Sin is no respecter of persons or places--which means the Church isn't immune to its deception. So how can we detect false theology and practice before it creeps in? That's the question Stephen answers in this portion of his series "Special Delivery."
Additional messages in this series are available here: Special Delivery
When I graduated from High School in 1976 and walked across the platform of my Christian school’s gymnasium, along with 50 other graduates, to receive my diploma, my diploma booklet was empty. They had allowed me to participate in the graduation ceremony, even though I wasn’t quite yet a graduate. Looking back on it, they probably allowed me to participate only because I was the pianist for the senior class song and they couldn’t do it without me; I was also the class Chaplain and was supposed to deliver a 5 minute challenge. But I had flunked Algebra that year . . . I’d like to blame it on my Algebra teacher – you couldn’t dare ask her a question without being chewed out. She was the grouchiest person on the planet – I figured it was because she had to teach math. So I went to summer school and took the class over again, knowing full well that this time, if I didn’t pass it, I wouldn’t be going to college. I barely made it through, getting a D in the course, from what I can remember. I was accepted into College on probation, required to take their introductory Algebra course . . . I barely squeaked by with a D in that class but I passed it . . . and went on to live a happy life.
The trouble is math is it’s just so unforgiving. It’s so narrow. There’s was only one right answer and you didn’t get percentage points for being close. 3 +3 is only 6 and 6 + 2 is only 8 and 8 + 5 is only 13. Seriously, to this day I have to use my fingers on 7’s and 8’s.
I don’t know about you, but my math professors never gave me credit for good penmanship. “Hey, the answer isn’t 14, but you wrote it so neatly, I’ll give you half a point.”
No, it was one answer and only one that mattered. Truth can be so narrow.
We have been reading other people’s mail these past few sessions. And included in the mail are personal evaluations . . . you could call them, report cards.
Jesus Christ is in the process of evaluating His church; grading their assignments and watching how they do on their tests, judging their attitude and noting their spirit. He is in the process of sending his report card to the leadership of the church for the entire church to read.
I find it fascinating that His longest review was sent to the smallest church, located at a relatively insignificant dot on the map of the Roman Empire.
Pliny, the elder, who lived in the First Century referred to “Thyatira and other unimportant communities.”
William Barclay, Letters to Seven Churches (Abington, 1957), p. 55
And yet, in this letter to church in Thyatira, located in Revelation chapter 2, some of the most significant truth is revealed.
Dogmatic? Without a doubt!
Percentage points given out for neatly
Not a chance.
Yet, the truth will not only potentially rescue this wandering church, it will liberate every church today that is bowing to the politically correct notions of our culture. The dogma of Christ’s words will also rescue the church from the religious status quo that is squeezing the vitality out of the church today.
Jesus Christ dictates in Revelation 2:18, And to the messenger of the church in Thyatira write: ‘The words of the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like burnished bronze.’
Again, the Lord selects something from the opening descriptions of Himself found in chapter 1, and specifically reintroduces one or more of them that will fit the specific church He addresses.
“The one who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like burnished bronze”; that is, red with the heat of the furnace.
These descriptions can be comforting and terrifying.
The church in Ephesus was walking away from their love relationship with Christ – and Christ introduced Himself by saying effectively in verse 1, I am still walking in your midst.
The church in Smyrna was facing terrible persecution and death and Jesus Christ said at the outset of their letter in verse 8, “I also died but I have the power over death and I came back to life.”
To the church in Pergamum that was unable to discern between good and evil – combing it all together as good flexitarians do, Jesus Christ effectively introduced Himself in verse 12, as the one whose word is a double edged sword, in other words, “capable of cutting through the façade, discerning the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
Adapted from Ray Stedman, God’s Final Word (Discovery House, 1991), p. 55
Now to the church at Thyatira which was unwilling to discipline the unrepentant sinners in their midst and send the prodigals out of the church, Jesus Christ said, “I’m coming with piercing eyes aflame with fury and the red-hot feet of terrible judgment.”
But first, as always, the gracious Chief Shepherd begins with commendation as He praises this church for that part which was praiseworthy. More than likely these compliments referred only to those in the church who were still hanging on to the truth as He implies near the end of the letter.
In verse 19, Jesus Christ praises the faithful for 6 characteristics:
- their work or labor;
- their agape/love,
- their faith,
- their service – from diakonian (diakonian) which gives us the word deacon; evidently the flock didn’t leave serving the body up to a body of servants – they also served the flock.
