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Summary: A warning for the church to stop changing its doctrine to accommodate sin in the name of "tolerance." A call for Christians to forsake the ways of the world.

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TRUTH. DOES IT EVEN EXIST ANYMORE TODAY? IN OUR WORLD THAT IS SWIRLING IN AN EDDY OF "TOLERANCE" IT SEEMS THAT YOU CAN BELIEVE ANYTHING YOU WANT TO, SO LONG AS YOU DO NOT CLAIM IT TO BE THE ABSOLUTE TRUTH.

IN FACT, YOU CAN EVEN PRACTICE YOUR BELIEFS SO LONG AS YOU DO NOT GO AROUND CLAIMING THAT YOUR PARTICULAR BELIEFS AND PRACTICES ARE THE "BETTER" WAY.

THE SAME IS TRUE WITH RELIGION. YOU CAN BELIEVE ANYTHING YOU WANT AND IN WHOMEVER YOU WANT, NO MATTER HOW ABSURD OR RIDICULOUS IT MAY BE, WITHOUT FEAR OF BEING CHALLENGED, SO LONG AS YOUR "RELIGION" DOESN’T INCLUDE ANY REFERENCES TO JESUS CHRIST.

TOLERANCE HAS DAWNED A NEW ERA OF "SELF" GLORIFICATION AND WORSHIP. AN ERA THAT HAS GIVEN US SUCH PHRASES AS SELF-DETERMINATION, SELF-ESTEEM, SELF-HELP AND EVEN DO-IT-YOURSELF.

IN THIS CLIMATE, THE TRUTH OF CHRISTIANITY CAN BE LOST OR MISUNDERSTOOD. WITHIN THIS CLIMATE, THE CHURCH, REGARDLESS OF DENOMINATION, NO DOCTRINE IS SAFE, NO DECREE ACCEPTED WITHOUT SCRUTINY.

THE STANDARD OF BELIEF TODAY IS THE INDIVIDUAL, NOT THE INSTITUTION. ANYONE WHO DARES TO CHALLENGE ANY SUCH STANDARD OF "INDIVIDUAL BELIEF" IS SEEN AS "INTOLERANT" OR A "BIGOT."

WE FIND OURSELVES IN A "BUFFET LINE" OF BELIEF SYSTEMS WHERE, JUST LIKE IN A CAFETERIA, YOU ARE SERVED EVERYTHING BUT ALLOWED TO PICK AND CHOOSE WHATEVER YOU WANT, IN WHATEVER SIZED PORTIONS YOU WANT, WITHOUT BEING FORCED TO TRY THE THINGS YOU DON’T LIKE.

THIS SAME TYPE OF BELIEF SYSTEM HAS EVEN CREPT INTO THE CHURCH. I CALL THOSE WHO ADOPT THIS MENTALITY "CAFETERIA CHRISTIANS."

THESE ARE "CHRISTIANS" WHO THINK THEY HAVE THE OPTION OF PICKING AND CHOOSING WHAT IT IS THAT THEY WANT TO BELIEVE FROM GOD’S WORD. ACCEPTING ONLY THAT WHICH JUSTIFIES AND DISREGARDING THOSE THINGS THAT CONVICT OR EXPOSE.

SOME OF THE PEOPLE IN THE CHURCH AT THYATIRA WERE GUILTY OF ADOPTING THIS TYPE OF INDIVIDUALISM. INSTEAD OF LISTENING TO THEIR RELIGIOUS LEADERS IN THE CHURCH THEY CHOSE "THEIR WAY" BY PAYING MORE ATTENTION TO JEZEBEL BECAUSE SHE TOLD THEM ALL THE THINGS THAT THEY WANTED TO HEAR.

THYATIRA, WHICH MEANS CONTINUAL SACRIFICE, WAS A UNION CITY AND HEADQUARTERS FOR THE TRADE GUILDS, SUCH A TANNERS, POTTERS, WEAVERS, DYERS AND ROBE-MAKERS. A VERY INDUSTRIAL CITY TO SAY THE LEAST!

