Longest of 7 letters... written to church in smallest & prob least imp town. READ TEXT
OPENING: What do you value? Americans values... individual freedom... a choice in education... the family... privacy... different in other cultures...
INTRODUCTION: The values of GOD are not the values of MEN.
located between two valleys... perfectly positioned for commerce & trade.
large number of trade guilds bc of the commercial industry... inscriptions provide us with a listing of some of the guilds in this city... wool-workers... linen... makers of outer garments... dyers... leater-workers... tanners... potters... bakers... slave-dealers... bronze-smiths...
So to the church in the smallest town... in the least important place of the seven listed... i wonder if they felt like they were off the radar... have you ever felt that way... like no one would ever really notice you... when you and i begin to think that no one is paying attention we often wander to places and entertain thoughts and behaviors we never thought possible.
I. The Son of God knows our HEARTS. (vV 18-19)
• Notice begins w. Son of God... only place used in Rev although implied in others. Psalm 2:6-9... Reminder of the majestic person of Christ who is still alive and on the throne at the right hand of the Father. READ 1:14-15...
• And this living Christ has eyes like a flame of fire... He sees all... He has eyes that penetrate a heart of false worship.
• And the living Christ has feet like burnished bronze... He has the power to certainly and swiftly pursue all that is evil... READ DANIEL 10:6... RECITE PSALM 139
• you and i have the ability to hide our hearts from one another... we shouldn’t but we do...
• The glorified Christ is well aware of the works/deeds of this church family who may feel like they are off radar... He knows of their love and faith... service & patient endurance... progress
• Church at Ephesus had waned in their love.. decreased... Thyatira it had grown...
II. The Enemy knows our HUMANITY. (v 20) bc of praise.. not ready for the rebuke that follows.
• This loving church family were lacking in discernment regarding heresy. both in sacred & secular... sacred = seductive tchg of Jezebel (wicked queen Jezebel 1 Kings 16; 2 Kings)
• Secular = significant to understand their culture of trade guilds.. close-knit local unions & provided the primary social structure for traders and their families... (Joe Gode’s Grocery) Each guild would host these wild parties that fostered immorality & eating food sac to pagan Gods... part of cuiture... • ILLUS of frat house in chapel hill, NC
III. The Son of God is serious about SIN. (vv 21-23 ) Lord allows time to repent 2 Peter 3:8-9
• Christ who sees all and pursues evil says... there is no distinction between secular and sacred... that the enemy who knows our humanity knows where we are most vulnerable and he will deceive and destroy in areas of the flesh. READ 1 CORINTHIANS 10:13
• The church family were tolerating a lifestyle among them that wasn’t consistent with Scripture. Even though God offers a way out... he doesn’t force us to take it.
• What we read in VV 21-23 is a powerful & penetrating principle... Sin has consequences.. always! Our tendency is to worship a form of God we create in our own image... leads us to a tragic tolerance... whatever you think is okay. not okay for me.. but maybe fore you.
• Dr. D Michael Lindsay of Rice Univ. “There’s a growing pluralistic impulse toward tolerance and that is having theological consequences.” READ ISAIAH 29:11
IV. The Christian life is a CAMPAIGN not simply a BATTLE (vv 24-29) (comfort & warning)
• transition = “they” to “you”... 1) you are doing well... “deep secrets”... simple obedience is not a burden but I can tell you from personal experience... trying to... is incredibly burdensome -> miserable life 2) hold fast until i come... take a firm grip... on... obedience is not something we check off some list we create... conquering sin our lives is not a battle it is a campaign fought by the power of Christ until He calls us home or he comes... it is only by faithful allegiance to the cause of Christ that believers overcome the hostile environment of a cultures values & practices... either way we reign victoriously with Christ forever!