Jun 15, 2021 • Written by Elizabeth Nejedlo
7: The Churches of Revelation- Thyatira
This article was originally published by Elizabeth on her personal blog as one entry in a series about the 7 Churches in Revelation. Visit her personal blog to read about the other Churches and what we can learn from them today.
1. Founded as a military post.
2. Well known for having many trade guilds. To participate in the trade industry, which was necessary for business, one needed to be a member of a guild.
3. Many of these trade guilds were for cloth making, pottery, and dyeing. Lydia (Paul's 1st convert-see Acts 16:14) was actually from Thyatira.
4. Guild members often participated in meals dedicated to pagan deities.
5. A false prophetess called "Jezebel" was involving her followers in the same sins that were plaguing the church of Pergamum.
6. The Thyatira church tolerated many who taught sexual immorality and idolatry.
7. The city had no particular religion.
The Passage: Revelation 2:18-29 NIV
“To the angel of the church in Thyatira write:
These are the words of the Son of God, whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze. I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first.
Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols. I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways. I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds.
Now I say to the rest of you in Thyatira, to you who do not hold to her teaching and have not learned Satan’s so-called deep secrets, ‘I will not impose any other burden on you, except to hold on to what you have until I come.’
To the one who is victorious and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations— that one ‘will rule them with an iron scepter and will dash them to pieces like pottery—just as I have received authority from my Father. I will also give that one the morning star. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches."
Jesus saw each of these churches. He saw and knew each area they were strong in and where their weaknesses were too. He knows and sees us too. He searches the hearts and the minds of His people. While the church of Ephesus needed to go back to the love they had at first, Thyatira was the opposite. They were growing. They were loving, and serving, and persevering more than they had before. But parallel to that growth was the secular world they were getting caught up in.
I thought about going over the parable of the soils with you (if you are not familiar with it head over to Matthew 13:1–23, it is worth the read). But then, I remembered a drive I took a few years ago in the summer. I remembered passing by two farm fields. The two were side by side and the contrast caught my eye. One was full of a crop about to be harvested. It was lush and green and abundant. The other had sparse growth, was unkept, dry, and invaded by weeds.
Now, growth happens for different people at different rates and different seasons. Each of us have our own faith walk and what we shouldn't do is compare. However, if we want to keep growing, if we want to end up with that lush, abundantly green field, rather than the dry, sparse one, there are things we can do to get there. I think Christ gives us a good start in this letter to Thyatira.
Do not tolerate false teaching.
Repent of your sins.
Don't allow secular beliefs to infiltrate your faith, your life.
Hold on to the faith you have.
Hear the Word. Read it.
Listen. Listen to the Holy Spirit.
A good start to that abundant field of faith starts with getting rid of any weeds. Any sin. By not only repenting, but being aware of those little creepers as they start to take root. Be aware and acknowledge them. Toss them aside and protect the soil of your heart from new weed growth. Let the food you feed the field of your soul be truth and goodness and light. Water your roots with Scripture. Dig your roots deeper. Turn your face to the SON.
Thyatira was growing. And so are we. But just like this ancient church, there are weeds trying to grow influence in our hearts. May we hold steadfast onto the faith we have. May we look deep into our hearts. May we be willing to repent, to let God weed out anything in our hearts that is not pure and good. May we seek daily to grow a field that produces a lush, abundant crop.
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
1. Is your workplace a secular environment? Are there times when you are placed in situations that go against your beliefs? Times when you are expected to attend secular events or outings that have the potential to tempt you OR for you to be a light? How can you still hold to your beliefs in these situations? How can you be a light to others who don't know Christ?
2. Are you still seeking to grow? Or are you at a plateau? If you are still seeking, what does this look like? If you are at a plateau, what can you do differently?
3. "Jezebel" was teaching that immorality was not a serious matter. Is there someone in your life who believes that sin in not serious either and is influencing you or has the potential to influence you? What do you think is the right way to handle this? What is Christ encouraging you to do in today's passage?
4. Sexual immorality has the power to destroy relationships, families, churches, and communities. Has it destroyed something in your life? Have you witnessed the destruction it has caused in someone else's life? What safeguards can you personally place around yourself and your loved ones to lessen the chance of this sin seeping into your own relationships?
5. "Jezebel" was unwilling to repent. Is there a sin that you have not repented from? That either you are unwilling to or perhaps afraid to? Perhaps, you think it's too big for God to forgive you for or even that it is too small to bring to Him. He already knows your heart. He knows your sins big and small. He loves you anyway, His mercy is great. Take a moment to confess anything you may need to.
Growing in Faith
Growing in faith is a day by day action. What are some specific actions we can take to grow in faith?
Here are just a few things:
Daily Bible Reading Not sure where to start? Try starting with the Gospel of John!
Bible Study Want to know more about how to study the Bible? Check out the Dwelling Together Podcast where Mindy and I share Bible Study tools and tips: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/episode-4-bible-study/id1498493960?i=1000465438988
Pray Daily Want to know more about the power of Prayer? Check out the Dwelling Together Podcast here: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/episode-5-prayer-series-why-pray/id1498493960?i=1000466017016
Accountability When we have an accountability partner, for many of us, it helps to keep us on track and to reach our faith goals.
Put the Word into practice Don't just read the Word, DO IT!
Be a part of a Faith Community
Discipleship/Mentoring Your faith can be grown both through being discipled and also by discipling someone else. On the Dwelling Together Podcast, Mindy and I interviewed an amazing mentor, Tammy Mueller, who gave us a world of information on just this subject. You can check it out here: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/episode-14-discipleship-with-guest-tammy-mueller/id1498493960?i=1000472262944
Start with creating small habits
Serve You won't believe the growth that comes from serving others.
Say "yes" (yes to God's calling - step out in faith) and "No" (don't say yes to too many things or you won't be able to do any of them well)
Again, there is much more that we could dig into in today's passage, so don't forget to download, print, and fill out your study guide!
Tomorrow we stroll through the church of Sardis.
Until then, many blessings to you and yours,