Summary: Jesus expects us to be holy, no matter the temptation.
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STAYING PURE IN A DIRTY WORLD
ILLUSTRATION: Trying not to get dirty while working.
“And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write….” (v. 18a).
In Thyatira, doctrinal compromise was leading to moral compromise. Wrong beliefs lead to wrong behavior.
In Thyatira, there were many trade guilds. Inscriptions mention the following: wool-workers, linen-workers, makers of outer garments, dyers, leather-workers, tanners, potters, bakers, and bronze-smiths (W. M. Ramsey, The Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia, pp. 324-35). Lydia, “a seller of purple goods,” was from Thyatira (Acts 16:14).
Christians in Thyatira were feeling economic pressure to join the trade guilds. These guilds led to participation in idolatry, and idolatry led to sexual immorality.
Compromise was a problem in both Pergamum and Thyatira, but apparently it was a greater problem in Thyatira. To the church in Pergamum, Jesus says, “You have false teaching in your church” (2:14). To the church in Thyatira, He says, “You tolerate false teaching in your church” (v. 20).
In the letters to the seven churches, Jesus declares His expectations for each church (and for us today). The expectation Jesus had for the church in Thyatira was holiness.
Jesus expects us to be HOLY, no matter the temptation.
Holiness is often viewed as old-fashioned. If you’re “holy,” you’re “weird.” But “different” doesn’t necessarily mean “weird.”
ILLUSTRATION: When I was a teenager, if I would have worn a winter hate, gloves, and boots to school during winter, I would have been considered “weird.” But I actually would have been smart. Sadly, I usually wasn’t very smart.
Another word for “holiness” is “purity.” Purity is extremely important to Jesus. “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, so that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:25-27). Sin is spiritual adultery. When Israel turned to a false god named Baal, God said to the people through Hosea the prophet, “You have played the whore, forsaking your God” (Hosea 9:1).
We can look “pure” on Sundays, but what about the rest of the week?
We have our own idols (false gods) today: the god of materialism, the god of sex, the god of “me-first.”
When we think of “impurity,” we often think of sexual sins. Consider the sins listed in Ephesians 4: falsehood (v. 25), anger (v. 26), stealing (v. 28), corrupting talk (v. 29), bitterness (v. 31).