- They were also commended for bearing up under the strain – for patient endurance. We’re given hints at what exactly they were enduring, but Christ knew entirely what they were enduring and He commended them for it.
- And the 6th commendable characteristic of the church was simply the fact that they weren’t slowing down in their efforts to do all of the above. Unlike Ephesus before them, they were actually, verse 19 says, “exceeding in their latter works” – literally, they were outpacing what they did in their earlier days of service.
This church was busy; it was loving; it was committed; it was faithful and patient in suffering; and it was attempting even greater things for God than ever before.
I have read that the average church in Americas has 12 good years before it declines; before it begins to drop off in effective outreach and conversions to Christ and baptisms and discipleship and new members and new ideas and growth and new projects and a spirit of anticipation after the age of 12. The average church in America has 12 good years and then slides into spiritual apathy and oblivion.
Not this church. This church was at least 60 years old and it was still climbing! However, they were in great danger, whether they knew it or not.
Now comes the criticism . . . the negative evaluation from the Lord – verse 20. But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols.
Perhaps more than any other church mentioned so far, this temptation would have been particularly difficult for the believers in Thyatira to battle.
We know from history that the city was a trade center, filled with trade guilds. There were trade-guilds for wool-workers, linen-workers, garment and textile guilds, leather-workers, tanners, a guild for potters, even a guild for those who dyed fabric.
Lydia, mentioned in Acts 16:14, was a seller of purple fabric from Thyatira.
Purple dye was extremely expensive and it came from two sources: the madder root which grew around the region of Thyatira and from the little shellfish called the murex. From this little shellfish, one drop of purple dye could be extracted.
Barclay, p. 56
The process was expensive and the product was unbelievably costly. That’s one of the reasons purple was usually associated with the robes of an emperor.
In fact, you may remember when the Roman soldiers made fun of Christ as they beat him and mocked him before His crucifixion, they put on him a what? A purple robe and mocked him for claiming to be a King. (Mark 15:17)
Thyatira was known for producing purple cloth. This town was one busy beehive of activity and trade.
In fact, from inscriptions which have been excavated in ancient Thyatira, archaeologists have come to the conclusion that Thyatira had more trade guilds than any other town its size in all of Asia.
Ibid, p. 57
And that created the problem for the church. The underlying challenge in all of this was the fact that each guild had a guardian god or goddess. If their business prospered, it was their god who was given the credit. If their business languished it was to this god they prayed.
Adapted from William Hendriksen, More Than Conquerors (Baker, 1940), p. 71
The guilds regularly feasted together, offering libations to their god before and after the meal. A libation was like saying “grace” before eating, offering a prayer of thanksgiving to their patron god.
Adapted from Barclay, p. 59
Listen, if you wanted to get ahead in the world, you had to belong to a guild. As a believer you had to compromise, right? You had to loosen up. And compromise could lead to carnal corruption.
We also know that at the end of these guild feasts, which you were expected to attend as a statement of identity and loyalty to your profession, the pagan practices of the temple were indulged in, most often including sexual acts with temple priestesses, again, under the guise of honoring the blessing of your god.
So you can imagine the question, “What’s the Christian to do?” “How can we survive in our profession if we don’t attend the guild feasts?” “We’re doomed to poverty and loss.”
By the way, this is a good time to remind everyone that what your work demands is not your soul, but your skill. It’s one thing to offer your profession your hard work . . . but don’t offer it your worship. You can be as idolatrous in your business plans as Thyatiran believers.
Adapted from Stedman, p. 58
But for these believers, the question remained, “Can a Christian participate in the idol feasts and even the immorality of the temple and really be a Christian?”
Evidently there was an influential, perhaps prosperous woman in the assembly who offered a solution to the problem. She apparently argued that the answer was, “Yes . . . you can do all the above and still be a good Christian.”
In verse 20, the Lord calls her Jezebel. The implication is that she was a Jewish woman. Jezebel could be her real name – but that’s unlikely since Jezebel was about as popular to the Jews as Judas would be to Christians.
More than likely the Lord is speaking figuratively in calling her Jezebel since she was effectively doing the same thing in this church that Jezebel of old did in Israel.
In fact, one translator (Moffat) translates this phrase in verse 20, “That Jezebel of a woman.”
