Part 4 / Rev 2:18-29 / Thyatira
The Morning Star
What we believe affects what we do. Our beliefs drive our thoughts, and our thoughts determine our actions. Out of God’s abundant love for us, He reveals the areas where we are confused and making compromises. Tune in as Pastor Cameron continues our collection “Seven: Revelations of Jesus for His Church” with the message “The Morning Star.”
Revelation 2:18-29 NIV
18 “To the angel of the church in Thyatira write:
These are the words of the Son of God, whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze. 19 I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first.
20 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. 21 I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. 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. 23 I will strike her children dead. 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.
24 Now I say to the rest of you in Thyatira, to you who do not hold to her teaching and have not learned Satan’s so-called deep secrets, ‘I will not impose any other burden on you, 25 except to hold on to what you have until I come.’
26 To the one who is victorious and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations— 27 that one ‘will rule them with an iron scepter and will dash them to pieces like pottery’—just as I have received authority from my Father. 28 I will also give that one the morning star. 29 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
REFERENCES: 1 Corinthians 10:16, 1 Corinthians 8:9-10, Galatians 5:13, Revelation 22:16
God cares deeply about what we believe. What believe effects everything we do, so when we have belief that doesn't align with God's word, it affects more than we realize. Scripture tells us that their is spiritual happenings all around us beyond our physical site, and in Revelation John is given a glimpse of the spiritual realities of Jesus. The things we engage in in the physical have spiritual implications and consequences that we cannot always see in the physical, so it is important that we are mindful of what we engage in. To be mindful of what we engage in, we must also be mindful of what we believe in the first place, since that is what guides our actions.
In Thyatira, teaching had led believers to incorrect thinking which resulted in taking part in things that compromised the calling on their lives. Jesus called it out in the church of Thyatira for the same reason He would correct us today: He loves us. Since He loves us, and He loves truth, He cannot sit by and watch us become enslaved by sin. We must align our thoughts and actions with Christ in order to walk in the freedom He has bought for us. That walk is a nuanced and Spirit Led walk, not one of fear or legalism. So we draw near to Him stay soft in His hands to be molded, shaped, and sanctified in His name. When the darkness seems overwhelming and we are tempted to give into the ways of this world, we look to The Morning Star, and are reminded that the dawn of His Kingdom and His spiritual realities are near and on the horizon.
"The Book of Revelation has a twofold purpose.
One, to set the present moment in the light of unseen realities of the future.
Two, to set the present moment in light of the unseen realities of the present."
- Darrel Johnson
1. God Commends
Like previous letters, Jesus opens by commending the church of Thyatira. He celebrates the work the believers are doing and that it is of greater quality and quantity than when they first believed.
"I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first." Revelation 2:19
Of the thing He commends, what would you say is a strength of yours personally?
Which one do you believe God would like to see you strengthen and exercise more?
2. God Corrects
Jesus corrects because He loves. The things He sees being taught and practiced in His church have spiritual ramifications. Jesus calls out "Jezebel" who is leading others into sexual immorality and idol feasts. He refers also refers to these ideas as "Satan's so-called deep secrets" in Rev 2:24. With this reference, as well as giving them the name Jezebel, Jesus is pointing out that this deception is not new and has been attempted before with Jezebel in 1st Kings, and is just like the temptation of the serpent in Genesis 3 who leads astray through the temptation and challange of "Did God really say..." Just like Thyatira, sometimes we fail to see that our sin and compromise is 1) Causing Damage To Our Soul, 2) Causing Damage To Our Witness, and 3) Is Fatal To Our Freedom.
"Revelation is not a crystal ball revealing the secrets of the future so one can escape the realities of this life, but a down to earth discipleship manual on how to be faithful to Jesus as one experiences the harsh realities of this life."
- Darrel Johnson
We do not see many Idol Feasts in modern times, however, what is one temptation we face and what spiritual outcomes may come from it?
How can you remain both SENT and SET APART in your daily walk with Jesus? What methods and practices do you use to be sanctified by His truth?
In which ways does compromise affect our witness, and where has God called you to use your witness to encourage and strengthen others?
3. God Commands
In the closing of His letter to the church of Thyatira, Jesus makes it clear what is at risk for those who do not turn from these compromising practices that He has now clearly called out. He then calls upon them to simply hold on to His ways until His return, and gives a line of of mercy and hope for His disciples. His promise is that those who remain faithful will stand victorious in His Kingdom that outlasts all others, and He will give them the Morning Star.
The image evoked in the mind of all who hear the letter given by the Spirit to His churches, is a powerful picture of hope and perseverance. We are invited to look to the heavens, even in our darkest hour, and be reminded that the dawn is near. We may not see it just yet with our physical site, but spiritually, just beyond the veil, His Kingdom draws near.
"The morning star often appears between two and three at night, when the darkness is complete and the faintest sign of morning is not yet visible. So small that it threatens to vanish, the star seems unable to vanquish the overpowering darkness.
Yet when you see the morning star, you know that night has been defeated. For the morning star pulls the morning in behind it, just as certainly as Jesus pulls the Kingdom behind Him."
- Bob Goudzwaard
We are called to hold onto the Truth of Christ, even when the darkness feels overpowering. When we, like John, might feel like the troubling things of this world and the distress over the condition of God's church are simply too much for us to be able to anything about. It is in these moments we look to His promises and hold fast to His truth. We do not retreat or compromise, but instead lean in and be sanctified.
Jesus prayed that we not be taking out of this world, but instead for protection for us as He sends us into it. He has appointed us as His messengers of love and as a hope delivery system to a world so desperate for both. We cannot retreat or compromise that calling, but must hold fast to His truth which protects and points out counterfeits. While at times overwhelming, Jesus supplies relief to the darkness and angst that it brings. With His Spirit within, and the family of believers He has placed around, we can stand firm in the Truth of His word and together look to the coming light of The Morning Star.
Call To Action
The book of Revelation brings us to a razor-sharp point of decision: Who will be Lord of my life, and who's rule will I choose to live under?
Is there areas of our faith where we have compromised? Ultimately, the answer for all of us is yes. We have all fallen short of the glory of God. Thankfully, if you are reading this, God has granted you two of the most precious gifts of all eternity. First, His Son, our Savior. By grace, Jesus made a way for all prodigals to return to their Father. He has paid for our sin and covered us in His righteousness. The second gift, Time. You are are created on purpose and for a purpose, and no matter what choices came before today, now is your time to make a new one. Live for His Kingdom. Submit yourself to His love and lordship. He promises to walk with you in perfect peace giving you life, and life more abundantly.
Perhaps you have made this decision before, but today you find yourself on a path you not longer recognize. Unfortunately, the enemy is all to eager to capitalize on our compromise, and quickly usher us back into darkness. Today, look to the light of The Morning Star. Repent. Sit in the warmth of His presence. Allow His love and forgiveness to rest upon and restore you.