Perry Duggar |

Jesus commends the church of Thyratira for their love, faith, service and patient endurance, but confronts them on accepting immorality. He warned of consequences and challenged them to repent and hold tightly to their faith.

Jesus at the Center of the Church – Message 4
Perry Duggar
September 3, 2023

A. Introduction: We continue our series, Jesus at the Center of the Church.

  • Revelation 2:18; Acts 16:12-15

A. This message series refers to the letters John received from Jesus through a vision which were sent to the seven churches in Asia Minor found in Revelation chapters 2-3. [I-1]

  1. In the letters, Jesus examined each church encouraged their strengths, but also pointed out needed improvements to prepare them for ministry to which He called them.
  2. Today we focus on the letter to the church in Thyatira, the indulgent church (our title).
  3. Indulgent = allowing someone to have or do what they want, especially when not good for them; also, benignly lenient or permissive
  4. Theme of this letter as it applies to us: Galatians 6:1 (NLT)…if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. … [Confrontation of sin motivated by love.]
  5. It begins at Revelation 2:18 (NLT)—Write this letter to the angel [messenger, leader, pastor] of the church in Thyatira. This is the message from the Son of God, Whose eyes are like flames of fire, Whose feet are like polished bronze:”

B. Thyatira is now the Turkish city of Akhisar. [I-2]

  1. This church, located 40 miles SE of Pergamum and 50 miles inland, across the Aegean Sea from Athens, was likely established by Paul and Silas in 50 A.D. during Paul’s 2nd missionary journey, with a woman from Thyatira named Lydia. (Acts 16:12-15)
  2. Lydia, a worshiper of God and seller of purple cloth; was saved by God in Philippi [I-3] through Paul’s teaching and was baptized along with her household.
  3. Paul and Silas accepted Lydia’s invitation to her home, and likely formed the church.
  4. Thyatira wasn’t an important center for idol worship (like Pergamum and Smyrna), though they did worship other gods, primarily the Greek sun god, Apollo. [I-4]
  5. It was a military and commercial center with many trade guilds (similar to unions), which produced many products, primarily wool and purple dyed goods (from madder root), but also workers in linen, leather, tanners, potters, bakers, slave dealers and bronze smiths.
  6. The guilds worshiped their patron gods through feasts where they offered sacrifices, ate the meat from the sacrifices, and engaged in sexual immorality to honor them.
  7. Christians weren’t opposed by Jews in Thyatira because there was not a large Jewish population there, but believers were pressured by guilds to comply with their pagan practices because participation was required to hold a job or operate a business.
  8. Christians faced the dilemma of participating in the feasts, thereby violating their convictions, or losing their livelihoods.
  9. APP.: How many of you have been pressured to engage in dishonest and dishonorable business practices today, such as taking clients to strip clubs or falsely reporting finances?
  10. Revelation 2:18b (NLT)—"This is the message from the Son of God, Whose eyes are like flames of fire, whose feet are like polished bronze:” [Revelation 1:14–15]
  11. The title Son of God (the only time it appears in Revelation), emphasizes Christ’s deity, stressing the truth that He is of one essence, and equal, with the Father. (John 5:18)
  12. Jesus’ eyes are like flames of fire viewed the church as a divine judge, seeing all, exposing what was hidden by burning away pretense and deceit (Daniel 10:6; Revelation 19:10).
  13. Feet like polished bronze depict His holiness as He tramples out impurity in the church.
  14. This description of Jesus must have created fear when this letter was read to the congregation because they realized Jesus was examining them closely, seeing completely.
  15. APP.: How does Jesus view our church and how does He see each of us individually?

B. Jesus’ guidance to the church at Thyatira included… (Revelation 2:19-29)

His communication to the church began with…

1. Commendation. (Revelation 2:19. C/R: Galatians 5:22-23; James 2:17-18; 2 Peter 1:5-8)

  1. Revelation 2:19a (NLT)“I know all the things you do. I have seen your love, your faith, your service, and your patient endurance. …”
  2. Jesus affirmed this church’s righteous deeds, including demonstrating love for God and each other, as well as practicing faithful trust in Him.
  3. Love always results in service as you recognize and seek to meet the needs of others.
  4. Practicing faith (faithfulness; pistis = belief, trust, reliance, persuasion) will be expressed through patient endurance as you trust in Jesus through difficulties and suffering.
  5. Revelation 2:19b (NLT)—“…And I can see your constant improvement in all these things.” [The Spirit’s presence, results in expanding Fruit of the Spirit; Galatians 6:22-23]
  6. APP.: Are Christ-like characteristics evident your life; are they increasing?

