Quarter’s Theme: DIVINE DISPLAY OF THE WORD OF KNOWLEDGE
Unit 2 – I Know Thy Works-Time For Critical Self-Examination (Lessons 4-11)
LESSON 7 19/7/2015
THYATIRA – THE IDOLATROUS CHURCH (PART 1)
Suggested Hymns: G.H.B. 10, 16
Devotional Reading: 1 COR. 5:1-7
Topic For Adults
DANGERS OF COMPROMISING THE FAITH
Topic For Youths
TEST EVERY GIFT WITH GOD’S WORD
Topic For Intermediates
DON’T TOLERATE UNBIBLICAL TEACHINGS
Memory Verse: I know your works; love, service, faith, and your patience, and as for your works, the last are more than the first. Nevertheless I have a few things against you… (Rev. 2:19-20a) NKJV
DAILY DEVOTIONAL READING
Deceivers Are On The Prowl
2 Jn. 1: 7-11
The world is full of deceivers and many of them have found their ways into the Church in one way or the other. They come in various ways, so subtle that they may be taken as genuine people of God if care is not taken. Jesus says in Matt. 24:24 that many of these deceivers shall come with great signs and wonders such that some unwary believers will even be deceived. That is why we must be very careful to study the word of God thoroughly in order to be able to differentiate the fake from the original. We are not only warned to watch out for these deceivers but also not tolerate them. Whoever accepts them is adjudged to be a partaker in their false teaching and evil deeds.
Point of Emphasis: Be careful not to be carried away by display of gifts and false miracles.
Prayer Point: Father, give me discerning Spirit to be able to differentiate the real from the false teaching of Your word.
Thyatira was a very small but prosperous city. Being a very busy commercial center,
a lot of trade union activities thrived in the city. People who worked there had to belong to one or more trade unions to be able to make it. Belonging to a trade union was not really a problem. The problem stemmed from the fact that the unions were made up of pagans for the most part. The meetings of the unions were devoted to licentious activities which were connected with the worship of idols. Such meetings probably started with a libation to the gods, and the meal they ate there consisted of meat offered to idols. As in almost all the pagan systems, immorality was always associated with all these idolatrous practices. This was the first problem of the Christians in Thyatira because they must belong to these unions in order to make a living. Added to this was the problem of Jezebel who called herself a prophetess and began to teach that it was all right for them to go along with the requirements of the unions, probably with the popular argument nowadays that God would understand their predicament and overlook their sins. That made the church at Thyatira one of the most corrupt of the seven churches presented in the book of Revelation.
Thyatira church has a lot of similarities with the church today. Just as Church today has a lot of good works, love and faith, service and perseverance, it has also tolerated some false teachers and false teachings like the Church in Thyatira.
NOTES ON THE LESSON
(1) COMMENDATION FOR SERVICE (REV. 2: 18-19)
The Church in Thyatira was full of works and service and was commended for it by the Lord. The Church had had many people that loved God and served His people. They had faith in His word, and they persevered. They helped many and because of this it attracted a lot of members and the church grew. The Church was doing so well that its deeds, or the works and the perseverance were increasing constantly. It was a very impressive Church with busy, bustling, and active members who obviously manifested love and faith, concern and care for others. But the Lord with the blazing eyes that see beyond any human understanding, gave the scorecard of the Church. He commended the church for its good works but added that it lacked in zeal for sound doctrine, thereby giving room for false teaching and practice. It also had no zeal for moral purity and holy living. This was a serious deficiency because a healthy Church must be balanced in service and holy living.
There can be much that is good in a Church on the surface. There can even be numerical growth and great warmth in the fellowship. Care must be taken at the same time, so that “the very deep things of Satan” will not have place in the Church as they co-existed in the Church at Thyatira.
(2) CONDEMNATION FOR COMPROMISE (REV. 2: 20)
The commendation notwithstanding, the Church in Thyatira was rebuked for compromising the faith by tolerating the false prophetess and her wrong teachings which promoted immorality and idolatry. Jezebel referred to in this text was a woman who claimed to have prophetic powers and used this so-called gift to sway many unwary Christians. By so doing, she was able to entice genuine Christians to compromise their total loyalty to Christ and embrace her false teachings that permitted immorality and idolatry. Her teachings were probably based on the false interpretation of believers’ freedom in Christ (Gal 5:1), which many believers use as basis for frivolous living that gives freedom to engage in all sorts of anti-Christian activities. This whole scenario is paralleled in many churches today that accept the easy going sexuality. Many do not care to discipline their members when they fall into sexual immorality. Freedom in Christ does not mean license to sin.
There were two groups of Christians in the Church of Thyatira. The first was the group of people who were her (Jezebel) children and who accepted her teachings wholesale and followed her examples of immorality and idolatry in to-to. Then there was a second group of those who were not her children but associated with her by tolerating her and her teachings. These did not join her in her immoral practices and idolatry but tolerated her presence rather than dealing with her through Church discipline.
(3) JUDGMENT AND CALL TO REPENTANCE (REV. 2: 21-23)
In spite of the commendable good works and services of the Church in Thyatira, the Lord rebuked the Church sternly and pronounced judgment to befall all who engaged in the sinful practices. The Lord has no pleasure in the death of the sinner but that the sinner should come to repentance. Therefore, in His mercy, He gave the false prophetess and her followers the opportunity to repent but she refused to repent and turn from her evil ways. For this reason the Lord pronounced fierce judgment on her. Three-fold judgment was passed on her and her followers. She would be cast into a bed of sickness, tribulations would come upon all those that committed adultery with her and her children (followers) would be visited by death. God would never let any sin go unpunished. That is why even today, He is still calling sinners to repentance. He says whosoever cometh He will not cast away. Whosoever refuses will also face judgment without mercy. Verse 23b says God searches and knows every heart and will give unto every one according to his or her works.
Thyatira had the good works, love, and service but did not have holiness. They compromised with the world and did not uphold the sound doctrine. Their commendable good works still earned them condemnation because they lacked holiness. Good works without holy living is unacceptable to God. The situation is like that prevailing in our midst today. Therefore as God visited them with judgment, He will do the same with this generation except we repent.
- How did the trade unions’ activities affected Christianity in Thyatira and how can this be avoided in our days?
- What are recommendations God gave to the church in Thyatira
- How can we prevent our church from trading off our sound doctrine?
- In your own assessment, will you say our members are adhering to sound doctrine?
- What effect will ungodly compromise have on serious christians?
LES SEDUCTEURS RODENT
2 JEAN 1 :7-11
Le monde est plein de séducteurs et beaucoup d’entre eux se sont infiltrés dans l’église d’une façon ou d’une autre. Ils viennent de diverses manières, si rusés qu’ils puissent être pris pour des hommes de Dieu sincères si l’on ne prend garde. Jésus dit dans Matthieu 24 :24 que beaucoup de ces séducteurs viendront munis de grands signes et de merveilles à tel point que certains croyants non vigilants se feront même tromper. C’est pourquoi nous devons faire beaucoup attention à l’étude exhaustive de la parole de Dieu dans le but d’être capables de différencier les vrais des faux. Nous ne sommes pas seulement avertis de prendre garde à ces séducteurs mais de ne pas non plus les tolérer. Quiconque les accepte est déclaré partie prenante à leurs faux enseignements et leurs méfaits.
Point essentiel : Prends garde de te laisser emporter par l’exhibition de dons et de faux miracles.
Axe de prière : Père, donne-moi l’Esprit de discernement pour être capables de différencier les vrais des faux docteurs (enseignants) de ta parole.