Now before we jump in today, there’s something I should point out as I cover centuries of history in just a few minutes. I am making some vast generalizations here. And as with all generalizations, they don’t apply to everyone, and a lot of details get missed. The Christian church is a wide and varied body of individuals, and our history is complex. Still, it is good to get a broad view, and especially to find out what Jesus says to his church.
That’s the point here: not so much to cover history but to hear from Jesus. And Jesus ends this whole section by saying, “Those whom I love, I rebuke and discipline.” The bottom line on all of this is Jesus’ love for His church. All of his church. We don’t deserve it, but he loves us. And in love, he disciplines us and calls us to repent. So take it to heart.
As we continue looking at the letter to Thyatira, we have seen the accusation against the teachings of Jezebel. Jesus says it all starts with bad teaching. Teaching like indulgences: paying off sins by donating to the church, as if God accepted bribes. And simony: buying your way into church offices. People today believe that paying their tithes can make them in right standing with God and man.
With His eyes of fire, Jesus says:
“I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds” (2:23)
Now Jesus also speaks to the many in Thyatira “who do not hold to her teaching.” And to them, he gives no correction. Even within a corrupt church, there may be many faithful, and Jesus tells them to hold on until he comes.
Anchored in Hope,
Pastor Phil Johnson