In this sermon, Pastor Babij preaches on Jesus’ message to the church of Thyatira in the book of Revelation. First, Pastor Babij details Thyatira’s commendation of its love and faith for Christ. Second, Pastor Babij explains Thyatira’s condemnation for tolerating a false teacher who may have been teaching Gnosticism. Third, Pastor Babij relates Jesus’ challenge to the church to hold fast to what they know and practice. By way of application, Pastor Babij reminds believers that they, too, will one day be given authority over the nations and will be given the Morning Star—Jesus Himself. Therefore, believers are not to tolerate sin in their lives or among their brethren.
Let’s turn to Revelation 2, where we are looking at the seven churches that the Lord Jesus Christ speaks to. These churches are relevant to us because Christ speaks to the church the same way. What is happening in that church could be happening in any church at any one time. And we can see what the Lord approves of and disapproves of in the church. So this morning we are going to be looking at Revelation 2:18, which says:
And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: The Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet are like burnished bronze, says this: ‘I know your deeds, and your love and faith and service and perseverance, and that your deeds of late are greater than at first. But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bond-servants astray so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. I gave her time to repent, and she does not want to repent of her immorality. Behold, I will throw her on a bed of sickness, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her deeds. And I will kill her children with pestilence, and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds. But I say to you, the rest who are in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not known the deep things of Satan, as they call them—I place no other burden on you. Nevertheless what you have, hold fast until I come. He who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations; and he shall rule them with a rod of iron, as the vessels of the potter are broken to pieces, as I also have received authority from My Father; and I will give him the morning star. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’
Let’s pray. Lord, this morning as we come and approach Your Word, let us come humbly before the Word of God. I pray that You would let it, by Your Spirit, speak to all of us in some way. I pray that You would give us instruction as to how we are to conduct our lives and how we are to examine ourselves in our church body. Help us to know how to examine what’s going on in our culture and what is pressing upon the church. I pray that You would help us to always be hedging against compromising the truth and looking the other way when other people sin. I pray that we would not do that. Help us to be sensitive to our own situations and sins so we can confess them on a regular basis, knowing that for those who are believers You are just to forgive us of our sin and unrighteousness.
Lord today open Your Word to us and speak it into our hearts. In Christ’s Name, Amen. So as Jesus Christ is in the middle of the churches evaluating them, He always gives accurate judgment as to the state of the church. In Revelation 1:20 it says:
As for the mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.
So Jesus is the Head and Sovereign over all His Church. And as the Head, He walks among the lampstands which are the churches and He holds the seven stars, which are the messengers, leaders, pastors, and elders, within His right hand. So the lampstand represents a church and here is revelation from God concerning the church which is like a lampstand. A lampstand holds the light and shares the light of the gospel in the geographical area that God has placed it in. So the one great mission of the church is to share the light of the gospel. And if you don’t share the light, it says in Revelation 2:5:
Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place—unless you repent.
Jesus gives a message to each church. The first message to the church at Ephesus is that of declining love because it was a church of loveless orthodoxy. Secondly, He warns the church at Pergamum because they were allowing truth to slip by tolerating doctrine that came into the church from the outside culture. They were a church of indiscriminate tolerance.
Some of the churches were influenced by the cultures which resulted in being indifferent to holding tightly to the truth and declining in their relationship to Christ. The current message of false teachers because louder and more persistent than the Word of the Lord Himself. Often when that happens is a downward spiral that those following false teachers end up playing with sin that they would never think of playing with before. In this case it was some sort of immorality. In other words, the standard of spiritual integrity and purity got downplayed in the church.
So this third warning to the church at Thyatira was due to them compromising with sin within the church. Thyatira was a church that became corrupt from within. There was a sickness in the church which could only be cured from that of true repentance and real identification and genuine forsaking of the sin and a putting on of purity. Don’t forget that these were real churches with real people facing real problems and spiritual opposition just like we do today. So this is very relevant to our lives.
