The Tolerating Church

Bible Book: Revelation  2 : 18-19
Subject: Church
Series: Deeper - Seven Churches of Revelation
Introduction

Thyatira was the least important of all seven cities; yet it received the longest letter. According to Acts 16:14; Lydia was the 1st convert from this.

Acts 16:14: “Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God. The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul.”

While Ephesus would not tolerate evil, but she had lost her love; Thyatira was strong in love but tolerated evil. There is always the tendency to be orthodox, strong, and committed to truth while failing to love the Lord with all our hearts, minds and souls. Ok we may love the Lord so completely and fully, and do not stand for the truth. Also Pergamus was challenged to worship Caesar instead of Jesus; Thyatira was encouraged to worship both.

Dawson McAllister said, “It is fashionable today to be searching for the truth, but when you find it, you are a bigot.” In this pluralistic society, there is no such thing as narrowness; we are going to be broad. We are going to embrace everybody.

But as this text will reveal, toleration can be sin. There is an exclusiveness that must belong to the church. God’s people have to take a stand for God, and we have to say, “We will not comply with anything that is opposed to Jesus Christ. He is our rule and authority. We measure our lives by Jesus and His word for us and will not compromise that stand.”

As we study these 7 churches, you will note there is a progressive worsening in the character of them as they are more and more influenced by evil.

Note Subjects Introduced:

I. The Christ 18

“the Son of God” – in Thyatira, the people worship Apollo, the “sun god,” which explains why the Lord introduced Himself as the “the Son of God.”

This is the only time in the book of Revelation this title is used. This emphasizes Christ’s deity. He is God alone!

A. His Omniscience (ALL KNOWING)

In contrast to the “Woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess.”

“who has eyes like a flame of fire” - there is nothing more penetrating, more consuming, than fire. Everything yields before it. Everything melts in its heat. It penetrates through and sweeps away obstructions. His eyes pierce the masks we throw up. They search the inner recesses of our hearts; the hidden things of our souls. He is One who knows it all. He is the HEART KNOWER!

B. His Omnipotent

(ALL AUTHORITY/POWER)

“His feet like fine brass” – speaks of judgment; represents strength and firmness of judgment. Depicts His purity and Holiness as He tramples out impurity.

II. The Commendable 19

A. WORKING CHURCH

Hebrews 6:10: “For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.”

1 Thessalonians 1:3: - “remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father.”

“as for your works, the last are more than the first” – busy and active in serving God; not slipping backwards, not standing still, steadily pressing onward.

B. LOVING CHURCH

“love” – proper motive for works; they were showing love for God and for one another. This is the first of the 7 churches to be commended for its love.

C. SERVING CHURCH

Known to be a church that sought to meet the needs of others. Sacrificially reaching out to others. Same word for deacon which meant loving, tender, compassionate service. When people hurt, they hurt and they cared about the needs of others. With rejoicing they ministered to the needs of those people.

D. BELIEVING CHURCH

“faith” – speaks of faithfulness, steadfastness, dependability, reliability. Here was a church you could count on. They desired to do the right thing.

E. PERSEVERING CHURCH

Under pressure they maintained tremendous balance and patience before God.

III. The Condemnation 20-23

“woman Jezebel”

Reference to King Ahab’s wife that led her husband away from God and brought Israel to worship Baal. Her quarrel with God was with His “monopoly.” She set up temples and altars to Baal side by side with altars to Jehovah God.

2 institutions God established:

Home

Church

She taught a philosophical dualism so prevalent in contemporary Greek philosophy. The spirit is good and the flesh is evil. Since God is interested in the spiritual, they falsely argued, it doesn’t matter what one does with their body. What we call an antinomian view of God’s grace. One holds that under the gospel dispensation of grace the moral law is of no use or obligation because faith alone is necessary to salvation. One who rejects a socially established morality.

Jezebel broke down all boundaries of moral separation from the wicked world.

John Philips said, “She would spend the first part of the day putting on her war paint and the rest of the day on the warpath.” She led many servants of God astray.

