Summary: Adapted in part from Warren Wiersbe (and others)...a look at the letters Jesus dictated to specific churches...with the ensuing question, "what would He write to us?"
The Corrupted Church – Thyatira
> For the past month we have asked the question, “What kind of church are we?” The very reason for asking such a question is to see if we are, in fact, what God wants.
> We are looking at the 7 churches found in the Revelation and characterizing each church in a descriptive manner consistent with the message Jesus gives them. We have visited the Careless church at Ephesus who had left or lost her first love. Then we investigated the Crowned church of Smyrna, the only church for whom, the Lord does not speak an accusing word. Last week, our stop led us to the Compromising Church at Pergamum. We learned about each church and what the Lord thinks.
> As we open our Bibles tonight to consider the Corrupt church at Thyatira, we must keep in front of us the simple question, “Were Jesus to write a letter about us, what would it say?” We do this to keep from looking at these churches through the eyes of a Pharisees. Our desire is to learn from these words truths which will help us to become not the church we are, but the church He wants us to be. (READ TEXT)
> There are at least 3 things we should know about the city of Thyatira; 1) it was a military city, 2) it was filled with the occult, 3) it was highly commercialized and filled with trade unions and guilds. Each one of the these, by itself, brought it own set of distractions to Christianity, but when taken in tandem, had a devastating affect on the church and thus, the community.
> Just like the other churches, let’s take a look at:
1) THEIR APPROVAL – “I know your works” are the words Jesus speaks to 5 of 7 of these churches. Consider that this phrase can be either good or bad. The focus is not on the receiver of this phrase, but rather on the speaker.
> In this case, Jesus says, “I know and I know the good things you are doing.” Take a look at the list of things He says. The works He mentions are all very strong words. Love is based on the agape. Faith is the abiding, growing faith. Service is like that of a deacon. Endurance is that which is gained by being
> Make not mistake, Thyatira was in a corrupt culture and were making some waves in doing some good things.
> Surprisingly, they were growing in their work. They were busy, active, motivated, and doing their work.
> Jesus knew what they were doing, just like He knows us.
2) THEIR ACCUSATION – In spite of all the good things you are attempting to do, I have something against you. He didn’t say “one thing” because “this” affects the entirety of the church family and the impacts the work.
> He then names the problem, “this woman Jezebel.” Quite likely, this was not the name of a female member of this congregation because we give our children this name any longer. More to the point, this was the teaching of Jezebel which paralleled the teaching of Balaam. This type of teaching was a teaching of compromise. This does speak of a woman in the church who has taken on a role which is not her place to have. As such, she is teaching a theology which is inconsistent with the Word of God. Quite possibly, she is leading down the road to physical immorality and idolatry which would be in keeping with the city and their trade guilds and pagan practices. The church at Thyatira had become corrupt because they allowed her to unabatedly teach this doctrine. It is worth noting that if her teaching was not about physical, sexual immorality, the immorality spoken of would speak of doctrinal compromise. All through scripture to take away or change the teachings of God was the same as spiritual adultery or immorality.
3) THEIR ADMONITION – I believe this is two-fold.
> First, verse 24 and 25 gives the call to “hold on to what you have.” If you have not given in to wiles of the teaching of Jezebel and Satan, hold on until I come. By the way, Wiersbe suggests this is the first indication of the rapture.