Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Jesus' bold church (part 8)

The last three posts, I have quoted from Revelation chapters 2 and 3. Of the seven churches discussed in those two chapters, five were rebuked for their actions to some extent. Tonight, two more of those churches who were rebuked.
“’These are the words of the Son of God, whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze. I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first.
Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols. I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. 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. 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. 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): Only hold on to what you have until I come.
   To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over all the nations—‘He will rule them with an iron scepter; he will dash them to pieces like pottery’—just as I have received authority from my Father. I will also give him the morning star. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’” Revelation 2: 18b-29 (NIV)
As previously done, I am not going to analyze this passage but will point out the following:
1) The church has positive deeds.
2) The church has love.
3) The church has faith.
4) The church has positive service.
5) The church has perseverance.
6) The church is doing more that it was doing at first.
7) The faithful believers of the church are to hold on to what they have without deviating from GOD’S true will.
8) The faithful believers of the church are to hear what the Spirit of GOD declares to the churches, believe, and be obedient to what they hear.
This church also receives condemnation:
The church has been tolerating sin. The sin is identified through the person Jezebel. Who is Jezebel? The Bible in this passage does not identify her. Some commentators believe she is an actual individual. Some believe the name is symbolic. Jezebel was an evil queen in the Old Testament (I & II Kings). Regardless, she is identified as leading JESUS’ servants into sin. Two sins are specifically mentioned. They are the same two sins which brought condemnation to the church at Pergamum—sexual immorality and eating food sacrificed to idols. (Note this: When the Jewish Christians in the book of Acts were in disagreement as to what portions of the law of Moses newly baptized Gentile believers were to obey, four items were specifically listed. Two of those four were eating food sacrificed to idols and sexual immorality. “Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, ‘The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to obey the law of Moses.’” [Acts 15: 5 (NIV)] “It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangle animals and from sexual immorality.” [Acts 15:28-29a (NIV)] The study of these passages is not the intent of this post tonight. It does seem though that some of the followers of GOD both in the Old and New Testaments had difficulty remaining true to GOD’S will [worshiping other things rather than the one true GOD and also indulging in all kinds of sexual immorality.]) It is declared that Jezebel was given the opportunity to REPENT and has refused to do so. She is condemned. Those in the church who have been following her ways are also given the opportunity to REPENT. If they too refuse to REPENT, they too will be condemned. JESUS knows our hearts and minds and JESUS refuses to allow sin to exist in HIS church. Christians must do JESUS’ will to the end!        
“’These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of God. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.
       Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels. He who has an ear, let him hear what the spirit says to the churches.’” Revelation 3: 1b-6 (NIV)
     The commendation for this church is extremely limited. There are only a few who have not sinned, only a few are worthy. However, if they remain true to JESUS’ will, they have the promise of eternal life with HIM and the FATHER. As with the previous five churches, we are to hear want the Spirit has to say to the churches.
     The rebuke? The church has a worldly reputation of being alive but it is really spiritually dead—at least almost spiritually dead. Since there are still a few people left in the church who are alive, the church has an opportunity to awake. The church is commanded to strengthen what remains least the church dies completely. The church is commanded to obey what they have received and heard. Those of the church who are in sin are commanded to REPENT. Of the six churches covered so far, this is the fourth church (or portions thereof) that has been commanded to REPENT!!!      


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