Church at Thyatira

Thyatira

Rev. 2:18-29

Introduction

It has the features of the firmly established church in that it is not only a church, but also a state. It was the least important church. It received the longest letter. Its location was about halfway between Pergamos and Sardis. It was commercially wise.

Description of Jesus

Eyes were as a flame of fire. Rev. 1:14b. His feet were like brass. Rev. 1:15a. The Lord is not pleased with what He sees in Thyatira. He stands in judgment against it

Verse 19

Jesus speaks of their works, love and service. They are active in the ministry of the church. Some things need to be handled. Their works shall be greater than the beginning. We will see what is wrong in the next verse.

Verse 20

In this church, we see a false prophetess named Jezebel working in the midst. It is the spirit of false teaching. It is seductive: to tempt to wrongdoing. It is a spirit that entices an individual into having illicit sexual intercourse.  In this case, it is spiritual intercourse.

This is mentioned, to some degree, in the previous church. It has to do with Baal worship I Kings 21:25. Ahab sold himself to this idol worship. This church made the choice to sell themselves into spiritual slavery of idol worship. They were at one spirit with the idols, which meant desecration.

Desecrate—to violate the sacredness of themselves for false gods.

An idol

False deity, image Lev. 19:4; 26:1 Deut. 27:15

Idolatry

Worship of idols

Acts 17:16; I Cor. 10:14; Gal. 5:20; I Peter 4:3

To eat things sacrificed to idols—I Cor. 8:4-6 Deut. 4:39, which says there is no other god.

Jezebel

She calls herself a prophetess. Some members of this church were under the influence of this woman. They refused to separate themselves from the local guilds.

Guild

It is an association, which is set up for mutual aid and the promotion of common interests.

These individuals were a part of an association where moral interests were serious compromised. The lax principles or tendencies made for a connection made for foreign and compromising associations. It was a dangerous influence on those weaker in the faith. These individuals prided themselves in their liberty. The Bible says to come out from among them, and to be separate unto the Lord. 2 Cor. 6:17 and Jude 19 They considered themselves to be “enlightened.” They were “enlightened” to the things of the flesh.

Verse 21

In His mercy, God gave this prophetess room to repent, but she did not.

Verses 22-23

Those who had committed spiritual fornication with her shall go through tribulation. They are encouraged to repent. God searches the hearts and reins of humanity. Ps. 7:9, 26:2; Jer. 11:20; 17:10

 

 

 

The Believer’s Checklist

It is vital that we develop and maintain our relationship with Christ lest we become burned out in our service to Him. We must maintain our connection to Him. We must spend time with Him. We must understand that He wants fellowship and company with us. If this is not done, then we will drift away from Him spiritually. Our dedication and service will die. This is what happened at Ephesus.

Truth: Consistency in dedication to Christ is maintained by intimacy with Him.

If the relationship crumbles, our service for the Lord crashes. We must study God’s Word and pray.

Question: How do you know if you have lost your first love for the Lord?

What causes the Word to be scarce or rare in our lives? Why can’t we seem to stay revived all the time? What extinguishes one’s enthusiasm for God? These are questions we must ask ourselves. There is not one answer for all individuals.

Problem: Delighting more in someone or something other than the Lord.

We tend to crowd the Lord out of our lives. We can get sidetracked or distracted. We can get our priorities out of order. Mark 12:30

Problem: Losing the desire and longing in our soul for times of close fellowship with the Lord in the Word and prayer. Notice the word “soul” in Mark 12:30.

Problem: Giving in to those things which we know displeases the Lord. John 15:10.

Problem: When we are not willingly and cheerfully giving to God’s work or to the needs of others. This will cause us to lose our first love. 1 John 3:17

Problem: When we cease to treat every Christian as I would the Lord. John 13:34

Problem: I will lose my first love if I inwardly strive for fame, popularity, and the acclaim of this world rather than the approval of Jesus Christ.

Who is more important—the crowd or Christ? Who do we seek to please? I John 2:15 some will say they will be mocked if they live for Christ. John 15:19-20.

Problem: Becoming complacent and apathetic to sinful conditions around us or in our lives.

When a person gets use to his/her sin, they don’t care anymore about the consequences, they get harder in their heart. Matt. 24:12  

Ephesus Characteristics Two

He approved them for their Spiritual Discernment

 They tried those who claimed to be apostles. They were liars. They knew what they believed and why they believed.

Jesus approved them for their stand against the deeds of the Nicolaitaines. (Rev. 2:6) Nikao means to conquer and Lsaos means the people.

This word is applied to the system which divides the church into two divisions. The clergy and the laity. Pergamos and Thyatira had this problem with its bishops, archbishops and other domineering people. God’s Word says that our High Priest is the Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Tim. 2:5) When it comes to the gifts of the Spirit, the church is one body. None of the gifts can function alone. They are a part of the whole. There are leaders or elders in the church, but we function as a whole and not a separate entity.

