Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Letter to Thyatira (cont.) – Revelation 2

Revelation 2:26-28 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. And I will give him the morning star.

Those who stand fast and keep on putting forth their best effort to emulate the works of Jesus will eventually be given power over the nations (just as God empowered His Son). I believe this is a reference to service in the millennial kingdom. They will rule with the Lord with a rod of iron.

Psalm 2:9 Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.

No false teachers will be dealt with lightly at that time. They will be broken and rendered useless as represented by the shards of a broken piece of pottery. The overcomer will also be given the morning star (identified as Jesus in Revelation 22:16). I think this indicates the thrill of intimate fellowship with the Savior for eternity.

The sad thing is that the people were to blame for the terrible warfare they were experiencing because they weren’t diligent in guarding their hearts and exercising discernment regarding who they allowed in their fellowship. I think that is true of many churches today. Very few exercise discipline regarding those who choose to participate in the body.

God is so merciful. He doesn’t keep throwing this up in their face. He identifies the problem, and then goes on to encourage them to hold on fast and fight the good fight of faith. He doesn’t try to punish them by making their burden heavier; they’ve pretty much brought harsh punishment upon themselves. God opens His message in a spirit of judgment and closes the message with encouragement to be an overcomer.

Revelation 2:29 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

Again, the believers are warned to listen to and take heed of the message being sent to the churches.

It really hit me this time through that this church is really active in doing good deeds, showing love to others, exhibiting strong moral convictions, and demonstrating commitment and dependability. This church gives the appearance of having members that are mature Christians in love with their Lord. Truth is that they are lacking in spiritual discernment to the point that a false prophetess is openly operating in the church and has generated quite a following. She is evidently arrogant and full of pride as she is intent on ignoring the truth of God’s word and the convicting work of the Holy Spirit in pursuit of her own purposes. She is in league with Satan.

Since I first completed this journal, the “church” in America has made great headway in transforming itself into just such a church. I want to be careful not to be judgmental, but discerning. In my opinion, there seem to be more and more pastors of very large churches with national influence who are more interested in leading their congregations into “Christian” service than in teaching of the whole word of God and investing in the spiritual growth of their members. Their stated motives are identified as reaching the unsaved, while their own members are spiritually malnourished. I believe God’s word teaches that the church is supposed to strengthen and edify believers first and foremost. Scripture is clear that the teaching of the word is the primary source of providing the spiritual food necessary for that growth. Christians who are nourished through the word and edified through the Spirit working through the body of the believers to minister to one another will naturally produce Christians who will then go out and win others to Christ through sharing the gospel and showing the love of Christ in service to those in need.

It struck me that the Ephesian church had gotten so busy in ministry that it had become focused on what it was accomplishing and was investing no time in fellowship with and worship of the God in whose name they were serving. They were not, however, spiritually malnourished; they were still showing spiritual discernment and evidencing an understanding of God’s word since they were able to identify false apostles and hated the deeds of the Nicolaitans. The church at Thyatira is a mirror of the Ephesian church in their focus on serving others, but they evidence no spiritual discernment or understanding of God’s word. The Ephesians are called to repent from leaving their first love; in other words, they had given definite evidence of their salvation. In Thyatira, however, most of the church is caught up in the false teaching and adulterous ways of the prophetess. They too are called to repent, but that repentance is from a way of life that is leading to death. The amazing thing is that there are evidently some true believers in the church who are encouraged to hold fast to their faith in spite of the false teaching surrounding them. This makes me think of those today who have probably grown up in the church or just have so many friends and/or family in the church that they hang in there hoping they can make a difference. In that regard they are similar to the true believers in the church at Pergamos.

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