Summary: This is about the letter to Thyatira.
There is a British comedy show called Keeping Up Appearances. (Give brief overview of the show.) Things aren’t always as they appear.
The middle church of the seven is a church where things weren’t as they appeared.
Read Revelation 2:18-29.
One thing that is fascinating about this letter is that of the seven it is the longest. Thyatira was the least significant city of the seven, whether economically, socially, politically, religiously or culturally. It was also likely the smallest of the seven churches, yet Jesus spends more time them. Smaller churches are important to Jesus. The vast majority of churches are small.
What do we see here about appearances?
· The Appearance of SUCCESS.
The initial praise would make it appear that this was a successful church. They were going great guns.
o They had WORKS.
Like the Ephesian church they were patted on the back for their works. They were busy doing this and that.
o They had LOVE.
In contrast to the Ephesian church, they had love. Without love, the work of the church is useless and counterproductive.
o They had FAITH.
Both love and faith drove their works. Paul said, “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.” They had it.
o They had MINISTRY.
They were working for the church. They served their community. Soup kitchen? Clothes distribution? Who knows, but they had ministry going on. Their ministry was based in love, not guilt or obligation. They didn’t sit on their hands.
o They had ENDURANCE.
They endured. They survived. Persecution wasn’t as bad in Thyatira as in other places, but they hung in there.
o They had GROWTH.
All of their works, love, faith, ministry and endurance resulted in numerical growth. The church was on the upswing. While the Ephesian church was in decline, this church was going the opposite direction. Someone who would visit the church would say everything was hunky dory. But…
· The Reality of the SITUATION.
While the surface was great, a huge problem was lurking just beneath the surface.
o They had been DECEIVED.
A woman identified as a Jezebel was deceiving many of them and leading them astray. (Give a brief history of Queen J.)
She had taught them to be cozy with the ways of the world.
o They had COMPROMISED.
The result of the deception was compromise. When we don’t know what we believe, we will compromise our beliefs and morals.
This Jezebel had encouraged them to sell out their beliefs so as to be cozy with the world. In the Bible, especially the OT prophets, chasing after false gods and beliefs is seen as adultery and prostitution. They sold out for convenience.
o They had OPPORTUNITIES.
That is they had opportunities to repent. She had been given time to repent. This shows the grace of God and his patience. The KJV often translates patience as longsuffering. God’s wrath, while very real, is a longtime in coming. He waits for us to turn. He would rather us turn back to him than to punish.
· The Solution to the PROBLEM.
The solution is quite simple. We’ve seen it in the other letters.
o They had to REPENT.
Again, repent means a “change of mind.” The Amplified Bible says of repentance in the Ephesian letter, “change the inner [person] to meet God’s will.” It’s an “about face.”
We are to change our way. We are to turn around and get our lives in line with the will of God. Even Christians (saved, sanctified, and petrified) need to repent, especially the petrified. We can be Christian and not walking in the light of God like we should. 1 John 1:7 tells us, “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” Walking in the light through repentance give us fellowship with Christ and cleansing from sin.
o They had to be FAITHFUL.
Not all had fallen for the deception. Many were still faithful. To those he says, “Hang in there.”
There were many (Gnostics) who claimed to have a special revelation from God, which they called the deep things of God, but in reality they were the “deep things of Satan.” No Christian receives special revelation from God.
· The Rewards for the FAITHFUL.
Like with the other letters we see the rewards for the faithful. The faithful are those that are faithful to the end. Partial faithfulness is no faithfulness at all. Faithfulness that gives up or quits is not faithfulness.
o They would receive AUTHORITY.
The promise of authority has to do with Christ’s return. We aren’t going to be political rulers here on earth. This is the future hope we have. This life is not all there is.