William Barclay, The Revelation of John: Volume 1 (Westminster, rev. ed. 1976), p. 104
Travel all the way back to I Kings 16 and you’ll read the account of Jezebel, the wife of the King of Israel named Ahab. Jezebel was an idolater he should have never married. And she brought her gods with her into the palace. The chief god among them was named Baal. Baal was the fertility god and the worship of Baal involved imitating his sexual practices with goddesses, which supposedly gave Spring back to the earth, they believed, along with every other good thing.
So the worship of Baal included his followers copying his sexual behavior by carrying on in their temples with hundreds of temple priestesses as part of their so-called worship.
Sounds like a man-made religion doesn’t it?!
Well, God eventually judged Jezebel’s prophets when Elijah summoned them to a contest of fire. If you remember that account in I Kings 18, all the prophets of Baal built their altar and then prayed all day for fire to fall from heaven. It never came. Elijah suggested that perhaps Baal was on vacation and wasn’t checking his messages. They cried louder.
Finally it was Elijah’s turn and fire from God fell from heaven and consumed his offering.
The prophets of Baal are put to death and later Jezebel will be executed under the direction of the prophet Jehu in 2 Kings 9.
Jezebel had successfully combined worship with immorality; business with idolatry and compromise; she had invited sin into the assembly under the guise of “tolerance.”
Jesus Christ said to this church, “I have this against you, that you are tolerating her!” (v. 20a)
What they were to do?
They were to repent of their tolerance and judge the sin and the unrepentant sinner in the assembly. They were to get busy judging Jezebel.
In fact, the implication of God moving through Elijah by fire is hinted at Christ coming with fiery eyes and feet – acting through the believers who, like Elijah, condemn sin and exclude the unrepentant sinner from the assembly.
Let me turn this text around and show you the danger lurking in this assembly and every assembly to this day who refuses to act with the authority of Christ in removing immorality and idolatry and unrepentant sin from the church.
Six Dangers in Refusing to Deal with Sin.
- Without disciplinary action, the church will encourage the deception of sin in the sinner’s mind.
In other words, without calling out the warning and judgment of sin, the sinner thinks they are actually doing the will of God.
Notice in verse 20 again that “She calls herself a prophetess.”
In other words, she claims and perhaps even believes she is speaking on behalf of God when she’s actually speaking the lie of Satan. She is not representing the word of God!
And with every convert she makes – ever person who comes up in church and says, “You’re so insightful – you’re so right about this – I am having the time of my life now that I’ve loosened up” – only further deceives her into believing she’s right while in reality she is being driven further away from the truth.
I have had individuals tell me, “Stephen, ever since I left my wife and shacked up with this other woman, I have enjoyed my relationship with God more than ever . . . she’s the best thing that ever happened to me.”
“Now that I’ve walked away from the church and God, I am happier than I’ve ever been.”
The truth is, they are literally wrapped around and ensnared with sin. (Galatians 6:1)
The most loving thing to do with that person is not ignore their sin. It is to warn them.
Without quarreling with them, Paul wrote, correct them and perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, and being captured by him to do his will. (2 Timothy 2:25, 26)
The fire of God’s judgment is coming – Christ warns this church in Thyatira, just as he warned the prophets of Baal through Elijah. The One is coming with eyes of fire and feet with red hot heat.
At 2:00 o’clock in the morning, if you heard a noise and got up and looked out the window and saw the woods on fire and you could tell by the direction of the wind that the fire was going to sweep over your neighbor’s house where they were sleeping, what would you do?
Would you stand there and debate . . . wouldn’t they rather be left alone? They’re probably sound asleep. Besides, if I get them up they are gonna have to run out in their pajamas and that might be embarrassing; they’re gonna really be uncomfortable – fire trucks everywhere, news vans and cameras . . . tell you what . . . I won’t disturb them!”
Would that be the right and loving thing to do? No! The loving thing would be to run over there, break their door down, yell fire, run upstairs, turn on the lights, wake them up so they can get out.
Listen, confronting the sinner for this church and for any church is the action of a loving body that attempts to awaken the sinning believer who is being deceived by the spiritually deadening pleasure of sin.
It is the loving, firm, caring, passionate attempt to rescue someone before the fire of judgment reaches them.
Without it, you only encourage the ongoing, deepening deception taking place in that person’s mind and heart.
- The second danger that came from refusing to judge Jezebel was the church actually provided an audience for false teaching.
Verse 20 indicates that Jezebel is teaching the assembly.
John MacArthur makes the interesting point that the church was already compromising by allowing a woman to take the position of authority and teach in the assembly of men and women – a violation of 1 Timothy 2:12 where Paul clearly commanded women not to exercise authority in the assembly by teaching men.
