This week’s recap of our daily devotionals is going to be quite short. We are only talking about the church at Thyratira and this only covered two days.
I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first. Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.
When we began looking at the seven churches of Asia, we were just going to look at the ones specifically told to repent;however, we are going to keep going. Today we will begin a look at the church at Thyratira, which was also a struggling church. Then we will take a final quick look at the two churches Jesus seemed the most pleased with.
Even though this church had its issues, which we will discuss later; they were also doing some things well. In addition, they seemed to be improving and growing in their work for the Lord. So, what was going well in this church?
This church had love(charity). This seems the opposite of the previously mentioned church at Ephesus, where they had lost their first love. The first commendation for love in these letters was given to this church. What we see her is a love for God and for one another. That’s a great place to start, since Jesus did tell us that love is the greatest commandment.
This church was faithful in it’s service and patience. Because of their love, they were likely intent on service and meeting the needs of others. Furthermore, this patience had produced a church that persevered in its service and works.
The final part of the commendation to this church is interesting. Many of the churches seemed to be slipping backwards, or in the wrong direction. Note this: and thy works; and the last to be more than the first. This church was certainly not backsliding; they were growing stronger in fact. Their love was probably going stronger, along with their faithful, persistent service. In other words, this church was growing more mature in its Christian walk, and was increasing its efforts to spread and foster the Kingdom of God.
They were not without blame, however, as we will see in tomorrow’s devotional. Like most churches, even good ones, Thyratira had its issues.
Are we in a church where overall things are going well, but yet there are pockets of issues which are ignored or overlooked? We might need revival.
The Church That Tolerated Sin
As we previously discussed yesterday, there were some good things going in in the church at Thyratira. They were growing and maturing spiritually, and were certainly doing more than just putting on a front or going through the motions. There were real, God pleasing things going on there. However, all was not well there either.
Do we all remember Jezebel? She is the idolatrous queen who enticed Israel to begin worshiping Baal during the reign of King Ahab. In modern terms, she would be an idolatrous false teacher. So, here we have a church on one hand growing in love and maturity, yet on the other hand being very tolerant of a false teacher.
Along with the false teaching, there was apparently some fairly rampant immorality going on here, perhaps being taught and even encouraged by the false teaching. This is rather like the “Doctrine of Balaam,” which enticed the Israelites into sexual sin and idol worship in the church at Pergamos we discussed earlier.
Not only were the people hear tolerating sin and false teaching, but may have been quite proud and refusing to repent. In verse 21 on our passage we see, And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.
Not everyone was guilty of that, we have already shown the many were faithfully doing the right thing in this church. Jesus, in the verses that follow, is very clear of His concern for this situation and what He plans to do about it if change does not occur.
Revelation 2:22,23 Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.
Why such great concern? After all, this church was certainly doing some things very right; Jesus said so after all. The problem is, sin and false teachings in a church are like cancers. If they are not taken out and treated immediately, they will spread and kill the entire body. If allowed to spread, they quickly reach a point where the patient can no longer be saved.
Are there those we are know are false teachers being allowed to openly exist in our churches, but yet we do nothing? Is there much “secret” sin among our members with no efforts at correction or restoration? We might be in need of revival.