Summary: Sermon Five of a series
The Permissive Church
As we continue this study, let us look back at what we have seen. We have seen the church that needed a second honeymoon, Ephesus. The did what they did out of duty instead of love for the Lord. We saw the church that needed courage, Smyrna. This was a persecuted church. We have also studied the church of tolerance, Pergamos. This church was a compromising church. In this section we will look at the fourth church to whom Jesus dictated a letter through the Apostle John.
Thyatira, modern Akhisar, is located 42 miles inland from the Aegean Sea. It was noted for abundant crops, trade and the manufacture of purple dye that was very costly. You may remember that Paul’s convert, Lydia, was a native of this city. She was saved at Philippi, seen in Acts 16:14. It says, “And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.” Some skeptics say there was no church in this city, though they were never there. Is it so hard to believe that Lydia and her family could have taken the Gospel back to their families? Actually there are historical evidences of a church in this city. One writer that doubted its existence turned around and stated that it was over run with false doctrine in the second century. John Gill noted that a bishop from Thyatira attended the Council of Nice in the fourth century. He mentions it had a “presbyter” in the eighth century named “Esaias.” So a church was sent a letter from Christ, what did He say?
We see in verse 18 the communication, the Judge is speaking. He reiterates His deity by His title of the “Son of God..” and the attributes of “eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass.” In Revelation 1:14-15, these two attributes are seen as Jesus is revealed to John, now they are used again. This description goes back to Daniel 10:6: “His body also was like the beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as lamps of fire, and his arms and his feet like in colour to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude.”
The eyes of God are a fire, piercing through the rubbish of our lives searching out the hearts. In this is seen the omniscience of Christ. His sight reaches to all persons, and things, and is very searching and penetrating, and discovers and brings to light things the most dark and obscure. We read in 1 Corinthians 4:5, “Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.” His eyes will reveal all. I am reminded of 1 Corinthians 3, and the judgment seat of Christ. It says that “Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.” This is speaking to believers, and our works will be made manifest, that is it will be revealed. That day, the judgment seat of Christ will reveal it. Why? It will be revealed by fire. Our works will be tried through the eyes of Jesus, and be revealed for what they really are. Oh that Jesus will help us to be real.