THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 11-12-06
LESSON TITLE: "THE SEVEN CHURCHES OF ASIA: THE CHURCH AT THYATIRA"
The Apostle Paul once proclaimed, "...Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might," Ephesians 6:10. Are you strong in the Lord on this His glorious day?
Thank you for choosing to be with us today for the Living Word program. Let me say we are excited to have you with us for this time of offering and encouragement, as we participate in the things of God. We are glad that you have joined us for this time of service to our God.
Our commitment this morning is to give glory to God through the singing or songs of praise and through the study of His Word. I hope each of us will do our part to make this service acceptable in His sight. Now will you bow with me in prayer.
Have you ever gone a few days without taking a bath? Certainly we have all missed our weekly bath before and when we do we probably begin to smell ourselves fairly quickly. This morning we want to begin our praise through song, with a hymn that talks about another kind of cleansing which we need. So, won't you join in with the congregation at this time, as we together sing, "Are You Washed In The Blood."
(SONG # 1)
Have you ever had to do something that you really didn't want to? Well if we are alive and breathing this morning, we have all been in this situation. Whether it was something our parents told us to do, or something our friends talked us into, we have all done things we really don't want to.
With this in mind, I think of some words which Jesus spoke in Mark 14:36, consider these words of Jesus with me, "Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will." Jesus here was praying to His Father in Heaven when we asked that He not have to go to the cross and suffer the cruel death of Calvary! Notice here that Jesus was asking His Father to "take away this cup," or "event" from happening.
But then we read perhaps some of the most precious and instructive words in all the Bible, when Jesus said, "nevertheless, not what I will, but what you will!" Jesus knew that life and the things of it are really not about what we want and desire, but rather about what He commands! Wow, what a tough lesson! It's not about my will, but my Father's in Heaven!
Now how many of us really understand this and practice it? It's hard isn't it! But we learn here that God expects us to do what He wants, when He wants it and how he wants it! If we could ever learn this lesson and put it into practice, how much more pleasing we would be in the sight of our creator.
Have you submitted to the perfect and precious Will of our God? Or do you pick and choose according to your own likes and dislikes. Choose today to obey your God fully and to realize that all in this life is about Him and His will, not our own!
Today, our specific topic will focus on the "Church at Thyatira." This is our next lesson in our series called "The Seven Churches Of Asia." So, please continue with us this morning, and after our next song together I will return with this study from God's Word. The name of our next hymn is, "Bring Christ Your Broken Life!"
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Ray Sullins
We continue our study today from the book of Revelation chapter 1 as we read there, "This is the revelation of Jesus Christ according to (what?) that which God gave Him." That's what chapter 1 and verse 1 says. And then we also find further that it then was revealed through His servant, John. All of that is said there in the first verse of Revelation chapter 1. So we have the will of the Father through the Son as recorded and written as we read also in verse 11 by John the servant.
What was it that John wrote then? He wrote that which Jesus revealed to these churches, those churches are identified there in chapter 11. If you'll notice with me it says there that, "He was supposed to write to the seven churches of Asia." Now if we think about the place of Asia, we're talking about really in these days, the New Testament times, what is often referred to as "the Lesser Asia," or "Asia Minor." This is the land or the area just above what we would call "the Great Sea" or "the Mediterranean Sea" there to the northeast side of it and also to the west of the Aegean Sea would be the west of this land which is again Asia Minor, we find the Aegean Sea.
To the north we find the Black Sea. So amongst that area, the land that falls just in the midst, again bordered on the east by what we would say Assyria. Then we find this land, the land of Asia Minor and in this land we begin to find these churches. In the far what we would say southwest corner, such as we are here in Springfield, Missouri, we find the church at Ephesus first addressed in the chapter there, chapter 2. Then from there we move a bit north and we find the church which is referred to as Smyrna. Then as we move in farther to the north along the coast there of the Aegean Sea we also then come to the church called Pergamus.
