Summary: This is a sermon about the corrupt church of Thyatira and the dead church of Sardis, in a series about the churches of the Book of Revelation.
CATM Sermon - October 27, 2019 - The Churches of Revelation - Thyatira and Sardis
So far we have looked at 3 of the 7 churches in the book of Revelation. We’ve seen a pattern in the way Jesus communicates to the churches.
That pattern is that Jesus begins with gratitude and even praise to the churches for what they are doing right. Then Jesus offers His critique, talking about what needs to change or improve in that church’s conduct. Finally Jesus offers a word of peace or a word of encouragement.
Pastor Arleen referred to this as the hamburger approach - you have the bun on the top and the bottom, and then the meat in between.
There’s a couple of things we need to remember as we continue to look at the churches of Revelation.
The first thing is that these were churches full of people just like us. Like us are loved by Jesus, they have been saved by Jesus, and like us, they enjoy the fruit in their lives of a relationship with God through Jesus.
And at the same time, like us, they sometimes struggled to live faithful to the gospel, in the midst of a world outside them that was suspicious of them, or outright hostile to them.
And these churches, like us, also struggled to live faithful to the gospel while dealing with the world inside them - doubts, painful pasts, the conflict between what the flesh wants and what the spirit wants.
AND, these churches, who like us were so dearly loved by the living God, had to contend with the enemy of their souls - Satan.
The one who prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour (Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour 1 Peter 5:8).
The world, the flesh and the devil have never stopped being influences that we must face. We must take up the fight and NOT allow these things to interfere or compromise our following of Jesus.
This was true for the churches of Revelation and it’s true for us.
That’s the first thing to remember as we begin looking today at these 2 churches.
The other thing to remember is that Jesus is speaking to these churches for a reason. What is that reason?
The reason Jesus is speaking to them is that He loves them. He wants them to be full of joy and deeply connected to Him.
He wants them to be free of baggage, free of lies, free to serve God and to thrive personally and collectively as a church.
Jesus wants them, like He wants us, to live life in Him to the full.
That also means living life on mission: Living life on the mission of Jesus. The mission of Jesus can be described In a few different ways:
The mission of Jesus was to seek and save those who are lost. That is a way of describing our mission as followers of Jesus.
The mission of Jesus was to proclaim the good news to the poor, to preach freedom for the captives, to give sight to the blind, and to declare God‘s favor.
So Jesus wants us to live life to the full, on mission to the world.
But this is not what Satan wants. It is not what the enemy of our souls wants.
It is in fact the exact opposite of what Satan wants.
He wants lost people to remain lost. He wants broken people to remain broken. He wants the blind to remain blind.
Satan wants individual Christ-followers, and he wants whole churches to be OFF-mission, contending, and LOSING the fight against the world, the flesh and the devil.
Satan wants us distracted, deceived, arguing amongst ourselves, not alive to the Spirit of God. In fact he wants the church to be dead.
Jesus said,“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full”. John 10:10
So as we look in some detail at today’s passage, and as we look at the communities of followers of Jesus in Thyatira and Sardis, let’s remember what Jesus wants his church to be. How He wants us who belong to Him to live life to the full.
That’s His heart. That’s His goal as He speaks to the churches in the book of Revelation.
Let’s look at the first church in today’s reading:
Thyatira - The Fruitful Church Deceived by a False Teacher
To the Church in Thyatira
18 “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.