Revelation Study 4) Thyatira: The Too Tolerant Church (Chapter 2.18-29) – word doc available here.
The church in Thyatira had become corrupted with false teaching. An influential leader, calling herself aprophetess, had led many of the church into sexual immorality and idolatry. In a powerful and scathingcritique of her true motivations and methods, Jesus calls back his wayward church to repentance and a deep-hearted commitment to his authority alone.
1. In Jim’s sermon he summarised Jesus’ message to this church as “hold on and look up” – what had they been given to hold onto? Why did they need to look up? How similar is our situation in 21st century Dundee to theirs?
2. What are the physical metaphors that Jesus uses to describe himself in v18? How does this compare with the description in chapter 1.14-15? Why do you think his eyes and feet are specifically mentioned? How does the fact that Jesus sees and knows all things make you feel?
3. What five characteristics does Jesus use to describe his examination of this church in v19? What does this say about how Jesus assesses the spiritual condition of a church and individual believer? Which of these five areas do we need to strengthen and how?
4. In v20 Jesus compares one of their false prophets to Jezebel. What were the sins of Jezebel? (1Kings 16.29-32, 18.4, 21.7-10)? How was she able to exert such an influence over Israel (1 Kings 21.25)? How is the “prophetess” in Thyatira similar to Jezebel?
5. What does v22 teach about the connection between sin and suffering? How does this verse compare with John 9.1-3 and 1 Corinthians 11.29-32? Given these verses, how do we avoid the false extremes of attributing all or none of our suffering to the consequences of our sin?
6. Jim reminded us that at the heart of the immorality at Thyatira was a misplaced allegiance. They were listening to the words of a false prophetess over Jesus’ words. What or who strives for our allegiance today? Who would Jesus name “Jezebel” in our day?
7. Not all the church had been deceived by the prophetess – what task is given to these believers? Why would what Jesus says in v26-28 encourage them to remain faithful?
The church is given a stark choice, repent and return or receive the punishment. It is a final warning to a wayward church. If this is how Jesus responded to a single corrupt church, how his heart must break when he looks at the state of the church in the UK today. Surely great judgement is awaiting many of our churches that have abandoned the truths they were given to hold on to. May we be found diligently defending and declaring the gospel that was handed down to us by our forefathers.
“And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.” 2 Timothy 2.2