Proverbs 7:25-26: “’Do not let your heart turn aside to her ways, Do not stray into her paths; For she has cast down many wounded, And all who were slain by her were strong men.’”

Her tactics are not only subtle, but attractive. Why? Simply because of our propensity to sin due to our fallen nature and unredeemed flesh. The most dangerous heresy is the heresy that sounds the most like the truth.

Jezebel encouraged Israel to worship God but also to liken themselves to that which was against God. In Thyatira the trade unions put pressure on their members not just to organize as craftsmen but to come together in great feasts.

PROBLEM: These often included acts of idolatrous worship to pagan gods. They encouraged drunkenness, wild, lascivious, sexual orgy. It was all part of their union responsibilities.

ILLUSTRATE: CHAMELEON

(cha-me-leon) Lizards with unusual ability to change colors. Social chameleon- someone who could be whatever his hosts wanted him to be. (color change isn’t all about hiding him) The primary function of the color shift is to alert neighbors of danger. Changing colors is also a way of communicating. The vivid reds acts as a warning to other chameleons that they should stay away. They also use color to broadcast their sexual availability.

V 21 She did not want to repent of her immorality; a blunt and final refusal that led to judgment. The long-suffering and patience of our Lord was misconstrued. Because God does not strike down wickedness the moment it rears its head, men deceive themselves and imagine that He never will. Whenever God’s judgment is delayed, it is always to give us an opportunity to repent. His delay in judgment is always for the purpose of drawing us to Him.

V22a “I will cast her into a sickbed” – she has committed her immorality in a bed, He was to give her a bed in Hell where she would lie forever. The judgment here would be that of allowing her a complete abandonment to her way of life.

V22b “and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds.” – describes distress or trouble. He is promising them chastening, possibly even physical death. Yet, in His longsuffering He continues to offer pardon, if they repent.

Contrition of Heart

Confession of Sin

Change of Direction

V23a “death” – here is second death. Salvation in the Scriptures is always according to faith, but judgment is always according to works.

V23b - Judgment is not only disciplinary; it is exemplary.

1 Timothy 5:20: “Those who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all, that the rest also may fear.”

IV. The Comfort 24-29

“Depths of Satan”

That could mean many things, but it probably means all the strategies of Satan, all the tricks of Satan to keep us away from God.

Some have suggested that it refers to heresy that nothing one does with his body can destroy his relationship with God in his heart; so it is all right to be immoral, licentious, and to be compromising physically. That is because the strength of one’s faith will be shown by the fact that nothing one does can destroy his relationship with God. The very subtle form of heresy.

The depths of Satan may refer to the great strategies of Satan not discouraging our participation in religion. Satan is very religious. He goes to church as much as anybody. And he does not care if we join the church, profess Christ, and do good works as long as we will allow into our lives that which neutralizes our faith. That is the great depth of Satan.

He encourages us to take our stand in the church, believe the right things, be fundamental, be orthodox, but also to compromise. We will build into our lives those things that will neutralize our faith.

Revelation 2:25: “But hold fast what you have till I come.”

There are a lot of things we can do to stand for God in our society. But we need to hear Jesus say, “Whatever else you do, hold fast until I come. Stay true to me. Do not compromise. Do not be less than you ought to be.”

Then he makes a beautiful promise in Revelation 2:26-27: “”And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations. He shall rule them with a rod of iron;

They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter's vessels as I also have received from My Father.”

He speaks here of prominence and power in the millennial kingdom. He has already talked about that in the first chapter of Revelation:

Revelation 1:6: “and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”

He has already promised power, but look at the promise of verse 28.

Revelation 2:28: “and I will give him the morning star.”

What is the morning star? He tells us in the twenty –second chapter.

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.’"

If we possess Jesus, we possess everything. We possess everything we need, everything we want, everything we long to have in Jesus. Jesus is the only way to true greatness and true power. Everything men strive for is found in Jesus Christ

Jesus Himself is the believer’s Reward!