In fact, Steve Green, who is a singer, used to tour Bill and Laura Gaither. And when Steve Green toured with them, he got to know the crews that set up the large auditoriums where they had their concerns. The riggers were people that walked on these four inch rafter beams, often a hundred feet off of the concrete floor, where they would hang the speakers and spotlights. They were paid very well for this job. The fellows used to say that they weren’t bothered by the sight of looking down a hundred feet. What they didn’t like was when they were working in buildings with a false ceiling. This was an acoustical ceiling that swung just a couple of feet below the rafters. So when they looked down, they were looking at this false ceiling. And what would happen is that it tricked them and lulled them into a carelessness that there was something right below them. Because if they fell on this false ceiling, they would just fall right through it.
Satan’s business is not so much scaring us to death as to pursue us that the danger of a spiritual fall is minimal in your life. The danger of a spiritual fall is not minimal. That’s why the Bible tells us that we are to resist Him and stand firm in the faith. This sin that was coming up in the church was not a light sin. It was a sin that ultimately would lure them into carelessness that would have them trust in a false foundation. And then this sin would move them away from their relationship and trust in the Word of God.
This church was a compromising church. Thyatira was about 40 miles southeast of Pergamum called the Lydian city on the edge of Asia minor, what is today known as modern Turkey. They didn’t really have emperor worship there so that wasn’t a problem. Thyatira was really a center of trade and it was known as the trade center of the world and for its cloth-dying industry. The people manufactured purple dyed cloth that came from the madder root and a shellfish called morax. It was extremely expensive and desired by people. Actually in Acts 16:14, it talks about Lydia. It says:
A woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshiper of God, was listening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul.
She accepted what Paul was saying and became a real believer. Some believe that it was her home where the church was started because she was wealthy and perhaps owned the business that produced this purple cloth. Now it was the smallest of the seven cities but it was the largest message given to the churches. Because of its position in the valley, it was rich agriculturally but it lacked the necessary features to protect itself from invasion so it was often overrun by armies.
It had a healthy commerce which produced a multitude of workers’ guilds. Examples included linen workers, wool workers, dyers, leather workers, people who made outer garments, potters and bronze-smiths. These guild members were expected to attend guild festivals. In those festivals, they were to eat the food that had been offered to one of the gods and ultimately participate in grossly immoral activities that would follow these feasts.
These trade guilds were something like our unions today. Each one had their own god so the members of the guilds would be pressured into participating in the pagan feasts which would often be accompanied by immoral practices. So that meant that Christians faced a real problem. If they could not buy or sell unless they were in someway participating in these business guilds, then they would be shut out and would not be able to make an income to support their families. Ultimately they would have someplace else to live unless they gave into these unions or guild practices.
Now let’s see what this group of people ultimately do and are condemned for by the Lord. But let’s first look at the Biblical truth about the Lord Jesus Christ so that we are developing a high view of God. In each situation you are going to find that the view that the people have of God is lowered as they begin to practice things that the Lord ultimately doesn’t approve of. That’s why it starts out with the character of Jesus.
The church was facing a sober examination by the Lord Jesus Christ. They were toying with sin and as a result, the clear lines of what pleased God and what didn’t please Him were blurred. But we see the Lord in this passage because it says He is the Son of God. This is a claim that emphasizes Christ’s divine character. This surely is true that the deity, the sovereignty, and authority of Jesus Christ must always be established in the minds of God’s people if sinful practices are going to be dealt with in a Scriptural manner as God intended.
Secondly it says that He has eyes like a flame of fire. No one can hide from the discerning eyes of the Lord. So this characteristic description denotes His piercing and penetrating and perfect knowledge that Christ has a thorough insight into persons and all things.
If you look at Revelation 2:23, it says:
And I will kill her children with pestilence, and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds.