B. Jesus’ message then moved to… 

2. Confrontation. (Revelation 2:20-21. C/R: 1 Kings 16:30-31; 21:25; 1 Corinthians 5:9-11; 6:18-20; James 5:19-20)

  1. Revelation 2:20a (NLT)—“But I have this complaint against you. You are permitting that woman—that Jezebel [symbolic] who calls herself a prophet—to lead my servants astray.”
  2. The church tolerated the false teaching of a woman who was leading believers into sin.
  3. In the Old Testament, Jezebel influenced her husband King Ahab to lead Israel into worshiping the Canaanite god Baal (1 Kings 16:30-31); she murdered God’s prophets and servants (2 Kings 9:7), practiced idolatry and engaged in witchcraft (2 Kings 9:22).
  4. Revelation 2:20b (NLT)—“She teaches them to commit sexual sin and to eat food offered to idols.” [Encouraging them to cooperate with the evil expectations of the guilds.]
  5. This Jezebel appears to have taught a twisted view of God’s grace, arguing that it didn’t matter if Christians sinned because God would forgive them. [presumption, lack of love]
  6. God’s view: 1 Corinthians 6:18–20 (NLT)—18 Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body. 19 Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body. [Sexual immorality not indulged!]
  7. People in Thyatira were willing to accept this false teaching because it allowed them to engage in sins to demonstrate loyalty to the guilds, so they would not lose their jobs.
  8. Jesus’ complaint was that true Christians in the church allowed this teaching to occur.
  9. APP.: Have we accepted sexual immorality and idolatry (worshiping celebrity, success, wealth, possessions), as normal and not offensive to God to fit in with friends or family?
  10. Jesus continued at Revelation 2:21 (NLT)—“I gave her time to repent, but she does not want to turn away from her immorality.” [Luke 17:1–2; John 3:19; 1 Cor.6:15–20; 10:21]
  11. This woman was treated as a Christian: confronted about her false teaching which was seducing people into sin; she was given an opportunity to repent, but she refused.

Jesus then spoke of…

3. Consequences. (Revelation 2:22-23. C/R: Romans 2:5-8; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Philippians 3:18-19; 1 Peter 4:17)

  1. Revelation 2:22 (NLT)—“Therefore, I will throw her on a bed of suffering [of suffering not in original], and those who commit adultery with her will suffer greatly unless they repent and turn away from her evil deeds.”
  2. Because Jezebel would lie on a couch of pleasure in the temples, God would turn it into a bed of illness or death unless she and her followers repented. (Sin to death; 1 John 5:16)
  3. Jezebel’s heart was hardened in unrepentant sin (seared conscience; 1 Timothy 4:1-2), but Jesus mercifully warned her followers to repent while there was still time.
  4. Revelation 2:23 (NLT)“I will strike her children dead [sin unto death; 1Jn.5:16]. Then all the churches will know that I am the One Who searches out the thoughts and intentions of every person. And I will give to each of you whatever you deserve.” (Matthew 16:27)
  5. After Jesus judged the Thyatira church, other people and churches would be warned against tolerating sin—and would know that nothing can be hidden from His view.
  6. We may fool each other—and might even fool ourselves—about our true spiritual state, whether living by convictions or compromising with sin—but Jesus sees and knows all!

Finally, Jesus issued a…

4. Challenge. (Revelation 2:24-29. C/R: 1 Corinthians 6:2-3; 2 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 4:14; 2 Peter 1:19)

  1. Revelation 2:24a (NLT)24a “But I also have a message for the rest of you in Thyatira who have not followed this false teaching (‘deeper truths,’ as they call them—depths of Satan, actually).” [Ephesians 5:11; 1 Corinthians 5:9-11]
  2. Jezebel and her followers engaged in immorality and believed God didn’t mind.
  3. What they declared was following enlightened, spiritual truth was actually being deceived, seduced, and manipulated by teaching from Satan which separated them from God.
  4. But there were true believers in Thyatira who rejected this false teaching.
  5. Revelation 2:24b-25 (NLT)—24b “I will ask nothing more of you 25 except that you hold tightly to what you have until I come.” [Refuse indulging, resist compromising.]
  6. APP.: Do you hold tightly to biblical teaching even when your convictions cost you?
  7. Revelation 2:26-27 (NLT)26 “To all who are victorious, who obey Me to the very end, [obedience evidences genuine faith] To them I will give authority over all the nations. 27 They will rule the nations with an iron rod and smash them like clay pots.” [Psalm 2:8-9]
  8. If we remain faithful to Jesus despite difficulties, we will rule with Him after His return.
  9. Rebellious nations that persecute Jesus and His people will be destroyed by His followers.
  10. Revelation 2:28 (NLT)—“They will have the same authority I received from My Father, and I will also give them the morning star!” [1Corinthians 6:2-3; 2Peter 1:19; Revelation 20:6; 22:16]
  11. Obedient believers will be delegated authority that Jesus received from His Father.
  12. Receiving the morning star means receiving Jesus Himself as reward for faithful living.
  13. Revelation 2:29 (NLT)—29 “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what He is saying to the churches.” [Pay attention to this message!]
  14. The church at Thyatira did not repent; they later fell prey to other false teaching and went out of existence by the end of the second century. [I-5]
  15. May we hear the Spirit’s words, walk with Jesus today and rule with Him in the future!

Memory verse: Galatians 6:1 (NLT)—Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.

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