We are to confess our sins to the Lord Jesus Christ and not to man. We should be held accountable to one another. We should bear one another’s burdens, but we are responsible to do what we must to maintain an ongoing relationship with the Lord. Nobody can do with for us. It is a personal matter between us and our Savior.  When it comes to sin, we must realize that Jesus is the only one who can forgive sin. Note I John 1:9.

Revelation 2:4

Although they seemed to be a church on target, there was a problem pointed out by Jesus. There was the admonition or accounting.

They were maintaining a spirit of sacrifice, steadfastness, separation and keenness for detecting heresy.  They had lost their first love for the Lord. Jesus had said that in the last days, the love of many would wax cold. (Matthew 24:12)

The spiritual furnace was still there, but the coals no longer had a bright, red luster. The honeymoon was over. The same can happen between a husband and wife. They remain faithful to each other, yet they lose their first love for one another. A church member can be regular in attendance and tithing. They can be active yet lose their first love for Jesus. Like Martha, we can become occupied with doing for Christ and miss becoming like Christ.

They remain faithful to each other. Yet they lose their first love for one another.  A church member can be regular in attendance and tithing. They can be active yet lose their first love for Jesus. Like Martha, we can be occupied with doing for Christ and miss becoming like Christ.

Ephesus Characteristics

The worship of Diana was vile and perverse. The idol was a many-breasted woman, which was believed to have fallen from heaven. (Acts 19:35) In her temple priests, slaves and thousands of women ministered in it. The women served as ritual prostitutes. Sex was a part of their worship. The worshipers were also dancers and musicians. The sounds were that of wailing, shouting and hysterically frenzied individuals. Ephesus’ reputation was one of being fickle, superstitious and very immoral.

Paul stayed in Ephesus for three years (Acts 20:31 and Acts 19). It eventually became a very strong spiritual church. This church received its letter forty years after it started.

1.      Approved for their service

The Greek word for “labor” means toil or diligent labor, even to the point of weariness and exhaustion. It is Holy Spirit activated. It just wasn’t attendance, but working to further the kingdom of God.

There are three groups of people in the church:

-The Shirkers—they do nothing. Others have to take up the slack.

-The Jerkers—they start out fine. They jerk a little while, and then they run out of gas. They become indifferent and unreliable.

-The Workers—these are what a church needs the most. Ephesus was a working church.

5.         Approved Their Steadfastness

They had patience, and they had not fainted. Patience from the Greek means durability, triumph and fortitude. It changes suffering into glory. It is a courageous acceptance of: (1) hardship; (2) suffering and (3) loss. 

They were: fixed, firm and not fickle.

Every time they did something, they were persecuted. They were not easily disappointed or discouraged. They faced strong fierce opposition and hatred. Trade unions tried to make them leave the city. They were not deterred. (I Cor. 15:58)

2.      Approved them for their suppression of evil.

They could not bear them which were evil. They were concerned about the quantity of persons rather than the quality of persons needed.

The Church of Ephesus

REVELATION 2

When it comes to the Greek language, the word “angel” comes from the word aggelos, which probably describes bishops or pastors of the seven churches. In the singular form it means messenger, one sent to announce or proclaim.

This section of scripture deals with things which are. These messages have a threefold meaning:

-Primary Association—A local or direct bearing upon the church to which it was written.

-Personal Application—This applies to every Christian.

-Prophetic Anticipation—Each church individually and the seven churches combined set forth this meaning.

In the Prophetic Anticipation, as believers look forward to the Rapture. The word “rapture” is not found in scripture. It simply means the “catching away of the church.” The problems that these seven churches are what we also face today.

Ephesus

This church was the most prominent church of the seven. This was the mother church of Asia. (Acts 19:1-10) The content concerning this portion of scripture serves as a pattern for the remaining six letters to the churches.

Four decades have passed since this church was established. Paul is dead along with many of the converts of that time. With this church there is a new atmosphere. These problems cause the Lord to address these issues through John.

The Audience

Ephesus was in a strategic city of that time. It was the seacoast capital of Asia. It was one of the greatest religious, political and commercial centers of the region.

1.      Commercially

Ephesus lay at the mouth of a river called the Cayster River, which is located in present-day Turkey. This was a fast moving river. It built up sand on the shore of Ephesus. The ruins of Ephesus are now located some six miles inland from the sea. When people disembarked at the harbor, they traveled to the center of the city. The road was filled with columns, and it was known as the Arcadian Way. The active business climate had a population of approximately one quarter to a half million people.

2.      Politically

It was a free self-governing city in the Roman Empire. Important cases were tried here. It involved much pomp and circumstance.

3.      Religious Stance

The last important part is the religious atmosphere. The Temple of Diana or Artemis was located there. Women offered their jewelry for its construction. Its measurements were:

425 ft. long

220 ft. wide

60 ft. high

There were 127 pillars given by 127 kings. Thirty-six of the pillars were overlaid with gold, jewels and carvings.