Great Works, but Tolerating Sin (Rev. 2:18-29)

Sep 02, 2022 By: Elias Adamo Topic: Sermon Devotional Series: The Revelation of Jesus Christ Scripture: Rev. 2:18-29

“I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first…. But I have this against you”

The church of Thyatira had all the qualities of a strong, healthy church.  They had what Paul commended the Thesselonians for: “work of faith, labor of love, and steadfastness of hope in Christ” (1 Thess 1:3); and their “latter works exceeded the first,” meaning they were continuing to grow in these graces; unlike the church of Ephesus, who had started well but then abandoned their first love. Sadly, however, there was one glaring flaw in the church, that they tolerated an immoral teacher to teach and seduce believers to commit sexual immorality and idolatry, as we read in 2:20:  “But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols.”

Jezebel in the Old Testament was the wife of wicked king Ahab. She was a foreigner, who worshiped foreign gods (idols).  She persuaded her husband to build a temple and altar to Ashtaroth in the capital city of Samaria. She also killed many prophets of the Lord and supported some 850 prophets of Baal and Ashtaroth (1 Kings 21:25; 18:19).  In a similar manner, this Thyatiran Jezebel was a prominent woman in the congregation, who was teaching that you can be a Christian and take part in the idolatrous worship of the world at the same time, and instead of radically dealing with this heretical teaching, the church of Thyatira was tolerating it. 

This seems to be Satan’s MO in dealing with the church.  In an effort to wipe it out, he either raises up persecution against it or infiltrates it with false teachers.  But the risen Christ, who purchased the church with His own blood, will preserve her till the end and present her to Himself holy and blameless. In this case, Christ came with swift judgment to deal with this wicked “prophetess” and her followers. And to the faithful believers who did not follow her teachings, Christ calls them to continue in their steadfastness until He comes, and He will give them to share in His eternal glory in heaven.

May the Lord help us to grow in these graces of love, faith, service, and patient endurance, and keep us ever vigilant against all forms of worldliness in our midst.