Well as far as the church we will look at today, we go directly east about 50 plus miles, a little bit south, and then we arrive at a town, a place, a city if you will called Thyatira. We know that because it is addressed there in verse 18, the angel to the church at Thyatira. No doubt this is the recipient who is to receive this letter and to read it. But secondly we read who the letter is from. If you'll notice there in the same verse, verse 18 there of chapter 2, the Bible says, "These things says the Son of God who has eyes like a flame of fire and His feet like fine brass." No doubt this is talking about the Son of God and we read here about some of the attributes, the physical type attributes that we might apply to such a powerful and awesome God. The eyes that are like flaming fire able to penetrate and burn and see all things and look through whatever it might need be to see what we do, to see what we say.
We also read here He is not only that but He is also having feet like fine brass, finely fashioned, able to move about. God is everywhere. And so no doubt when He pens there what they read in verse 19 and he says, "I know your works," He is trying to tell them He knows because His eyes are like flaming fire. His feet are like fine brass. He's able to move about and to be anywhere and to see all things. So therefore when God says He knows your works, He knows them.
What do we want to learn about the works here at the church of Thyatira. It says there in verse 19 that "their works were good works." They had works of what? Of love. They had works of service, works of faith, and he also refers to their patience there. He says they were good workers in patience. And as for he says that your works, the last are even more than the first. One of the neat things we learn about this church here who eventually be rebuked in some way is that basically they are more faithful at this time than they were in the beginning. What does that mean? It means they are growing in love. They're growing in service. They're growing in faith. They're in patience. They're even stronger now in these Christian attributes that God commands than they ever were. So He says, "I know your works," and He commends them for their works as "the One," Jesus says, "who has eyes of fire and feet of fine brass. I am there. I see you and I know your works and they're good works."
But what was the problem of this church? What was it that this good working church, this church that was so effective in so many ways was at the end of the day considered as being corrupt. Well read with me there in verse 20 beginning because that problem is revealed to us. He says, "Nevertheless, I have a few things against you." The first thing that He mentions there is about a woman, He says, known as Jezebel. Jezebel, according to the text here, was one who claimed to be a prophetess and she would often teach, but the problem was that this prophetess would also seduce the servants of God to commit sexual immorality. In other words, what she would do is that she claimed to be a prophetess. She claimed to proclaim the Will of God and to say those things of God, but then she would seduce men into sex. Certainly that is wrong! Certainly that would be something contrary to the Will of God and even greater than that, we find here the immorality from a spiritual standpoint that they would even eat things offered to idols. It seems as if they would do these things in a really a spiritual, sexual improper way that would cause them to be eating things of idols that really they must have been honoring these idols in a sense to be gods and to accept them as gods.
Notice in verse 21 after he identifies the problem. The problem is Jezebel and those who have gone along with her and been involved with anything given to idols and possibly involved in many other things here of not only a spiritual and also a physical nature. It goes on in verse 21 to say, "He gave her time to repent." What does that mean? It means that God says that what you are doing is wrong. What your doing is improper. I gave her time to repent but what was the choice? She would not repent. The next thing we read is not only that He gave her time to repent, but He says, "Indeed, I will cast her into a sick bed and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation." And now hear this. Not only was she commanded to repent, but it says, "unless they repent of their deeds..." Now what was happening in the church at Thyatira? There were many good works and a lot of good people doing what God asked them to do, but here this lady, Jezebel, claiming to be a prophetess was destroying the church with sexual immorality. And because of that, she was told to repent and she was also one not willing to do it, but the others who were also guilty now with her were told to repent. What was the response? It seems just as well that she was guilty and they were guilty and now because of that, God there in verse 23 says I'm going to make her an example. He says, "I will kill her with death and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and the hearts and I will give to each one according to your works." Well you know there's a lot we learn about God here. Here we learn about the justice of God, God who says, "Look, if you choose sin, you choose not to repent, you choose to reject my Will and to live for Satan rather than Me, then you will pay ultimately by dying and being lost."
But then I want you also to notice the other attribute of God that is demonstrated in the same verse. That attribute is found there as He says there, "Each one will be given or judged or really blessed or cursed according to (what?) their deeds." What does that say to us? It says that Jezebel, it says that those who had fallen with her or who had agreed to sin or who had been caught up in sin, any of them still had a chance, that God is a great and loving and merciful and gracious God and what He is saying here is I'll give you according to your works so if you repent, God says, "I'll forgive. I'll forgive and receive you back, but if you do not, as Jezebel will be killed by death, you as well will suffer that death," not only a spiritual type of death here but no doubt a physical death, an eternal death forever and ever. Why? That the church, not just the church at Thyatira, but also the church at Pergamus that we've talked about and Smyrna and Ephesus and others that we will talk about as well as Philadelphia and Laodocea, that all of these churches might know that when we do not obey God we will answer. We cannot be able to think that we are right or accepted by God when we sin and accomplish and condone sin.
