Thyratira: The Corrupted Church
It?s interesting to note that the longest letter is written to the smallest city mentioned in these chapters. What is happening here that had John so upset? He was upset because this church had allowed the worst possible congregational sin; unopposed compromise with sin. What would God say to the churches today who practice the same thing?
I. The Setting
A. Background on Thyratira
1. Thyratira was a smaller city that was as much fort as it was economic center.
2. Based on the frontier between two nations, it changed hands often.
3. The Macedonian soldiers who first garrisoned the city built a temple to the local minor god who was a great warrior who rode into battle on horseback with a great battle-axe
4. The descriptions given about Christ in the passage could be an allusion to this god.
a) Jesus is described very warrior like here.
b) ?I will make them suffer?
c) ?I will strike her children?
d) ?I will give authority?
B. Temple of Apollos
1. The city also had a temple to Apollos the sun god.
2. How is Jesus referred to in vs 18? ?the son of God?
3. Thus we see John doing what he has done in each of the previous letters.
4. Using the history of setting of a city, familiar marks, and presenting those pictures to give a judgment to each city.
A. One for the Jews
1. By the time that this letter was written Thyratira had become a significant economic center.
2. By being part of the Roman Empire it no longer had to operate primarily as a fort and was situated on the great East Road; a major trade road.
3. The Jews were primarily an agricultural society in Israel, but became very proficient in finances as they were spread throughout the world.
4. Wherever there was a fair amount of money changing hands, there was usually a large Jewish population and this city was no exception.
1. Many of these Jews must have become Christians.
2. John uses a name that gets instant recognition among Jewish people.
3. The prophetess was probably not really named Jezebel but taught what she taught.
a) The actual Jezebel and enticed and convinced the Israelites to add Baal worship with their worship of Jehovah.
b) God punished them and her because of that unacceptable compromise.
C. The Gospel cannot be compromised
1. Thyratira wasn?t a persecuted church.
a) They had learned how to get along with the guilds and so didn?t lose their jobs or suffer persecution like Ephesus and Smyrna Christians did.
b) However, that compromise was completely unacceptable to God.
2. Too many churches today have become Thyratiras
a) church after church has caved in to political correctness to be seen as a ?compassionate church?
b) They have gone away from condemning sin and now make statements that sin is relevant to whatever culture or society you are in.
c) They continually water down the gospel to a point that whatever you believe is fine.
d) Nowhere in the Bible have we seen God accept that kind of compromise with the world.
1. God had finally had it with this Jezebel
a) vs 21-23 tell us that Jesus had given her opportunity to repent, but she hadn?t
b) That unrepentance was going to cost her.
c) The time for her Judgment had come.
2. Now was the time for Thyratira to repent
a) God told them what the judgment was Jezebel was going to be.
b) Now he tells them that if they don?t repent, they too will be judged as she was.
3. We must repent
a) God is a God of love, but he is also a holy and just God.
b) We don?t like to talk about that.
c) We want to believe that everyone is going to heaven except for Hitler, Usama Bin Ladin and a few others.
d) That simply cannot be true.
e) If we don?t repent, God will judge us accordingly.
f) READ vs 23
A. Your love and faith
1. I want to end with the beginning of this letter.
2. This congregation was doing things that were right.
3. They weren?t completely evil, they were corrupted.
4. God commends them for their love and faith.
5. He commends them for their service and perseverance.
6. He commends them for continual growth.
B. Growth is our salvation
1. The one thing that was saving this church was the fact that they were growing in their faith.
2. Yes, they were corrupted
3. Yes, they had compromised the Gospel.
4. Yes, they were in danger of judgment if they didn?t change
5. But, because they were growing in their faith, God had held off their judgment to give them time to repent.