In His letters to the churches, Jesus sends a message (through John) to the church in Thyatira. It is a serious warning, and there's an important lesson for us to learn...but first, look at how He finishes this letter:
"Only hold on to what you have until I come. To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations—
'He will rule them with an iron scepter;
he will dash them to pieces like pottery'— just as I have received authority from my Father. I will also give him the morning star. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."
He says to them, in essence: 'No matter how hard it is...no matter the cost...HOLD ON to your faith! HOLD ON to the truth! I will give you victory, and give you authority over the nations...just HOLD ON!
It's a sobering...and important message for us today.
Our world can challenge our faith in a big way. Pressures from outside the Church can make it difficult to be faithful. This has always been the case, and the Lord has given strength to those who are His, enabling them to be faithful in spite of opposition from without.
...but Thyatira was different! This was opposition from within the Church!.
A woman (in this case--certainly not always women) they called "Jezebel" had loudly dominated the church. She had some authority within the church, and was teaching the people to 'go ahead' and adopt the standards and practices of the world around them. To 'go with the flow' of their society.
Specifically, in Thyatira, there were lots of 'trade guilds'. Each trade had it's own guild and each guild had it's own customs, practices, etc. Each guild also had it's own 'god' which needed to be worshipped in order to bless with work.
In other words, the tradesmen in Thyatira, in order to get work, had to belong to a guild, and that included going to thier worship services to their false gods, including eating food which had been sacrificed to these idols right in front of them, and joining in their sexually immoral practises!
Here's the thing: In order to work, they had to join; in order to join, they had to participate. Otherwise, they would not be allowed to work, thier families would not eat, etc.
Talk about compulsory union membership!
'Jezebel' encouraged them to 'go ahead' and fit in. In so doing, they ended up adopting many of the customs, beliefs, morality and mindset of the people around them.
She called this her 'deeper teaching' that was given to her as a prophetess. In reality they were the "deep secrets of Satan" (v. 24).
They continued to tolerate her influence and teaching, and this was what Jesus had "against" them (v. 20)They ended up hiding their true faith--so much so that they started to forget what their true faith was--and compromise it...and this 'Jezebel' loudly and pursuasively argued that they should continue on this path.
God had given her--this leader in the Church--time to repent...but she had not. Now her time was up. He was going to bring her to intense suffering--and all who went with her (rather than standing on Biblical truth).
...but to those who remained faithful...to those who overcame--not only the pressure from without, but also the pressure from within the Church...to them, He would give authority and power!
We face opposition from our culture...and we will probably face more, deeper, and more militant opposition in the not-too-distant-future.
We will also face opposition from within, from the 'spirit of Jezebel' which loudly tells us just to fit in...to go along...to adopt the standards and practises of this world.
We MUST remain faithful. We MUST overcome!
As God gives us strength, let us endure any opposition and remain true to Him!
For God's glory...Dave
Read this passage here:http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation%202:18-29&version=NLT