Summary: The Church at Thyatira gave the illusion of being something they were not...Jesus "busted" them and brought them to reality.
The Busted Church
* When someone commits a crime, generally, they try to hide that crime & inevitably, the truth comes out so in the vernacular we say, “They got busted.” This means they were forced to face the truth.
* In simplistic terms, today I call Thyatira the ‘busted church’ because they ‘thought’ they were fooling everyone by the work they were doing. But Jesus knew the truth and busted their bubble, revealed, exposed them for what they really were.
* Today, this same Jesus looks at this church, at every church, inside every heart, and He exposes use for who we really are.
1) The Reality of the Busted Church – Reality is what we live in, it’s the truth and it’s the truth, whether we like it or not. Look at three truths;
a) Externally they looked good – At the MGM studios in Orlando there us (or used to be) a tour called “Catastrophe Canyon”. You are put into a little sitting area and are witness to a series of ‘staged’ explosions which send a million gallons of water down the mountain towards you. It’s kind of neat to watch this happen while at the same time, it is very life like (and you’re glad it’s not for real). Also, on this tour, you see beautiful houses which have been seen on TV. The front of these houses are picture perfect while the inside & and the backs are nothing. They are merely a façade, for show. Most of us have heard the phrase, “Looks are deceiving.” My mom used to say, “Beauty is skin deep but ugly is to the bone.” While she was not a deep theologian, she was a pragmatist of the best kind.
* To this church Jesus says, “I know your works, love, faithfulness, service, and endurance.” In other words, the Lord sees what everyone else sees about this church. He sees & He knows. But don’t forget that while people may see what we want them to see, our Lord looks deeper.
* 1 Samuel 16:7 reminds us of this truth. This verse gives two views of life.
* Humankind sees only what we want them to see. As a church & as a church member, we are capable of pulling the wool over people’s eyes. We only let see what we want them to see. And folks, we capable of putting on a good front, a good show. We see so many come into a church body, join, and then leave in short order. I wonder if the reason could be that what they saw from the outside is not what they found, once inside. This reminds me of helping my mammaw gather chicken eggs. I discovered the hard way that the shell of a rotten egg looked to me to be generally the same as a healthy egg. The difference was not readily noticeable to me UNTIL the shell was broken.
* The Church at Thyatira gave all the external evidences that they were doing well. They had that plenty of resources; they stayed busy, & gave the aura of doing well. These things do not necessarily mean that you are seeking God, fulfilling your mission, or are pleasing to God. Jesus sees through the façade of man’s works. Today church after church and ministry after ministry gives the impression of ‘success’ while it is crumbling from within because it is only a mask or a front.
b) Internally they looked godless – Jesus (you know -the Son of God, the one with the eyes of fire, and the one who had the feet of brass) said, “I know your works.” In essence, He is saying, “I know the truth.” In other words, He says, “Hey, I know all you do. I see what everyone else sees and more.” Arguably, Jesus’ listing of ‘love, faithfulness, service, and endurance’ can have been a good thing. He could have been saying something good about the church. BUT, what ‘if’ He wasn’t? What if His words were, “I KNOWS ABOUT THE LOVE YOU’RE OFFERING” and it doesn’t measure up? I know about your true faithfulness and it’s not to me. Or even I know about the service your giving and, while it has some benefit, it falls short what I’ve called you to do.”
* Could He be giving a message to the church at Thyatira which extends to us in the 21st century? Could He be saying that, “remember the standard of love He called to in the upper room?” I said, “Love one another in the same way I have loved you” and candidly, the love you feign falls short.
* How different the call of love to be from the kind of love which is shown in the average church today. We show love inside the church to those who are ‘our own’, or until someone sits in our pew, or they take our seat in our SS Class, or has a different opinion than ours. God’s love is this, “I love you in spite of yourself;” “I love you when you are unlovable,” and I love you so much that my Son died for you.” This is what He calls us to.