Summary: No matter how excellent our ministries are, no matter how diligently we execute them, if we tolerate sin in our midst then Christ's abundent grace must inevitably move to judgment. Not because He desires it, but because His eternal word requires it. Wake
The Church with Unhealed Wounds – Thyatira
Rev 2:18-29 "To the angel of the church in Thyatira write: These are the words of the Son of God, whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze. 19 I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first. 20 Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols. 21 I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. 22 So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways. 23 I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds. 24 Now I say to the rest of you in Thyatira, to you who do not hold to her teaching and have not learned Satan's so-called deep secrets (I will not impose any other burden on you): 25 Only hold on to what you have until I come. 26 To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations-- 27 'He will rule them with an iron sceptre; he will dash them to pieces like pottery' -- just as I have received authority from my Father. 28 I will also give him the morning star. 29 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
1. Introduction – The Character of Christ
The detail that immediately stands out in the address to the church at Thyatira is how the Lord is described. The other churches find Him among their midst but not in such a dramatic way as does Thyatira.
Thyatira finds a far different Christ who is coming to deal with them. In Revelation 2:18, He is described as “The Son of God, He who has His eyes like a flame of fire and His feet like burnished metal …” He is going to walk through their midst with a judgment that will be penetrating. The Lord looks at the church in Thyatira and looks upon a harvest of wickedness that has grown from the influence of Jezebel.
a. His Eyes
Are described as a flame of fire. He can see directly through their flaws. Hidden from men but not hidden from God. Those eyes blaze with righteousness not with madness. The wrath of God is not some personal attack against those who displease Him, but rather it is His revulsion against the sin He finds.
b. His Feet
Are likened to fine brass. He is ready to trample the sins of the perpetrators under His feet. Biblically treading on anything has to do with victory and contempt. Victory over the defeated (Psalm 91:13) and contempt for the things trampled under the feet as worthless (Matthew 5:13).
2. The Church at Thyatira
a. The Geographical Location
Thyatira was a city that was established around 290 B.C. It had been a military town and housed Roman soldiers. The Romans in their ingenuity used cities around their capitols to serve as sentinel blocks. When an attack came, the enemy would have to fight through a “sentinel” city before progressing on to the main battle.
These outposts were sentinel cities; they served nothing more than as an outpost that would delay enemy soldiers while the main city was preparing to counter-attack. These sentinel cities were destined to be destroyed, to be rebuilt, to be destroyed, to be rebuilt . . . again and again.
In the ancient days, this city actually became an important commercial city because it lay along a great trade route that existed. It became the centre of the wool and dying industry. In fact, when we revert back to Acts 16, we find Thyatira’s most famous convert, Lydia, a merchant of purple.
b. The Character and Commendation of Thyatira
When John proceeds to write the words of the church at Thyatira, the early words are almost glowing:
* He finds works. The lifestyle directed by holy principles
* He finds charity. The love of Christ constrained them
* He finds service. The active involvement of ministry to those who needed help
* He finds faith. The active faith that had confidence in a strong God
* He finds patience. The ability to calmly endure the attack over evil of which the church had no control
* He then mentions their works again
Thyatira overcame the common trend with most all people and churches. They were seemingly going to finish stronger than they started. So, instead of backsliding, from a surface look, this church appeared to be advancing instead of backsliding. Wouldn’t we have liked to be in this church?