John MacArthur, Revelation: Volume One (Moody, 1999), p. 100
By the way, this isn’t some bigoted rule – some relic of the past when men dragged women around by the hair.
This was God’s design and order in the church. This has nothing to do with the value of men over women or men being superior to women, for the gospel has made us equal heirs to the inheritance of Christ.
This has to do with the order and function of the home and the church. Just as men are held accountable as the leader of the household (Ephesians 5:23) so also are men to be the teaching leaders and authority in the church (I Timothy 3:4-5).
Let me say something here, ladies and gentlemen – from everything I’m reading and hearing regarding this issue of the roles of men and women in the church, I fully believe that in the next 5-10 years, evangelical churches in America will be divided or at least identified by this one issue.
There will be those churches who will allow women to preach and teach men or mixed audiences of men and women and those churches who won’t.
But understand, in reality, the bigger issue at stake will be those churches who accept the clear teaching of scripture regarding the lines and function of authority in the church and those churches who skirt the issue – if not completely deny it.
Perhaps the believers in Thyatira were more open to this woman’s teaching, claiming to speak the words of God, simply because in their town there was a famous oracle – a famous fortune-telling shrine presided over by a powerful and influential priestess.
Adapted from Barclay, Revelation, p. 101
So you can imagine these people were saved out of that environment and came into the church and guess what – there was an influential, evidently gifted woman, teaching in the assembly.
More than likely she was teaching a dualism popular in the ancient world and revived and repackaged over and over ever since. It simply taught that God has saved our spirit and the body doesn’t matter . . . the spirit is eternal and the body is temporary so you can do whatever you want with your body, but your spirit will remain untainted.
Seeds of truth, certainly, for we sin daily with our bodies, yet our spirits are secure in Christ.
But do we sin with abandon? Do we revel in sin? Do we say it doesn’t matter what we do with our bodies because our spirits have been saved by grace through faith in Christ?
Paul answered that question when he wrote, “Are we to practice sin that grace may abound? God forbid! How can we who died to sin still live in it.” (Romans 6:2) John also wrote, “Whoever makes a practice of sinning belongs to the devil.” (1 John 3:8)
Not, “whoever sins” . . . but whoever believes you can practice sin and live in sin and not repent and feel no remorse or guilt – that person, John writes, isn’t a believer. He writes further in the next verse (verse 9), “No one who is born of God makes a practice of sinning.”
Jezebel was saying . . . sin away! Practice all you like; revel in immorality . . . live it up at your guild feasts! Join in the orgies at the temple; your spirit is safe so don’t worry about your body.
This sounded like deep truth . . . wow, what a solution to their problem and pressure. But verse 24 in Revelation chapter 2, informs us that it was nothing less than the deep lies of Satan, emanating from the depths of hell itself.
And because the church refused to judge Jezebel, they allowed her, first of all to continue in her deception; secondly, they gave her a captive audience to teach in the assembly; thirdly;
- They allowed an unrepentant sinner to influence and promote sin in the lives of others.
Our Lord says in verse 20b that Jezebel was seducing His servants.
Can you imagine a sin any greater than that? Can you imagine the fires of judgment any hotter for a man or woman who gets up in the assembly or some ministry and actually leads the flock astray and into some practice of sin?
Jesus Christ warned, ‘If you cause one of my little ones to sin, you might as well hang a millstone around your neck and jump into the middle of the sea.” (paraphrased: Matthew 18:6). I don’t know what a millstone is, but it sounds heavy. I get the idea that you won’t surface with one tied around your neck.
Jezebel was seducing the servants of God.
John writes in verse 20b. Jezebel is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols.
Jezebel was leading them to practice immorality and to eat in the temple of idols; these were the very activities that the early church counsel in Acts chapter 15 required that the early church avoid. The church was commanded by the Apostles that they refuse immorality of any kind along with any association with idols through temple feasts – or food first offered to idols.
No wonder Jezebel was in grave danger of God’s judgment. Notice in verse 21 that God gave her time to repent, but she refused.
For the church to ignore it’s role of judging sin and excluding the unrepentant from the assembly, that church, not only allowed her to continue self-destructing in her deception; and gave her a captive audience to teach in the assembly; and allowed her to unrestricted influence others to sin, but in the fourth place;
- They actually helped delude the sinner into believing that they have avoided a harvest of consequences.
But it was only a delusion.
