JESUS’ LETTER TO THYATIRA

Where has your heart been lately, O church? He wants your heart. Have you gone after other lovers?

[SW130] 2/28/14 message notes by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2014
“Jesus’ Letter to Thyatira”

Text: Revelation 2:12-17a

Background:

While the Apostle John is exiled on the island of Patmos (to the east of Greece), Jesus Christ gives him a revelation — an unveiling — of Himself, and what is to come.

The unveiling of Himself:

When John sees Jesus Christ as He is now — Judge, Lord of lords, and King of kings — here’s what happens:

Revelation 1:17   When I saw Him, I  fell at His feet like a dead man. And He  placed His right hand on me, saying, “Do not be afraid;  I am the first and the last, 18 and the  living One; and I   was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have  the keys of death and of Hades. 19 “Therefore  write  the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place  after these things.”

What is to come:

Before He unveils what is to come, the Lord Jesus speaks to seven churches through their messengers (pastors). He is the one that walks among (5281 in the middle of) the seven golden lamp stands like candelabra (the churches).

Why does He speak to them? To encourage them, to exhort them, to correct them, to convict them regarding sin and righteousness and judgment. He commands five of the seven churches to repent.

Background on Thyatira:

Lydia, from Acts 16:14ff, was a native of Thyatira, a place of shrines to Apollo, Artemis, Helius (sun god), and the Roman emperor who was worshiped there as Apollo incarnate. It was the center for many trade guilds. Drunken guild-feasts and orgies were part of the pagan worship in Thyatira.

Jesus’ words to the church at Thyatira:

Jesus Christ identifies Himself as the Son of God, the only true God incarnate. His self-description is that of Judge — eyes like a flame of fire, feet like burnished bronze. Bronze and fire frequently connote judgment in God’s Word. He stands as Judge before them, for something is very wrong, amidst all the right that is being done by this church.

He fully knows their love and faith and the service and perseverance (steadfastness in faith). Even now, they do more in service and are more steadfast than ever . . . but He has something against them.

They tolerate (that is, they permit) someone named Jezebel to be in their midst.
In a word, they compromise.

Jezebel calls herself a prophetess. She calls herself —  she was not called to prophesy by God and is not God’s prophetess, or she would not teach what she is teaching! She claims she hears from God, but what she says is from her own imagination, as in Judah at the time of Jeremiah’s preaching (Jeremiah 2:8, 23:16). She is a false teacher.

What is the difference between Pergamum and Thyatira? In Pergamum, some went OUTSIDE the church to eat food sacrificed to idols and commit acts of immorality.  In Thyatira, Jezebel teaches these things to His bond-servants WITHIN the church. And no one speaks against her!

This is the Lord’s great warning to today’s church! The worship of the world has entered the church at Thyatira, and it is being taught within her walls by a false teacher. It is the same today, and in many churches, no one speaks against the false teachers.

In 1Kings 21:25-26, King Ahab’s wife, Jezebel, who worshiped Baal, the god of fertility (worshiped via cult prostitution, orgies and feasts), is described:

1Kings 21:25 Surely there was no one like Ahab who sold himself to do evil in the sight of the LORD,  because Jezebel his wife incited him.  26  He acted very abominably in following idols,  according to all that the Amorites had done, whom the LORD cast out before the sons of Israel.

Just as surely, the Jezebel of the church at Thyatira incites the church to sell themselves to do evil in the Lord’s sight, following idols.

And she refuses to repent, just as with Jezebel in 1Kings, though the Lord gave her a space of time to do so. The Lord warned her through those who remained true to Him  at Thyatira, just as Jeremiah warned Judah.

She commits — and teaches others to commit — literal adultery. And by listening to and doing what she teaches, some in the church commit spiritual adultery against Jesus Christ, their Bridegroom, and share in demons:

1Corinthians 10:19 What do I mean then? That a thing sacrificed to idols is anything, or  that an idol is anything?  20 No, but I say that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they  sacrifice to demons and not to God; and I do not want you to become sharers in demons.  21  You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the table of the Lord and  the table of demons.

