The Weekend Word
To the Church in Thyatira – Part 2
21 I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality.
- Note that Jesus wants all to come to repentance – even the woman who has undermined, destroyed and polluted his church. “I gave her time to repent.”
- God gives everyone the opening to repent. The sad part is that most people do not want any part of repentance.
- Repentance plays such a huge role in the Christian life. Repent and believe the good news – it must always come back to this.
- Luther nailed it in the first of his 95 Theses (pun intended) – the Christian life is all repentance. It is not something you do once and then you are let off the hook.
- We live in the absolution and we live repenting at the same time. It is a continual cycle.
- You go through your day thinking of the law and when you lay down at night you are thinking “I really blew it today – when the guy cut me off the road, when I was short with my wife – blew it again with the kids – Lord have mercy.”
- Then the absolution you heard Sunday morning is ringing in your ears and the taste of the communion is in your mouth and you think “oh, he does forgive me – I can sleep knowing that I am justified even though my sanctification was crappy this week.”
- This has got to be better than trying to measure if you are improving day by day / week by week.
22 Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works,
- Look who is doing the judging – Jesus. He doesn’t say “well I hate to do this but…” no, he just makes the declaration.
- Who are those who commit adultery with her? The church. The outside world is just messing with her, but the church is the Bride and when the Bride is messing around, it is adultery.
- So who will be judged with her? The unrepentant church.
23 and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works.
- Who are her children? Those who follow her.
- The remainder if this verse is so important. What we believe, what we want to take from other religions or other denominations does not matter, no matter how good they sound or if we think it will bring all of us together – what matters is what Jesus thinks – and I can tell you Jesus is not into religious kumbaya.
24 But to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not learned what some call the deep things of Satan, to you I say, I do not lay on you any other burden.
- John stops here to offer some pastoral exhortation.
- The rest of you? You are doing well. Those who remain true to Christ in the presence of such tempting falsehood are recognized.
- ‘Who do not hold to this teaching’ – this lends credibility that ‘sexual immorality is a metaphor for false teaching.
- ‘the deep things of Satan = the same as the teaching and sin of Jezebel – the syncretism and universalism that that denies the exclusiveness of Jesus and the uniqueness of Christianity.
- Beware of any teacher who tries to introduce you to the “secret” teachings he has uncovered. There are no secrets; God has revealed all we need to know in the Bible and it was written so that we might know him.
25 Only hold fast what you have until I come.
- Just keep on keeping on. Hang on, remember what you have – Jesus.
- Hold on! That is the message from Christ to his followers fighting to stay faithful in the face of great opposition and temptation. When the world offers you a prize for denying Christ and following after the material things of life, hang on to Christ. When the world’s powers come knocking at your door and denies you access to your house of worship, hold on to Christ. When some persuasive teacher on the radio, television, or internet tries to convince you of some teaching that does not square with Scripture, hold on to Christ. Hold on to what you have because he is coming back!
- How does one hold on to Christ in the face of physical persecution, material seduction, and religious compromise? These are tough issues that we may one day face.
- Read the Bible, confess your sins, receive the absolution and stay in close fellowship with your church family.
26 The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations,
- The one who conquers (repents) – the one who keeps Jesus’ works (right teaching).
- Jesus has the authority to give because all authority has been given to him. Matt 28:18
27 and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father.
- In the context of the last days where the nations are judged, the Christians are brought up into the reign of Jesus.
- The Christians are spared from the judgment, but we will see the nations judged on the basis of Jesus. Psalm 2:6-12
- What we are seeing here (26-28) is the separating of the sheep and the goats Matt 25:31-46
28 And I will give him the morning star.
- To be honest, no one seems quite sure what this means. I am sure to the readers, they may have known, but whatever it is, it is Jesus’ to give.
- Although the 1st century readers would not know this yet, Jesus is called the Morning Star – see Rev 22:16
- Whatever glory he has as the Morning Star, he will share with his church.
29 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’
- The typical closing to the letters.