Notice verse 22. I will throw her onto a sickbed.
The word “sick” added to “bed” is contributed by the translators and I think misses the point. The word here for bed is kline (klinh) and can be translated “banqueting couch.”
Barclay, Letters, p. 64
I believe the Lord is telling us that she will be struck down while in the midst of a forbidden feast. This is the irony of her end.
She cannot avoid the judgment of God. Even though the church has remained silent and tolerant of her sin, and she is saying, “everyone c’mon in, the water’s fine.” But in the end, she will face the fire of God while in the act of her immorality and idolatry.
Like Jezebel of the Old Testament, this Jezebel is an unbeliever, who’s delight is in tempting the believer and causing the believer to err in his ways.
She has hardened her heart and refuses to repent and she will be struck down.
If that was all the harvest of consequences brought in, that might not be anything more than a good stiff warning to the rest of the church. However, there is a 5th consequence for the apathy and tolerance of this assembly.
- The lives of weaker believers are not only devastated but in grave danger of an early death for themselves.
John writes in verse 22b. And those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation (not the great tribulation that will occur in the following chapters, but great distress and trouble).
MacArthur, p. 102
In fact, Christ goes on in verse 22 to warn, unless they repent of her works, I will strike them dead.
So there is still hope that these children – that is, these followers of her false teaching – can in the future repent. Perhaps it will be in seeing Jezebel die that causes them to come to their senses.
But if they don’t, they also will be taken early in death.
Among other forbidden acts, they will have sinned against the Lord’s table by participating in the ordinance of communion while at the same time practicing immorality. Paul writes to the Corinthians, “Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread n drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body (that is, being in fellowship with the claims of Christ) eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have already died. I Corinthians 11:28-30)
Imagine that. Paul says, “Some of your church members in Corinth have died – a final act of discipline – not because they were unbelievers like Jezebel, but because they were unrepentant, sinning believers who brought continual shame to the name of Christ and His church.”
John writes also about Christians who sin unto death (I John 5:16) – that is they refuse to repent and Christ takes them home early, rather than allow them to bring greater disrepute on the Lord’s name and the assembly of believers.
They will be among those who stand before the Lord at the Bema seat, saved by the skin of their teeth Paul writes in I Corinthians 3:13-15; they will stand before Christ empty handed. John writes in 2 John verse 8 that they will have lost, not their salvation, but their full reward.
So when the church fails to deal with sin and unrepentant sinners, the cost is high, isn’t it?
- We encourage the deception of sin in the sinner’s mind;
- We provide a captive audience for false teaching;
- We allow an unrepentant sinner to influence and promote sin in the lives of others;
- We actually delude the sinner into believing that he has skirted a harvest of consequences.
- We put the lives of weaker believers at great risk of danger and possible death.
6. Finally, this church becomes an example of God’s displeasure.
That alone ought to bad enough to keep us from tolerating sin.
Jesus Christ says to these believers in verse 23. And all the churches will know that I am He who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works.
Can you imagine a church wanting to be known with this kind of reputation? And all the other churches will know by what happens to you – by all the funerals you begin to hold outside the city of Thyatira –they will all know that I have eyes blazing with holy fire and my feet will move to judge sin.
No church would want this.
I can tell you dear flock of God, the average church in America has the reputation of refusing to deal with sin.
I can remember after disciplining two men from our assembly who had chosen a lifestyle of open immorality receiving calls and emails from literally all over this county; pastors and church leaders coming to our reception area asking questions; questions came from different parts of the country and even from different countries asking, “We’ve heard what you did . . . how do you do that . . . how do you deal with sin in the church; how do you discipline and why did you discipline.”
The appeal for material was so great the elders gave me a month off to do nothing more than write a booklet on what the Bible says about what we’re doing. And we have since given several thousand of them away. The material was also published in a national church associational magazine.
What did all this reveal? The church today is not judging Jezebel.
The reputation of the average church in America is that we tolerate sin.
It’s not a new problem . . . this church tolerated it nearly 2,000 years ago. The pressure was on . . . their livelihood was at stake . . . a woman of wealth and influence and teaching ability and unusual insight and influence seemed to have the answer.
Now, as was His letter writing custom, the Lord ends by challenging this body of believers who will either repent of their sin in following this woman’s teaching, or those who never did follow her; to them Christ says these wonderful things.
Verse 26 and 27 speaks of their future rule in the millennial kingdom. Notice verse 26. The one who conquers and keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, 27. And he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father.