The Lord goes right to the depth of our souls to examine us. It is the things that are deep within our hearts. He always knows what is going on. We can never forget that, because then we won’t be able to take sin lightly. That’s how the Spirit of God wants us to think. It tells us in verse 18 that His feet are like burnished bronze. This is a characteristic that signifies that the outgoings of His providence are steady, full, pure, and holy. In other words, as He judges with perfect wisdom, strength, and steadiness, He is not going to let the sin go by.
The Lord is about to evaluate their spiritual condition quite accurately. But first He sees some commendable qualities in Revelation 2:19. He uses the sandwich method, first giving the good of what is going on in your life and then telling the bad. Notice what it says in this verse:
know your deeds, and your love and faith and service and perseverance, and that your deeds of late are greater than at first.
The Lord is commending the church for being involved with sacrificial ministry to others and building the church. And then it gives the inner motive of love. It’s quite amazing that this church is even commended for love especially when we discover the terrible things going on among some of the professed members. Nevertheless, this church has a disposition to do good to all men especially to those who are of the household of faith. And there is no real religion where there is no love. And there is definitely love in this church. And then He says also that He knows the church’s faith, that they are committed to following and serving Him to the right doctrine.
Love motivates for service and faith enables endurance to continue on. Then He gives two outer results of that in verse 19. He says that He knows their service being focused on the needs of the people since they cared and looked out for one another. And the last thing He notes is their perseverance, which is to bear up under a heavy load. Their mind was set that no matter what happens, they are not going to quit.
Christ also says that the church was advancing in spirituality and growing in ministry, love and good works. Even with these admirable qualities present, everything was not as it ought to be. Let me remind you that those believers who hear and apply correct doctrine will understand that God is serious about His children living in purity. They themselves will actually make decisions to manage their sinful impulses. Satan got this church to tolerate a false teacher and her practices. Let’s examine now what Jesus has against the church in Revelation 2:20, it says:
But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bond-servants astray so that they commit acts of immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.
How could this be? Well the state of the church because the Lord sees and penetrates the heart and the thoughts of humanity. He knows exactly what is going on and the state of the church here is that they were in danger of letting this prophetess within the church and then tolerated her to stay there without doing anything about it. So the church was allowing a woman, Jezebel to teach in the church that immorality was not a serious issue.
Possibly the reason why that was being taught was because of a doctrine called gnosticism. This doctrine held that the flesh and the spirit were separate things. In other words, what you did in the spirit and what you did in the flesh were completely different things. Someone could commit adultery and it wouldn’t necessarily be wrong because it didn’t affect the spirit. That’s just a basic understanding of it, but that thinking was coming in to the church. So the people were not considering what they did in the flesh as sinful. It was just fulfilling your own pleasures and enjoying life. That’s how they packaged it.
Now most likely, the Apostle John could be using Jezebel as an identifier name to exemplify her wicked character based on an Old Testament passage of Scripture. Or it could be a literal woman named Jezebel doing these wicked things. The Old Testament Jezebel promoted idolatry and adultery in the nation of Israel. Jezebel is used symbolically as a powerfully influential evil that can come in amongst the people of God. That’ what happened with Thyatira.
Jezebel, Ahab’s wife in the Old Testament, was a powerfully evil woman. In fact her father was swift to violence and murder. She was dedicated to the worship of Baal, making her an idolator. And she seduced her own husband who was the king to be involved with calf and Baal worship, which was a clear violation of the first and second commandments, which say:
Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image. Thou shalt not bow down to them or serve them.
