Summary: Thyatira is a corrupt church. They do many great works, but God does not even address them as His children. It’s still here today and is key to the end of the world. Link inc. to formatted text, audio/video, PowerPoint.
READING SOMEONE ELSE’S MAIL
Thyatira: The Corrupt Church
In the 1700’s there lived a mighty evangelist that was greatly used of God to shake this country…his name was George Whitfield.
Years before, at the age of 16, he came under deep conviction for his sin. He recognized he was a sinner, and that someday his sin would drag him to hell. He knew that something had to be done about his sin, and so he began a process of trying to appease God / gain God’s favor.
He thought, perhaps if I go to church more often, God will overlook my sin, so he began attending mass often, up to 3 times a day! He still had no peace. He said, maybe if I fast, deny my body food, and did so up to 4 days a week. But he still had no peace, and sensed no forgiveness.
Then one day, Whitfield met a couple of brothers named John and Charles Wesley. They explained to Whitfield that salvation is totally by grace, thru faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ…that it’s not man by works trying to reach up to God, but that it’s God in mercy reaching down to man. For the first time in his life, he learned the truth that salvation cannot be “earned” by attending mass, taking the sacraments, fasting, catechism, confession, offerings, or hail Mary’s.
George Whitfield that day received the free gift of salvation and became a true Christian. “True Christian” I say, because the world today considers you a Christian at the drop of a hat, w/ hardly any requirements. You’re a Christian to society today if only you believe God exists…and the media considers you a Christian if you’re not a Jew or Muslim!
George Whitfield went for years to a church that believed in Jesus Christ, but he wasn’t saved until he believed on Jesus Christ!
19Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
Question: Where did G. Whitfield get the idea in the first place--that he could earn salvation by ritual or by works? / that he could appease God, or earn God’s favor?
He got that idea from an organization called: The Roman Catholic Church. Now, we are not Catholic bashers. There are many wonderful people there. I know many saved people of that genre.
This sermon has a lot of potential…potential to be misunderstood. Please understand the heart this comes from. If you’ll hear God’s heart in this message, then the potential of this message is to bless, and to work powerfully.
Joke—don’t be like the guy who went to Alaska to be a pioneer. He went to the game warden for advice / “to be a real pioneer, you’ve got to skin a polar bear, and then kiss an Eskimo woman right on the lips” / he came back the next day bleeding and bruised, one arm hanging by a thread / said, “where’s that Eskimo woman I’ve got to skin?”
Please hear out the content of this sermon, before you are quick to judge. Please listen on purpose, and listen for God’s voice and heart in it.
Remember, these are real churches that existed in John’s day, and which speak of real churches today, and also symbolize entire periods of church history. Thyatira represents church history from 500-1500 A.D. And certainly the church at Thyatira exists today in the form of the modern Roman Catholic Church, as well as other churches which teach salvation by works.
When we looked at Ephesus a couple of weeks ago, we saw one of the Lord’s churches that was losing its devotion. They had correct Biblical doctrine, and they did all the right things, but began to lose their first love, they began to work for God out of the motive of duty, and not devotion. Still, they were one of the Lord’s churches, and they had a weakness, as even the best of churches do. But their weakness was the exception, not the rule.
We looked last week at Pergamos, another of the Lord’s churches, a good church, w/ good doctrine and a good reputation for the most part, but some of their number were being won over by compromise. And our God loved them enough to correct them and call them to repentance. Still, they were one of the Lord’s churches, and they had a weakness, as even the best of churches do. But their weakness was the exception, not the rule.
But as we look at Christ’s letter to Thyatira, we see weakness was not the exception at all. Jesus doesn’t speak to them as sons. This is not one of His churches, although certainly there were SOME true believers there. The true believers in Thyatira WERE the exception!