This is clearly talking about the Messianic kingdom – the 1,000 year reign on earth and not the future new earth and new heaven.
There will be no need for a rod of iron in heaven. Nor will there be rebellious nations to break apart like pottery after the new heaven and earth are created. So this is a reference to the people who survive the tribulation and come under the reign of Christ when He returns with His bride to set up the literal kingdom from Jerusalem where He will sit upon David’s throne in fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies yet to be fulfilled.
We will reign with Him.
It’s not a coincidence that Jesus Christ encourages this church to judge Jezebel in their midst by reminding them that one day they will judge the nations of the world.
Now verse 28 provides a final, wonderful promise. And I will give him the morning star.
This can be nothing less than the promise of the presence of Jesus Christ Himself.
Later in this prophecy at chapter 22:16, Jesus Christ calls Himself the “bright and morning star.”
For a year while I traveled for my Christian college, representing them in high schools and churches, my girlfriend who would later become my wife would write me letters. Man, I loved those letters. She’d put a dab of her perfume on the back of the envelope. It helped my preaching, I’m sure.
But when I returned to campus every so often, letters were unnecessary. In fact, I would never imagine asking her to skip seeing me that evening at dinner and just write me a letter. It was far better to be with her. I’d rather smell that perfume on her than on the back of an envelope, right? Not that I got close enough to smell it . . .
Listen, it’s a wonderful thing to get a letter from our beloved Lord . . . but one day, these letters can all be set aside for we will have this One with us who is the bright and morning star.
We have no idea of the glory and responsibility of reigning with Christ on earth for 1,000 years . . . I can’t imagine it.
But it’s going to happen . . . His word will come true. Paul wrote, “We know that the believers will one day judge the world.” (I Corinthians 6:2)
Let me give two final lessons and we’ll close:
- Big sins can happen in little churches.
This church made headlines because of its tolerance of great sin.
- The effects of one person’s sin can destroy the effectiveness of an entire church.
We are one body – this local church is a body. Listen, I can cut my finger on a nail or a piece of wood and by not treating it properly and dealing with it, it could cost me my life.
No one in here is insignificant to the ministry and reputation of this church. In fact, wherever you work and live, the reputation of this body is whatever your reputation is.
We’re a bunch of hypocrites if you are;
We’re liars and covetous and backbiting if you are;
We’re dishonest and unloving if you are.
We’re honest people of integrity if you are;
We’re pure and wholesome if you are;
We’re a body known for putting Christ and the kingdom of Heaven first if you are known for the same.
So this letter closes again with the personal question, “Are you listening? He that has an ear to hear let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches.” (v. 29)
Father for us living in a sin drenched culture, for someone to say no to immorality or refuse to party with the crowd or go along with the politically correct posture of our day might mean people in the church will lose their jobs . . . be passed over in promotion . . . experience ridicule and slander.
We would rather face their displeasure than yours. We would rather be ridiculed by the world than be rejected by you. We would rather lose friends than not have your friendship.
Help us, as those in Thyatira were told, “to hang on – to hold on to our testimony for You, knowing that there is a coming day when judgment will come and we shall, with you judge the nations of the earth.”
Help us, Spirit of God to stand for your truth – your narrow, dogmatic, unwavering, liberating, redeeming truth. And to speak that truth in love – even this day offering fellowship to those who will repent.
Has this been a warning for you from the word of God?
Christian, are you risking an early death . . . are you living a life Christ won’t reward . . . are you following the influence of someone who is encouraging you to sin . . . and you know it’s not right.
Right where you’re sitting, let me encourage you to respond with repentance . . . take a look at where you’re headed. Turn around. Christ has given you time to repent, just as He did these believers. Pray now for Christ to forgive that sin you’re cherishing . . . that lifestyle you’re leading . . . that reputation you’re building. Say, “Lord, I have ears to hear . . . forgive me for wandering and straying into sin . . . I repent of that sin and ask you to cleanse me now.”
Perhaps you’re here and you are terrified at the thought of Christ’s coming judgment because you have never been saved – you’ve never been born again. That’s not an improper motive for yielding to this conquering King. Paul preached to the unbelievers in Athens and at the end of his sermon he said, ‘God commands everyone everywhere to repent because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world. (Acts 17:30-31)
We’re here if you’d like to pray with us after this service . . . make sure your path is straightened out before you take another step.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him all creatures here below;
Praise Him above Ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost, Amen.