Now quickly take your Bible to 1 Kings 21, because here we get the background of Jezebel and her husband, the king. Now let me just give you what’s happening in 1 Kings 21:13-19. Naboth was an honorable man who owned a vineyard. Ahab wanted the vineyard and offered money for it. Naboth said he couldn’t give it away because it’s an inheritance from the Lord. So Jezebel finds her husband depressed and offers to take care of it. She hires two men who are going to go against Naboth and say he blasphemed the Lord. There are two witnesses according to the Old Testament who say that Naboth do this. The penalty is that you would be stoned to death, and that’s what happened to Naboth. She comes back to her husband and tells him that Naboth is dead and for him to go get the vineyard. Jezebel got people to give false witness on an innocent man, but also got him killed and stole his property. Look at what it says now in 1 Kings 21:19-22 when Elijah speaks against Ahab:
You shall speak to him, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Have you murdered and also taken possession?”’ And you shall speak to him, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord, “In the place where the dogs licked up the blood of Naboth the dogs will lick up your blood, even yours.”’ Ahab said to Elijah, “Have you found me, O my enemy?” And he answered, “I have found you, because you have sold yourself to do evil in the sight of the Lord. Behold, I will bring evil upon you, and will utterly sweep you away, and will cut off from Ahab every male, both bond and free in Israel; and I will make your house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah, because of the provocation with which you have provoked Me to anger, and because you have made Israel sin.”
So Jezebel caused her husband to sin even though she orchestrated it all, because he is being blamed for leading the whole nation to sin. Look at what it says in 1 Kings 21:23-25:
Of Jezebel also has the Lord spoken, saying, “The dogs will eat Jezebel in the district of Jezreel. The one belonging to Ahab, who dies in the city, the dogs will eat, and the one who dies in the field the birds of heaven will eat.” Surely there was no one like Ahab who sold himself to do evil in the sight of the Lord, because Jezebel his wife incited him.
She had a great influence over him to commit these great sins. She didn’t even care if the Lord saw and He sent Elijah to take care of the matter. If you notice what it says in 1 Kings 21:26-29, it says:
He acted very abominably in following idols, according to all that the Amorites had done, whom the Lord cast out before the sons of Israel. It came about when Ahab heard these words, that he tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and fasted, and he lay in sackcloth and went about despondently. Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, “Do you see how Ahab has humbled himself before Me? Because he has humbled himself before Me, I will not bring the evil in his days, but I will bring the evil upon his house in his son’s days.”
So Ahab was filled with repentance. God responded to his repentance. He withheld judgment until the son’s day. But God doesn’t withhold judgment on Jezebel.
Now in this passage of Scripture, you can see two times where it says “You have done evil in the Lord’ sight.” God sees sin as a violation of His holiness and if not repented of, it must be judged and removed. Now if you are thinking that this is too harsh, you are displaying a very low view of God. If anyone ever thinks God is cruel, uncaring, tricky, aloof, weak, unfair, needy, or tolerating of sin and no longer in control, you have mistaken ideas of God which you must repent of. When we think of God like that, we have actually made an idol in our own hearts and are actually worshipping something else.
So Ahab repented of his evil and God forgave him. Likewise, the spiritual enemy of Thyatira lured God’s servants in the same way as the Old Testament idolators, the Baalmites and Nicolateans. They led them into fornication and eating meat offered to idols because they also brought in false spiritualism. Jezebel’s false teaching led her victims into the darkest of fleshly sins as though things done in the flesh were outside the true man and therefore had no consequences. A lot of people think that way today.
Here’s the break down of this church’s sins. They were tolerating a habitually sinful person, Jezebel, who called herself a prophetess. She was a self-ordained teacher, no one ordained her. Also they were tolerating her crooked doctrine. It says that she teaches and leads the bondservants astray. She was leading faithful Christians astray from God. She must have been a very skilled teacher, one who was able to communicate what they thought in a better way than even the teachers who were in the church. As a result of that, in Revelation 2:20, they were tolerating her sinful practices. It wasn’t just her teaching but where it led to. Remember that healthy teaching will lead to holy living and a godly life. False teaching or a false understanding of the Word of God will lead to a sinful life. Somehow you make a distinction between what you are inside and what you do outside. Usually what you are inside you can’t examine correct anyway because you are deluding yourself by false teaching.
