THE CHURCH AT THYATIRA (2)
Last week we began a study of the church at Thyatira, and noticed, as in the other churches, Jesus describes himself with figures that would have had a special meaning to the church. He has “eyes like a flame of fire,” and “feet like fine brass.” He knew their works, love, service, faith, and patience as they work for the Lord, and commended them for the fact that their latter works were more than the first.
But they had some problems (surprise, surprise, surprise). Jezebel was there teaching the church and seducing Jesus’ servants — to commit sexual immorality and sacrifice to idols. Such would amaze us today (or would it?), when we consider that the church is made up of people who are tempted to sin like the rest of the world. Their sin had religious motifs involved in it, and thus that made it “right?” Is it no wonder that the church then and now struggles in our preaching the gospel when the church is just like the world?
God gives men time to repent (2:21)! He does not want to punish, but he does want us to repent and change our lives so that we will be like him!
Remember Jesus’ warning, “And I will give to each one of you according to his works.” He knows the motives we have in what we do, because he knows what we are thinking (consider these passages: Psalms 94:11; Psalms 139:1-24; Hebrews 4:12; Isaiah 55:8-9; 1 John 3:20; Matthew 9:4; 12:25 and Luke 11:17; Proverbs 4:23; 21:2). “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” (2 Corinthians 5:10).
To those who did not engage in such, Jesus had words of encouragement.
He told them that he would put no other burden upon them. Sometimes, when we struggle with problems, trials, and difficulties it seems like other problems “pile on” and we can’t breathe. It had to be encouraging to the faithful in the church there that as they tried to deal with the problems they had, they could focus on resolving the sin that was clearly in the church, and not feel like they were being overwhelmed. Do we sometimes feel overwhelmed with all of the problems in the church and in the world?
The “depths of Satan” probably has reference to teachings of “Jezebel” and her followers, as sin such as sexual immorality goes descends deeper into other depravities (See Romans 1). Worshipping idols in promiscuous ways goes into further sin, because the lusts of the flesh would have been appealed to. Don’t go there! Don’t dabble in sin! It drags one down deeper and deeper.
HOLD FAST TILL I COME! This is the encouragement! Sometimes, when it seems that the world around you is going down deeper into the cesspool of sin, it is harder not to be engaged in sin because “everybody else is doing it.” How many young people have sinned because they were encouraged to do so, until it becomes seemingly impossible to get out? How many first start by taking that first pill or hit, just to be drawn into drug addiction, and then have no control? Christians, in a world that keeps attacking the values we hold dear, let us not give in to them.
Jesus commends those who overcome by keeping his works UNTIL THE END! How many times have people become Christians, but they did not hang in there UNTIL THE END? Brothers and sisters, we must work, pray, worship, evangelize, serve others, and let our lights shine. . . UNTIL THE END. We cannot slack off. We must stay faithful to God.
Finally, this letter closes with references to Jesus once again. He will be the one who rules over all the nations with a rod of iron, and they will be dashed to pieces like potter’s vessels (v 27). We must remember always that all governments of men are accountable to God. He will judge all nations on the earth and give them their due reward. All governments of men will be dashed to pieces when he comes again, and all men will bow the knee to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Revelation 17:14; 19:16). Christians we owe all our allegiance to the Lord.
“And I will give him the morning star” (v28) suggests that we will be given Jesus himself. Note Revelation 22:16 “I Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.”
Hang in there till the end brothers and sisters! We will be with Jesus himself one day!