I Know Your Deeds – Part 1
“Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols.” (Revelation 2:20 NIV)
In the book of Revelation, Jesus appeared to John in a vision and commissioned the apostle to write on his behalf to seven churches in the Roman province of Asia. One of these churches was the church in Thyatira. Although Thyatira was the smallest town of the seven, the church there had the longest letter from Jesus. This goes to show that in his dealings with his people, Jesus doesn’t go by what is big or small in people’s eyes. His ways are not our ways.
Unfortunately, there’s more of a rebuke for the church in Thyatira than for some of the others, because although it had good things going for it, it also had some very bad things. Isn’t it the same for us individually and for our churches? We can have areas where we are strong, and we can have areas where we are not doing well at all. The problem in Thyatira was that despite the good things God was doing, they tolerated a woman named Jezebel who was engaged in false teaching that was corrupting the people in the church. This was not a problem outside the church, like the false teaching of the Nicolaitans that we read about in the first letter to the church in Ephesus; nor was it persecution from the outside, as was the case with the church in Smyrna. This was a problem within the church of Thyatira. We see then, that the enemy uses different schemes to get at us as churches and as individuals.
So the negative aspect of Jesus’ message to the church in Thyatira was that they were tolerating things that they shouldn’t have been tolerating, and this was leading some of the people into idol worship and immorality. People make toleration a virtue, asking, “Who’s to judge?” without distinguishing the good from the bad. That’s a deadly way to live, because there are certain things we should never tolerate. If you have children and someone who is dealing in drugs comes in to befriend them, you’re not going to tolerate it, are you? No, you can’t let them associate with that person. The problem with the church in Thyatira was that they let in practices that should not have been tolerated. The woman that is referred to, Jezebel, claimed to be a prophet; and that is probably how she got over. She said, “The Lord told me… the Lord said… thus saith God,” but it didn’t line up with the Word of God; and this church bought into it and let this woman corrupt the people through false teaching. To have sat her down would have probably caused a big commotion in the church, but that’s what leadership has to do. It isn’t easy being a leader in the house of the Lord, because you can’t be everybody’s friend. Sometimes you have to take a stand and say, “No, that doesn’t line up with the Word of God. You can’t teach that; you can’t do that; end of story.” That isn’t easy, because we all want to be liked by everyone; but the one whose acceptance we need is Jesus.
As we pray for discernment, and stay in God’s Word, the Lord will show us what to do and will not allow us to be deceived…
To be continued…
Read Revelation 2:20-23.