That's another thing I want to bring out here in this text. Notice that not only was Jezebel being allowed and were those with Jezebel being allowed, but those who weren't even involved were allowing these things to continue in the church. Look back with me if you will in verse 20. He says, "I have a few things against you and He's talking to the whole church at Thyatira and He says, "Because you allow Jezebel," and then He goes on to say, "and those who are with her. You are allowing this to happen." Not in a bar. Not in some hotel and a bunch of prostitutes... but in the church, these things are known and accepted. So they're going on Sundays and they're shaking each other's hands and greeting each other like faithful brethren, and so they have become corrupt. They're guilty as we read in 2 John there in verse 9-11. "When we teach a different doctrine or we do that which is contrary to God, we are in sin and those that condone it (verse 11) are just as guilty of the sin."
Those of Thyatira were learning a serious lesson. The lesson that not only do we have to remain pure and righteous in the eyes of God, but when we condone and we allow sin in the house of God, guess who is guilty. We all are. So He says to repent. He says to correct Jezebel. Correct those that sin with her and if they won't hear, what is the lesson? Cast them out! Get them out. Get that leaven out of the church because it will destroy the whole lump. Get that part out that is destroying the purity of Thyatira and again be what God wants you to be.
Now as we move on to verse 24 in our discussion there about the church at Thyatira, we learn furthermore about then the challenge, the challenge to get away from what Satan would have and obey and turn again to God. He states there, again the words of Jesus, "Now to you I say, the church of Thyatira, and to the rest of Thyatira, all of the people, as many as do not have this doctrine who have not known the depths of Satan as they say I will put on you no other burdens." In other words, I am not speaking to all of you and all of those in Thyatira. What must you do? Not what Jezebel is doing. Not what these others who need to repent and correct. Not those that you need to get away from and no longer allow to practice these and allow such things in the church, but He says, "I challenge you to (do what?) (verse 25) hold fast. I challenge you to hold fast what you have til I come." What? The good works. Where did they learn the good works? Through the Word of God, the Will of God. He says, "I challenge you (verse 26) to (do what?) overcome and you will be rewarded. I challenge you to keep My works (verse 26) and I challenge you if you do to the end, then I will give you power over the nations and you will rule as one who is under God as He rules you and you will obey as one who should obey that you might be spared and not destroyed (verse 27) as a potter destroys a vessel that is worthless." God again challenges them. Repent! Get away from this sin. Obey Me. Obey Me by holding fast, by overcoming and keeping My works. "And if you do so," He says, "I also have received from My Father that authority, that power, and I will give Him the morning star, a new day, I will give you as My child to the Father. I will take you and care for you and protect you." Then He finally says in verse 29, "Open your ears and hear what the Spirit says to the church."
Do you think those at Thyatira did? I hope to God that they did. I hope that they received this in the Spirit that it was given through Jesus and recorded by John that they could know exactly where their faults were and when they learned of that, that Jezebel and those with Jezebel and even those in the church that allowed such, that they all repented. My prayer to God is that because of that they remained faithful and continuous in their good works and they found these rewards and promises that God even speaks of here in the same text.
What can we learn? We can learn to be those who puts God first, who hold fast, who overcome, who keep the works of God and who do not condone such things that are contrary to God in the house of God or in the church, that we ourselves don't participate in them. We don't condone them and we don't allow them to be propagated or to continue therein. Why? Because at the end of the day, what we are trying to do is to put God first, to live for Him knowing not only will we be blessed in this life, but also in the life to come.
Are you willing to give God your best? Choose today to begin to do so.
(OR SONG # 3 - "Because He Lives!")
Again, let me thank you for choosing to be with us this morning. I hope we all have been encouraged through our time spent together. Please remember, you are invited to join us every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this service of God.
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Certainly there are churches today that are corrupt and not faithful in the service of God. May this challenge us all to strive to be proper Christians and thus to be His church - holy and righteous in His sight!