1. Hello, listening friends.
2. It is a pleasure to have you with us today.
3. We are in the midst of a series of messages entitled, “What Does Jesus Think?”
4. These messages are from the Book of Revelation.
5. In these messages, we are looking at the seven letters Jesus wrote to the seven churches.
6. Today, we will be looking at the letter to the church in Thyatira.
7. I know you will agree with me that we are all influence by others.
8. Some influence us for good and some influence us for ill.
9. If you do not have discernment,
10. then I want you to listen to the rest of this message.
11. Parents need to do all they can to help their children develop discernment.
12. Bible teachers need to do all they can to help their students develop discernment.
13. In the age in which we live,
14. probably the most important lesson we can teach others is discernment-
15. discernment to distinguish between right and wrong,
16. discernment to distinguish between true teachings and false ones,
17. and also discernment to distinguish the more important from the less important,
18. the essential from the unnecessary,
19. the permanent from the transient,
20. the good from the best.
21. Without the skill of discernment, you will drift away from the truth and cause yourself a great deal of heartache;
22. and, according to Jesus, drifting away from the truth has a tragic price tag.
23. Now, listen to the words of the risen Christ to the church in Thyatira;
24. and it is found in the Book of Revelation. That is the last Book in the Bible, Chapter 2, verses 18 to 29.
25. Thyatira, the town, was small and insignificant in comparison to the other six cities.
26. It was founded by Alexander the Great.
27. Its claim to fame was that it was the headquarters for the various trade unions.
28. Its main industries were wool and dye, especially purple dye.
29. The primary god that they worshipped was the Greek god, Apollo.
30. The main pressure that Christians had experienced in Thyatira came from the trade unions.
31. Let me explain.
32. To hold a job in Thyatira, you had to join a union;
33. but each trade union had a patron god in whose honor pagan festivals were held.
34. These pagan festivals required people to eat meat that had been offered to idols.
35. They also required people to practice sexual immorality.
36. The Christians who would refuse to participate in these pagan festivals lost their jobs.
37. What is their answer to this dilemma?
38. Well, some clever church members said, “No problem.
39. We don’t have to lose our jobs.
40. We can participate in those things and still be believers in Jesus Christ.
41. We can have the best of both worlds.”
42. One woman, in particular, was pushing this teaching on the believers.
43. Listening friends, I don’t want you to miss this.
44. The biggest threat to the believers in Thyatira did not come from the pagans.
45. It did not come from a hostile Jewish community.
46. It came from some of the leaders inside their own group;
47. and that is why we will see four things in this letter.
48. The first is Jesus’ praise for the believers in verse 19.
49. The second is Jesus’ concern for the believers in verses 20 to 23.
50. Thirdly, Jesus commands the believers in verse 24 to 25;
51. and, fourthly, Jesus’ advice for the believers in verse 26 to 29.
52. Now, let’s look at Jesus’ praise for the believers in verse 19.
53. Jesus saw the love, the faith, the service, and the endurance of the believers in Thyatira.
54. In the Gospels, Jesus said that He never forgets even a cold drink of water given in His name.
55. I don’t want you to miss this.
56. This is the first church to be commended for their love.
57. Like other churches, Thyatira had loyalty to Jesus.
58. They were faithful to Jesus.
59. They were bold to proclaim Jesus as their Savior;
60. and all these qualities earned them Jesus’ commendation.
61. These people demonstrated their love and faithfulness by their actions.
62. They probably worked hard to help widows and orphans.
63. They probably were practical in their faith;
64. but Jesus moves on very quickly, after only one verse, to express concern.
65. This is the second thing that we will look at.
66. What was Jesus’ concern?
67. He said, “I have this against you.”
68. What is ‘this?’
69. “You are so lacking in discernment that you accept falsehoods as truth.
70. You are so lacking in discernment that you cannot distinguish between true teachers of the Word of God and false ones.
71. You are so lacking in discernment that you have allowed deceptive people to become leaders in the church...”
72. and so the indictment comes in verse 20.
