Friday, August 27, 2010

Thyatira: Jezebel's in the Camp!

Today, let's look at the message of Jesus to the church at Thyatira. And yes, false teachers are in our midst again.

On the pro side, the Lord commended them for their love, faith and service. In fact, they were serving greater today than in earlier days. But . . .

This next part of the Lord's message ought to give some pause to those today who parrot loudly that "love" is all that matters. They shriek this especially loudly at anyone who has the temerity to challenge false or aberrant doctrine.

Jesus whacked the Thyatiran church for tolerating false teachers who advocated worldly compromise. He used the name "Jezebel" as epithet for a prominent woman in the church who undermined loyalty to God by advocating such compromise. The original Jezebel can be found in 1 Kings 16:31. King Ahab was responsible for bringing her into the picture . . . It came about, as though it had been a trivial thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he married Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and went to serve Baal and worshiped him. So he erected an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he built in Samaria. Ahab also made the Asherah. Thus Ahab did more to provoke the LORD God of Israel than all the kings of Israel who were before him.

Did you note what was said there at the end of that passage? Ahab by his actions had "done more to provoke" God than all the kings of Israel who had preceded him! And those kings had done quite a lot of provoking. "Jezebel" at Thyatira had encouraged the church toward the so-called “deep things of Satan," an early form of Gnosticism. Later Gnosticism taught that to defeat Satan, one had to experience evil deeply, or in other words, sin it up as much as possible. It shouldn't have taken a very bright bulb to detect that error, but people fell for it anyway.

Jesus gave His warning to the church: He who searches the minds and hearts (in other words, He examines will and affections). He graciously gives time to repent, but will eventually bring judgment. The Lord notes that there are those who are in the church who do not go along with the false teachers, and on them the Lord places no other burden, but charges them to hold fast to what they have – His truth. In other words, hold on and hold on tight. Truth is easily compromised when vigilance slips.

Let him who has an ear hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

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