Thyatira and Tolerance
“Follow after peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no man will see the Lord, looking carefully lest there be any man who falls short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and many be defiled by it; lest there be any sexually immoral person, or profane person, like Esau, who sold his birthright for one meal.“
Welcome to week five of our study through the seven churches in Revelation. Today, we will be looking at the church in Thyatira.
Thyatira is the smallest of the seven churches in Revelation, yet they received the longest letter. They were commended for their love and faith, yet Jesus still held something against them. Let’s go ahead and take a look at what He had to say to this church:
To the angel of the assembly in Thyatira write:
The Son of God, who has his eyes like a flame of fire, and his feet are like burnished brass, says these things:
I know your works, your love, faith, service, patient endurance, and that your last works are more than the first. But I have this against you, that you tolerate your woman, Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. She teaches and seduces my servants to commit sexual immorality, and to eat things sacrificed to idols. I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality. Behold, I will throw her into a bed, and those who commit adultery with her into great oppression, unless they repent of her works. I will kill her children with Death, and all the assemblies will know that I am he who searches the minds and hearts. I will give to each one of you according to your deeds. But to you I say, to the rest who are in Thyatira, as many as don’t have this teaching, who don’t know what some call ‘the deep things of Satan,’ to you I say, I am not putting any other burden on you. Nevertheless, hold that which you have firmly until I come. He who overcomes, and he who keeps my works to the end, to him I will give authority over the nations. He will rule them with a rod of iron, shattering them like clay pots; as I also have received of my Father: and I will give him the morning star. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies.
The center of the letter to this church, was the woman Jezebel, wife of King Ahab. It’s important to know that Jezebel was not a Jew. She was a foreigner that married into the Israelite line in a political marriage. While you can read more about her in the book of Kings (both 1 & 2), by the time this letter was written, she was long since gone.
Yet her teachings remained.
1 Kings 21:25-26 say that Jezebel stirred up trouble. She led her husband astray, causing him to turn from God and worship idols.
In Jesus’s words to the church in Thyatira, we see that she was misleading the church. Teaching them that sexual immorality and worshiping idols was okay. And the majority of this church was allowing her teachings to thrive.
It doesn’t say that they believed her, but they let her continue on.
And Jesus held that against them.
Moreover, the picture Jesus painted of what would happen to Jezebel and her followers wasn’t a pretty one. He said He would cast them onto a bed of suffering and kill her children. Basically, He said he would send them to Hell.
He wants the church in Thyatira to know that they are standing by idly while people are going to Hell, and, yes, Jesus holds that against them. We are suppose to be shining the light of Christ to the world. Sharing the gospel and planting seeds. Not tolerating false teachings that lead others astray.
Yet, that’s not what the world would have us believe. Today’s culture tells us that we should believe our way and let others believe their way – that’s our right. We should hold to our own beliefs, with the understanding that all beliefs are equal.
But that’s not what the Bible teaches.
Jesus told us that He is the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, except by Him (John 14:6). By standing by and letting others believe a lie, we are condemning them to Hell. Whether it is those within our church or those outside.
“But we know that the law is good, if a man uses it lawfully, as knowing this, that law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for man slayers, for the sexually immoral, for homosexuals, for slave-traders, for liars, for perjurers, and for any other thing contrary to the sound doctrine; according to the Good News of the glory of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.“
Summarize this letter in your own words. What would you say God wanted us to understand from reading it?
Is there any area of your life, where you compromise God’s truth for the way you prefer to live?
Is there anyone in your church that you know is following a false teacher that you could lovingly correct or should be pray for?
Take it Further:
- Look up these verses on tolerance: Galatians 5:19-21; Ephesians 5:3-7; 1 Corinthians 5:9-11; 2 Timothy 2:22-26; John 14:6
- Click here to download the group study guide.
- Leave a comment below.
Other Blog Posts in this Series: