The fourth church (of the seven churches of Asia) that Jesus addressed through the pen of John is the church in Thyatira. The message is recorded in Revelation 2:18-29 saying —
18 And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet [are] like fine brass;
19 I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last [to be] more than the first.
20 Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.
21 And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.
22 Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.
23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.
24 But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden.
25 But that which ye have [already] hold fast till I come.
26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:
27 And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.
28 And I will give him the morning star. 29 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
There were definitely things that were good when it came to Thyatira. Jesus recognized their charity, service, faith, patience, and works, and “the last [to be] more than the first (v. 19). Still, His love caused Him to point out what was wrong so they could get it right! Specifically, they had a woman named Jezebel who they allowed to teach and seduce others to sin! We need to learn from Thyatira today!
Lesson 1: Be careful who’s influencing you.
After listing the good in Thyatira, we find out a major problem: Jesus said, “Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols” (v. 20). Within the church, someone was allowed a place of influence where she was destroying others!
Notice SHE called HERSELF a prophetess (falsely claiming she spoke for God), and the things she taught and did deceived others, leading them into sin. That is bad in itself, but it is worse because Jesus said to Thyatira, “thou sufferest” — which means, permitted or allowed — her to teach and seduce! They allowed it and let it be, and that is why Jesus had something against them too!
As we saw with Pergamos, we have to be so careful what doctrines we let influence us AND the people we allow to impact us! The Bible is not playing or exaggerating when it says, “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners” (1 Cor. 15:33). Pay attention to who is influencing your head and heart, your life and church!
Are they leading you to heaven or hell, toward Christ or away from Him, the right way or astray? Do they contradict the written Word of God or line up with it? Don’t trust someone just because they say they speak for God! Be careful who’s in your ear and if they’re wrong, remove them from that place in your life!
Lesson 2: Repent while you have a chance.
Jezebel’s impact on the people of God was terrible, but Jesus still gave her a chance! He said, “I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.” She had (and we have) a space — a time, an opportunity — to REPENT!
Though we cannot change our past, when the Lord gives you a chance to repent, repent! Change your heart, change your mind, and change your direction. Eventually it will be too late. Jezebel declined His call, and Jesus promised consequences for her, those sinning with her (except they repent of their deeds), and even her children. Repent today – God is willing to forgive and have mercy (1 John 1:9), but we must repent while we can.
Lesson 3: If you do it right, God sees you.
Though some people followed Jezebel, Jesus did not lump everyone into the same category. If they were wrong, they were wrong but Jesus, in the midst of wickedness, still sees those who are striving to do it right. In elementary school if most of the class cuts up, there are times when everybody loses their recess, and to the ones being obedient it feels like torture. Thankfully God is not like that. Just as righteous “Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD” (Gen. 6:8) and avoided the punishment given to a wicked world, God will see you doing right too.
Jesus addressed the other portion of the church, “But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden. But that which ye have [already] hold fast till I come” (v. 24-25). They wouldn’t have the same consequences as the unrepentant followers of and fornicators with Jezebel. If they held on and overcame, God had great things in store.
No matter what people choose to do around you, in the world or even in your church, do what is pleasing in God’s sight! He won’t forget you. He won’t forsake you. He sees your stand and choice to live for Him. If something’s wrong, choose to repent and turn. God forgives. Don’t let anyone lead you the wrong way, even if they say they are saved or called by God. Church, let’s follow God’s Word, and He’ll help us to please Him in an evil day.
What did you learn from the church in Thyatira? What stands out to you? Share your comments below!