So Satan can with a whole new group of Christians in a different geographical place in entirely different circumstances, lead people to the same kinds of sins in the other churches. These are sins of immorality, which lead do idolatry and greed. Idolatry and loose living under these prophetess will defile the church at Thyatira unless they took care of her to get rid of her. The farther a nation moves away from God and His truth, the more sexually perverted, deviant, insane and lawless it becomes. Now saying all that even when people do this, it doesn’t meant they are not religious. The ruin of sin has not left humanity irreligious, but rather people are very religious and spiritual everywhere you look. We can see this on bumper stickers, t-shirts and talk shows, which give evidence that we are a people created for a relationship with God.
Sin has not really removed our spirituality, it has simply warped it. But this is very dangerous for us because it is easy to think that if we are religious, we must know God. And that is simply not true. This lie has been the destruction of many people, who think that if they went to church and have a level of morality, that’s going to rescue them from the God who sees all things and penetrates the thoughts and hearts of people. They think they can delude and fake out God because they are doing these religious things.
When people live by their own desires instead of God’s Word, it is evidence that they do not know God. It was the Lord God who said through the prophet Jeremiah that when people move away from the Word of God, then they live according to their own desires. This is what it says in Jeremiah 9:13-14:
The Lord said, "Because they have forsaken My law which I set before them, and have not obeyed My voice nor walked according to it, but have walked after the stubbornness of their heart and after the Baals, as their fathers taught them.”
So God does not accommodate Himself to our lifestyle but demands that we conform to His ways. But in reality the point is that this should not be the case for real born again, blood bought, Spirit indwelled believers. That is because they know God! They are Kingdom children and therefore their standard for living is not their own, but rather God’s.
Reverend Henry Scougal in his treatise on true religion, titled The Life of God in the Soul of Man wrote: “It is the highest folly to regulate our actions by any other standard than that by which they must be judged. If ever we would cleanse our way, it must be by taking heed therefore according to the word of God.” The law of God is the standard by which God judges. So to summarize with a passage of Scripture from Colossians 3:5, the spirit filled empowered person controls their body and is not caught in the grip of uncontrolled sexual desires. It says:
Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.
No one can be involved in this kind of lifestyle without sinning against God and cheating our fellow human beings and brothers and sisters in Christ. See ignorance of God demonstrates itself in idolatry. It’s not necessarily in the ugly, visible statues and shrines. But it could be simple like refashioning an image of God that fits our own lives. In other words, we may profess to know the God of the Bible but in fact we only know a God of our imaginations and can live anyway we like. The God of Scripture will not let us live any way we like and if we think that way, we will be in danger of His judgment.
So religious peoples think in a way that is rooted in a wrong view of God. When they form in their minds such a God as suits their own desires and passions and think God to be such a One who favors and agrees with them, when in fact they are don’t know God at all. They are far from loving such a God that reigns in heaven and does whatever He pleases.
People may have the right Bible, the right words, but are in reality living under the influence of a god they have invented. They fashioned a god that thinks and looks like them. This is a god that is fine with their lifestyle and choices. In their deceptions, they worship a manmade god in their hearts. Many religious people mistaken ideas of God that they have formulated outside of what the Scriptures say about God. If you do that, you will be an idolator.
The psalmist wrote in Psalm 50:21:
These things you have done and I kept silence; You thought that I was just like you; I will reprove you and state the case in order before your eyes.
What council gives to the church that is now confronted with this idolatry and immorality, that is now being practiced by some of the faithful people in the church. This is because they may lose their jobs and what they are used to. They tolerate it for their own sakes, but they realize they are not looking at the way God looks at it. Leaving this cancer to go on will cause destruction, which is way more than just losing a job or a place in the community. They needed to get back to a correct view of God.
Look at the counsel that Jesus gives in Revelation 2:21:
I gave her time to repent, and she does not want to repent of her immorality.
Thank the Lord that He is long-suffering with us. He gives sinners time to repent of their sin to get right with Him and to bring their sin to God and confess it. Repentance is when you say you’re done going your own way and you’re turning around to go God’s way.
