The Church in Thyatira (Part 4)

In one of his books about the family and parenting, Dr. James Dobson tells a story to impress upon parents how children train them as parents. The example he uses is mommy calling Johnny for supper. He is in his bedroom playing and she is in the kitchen setting the table for supper. She calls and there is no response. She calls again and again and after a while he responds with “coming”. This goes on for a long period of time, each “Johnny come for supper” sees mom’s voice reaching a higher pitch until around the fiftieth time Johnny hears the “pitch” that indicates “it’s now or a hiding” and rushes through to the kitchen”. Although God is longsuffering, it does not mean we train God to wait until we’re ready. He gives the race in every time frame of history sufficient time to repent. When they don’t and His patience (allotted time to repent) runs out, He withdraws the offer to repent and then it is impossible for a person to repent. The result is judgment, punishment and eternal hell. As a pastor I often feel so sad because after preaching my heart out, calling the lost to the Savior … calling for repentance and faith … hearts remain hardened, immovable. Perhaps there’s the thought “there is plenty of time to make a last minute about turn before they close their eyes in death”. I am sure the same is true when a believer prayers for a loved one, colleague or friend for years and there is no repentance. Again we return to the pastor and his congregation at Thyatira. Now we come to where the Lord Jesus’ patience has run its course.

3) Jesus gave the Jezebel Cult sufficient time to repent.

Rev 2:21 I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling.

Our Lord gave these false teachers, who were leading souls into pagan temples to feasts on food dedicated to idols and then slipping into sexual immorality of the most depraved sort, time to repent but they refused. Their captivation with the so called “deep secrets of satan” was such they could not leave their addiction to the filth and impurity they reveled in. Although they cannot see how they are destroying their souls, and for that don’t even consider the coming wrath, those who pray and look on are filled with pain because hell is eternal.

(1) Look at the description of our Lord’s punishment.

(a) The bed of sexual pleasure will become the bed of awful pain and suffering.

Rev 2:22 So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways.

There are a few things to observe here. In the first phrase the Lord implies He causes these wicked teachers to fall onto the bed. It is a Hebraistic expression for illness. This is physical pain and suffering because of idolatry and sexual perversion. Where this is the precursor to the final judgment and eternal punishment, it certainly points to a present wage for immorality. Look at this passage

Ro 1:26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another.

Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. The last phrase is important. Some suggest this refers to HIV/AIDS or other STDs. I would suggest that in the light of the passage (v18-32) with special focus on verse 26 “God gave them over …” it includes everything that sinful, dysfunctional relationships represent … be it emotional, sexual, moral, physical and eternal. This includes those who fall to their spell should they not repent. The followers are given an extended time to repent, but should they not, the same judgment and punishment will be theirs. (b) The teachers, their teaching and their followers will come to an end.

Rev 2:23 I will strike her children dead. This means the false teaching will end terribly.

Although there is a continuity in false teaching from the first few centuries that persist in ours, such as the Jehovah Witnesses, cults do die off and when the Lord Jesus returns, them and their teaching will face a final end.

(c) Deeds cannot be covered.

Rev 2:23 Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds.

As much as the Church is on the stage of history for all to see, so the Lord says the Church will be able to see (know0 how He deals with false teachers (the Jezebel Cult). In Jewish thought and teaching the “mind” was the kidney, associated with the emotions whereas the “heart” was associated with the intellect. This is interesting as Jesus, in searching the mind and heart literally searches the emotional and intellect. He sees what dominates the emotions and brain. He knows where one’s affections are because those affections will drive one’s intentions and worship. In the case of the Jezebel Cult and her followers, it was the sordid pagan feasts including sexual perversion. The indictment here is levelled against those in the church who teach this debauchery and those who follow them. So here it comes … what Jesus sees in these people will result in … I will repay each of you according to your deeds. The deeds here include their sin and depravity, their engagement in the occult feasts, their sexual perversion and their rejection of the Triune God and His teaching. Note they will be “repaid” for their deeds. Deeds are seen as works … works of evil and payment (repay) is the wage … the deserved reward for their wicked works. O my beloved, are you seeing how provocative these letters are? Do you see how Holy God is? Are you able to grasp what God requires of you? The deeds He expects of His people is to love Him, believe His Word, serve the Gospel, live holy lives, care for His people (the saints) and seek the lost. We will expand on this tomorrow but for now, let us thank God that He will bring an end to all the wicked, perverted, debauched, sinister teaching of all false teachers and their offspring.

Blessed Lord, thank You for showing us Your Truth in Your Word. Help us to be faithful so that we will not fall to false teaching and practices for Jesus sake. Amen.

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