Thursday, November 6, 2014

What Does the Seven Churches Say to the Genuine Believer (Part 4)

The Church @ Thyatira - the corrupt church

John's language is important. He is recording what Christ said to this church but he used the language of the day, Greek. He uses the Greek word afeis - …this word means "you tolerate." The problem was internal, it was inside the church, it began with the leadership which had authority over who taught and who did not teach and the fact that the leadership tolerated this false doctrine. That "ran downhill" and permeated the church until there was sin and corruption in the church.

The Thyatirans did nothing to prevent or remove this insidious doctrine.

It is not certain if this Jezebel was an actual woman named Jezebel or she was used to "personify" heresy. There are a number of other "theories" as to who or what the name refers to. The best idea that I feel comfortable with is that the name represented a very prominent and apparently dominate woman in this church.

She claimed to be a prophetess and found a way to teach in the church. Her teaching led to corruption of doctrine and practice.

The problem does not lie in the fact that prophets and female prophets existed. Anna was called a prophet in Luke 2. The daughters of Philip (deacon turned evangelist) were called prophets. Prophets, whether male or female in the first century church were inspired messengers of God, second in rank to the apostles given by God to edify the church, (1 Cor 12:28.)

Female prophets could prophesy, but Paul prohibited them from speaking in the actual corporate service of the church. It seems they were to prophesy outside of the corporate service of the church.

Here in Thyatira, we have several problems:

  • Apparently no one "tested" her to see if she was legit.
  • Secondly, they allowed her to prophesy inside the corporate worship service of the church
  • Thirdly, no one challenged her "seduction" of false teaching
  • Fourthly, no one disciplined her or followers when they began to  practice open of sin

What was Christ's specific charge against this church?

  • She taught  - she taught doctrine and in a manner that led people away from the truth
  • She deceived - the membership into believing she:

  • Was authorized by God
  • She had a right to teach in the body against Paul's prohibition
  • Her doctrine was sanctioned by God
  • Was right in teaching the membership to continue the pagan worship of idols

How do these two things [eating meat sacrificed to idols & immorality] go together?

She taught that the members of the church could join in with pagans [unbelievers] and that they could participate in the feasts and parties where the meat had been sacrificed or dedicated to idols, or false Gods. She also taught that they could participate in the sexual practices that accompanied this worship at the feasts.

What Does The Sin & Condemnation of this church say to genuine believers today?

  • We must also be on guard against those in the church who would attempt to break down the wall of separation from pagans and pagan practice in the church. Today's church is full of Jezebel's [both male and female] who are seducing churches & memberships to abandon God's standards and to adapt the practices of the culture in order to be what they call "relevant."

  • The church assembly is not for the lost, it is for believers
  • The church does not have to adapt the practices of the world in order to fulfil her commission
  • Spiritual freedom does not include practices or teachings that violate the righteous standards of God
  • The power of the gospel is in the life, death, resurrection of Christ not in cultural relevance

  • We cannot change, circumvent, or otherwise castoff God's standards or commands

  • Times or cultural may change, but God's Word & its content does not
  • All who claim to have authority, teach, preach, or prophesy must be tested by Scripture
  • It takes time and consistency to determine whom God has "ordained" vs the self-titled
  • Holiness and worldliness can never mix for believers good or God's glory

  • We must realize that compromise of biblical standards will always led to corruption

  • Departure from God's standards always leads to sin
  • Churches today are permeated with compromise and corruption

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I must congratulate you Gregg on this series, excellent to read and understand.