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Called to Holiness

Revelation 2:18-29

“‘Write this letter to the angel of the church in Thyatira. This is the message from the Son of God, whose eyes are like flames of fire, whose feet are like polished bronze:

‘I know all the things you do. I have seen your love, your faith, your service, and your patient endurance. And I can see your constant improvement in all these things.

‘But I have this complaint against you. You are permitting that woman—that Jezebel who calls herself a prophet—to lead my servants astray. She teaches them to commit sexual sin and to eat food offered to idols. I gave her time to repent, but she does not want to turn away from her immorality.

‘Therefore, I will throw her on a bed of suffering, and those who commit adultery with her will suffer greatly unless they repent and turn away from her evil deeds. I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am the one who searches out the thoughts and intentions of every person. And I will give to each of you whatever you deserve.

‘But I also have a message for the rest of you in Thyatira who have not followed this false teaching (‘deeper truths,’ as they call them—depths of Satan, actually). I will ask nothing more of you except that you hold tightly to what you have until I come. To all who are victorious, who obey me to the very end, To them I will give authority over all the nations. They will rule the nations with an iron rod and smash them like clay pots. They will have the same authority I received from my Father, and I will also give them the morning star!

‘Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches.”


Ancient Thyatira

On the inland route forty-five miles east of Pergamum was the city of Thyatira, situated on the south bank of the Lycus in the long north-south valley connecting the Caicus and Hermus valleys.

Thyatira was the gateway to Pergamos, the capital city of Asia.

Although not a great city, it was important in the commerce of wool, linen, apparel, dyed work, leatherwork, tanning, and bronzework.

Acts 16:14 states Lydia was from Thyatira, “a merchant of expensive purple cloth who worshiped God.”

The true Son of God

Thyatira was a local cultic worship center of Apollo Tyrimnos, a son of Zeus. Jesus starts His message as the resurrected Christ, the true Son of God.

Love and faithfulness

Jesus commends the church for their growth in love and faith. Love was manifested in service and faithfulness in perseverance.

Desiring prosperity

Jesus condemned their participation in social events, eating food sacrificed to idols and participating in sexual immorality. The economic life of the city was dominated by trade guilds where pagan religious practices were the criteria for membership. Christians were facing problems when abstaining from things dedicated to pagan deities; namely, social rejection and economic hardship.

Following a Jezebel

Jezebel symbolizes the detrimental powers of false religion among the people of God. In Pergamum the compromise came from outside the church whereas in Thyatira the same compromise was initiated and encouraged by someone within the church. The person was unwilling to let go of an alliance with the pagan environment and was influencing others to follow similar practices, causing the church to be less than holy. They neglected Peter’s admonition to “be holy just as God is holy.” (1 Pet 1:16)

The church is called to holiness.”

Examining the heart

Jeremiah declares, “But I, the Lord, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve.” (Jer 17:10)

Jesus examines the heart “and will judge all people according to their deeds.” (Matt. 16:27)

Unrepentant heart

Serious as it was, the strongest threat to Jezebel and the other offenders was not with regard to sin, but their reluctance to repent.

Jesus in the sermon on the mount reveals God blesses those who mourn. (Matt. 5:4) A blessing is connected to mourning over sin, possessing a heart-breaking sorrow and unhidden sadness, and feeling toward sin the same way as God.

The Lord is walking among the Church, judging evil, but also offering deliverance to the fallen if they repent and stop doing the deeds of a Jezebel.

The promise

Jesus promises the same authority as He has been granted from His Father to those remaining holy. With authority over the nations an overcomer is promised the morning star, a victory in Jesus in a darkened world.

The message today

Disloyalty occurs by both compromise without and deception within.

Are you failing to be loyal to Christ? Are you caught up in unwholesome practices turning you away from God?

Remain steadfast in faith and continue walking in accordance to His will.

The challenge

Remain holy as God is holy. As you engage the world stay loyal to Jesus.

What are some practical ways you can live a holy life?  Share your comments below.

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