Summary: We live in a world of compromise where people seek their own interests at any cost. People, in a sense, sell their souls for the pleasures of the world.
Just like last time when we said that worldliness will corrupt a church, tonight we will see that compromise will also destroy a church. We live in a world of compromise where people seek their own interests at any cost. People, in a sense, sell their souls for the pleasures of the world. It’s not limited to any age group. They will do almost anything to:
• To get attention.
• To be popular and be acceptable.
• To secure their jobs.
• To get promotions.
• To get good grades.
• To get more money.
• To get bigger houses.
• To live in a better neighborhood.
• To get more power.
The point is clear. People compromise what they know is right in order to get what they want.
Well this is what the church at Thyatira was doing. It was a church full of believers who were compromising with the world in order to fulfill their personal desires.
Again, Jesus addresses the letter to the minister of the church. If some of the members of the church begin to compromise with the world, it is the minister’s duty to declare the Word of Christ to them, to proclaim what Christ says in this message. Note that Thyatira was the smallest of the seven churches but this is the longest message of all the churches. Christ has more to say to a compromising church that to any other.
Thyatira was a frontier town—the least important city of the seven. It lay on the road that stretched through a long valley between Pergamum and Sardis. The church had no defensible surroundings. So it knew what it was to hope in One who could see all circumstances and who could trample all enemies under His foot. They knew what it means to hold on.
Thyatira was known for its working unions. Its two major industries were dye and wool. Lydia from the book of Acts, the dealer of purple cloth was from Thyatira. Their product plus a major road running through the city brought people from all over the world.
READ verse 18. Note that Christ describes Himself here as the Son of God. No person, especially a believer, is to compromise with the world. There is to be no attachment and no love for the world. A person owes his life to the Son of God. He is to give his life to the Son of God.
Christ declares that His eyes are like blazing fire. That is a reference to the fact that He sees all. He sees when a person is compromising. He sees all the lies, the stealing, and the cheating. But He also sees those that are faithful to stand when they are tempted.
He says His feet are like burnished bronze. He is able to step down hard on all seductive teaching and compromise with the world. His feet will crush all those who compromise with the world. Jezebel who is mentioned in verse 20 was claiming to be a prophetess, a spokesperson, a messenger of God.
READ verse 19. This is actually a commendation. Thyatira was a very active church, involved in all kinds of deeds for the Lord. Christ says He knows about these deeds. There were the deeds of love and faith, of service and perseverance, and there was even a significant growth in the ministries of the church. The church grew, expanded, and reached out more and more.
Let’s think about the kind of church being described—dynamic, vibrant, alive—meeting all the social needs of the community—having all the ministries that range all the way from a clothes and food closet over to reaching out to the lost in a regular visitation program. The church was full of activity and energy and crowded with people. Yet, the church was a far cry from what it should have been. It was compromising. It was allowing a teacher to teach who compromised with the world, and it was allowing the worldly to be baptized and accepted into the church without repenting and separating from the pleasures of the world.
The church appeared to be the most alive and dynamic church in the area, but it wasn’t in the eyes of the Lord. To the Lord it was corrupt because of its compromise with the world.
READ verses 20 & 21. And here is the complaint that the church was allowing Jezebel to teach in the church. It was tolerating a false prophetess to teach in the church. Note that Jezebel called HERSELF a prophetess—no one else called her that. She CLAIMED that God had called and gifted her to teach and to proclaim the truth when, in fact, He did no such thing.
There are several things to mention here.
First, Jezebel, the false teacher, was actually teaching in the church and the church was allowing the false teaching.