73. “You tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess,
74. and she teaches and leads my children astray
75. so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.”
76. Who was this woman who claimed to be a prophetess?
77. First, we don’t know if that is her real name or if it is a description of her character.
78. Jezebel was known in the Old Testament as the wife of King Ahab.
79. The name “Jezebel” is associated with idolatry, treachery and murder.
80. The Jezebel in Thyatira, like the Old Testament Jezebel, was leading believers astray.
81. The Old Testament Jezebel dignified the worship of the false god, Baal, among God’s people;
82. and this New Testament prophetess is doing a similar thing.
83. At that time, in Asia Minor, one popular false teaching was the Greek philosophy of dualism.
84. You ask, “What is that?”
85. Dualism was a false teaching that was taught by many false teachers within the church.
86. This is how it goes-
87. God is only interested in people’s spirit;
88. and, therefore, how people treat their bodies is not important.
89. Jezebel was saying something very similar.
90. She said, “Don’t deny Jesus.
91. Don’t renounce your faith.”
92. Jezebel said that God doesn’t care if you commit sexual immorality or not;
93. and that’s what this woman was teaching;
94. and most people were falling into this falsehood.
95. My listening friend, let me ask you this:
96. do you think that’s the right attitude?
97. Then, listen to what Jesus said in Matthew 18.
98. “But if anyone causes one of these little ones, who believe in Me, to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”
99. My friend, your lack of discernment will cause you and others to be led astray.
100. Now, we come to part three, which is Jesus’ command.
101. In verse 23, Jesus calls Himself the “Searcher of hearts and minds.”
102. His eyes are like flames of fire, which means that they penetrate deep into our souls.
103. Jesus’ eyes that protect the faithful ones are the same eyes that will destroy the false teachers.
104. Jesus is gracious,
105. even to this false prophetess and to those who are blindly following her.
106. You say, "How?"
107. Jesus gives them one more opportunity to repent.
108. He gives them one more chance to turn from their rationalizations and immorality.
109. He gives them one more chance to turn away from sin;
110. but, if they don’t repent, they will face pain and suffering.
111. As to those who are godly,
112. to those who refuse to defile themselves with this false teaching,
113. Jesus says, “My burden is light and My yoke is easy.
114. Stand firm, and don’t compromise until I come…”
115. and so we see Jesus’ praise, Jesus’ concern, and Jesus’ command.
116. Fourthly, we see Jesus’ advice.
117. In verse 26, Jesus says,
118. “To the one who overcomes and does My will to the end, I will give him authority over nations.”
119. This is incredible.
120. Most Christians tend to forget that we will reign and rule the whole universe with Christ.
121. We get so busy with the trash of this world, thinking that it is gold, that we forget the real gold that is awaiting us.
122. We get stuck in the mud of the world, thinking it is wealth, and forget the real, awesome power that we will experience.
123. Jesus is saying that His faithful believers will exercise authority over nations.
124. Some of you may be saying, “Why will only the faithful believers rule and reign?”
125. Oh, because they will reign in order to enforce the righteousness and holiness of Christ.
126. We will have Christ’s own delegated authority;
127. and that is why Jesus could not entrust unfaithful and undisciplined believers to rule and reign over the universe,
128. because they would make a mess of things.
129. Jesus gave several parables to remind us again and again that only the faithful believers will exercise authority in the life to come;
130. and, here, Jesus said that He will give His faithful ones the morning star.
131. The “morning star” is Christ Himself.
132. In other words, we will share in His glory.
133. Those who turn their backs on the darkness of sin will share in His glory.
134. Those who will turn their backs on the darkness of sin will see the light of Christ’s glory.
135. Discernment will keep you from falling into false teaching;
136. and faithfulness to Jesus’ teaching will give you a share in His glory.
137. Some of you may be asking, “How do I develop discernment?”
138. To develop biblical discernment, you must read God’s Word every day;
139. Until next time, I wish you God’s richest blessing.