But this lady Jezebel is not repenting and anyone who follows her are not necessarily repenting either. Scripture gives about six reasons why Christians should manage sexual temptation and refrain from committing this sin. The first reason to avoid such sexual misconduct appeals to the fear consequence of disobedience. We are warned not to take lightly society’s laksidasical attitude concerning sexual conduct and morality. Remember this, a just God and a coming day of judgment are factors that cannot be left out of consideration when dealing with moral practices. Compromising with sin in the church actually distorts the character of God, convolutes His nature, and causes people to forget that God will judge with penetrating accuracy. Jesus will judge with righteous indignation. Notice what it says in Revelation 2:22-23:
Behold, I will throw her on a bed of sickness, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her deeds. And I will kill her children with pestilence, and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds.
So if you notice there that it’s because the churches need to know that Jesus Christ is the One who searches the minds and hearts. The church got away from that and was led into sin by this false teacher and her practices came into the church causing destruction. So His righteous judgment brings back into view an accurate understanding of who the incarnate God has revealed Himself to be. Christ is the One that searches the minds and hearts. God’s physical and moral laws bring consequences if violated. God has ordained that His creation be covered by a number of natural and physical laws. If one fights against them, trouble is sure to come. A wise person wants to cooperate with God’s physical laws and consider the natural consequences. A wise person also cooperates with God’s moral laws. Before taking any moral action, they consider the consequences of that action. If it doesn’t please God, the action is avoided.
So the consequences sexual immorality are many. It produces guilt, shame, has a psychological, emotional, and relational elements to it. So sexual immorality can never produce sustained happiness because it is in direct conflict with God’s unchanging moral law. No one can laugh off God’s moral law because He is holy and just and not ineffective. His laws are exacting and unchanging and they do bring consequences.
Perhaps you’re thinking that you know some people that have done plenty of wrong things and are doing okay. They are living together, having fun, but also doing the religious thing and going to church. That may be that way right now but remember that a time element is always involved in a season of sowing and the season of reaping. Does a farmer sow his seed in the morning and reap his crop in the afternoon? Does a person who sows sin alway reap sin’s harvest immediately? No. See willful sinners are clever at hiding what is going on inside of them. They may even be hiding gnawing feelings of guilt because of what they are doing, fear, or even tormenting memories and regrets. And yet they still go on and do it because it gives them short-lived pleasure. But the worst is to act the fool and to position yourself against God.
Now there are other things in Scripture that help us to deal with repenting. How would it actually look if somebody repented of immorality? Number one, they would definitely fear the consequences of disobedience because they are thinking of how God is the Judge and they need to be changing things.
The second thing will be when we look at 1 Thessalonians 4:3, you get several other reasons why a person may need to manage their sexual temptation. It says:
For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God.
So why should you restrain yourself and give yourself over to the powers of the Holy Spirit for righteous living? Because you love the Lord and want to abstain from sexual immorality. The next reason is to keep yourself pure for your marriage partner. In 1 Thessalonians 4:5, it says that they know God. Christians since conversion have an intimate and growing relationship with God the fAther through the atoning death of Jesus Christ and are pleasantly indwelled with the Spirit of God. So God is working purity and we are working out purity in our though life and daily relationships and activities.
So it is God’s will that every Christian know how to act in the matter of sex so as to please God. 1 Thessalonians 4:6 gives us a fourth reason. It says:
No man transgress and defraud his brother in the matter because the Lord is the avenger in all these things, just as we also told you before and solemnly warned you.
You cannot be involved with this sin without defrauding other people. 1 Thessalonians 4:7 gives us the fifth reason:
For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification.
Then there’s one last one in 1 Thessalonians 4:8. Sexual impurity without rejection rejects God. The verse says:
So, he who rejects this is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you.
So anyone who treats sexual sin as no big deal is actually treating God and His Word as of no account. So whoever despises the teaching on holiness is not just despising some human rule, but God Himself. Those who justify loose living, do not hesitate to set God aside and sin against the God who is present at the moment and to go on to live in impurities. That is a direct insult against the Divine Giver and a sin the Holy Spirit who is the power unto holiness.