And again, as with the church at Pergamum, THEY WILL BECOME WHAT THEY WORSHIP (Psalm 115) unless they turn back to Him and away from her false teaching.

Unless she and her followers repent upon reading this letter of correction and rebuke, the Lord will cast them onto a bed (2825) — it is where she and they have committed adultery. The Greek word for “bed” here means a couch used for those who are sick.

Unless they repent, they will undergo great tribulation. I believe this refers to the great tribulation at the end of things, which is described in Revelation Chapters 6 and forward. Unlike the church at Philadelphia, they will not escape the hour of testing that is coming (see Revelation 3:10).

And the Lord Jesus Christ will destroy, put to death, slay (615) Jezebel and her followers by pestilence (literally, death), just as with those who reject God in those later chapters of Revelation, during the Great Tribulation.

All of this, as with all judgments of God, are so all the churches will know that He is the one who searches hearts and minds, and they will be repaid in accordance with what they have done (Jeremiah 17:10, Romans 2:6).

Remember, they will live if they will repent (turn from their sin, and truly mourn and cry, “Against You only, O God, I have sinned!”).

There are some in Thyatira that do not cling to Jezebel’s teaching. To them, He asks nothing but that they continue to cling to Him, until He comes.

They have not known the deep things of Satan. Ahh! We see the source of Jezebel’s false teaching. Just as only the Spirit of God knows the deep things of God (1Corinthians 2:10), only the spirit of Satan knows the deep things of Satan. Jezebel and those who follow her are following Satan.

Gnosticism boasted that it was precisely by entering into the stronghold of Satan that believers could learn the limits of his power and emerge victorious. On the basis that a believer’s spirituality is unaffected by what is done with the body, Jezebel could argue that the Thyatiran Christians ought to take part in the pagan guild-feasts (even if they were connected with the deep secrets of Satan) and thus prove how powerless is evil to alter the nature of grace. (Source: New International Commentary on the New Testament.)

He who has an ear, let Him hear what the Spirit says to the churches of that day, and to today’s church!

I repeat:

This is the Lord’s great warning to today’s church! The worship of the world has entered the church at Thyatira, and it is being taught within her walls by a false teacher. It is the same today, and in many churches, no one speaks against the false teachers.

Are there Jezebels among us?

Are there false teachers who tell you it’s OK to sin because you’re saved and so you can sin and sin and sin the same sin and keep saying, “Sorry, Lord. Please forgive me . . .” ?

Are we compromising, allowing them to teach what is clearly in opposition to Jesus Christ’s teaching in the Sermon on the Mount and through the letters from the Apostles throughout the New Testament?

What teaching are you listening to and thereby “eating”?

I have heard the words of a pastor who said it was God’s will for him to commit adultery with the church’s children’s director. They ran off together, confident they are still safe in the palm of the Father’s hand.

I have heard the words of a man who has fornicated (sex outside marriage) for over 30 years, and he says the Holy Spirit says it’s alright and that the Holy Spirit will show him when he should escape his situation.

Do you know the voice of the Good Shepherd and run from the voice of strangers? Or are you in bed with them? Christ asks this of you.

Where has your heart been lately, O church? He wants your heart. Have you gone after other lovers?

Where has your body been lately? Is your body a temple of the Holy Spirit? Or has another spirit entered your body through sexual immorality?

Where have your eyes been lately? Do you see what He sees, or would you not want Him to see what you look at?

Repent, turn from your sin because you know that it is against the Lord only that you have sinned. Ask Him to purify your heart so you have no desire for anything but Him and more of Him!

And for you who do not listen to the instruction of false teachers, the Lord places no other burden on you. Stand. You will see the salvation of the Lord!

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Author: Susan Wynn, servant of Jesus Christ

Healed by Jesus Christ of MS in 2001, in the middle of the night! Proclaiming His gospel, His healing, His heart. Author of From Death To Life--A True Story of Healing, Hope and Being Set Free. Our ministry: My Father's Place, a ministry without walls, proclaiming Jesus Christ to the world.

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