To the Church at Thyatira

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, January 26, 2018 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

[This blog post is part of a series. The previous post is here, and the next post is here.]

In continuing this series about the letters to the seven churches of Revelation 2-3, the fourth letter is to the church at Thyatira. I classify this letter as one of the three where Christ is most displeased. The other two are with Pergamos and with Laodicia (though Ephesus would be fourth in this list). Thyatira’s problem was similar to Pergamos only to a greater extreme. Pergamos’ problem was compromise. They claimed to follow Christ but had allowed false teachings to the pulpit as well. With Thyatira, it was not mere allowance of other teachings in their midst, it was allowing false teachers as the leadership. Thyatira’s problem was the result of Pergamos’ problem: going from compromise to corruption.

With Pergamos, Jesus described himself as having a sword. With Thyatira, Jesus describes his eyes like a flame of fire and feet like fine brass. Having the sword alone should be scary enough. Here, the sword isn’t put away. But Jesus’ eyes are blazing and more often than not, fire and eyes together is the image of wrath. Let me make this clear: Jesus is not this sissified pansy that many tend to think he is with just love, fluff, and a god-like teddy bear. He is kind and gentle, but he is a raging fire and he will consume all who are not under his protection. He is coming with a rod of iron to crush and dash the nations to pieces (verse 27). He is not to be trifled with and too many of us (yes, that includes me) are guilty of doing so.

Jesus started with a few positive notes. He recognizes their works, love, service, faith, and patience. However, I get the sense that he just wants to get that part out of the way and get to the issue that has caused his eyes to burn with fire: Jezebel. I wrote about Jezebel and her net a couple months ago. Many know who Jezebel is and her marriage to Ahab and her defiance of Elijah the prophet, however by this time, Jezebel’s name had become synonymous with false teaching. Thyatira had been corrupted enough to where they allowed the spirit of Jezebel into their pulpits and leadership. Jesus specifically pointed out the sins of sexual immorality and eating food sacrificed to idols, however do not be fooled that this is the only area this applies.

It is far easier to find a false teacher today than it is to find a solid one. If one knows anything about sound doctrine, they keep coming out of the woodwork and exposing themselves. Paul Washer made a very interesting statement which caught my attention and he’s not the only one I’ve heard it from. These false teachers are not con-men; they are the judgment upon their congregations for seeking after teachers who will tickle ears. Is he right? I have a hard time saying no. David Wilkerson also had a solid sermon about this issue that is worth listening to. I’m not going to repeat everything they say, but those resources are valuable and part of what inspired me to write this whole series.

Jesus let the false teachers go for a while so they might repent (verse 21), but they would not. Jesus does not want to carry out his judgment upon man. He longs for them to repent. However, there comes a point where the person will not repent and any hint towards it has to do with getting caught and losing out on self, not a recognition of their rebellion against God. Jesus said he will judge her, make her sick. Those who lie with her will be cast into a great tribulation unless they repent. Her children will die and he will give according to their works. It is important to note that good deeds will not save you if you are in bed with a false teaching. You can teach Bible study, go on mission trips, and give to the poor, but if you are attached to a false teaching by covenant (intentional or not), all those good deeds will go to waste, because when the judgment comes on the false teacher, it will come on all who associated with him or her.

However, Jesus offers hope for those who have not submitted to that false teacher. They are still in the church because that is where they are located, not because they wanted to listen to the false teachering. I do believe that in every congregation, no matter how blatantly false the teachings are, there is a group of solid, true believers in and among them. Exactly why they stay is not what I will address here. Jesus is speaking to this solid, true believer group in verses 24-28.

Jesus is not going to put an extra burden on them. Why? It’s hard enough to sit in a church where a liar and satanic puppet is spewing forth pure evil in the name of God and remain pure. Jesus’ command to them is to hold on to the truth they know and to not let it go. It is hard. Peer-pressure is hard enough as is from the secular world, but when it comes from those who are supposed to be your allies, it is almost unbearable. God is always going to provide an escape, however, that does not make it wise to stick around, and it is most unwise to purpose to go to such an area to be “be a witness” so you can get the benefits. Paul warned the Romans and the Philippians to mark and identify the false teachers and avoid them.

Are you in a Thyatiran church? Could you recognize it as such? If so, if you have the means of leaving that church and finding a body where you can both get fed and serve, then do so. However, if for whatever reason you cannot, I will not judge that decision. But like Jesus, I charge you to take a firm hold of the truth and do not let go of it. False teachings act like a poisonous miasma, like yeast, seeking to infiltrate anything it can. Beware of them because they are many and they look like sheep.

Next week, I will look at the church of Sardis who lacked life, sleeping on the watch. It is because the watchmen have not been doing their job why these false teachings have crept in so readily. The church needs to be alert and alive to all that is going on around them. That’s for next week.

This forum is meant to foster discussion and allow for differing viewpoints to be explored with equal and respectful consideration.  All comments are moderated and any foul language or threatening/abusive comments will not be approved.  Users who engage in threatening or abusive comments which are physically harmful in nature will be reported to the authorities.