Summary: A fresh vision of Christ is the only way we can face life’s trials with joy.
Purpose: To alert us to the danger of having false teachers in the church.
Aim: I want the listener to cling to holiness.
INTRODUCTION: We are in constant danger of letting our view of Christ get out of focus. Pergamum allowed heretics in the pew, Thyatira allowed heretics in the pulpit.
Religion is dangerous because it can take our focus off of Jesus Christ.
“It is interesting to contrast the churches at Ephesus and Thyatira. The Ephesian church was weakening in its love, yet faithful to judge false teachers; while the people in the assembly at Thyatira were growing in their love, but too tolerant of false doctrine. Both extremes must be avoided in the church. ‘Speaking the truth in love’ is the biblical balance.” [ “The Bible Exposition Commentary” by Warren Wiersby Vol.II Page 575]
In either case, subtle changes were allowed that took the focus off of Jesus Christ.
“When trouble comes, we often focus on the hand of God and overlook the face of God; that is, we tend to question His works rather than reflect on His character. The apostle John received a fresh vision of God when the Emperor Domitian was on the throne in Rome; he was the cruelest of all Roman emperors, sentencing to death or torturing those who refused to worship him. In the midst of such suffering and stress, John was able to focus on Christ, for Christ unveiled Himself. [Remember that this book begins with “The Revelation of Jesus Christ”]
“The early believers did refuse to worship Domitian, and they were sentenced to death by the thousands. Some were thrown to the lions in the great coliseum; some were burned at the stake. Others were wrapped in the skins of wild animals and fed to the dogs or dipped in tar and lit as torches for the emperor’s garden. Others were crucified—including mothers with babies draped around their necks.” [Morgan, R. J. Vols. for <2002- > have accompanying CD-ROMs.; Description based on: 2002 ed. Nelson’s annual preacher’s sourcebook.; 2006 Edition (268). Nashville, Tenn.: Thomas Nelson Publishers.]
A fresh vision of Christ is the only way we can face life’s trials with joy. The church in Thyatira shows us another way to be religious without really focusing on Jesus Christ.
1:1-20 I. John’s Vision of the Past “the things which you have seen”
2:1-5:14 II. Christ’s Vision of the Present “the things which are”
2:1-3:22 A. The testimony of the church on earth
2:1-7 1. Ephesus: the loveless church
2:8-11 2. Smyrna: the hurting church
2:12-17 3. Pergamum: the worldly church
➽2:18-29 4. Thyatira: the compromising church
Thyatira. Located halfway between Pergamos and Sardis, this city had been under Roman rule for nearly 3 centuries (ca. 190 B.C.). Since the city was situated in a long valley that swept 40 mi. to Pergamos, it had no natural defenses and had a long history of being destroyed and rebuilt. Originally populated by soldiers of Alexander the Great, it was little more than a military outpost to guard Pergamos. [MacArthur, J. J. (1997, c1997). The MacArthur Study Bible (electronic ed.) (Re 2:18). Nashville: Word Pub.]
Thyatira was a city with a large military detachment about 30 miles southeast of Pergamos. Recognized for its wool and dye industries, the city was also noted for its trade guilds. [ Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1997). The Nelson study Bible : New King James Version. Includes index. (Re 2:18). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.]
➽Vs.18 a. Christ’s character “the Son of God”
“The city boasted a special temple to Apollo, the ‘sun god,’ which explains why the Lord introduced Himself as ‘the Son of God’ (the only time in Revelation this title is used).” [“The Bible Exposition Commentary” by Warren Wiersby Vol.II Page 575]
Jesus is pictured as having “eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet are like burnished bronze” (Revelation 2:18 NAU). This speaks of judgment. Christ is prepared to judge His church.
1 Peter 4:17 For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? (NAU)
➽Vs.19 b. Christ’s praise for this church
➽(1) They were a working church “deeds...are greater”
They not only worked hard for the Lord, they were not content to do the same amount of work for the Lord year after year. They were setting goals and always looking for ways to improve on what they were doing.
➽(2) They were a loving church “your love”
This is the only church that was congratulated for their love. How sad because our love for each other is crucial to our ability to glorify Christ.