So what is Jesus’ challenge to them back in Revelation 2:24? It is to the faithful ones who haven’t given in to this sin and who recognize it as wrong. He gives them a command and two promises. Revelation 2:24-25 says:
But I say to you, the rest who are in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not known the deep things of Satan, as they call them—I place no other burden on you. Nevertheless what you have, hold fast until I come.
Keep holding on to what you know and worship the Lord. Have the right view of God, sin, and self because Jesus is coming. And He is with them until He comes. And He gives them two promises in Revelation 2:26-27:
He who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations; and he shall rule them with a rod of iron , as the vessels of the potter are broken to pieces, as I also have received authority from My Father
So He is saying here that the people who are overcomers have not given into His teaching and have held on to who He is and what pleases Him. And because of that, He is going to promise something. When it all ends and we are in the Kingdom, Jesus is going to give you authority over the nations. He is going to let you rule them with a rod of iron. He is saying to the overcomers of this city that God promises privileges to them similar to those He exercises Himself.
In other words, He is saying to them that what He does they are also going to do. In Revelation 19:15 it says:
From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty.
This passage and the one in Revelation 2 is setting the context of Jesus’ final conquest and victory over all His enemies. Scripture really leaves us with the sense that there really is no actual fight. The reason for that omission in this passage is to exalt the sovereignty of God and put the emphasis on Jesus Christ the final authority on life and death. The emphasis of the imagery before us is God’s power and sovereignty. However in the passage that we read in Revelation 2, the Lord is actually saying to them that He promises the saints and overcomes that they will participate in the destruction of evil forces to rule over the nations with Him.
We are going to fight with the Lord and then we are going to rule over the nations. We are going to fight with Him and then shepherd the nations with the Lord. That’s the promise that He gives to those who are faithful and who are overcomers, putting one foot in front of the other. That’s really what life is about. The present tense verbs in Scripture are all over the place because we can’t do anything about the past or the future, but we do live today in the present. Honor God today and put Him first today. Repent of your sins today and do not put it off! Trust in Christ your Lord and Savior today because you are not guaranteed tomorrow.
During the most difficult times in history and in your life, you be faithful and the Lord will be faithful back to you and keep His promises. It’s not only the promises just mentioned, but also to be given the morning star. Who is the morning star? It says in Revelation 22:16:
I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.
Christ gives Himself to us in the new kingdom and new heaven and earth when we get there. If we are all for Him, He will be all for us. That’s the hope that we have as Christians and should translate into our lives that we are making sure that we are dealing properly with sin and that what we are listening to is the truth that comes from the Word of God, and not coming from false teachers.
You go into Christian book stores today, you’re probably going to be confronted right in the front row by three or four false teachers. They are not called false teachers by a lot of people, but they really are because they do not follow the Word of God. The remaining believers who did not fall under cursed spell of apostasy were bright lights of faithfulness and doctrine that would continue meaning that the lampstand of the church would still hold up the light of the gospel and people would still get saved because that was their job. The Lord reevaluated the church so that keeps happening. But that’s the responsibility of everyone in the church not to tolerate sin.
Let’s pray. Lord, may we continue to believe the Word of God. May we continue to grow in truth so we can detect error. May we come under the piercing examination of Your Word that when it convicts us, we would run to you in repentance. Just like King Ahab did. I pray Lord Jesus that we would be sensitive to Your Spirit and we would not allow things to go on too long before we address them. Enable us today as Your people to be faithful to the end, to hold on to these promises that You give us. Because we know Lord that You are not done yet with Your plan for us. We are somewhere at the end of it, You will come again, and there will be a new Heaven and earth where righteousness dwells, where the curse is gone and all the promises of God are fulfilled. We look forward to that day. Keep us faithful and looking to You until that day. And I pray in Christ’s Name, Amen.