

- But the church in Thyatira was different; they were growing in their love, but too tolerant of false doctrine – they loved people more than they loved the truth. They compromised too much; they wouldn’t tell the people the truth enough. See, they didn’t want to get uncomfortable with people; they felt bad for people that if they told them the truth it would cause them to be poor, and broke, and excluded.

- You got one church that loved the truth more than they loved people, and you had another church that loved the people more than they loved the church. Both extremes are problematic.

- And now, bring in Smyrna: a healthy balance of both!

- So what’s the remedy for each of these churches and the church of today?

- Ephesians 4:15 – SPEAKING THE TRUTH IN LOVE

 

- If someone says to you, “I believe you are under the influence of the Jezebel spirit” trust me, that’s not a compliment.

- even though in the church in Thyatira the Jezebel spirit was functioning through a prophetess, a female, which is most common practice for her, that doesn’t mean that the Jezebel spirit cannot influence through a male.

- Here is more about this evil spirit; Rev. 2:21

- In case you didn’t know, Jezebel was the idolatrous queen who enticed Israel to add Baal worship to their religious ceremonies. You know what that included church? Offering babies as a sacrifice to please Baal.

 

- The church in Pergamum was being seduced by the spirit of Balaam and now we find the church in Thyatira being seduced by the spirit of Jezebel.

- And in Rev. 2:21, we find Jesus saying, “I have given her time to repent, but time is up. And, those who followed her would suffer punishment as well, IF THEY DID NOT REPENT

 

- Rev. 2:23 – “Then all the churches will know that I am the He who searches hearts and minds,”

- This is repeating what He opened up with in verse 18, “whose eyes are like blazing fire...”

- He is searching you out; you can’t hide anything from God. God is a heart God, and God knows your intentions and your motives.

- Psalm 139:23 NIV

- Let Him search you out so you can repent of what He finds.

- What’s He looking for church? He’s looking for signs of idolatry and immorality in you.

 

- Rev. 2:24 – Jesus is now turning His attention to those who didn’t fall for Jezebel’s teachings; I sense a reward is coming.

 

- Rev. 2:25 – “Till I come” refers to Christ’s return FOR His people, at which time He will reward them for their faithfulness.

- this is the first mention in Revelation of the Lord’s coming FOR the church, the event we commonly call the rapture.

- In Revelation 1:7 we find Jesus referring to His return to earth to judge the earth, to defeat His enemies and to establish His kingdom.

- Several times before Rev. 2:25 Christ kept telling the church, “If you don’t repent, I’m going to come TO YOU” which means to judge you. But now, here in Rev. 2:25 He is saying, “If you don’t waiver in your faith, I’m going to come FOR YOU.”

- What’s that saying church? I’m coming to take you; I’m coming to save you.

- And that is exactly what the people in that church needed to hear. Things weren’t looking so good for them, but they hadn’t waivered in their faith in spite of this Jezebel spirit, and here comes Jesus to give them a boost of encouragement… “Hold on, I’m coming for ya!”

- hold on, Jesus is coming for you soon! So keep the faith!

 

- Rev. 2:26-28

- When will Rev. 2:26 take place? This will take place after Rev. 2:25 takes place.

- Make note of this; Rev. 2:26 will take place in conjunction with Rev. 1:7.

- These scriptures have been given to excite the church that: One, Jesus is coming to rescue you from this persecution and reward you for being faithful. And two, Jesus is coming to rule and reign, WITH the church. So it’s apparent, we coming back with Him to rule.

 

- Rev. 2:28 – the morning star is a reference to Jesus; it speaks of his rising authority and rule (remember, Jesus rose from the grave). But here is another way to look at Jesus as “the Morning Star” – it is one of hope; a light to those in darkness.

- What’s interesting is that Lucifer’s name means “bright star”. What we’ve learned since we started this series is that Jesus was writing to the believers in the church, but specifically, to the “shining stars”, the leaders in the church. Now you have to remember, at one time, Satan was a “shining star”; he was a leader in God’s kingdom; the leader of worship.

- So it makes sense that Lucifer was still and is still trying to lead the church, but away from Jesus.

- And where was he trying to lead the church to? Darkness.

- Go back to Rev. 2:24; it’s referred to as, “Satan’s so-called deep secrets.”

 

- What is the overall message to the Church in Thyatira that was known as the “Corrupted Church”? It’s the same for the church of today… REPENT! Change your minds!

- And I’ve come to say, it is not only lost sinners who need to repent, but also disobedient Christians.

- This message is for both: for the unsaved to repent and accept Jesus into their life, and for the saved to repent and get back to obeying Jesus according to His Word.

- Sometimes as believers we can get led astray by Jezebel and Balaam, idolatry and immorality, greed and compromise.

- What can we learn from Thyatira? Our love can be increasing yet lacking in the kind of discernment that is necessary to keep the church pure.

- You have to remember that church; our desire is to be a pure church.

- Matthew 5:8, blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

- When we, as a church, are tolerant of evil, we grieve the Lord and we invite His judgement.

- If we do not repent and deal with sin in our lives and in our churches, the Lord may judge us and remove our lampstand. How tragic it is when a local church gradually abandons the faith and loses the Presence of God.

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