Revelation chapter 2: part 3,
Revelation Chapter 3: part 1
Thyatira -The Corrupt Church
In our study of Sardis, last week, we learned, in verse 17, something interesting that I don’t want you to miss. The difference between the Antichrist and Christ is that one gives you a number and the other gives you a name. When Jesus comes, will your name be called, or will your number be up?*
Today, we begin to look at a corrupted church, Thyatira. Our first question would naturally be, why and how did they let themselves become corrupted? We pride ourselves on “right doctrine” don’t we? Regardless of what church or denomination we belong, we all usually stand behind the doctrine we espouse. And most of us would notice if someone came along with a different doctrine or belief, we would naturally want to argue the point with them. Apparently, this was not so with the church at Thyatira. Let’s look at the scripture and see just what was going on in that early church.
Look at verses 18-19
18 To the angel of the church in Thyatira write: These are the words of the son of God, whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze.
19 O know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance. And that you are now doing more than you did at first.
Well, at first glance I would think this church was doing a pretty good job, wouldn’t you? They seem to be growing in love and faith as well as service. This church was faithful and patient and their virtues were numerous. They had works, love, faith,
Service, patience, and growth. Yet for all their love and hard work, a cancer was growing in their midst.
*Adrian Rogers Legacy Bible, 1981, Thomas Nelson Inc.
Now read the rest of the story: verses 20-29:
20 Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols.
21- I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling.
22-So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways.
23- I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your
24- Now I say to the rest of you in Thyatira, to you who do not hold to her teaching and have not learned Satan’s so-called deep secrets, ‘I will not impose any other burden on you,
25- except to hold on to what you have until I come.’
26- To the one who is victorious and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations—
27- that one ‘will rule them with an iron scepter and will dash them to pieces like
pottery’—just as I have received authority from my Father.
28- I will also give that one the morning star.
29- Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
It is interesting in verse 21, that God had given her a chance to repent. Has God ever given you a chance to repent of something? And did you take that opportunity too clear the slate with Him? Or are you still waiting to another change? I urge you to repent while there is still time. He’s waiting for you. He loves you and wants you back in fellowship with Him
Notice also, that, not only did he pronounce doom on her but on her followers also. Then he tells the rest of the church to hold on to their faith until He return. This church had a lot of things going for it but they had fallen on this one thing and it was in danger of ruining everything for them. This was characteristic of the church during the Middle Ages when Roman Catholicism was dominant.
LET’S CONTINUE BEGINNING WITH CHAPTER 3.
This is Sardis, the dead church. Oh, My, wouldn’t it be awful to be considered a dead church by God? Yet there are many dead churches amongst us today. Let’s see if any of us are a member of such a church. If you are, I do hope you will either do everything you can to wake them up nor get out while you can.
Let’s see what their problem was.
Read chapter 3, verses 1-6
This letter is a little different from the others. For the first church Smyrna there is nothing but praise. With Ephesus, Pergamos, and Thyatira, there was a mixture of praise and criticism. As for Sardis, there was nothing good to say about it.
1.“To the angel] of the church in Sardis write:
These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits[b] of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead.
2 Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God.
3 Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.
4 Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy.
5 The one who is victorious will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life but will acknowledge that name before my Father and his angels.
6 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
They were spiritually dead. First of all, Sardis died because it relied on its past successes. They were satisfied to live in the past. They thought that surely God was there because of the magnificent building and the well-dressed people! It died, also because it allowed sin to creep into the membership.
Through the years the church had acquired a reputation of having lax morals. It was not sensitive to its own spiritual condition. They were like Paul said in 2 Timothy 3:5 “having a form of godliness but denying its power”
What can we do if our church is dead. God says “Wake up” don’t just wake up from a deep sleep, “STAY AWAKE”.
First of all we need an honest awareness that something is wrong. Let’s not be so proud of our great fellowship and love that we are not aware when something is wrong in our church. We don’t have leadership training classes for prospective teachers. We don’t have new member classes where we examine the beliefs of all prospective new members. Our teachers don’t have to pass a certain criteria before they are allowed to teach.
Is doctrine important?????? You bet it is, in fact, it is vital! It doesn’t matter what you believe about how the church should function or how to conduct your services, as long as you believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God, that He was born of a virgin and with the power of the Holy Spirit, that He lived a perfect life, and that He died on a cruel cross as a sacrifice for sin of those who would believe in Him for salvation and live for Him. He ascended into Heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father and that He will return to take his children home to heaven to live with Him for eternity.
What is the warning from God in verse 3? Sudden judgment from God.
What should we do if we are members of a dead or dying church? Be submissive to the Holy Spirit’s control. Some will be led out of that church, others will remain and hold fast.
There is a three-fold promise that God makes to those who hold fast. They will be dressed in white, walk in triumph with Christ one day, and He will never blot out their names from the heavenly register.
This church relates to the years of 1517-1750, The Reformation era. Have you ever been to a dead church? A pastor of a particular church that was having a problem with disinterest and apathy among its members, told his congregation to be sure and come to church on a given Sunday night because there was going to be a funeral, but he would not tell them who died. He said they would have to come and find out. Of course, everyone was there that night. The funeral began and the pastor had his assistant to open the casket. Then he asked the people to file passed, one at a time and pay their respects to the departed. As each one came by, he or she found in the casket…..a mirror. They saw their own reflection. (WHOH!!!!!) I bet that shook some people up!!.
If your pastor ever asked you to come to a funeral but won’t tell you who died, you better be prepared for ANYTHING.
We will continue with chapter 3 – part 2 next week, dear ones.