THIS IS WHY RELIGION IN THYATIRA WAS CONNECTED TO MATERIAL PROSPERITY AND PARTICIPATION IN THE TRADE GUILDS. SADLY, RELIGION SEEMED TO HAVE TAKEN A BACKSEAT TO COMMERCIAL ENTERPRISE IN THIS CITY.

YET, DESPITE IT ALL THE CHURCH IS COMMENDED FOR THEIR GOOD WORKS, LOVE, SERVICE, FAITH AND PATIENCE. BUT DESPITE THIS NICE IMPRESSIVE LIST OF MINISTRY ACCOMPLISHMENTS THERE WERE ALSO SERIOUS PROBLEMS EMANATING FROM WITHIN THIS CHURCH.

A POWERFUL WOMAN, SYMBOLICALLY CALLED JEZEBEL HAD SUCH A POWERFUL INFLUENCE ON MOST OF THE CHURCH PEOPLE THAT SHE WAS ABLE TO ENCOURAGE THE CHURCH CONGREGATION TO PARTICIPATE IN COMMITTING FORNICATION AND EATING THINGS SACRIFICED TO IDOLS.

WHAT DOES ALL THAT MEAN? IN SIMPLE ENGLISH IT MEANS THAT NOT ONLY DID THE CHRISTIANS LACK ENTHUSIASM FOR GODLY DISCIPLINE AND CORRECT DOCTRINE; THEY ALSO ACCOMMODATED THOSE WHO ERRED IN THESE WAYS AND THEN OVERLOOKED THESE ERRORS.

JUST AS THE OLD TESTAMENT JEZEBEL, THE PAGAN WIFE OF KING AHAB, LED THE ISRAELITES ASTRAY, SO THIS NEW TESTAMENT "JEZEBEL" WAS DOING THE SAME THING. HER COMPROMISE WITH THE SOCIALLY ACCEPTABLE IMMORALITY OF THE TIMES IS DESCRIBED BY THE SAVIOR IN VERSE 24, AS PLUNGING INTO THE "DEPTHS OF SATAN."

THE CHURCH AT THYATIRA WAS MORE CONCERNED ABOUT FASHION THAN FAITH. THEY PREFERRED SOCIAL ACCEPTANCE TO SPIRITUAL INTEGRITY. THEY WANTED TO TOLERATE SIN IN THE NAME OF CULTURAL ACCOMMODATION OR AS WE WOULD SAY TODAY, "TOLERANCE."

IS IT ANY WONDER WHY THIS WOULD BE THE LONGEST OF THE SEVEN LETTERS? IMAGINE THAT! THE LONGEST LETTER FOR THE SMALLEST TOWN.

THE BOTTOM LINE OF CHRIST’S APPEAL TO THE BELIEVERS AT THYATIRA WAS ETHICAL AS WELL AS DOCTRINAL. JESUS THREATENS TO CAST THIS IMMORAL WOMAN ONTO A BED OF GREAT TRIBULATION.

THIS MEANS THAT HER COMPROMISE WITH SOCIETY WILL BE MADE EVIDENT FOR EVERYONE TO SEE. HER CLAIM TO BE A WOMAN OF GODLINESS AND DIVINE INSPIRATION WILL BE EXPOSED AS AN OBVIOUS COUNTERFEIT.

THOSE WHO FOLLOWED HER TEACHINGS AND ENGAGED IN THE ACTS OF COMPROMISE ALONG WITH HER ARE REFERRED TO AS "HER CHILDREN." THESE "CHILDREN" ARE THREATENED WITH DEATH. NOT JUST A PHYSICAL DEATH, BUT AN AGONIZING SUFFERING OF THE SECOND DEATH AT THE GREAT WHITE THRONE OF JUDGMENT.

THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT THE CALL TO REPENTANCE WAS ISSUED AND THERE WAS STILL TIME TO REPENT. THE BAD NEWS WAS THAT THE DOOR OF DIVINE OPPORTUNITY WAS ABOUT TO BE CLOSED.

ANYONE WHO WOULD "OVERCOME" AND "KEEP" THE WORKS OF JESUS CHRIST UNTIL THE VERY END WOULD RECEIVE A ROD OF IRON AND THE POWER AND TO HELP RULE OVER THE NATIONS.

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