WELCOME TO THE REAL WORLD
Lord, I am aware of the demands You place on my life. Help me to do right by You.
Read REVELATION 2:18–29
To the Church in Thyatira
18 “To the angel of the church in Thyatira write:
These are the words of the Son of God, whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze. 19 I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first.
20 Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols. 21 I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. 22 So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways. 23 I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds.
24 Now I say to the rest of you in Thyatira, to you who do not hold to her teaching and have not learned Satan’s so-called deep secrets, ‘I will not impose any other burden on you, 25 except to hold on to what you have until I come.’
26 To the one who is victorious and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations— 27 that one ‘will rule them with an iron scepter and will dash them to pieces like pottery’[a]—just as I have received authority from my Father. 28 I will also give that one the morning star. 29 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
a Revelation 2:27 Psalm 2:9
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“Now this I know: The Lord gives victory to his anointed. He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary with the victorious power of his right hand” (Psa. 20:6).
Thyatira is a commercial, successful, military town. The church appears to be doing well: the members have love and faith and seem to be busy bees in the Lord’s kingdom. However, God demands holiness. Only here (18) in these letters do we read the words “Son of God,” standing in stark contrast to Thyatira’s cultic worship of Apollo Tyrimnos. This worship has been merged with that of the emperor (identified as Apollo incarnate), so that both are acclaimed as sons of Zeus (see Robert Mounce, The Book of Revelation, 85). Only the resurrected Christ is the true Son of God. Corrupt teaching has led to unchallenged sin in the church. John’s task is to write all he is told, however difficult, and we too may sometimes be given a word, or be called to stand against sin. No amount of worship or good deeds for God will prevent those blazing eyes (18) from seeing what his people are up to. Christ has overcome sin, so he can offer forgiveness to those who are prepared to stop obeying false prophets and flagrant immorality. God will hold to account those who cause others to sin.
We have a loving Father who disciplines (Heb. 12:7,8). John’s image of the Son, eyes blazing, feet immoveable, saying, “don’t compromise,” is akin to that of God speaking to the Israelites at Mount Sinai: “Be holy, because I am holy” (Lev. 11:45). That doesn’t mean that I must be a perfect human. Rather, it is Jesus saying to me in my fallibility and weakness: I am the Holy One, and because I am holy, you too can be holy. Stay faithful to me, resist temptation, and you will overcome.
Jesus sends the longest letter to the church in the smallest and least-important town. He frequently chooses the least of people to do amazing things (King David, Gideon, Stephen, Moses, for example). In closing, he says that he will honor those who overcome and will give them authority to rule.
When you struggle in the darkness, don’t forget that which you’ve heard in the light. How are you protecting yourself against temptation before it comes?
Lord, help me to be holy. Help me to stay faithful to You and to overcome temptation.