SUGGESTED VERSES FOR MEMORIZATION & MEDITATION
I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first. (Revelation 2:19)
Therefore repent. If not, I will come to you soon and war against them with the sword of my mouth. (Revelation 2:16)
Only hold fast to what you have until I come. (Revelation 2:25)
Having discussed the churches of Ephesus, Smyrna, and Pergamum, we now come to the center of the seven letters of Revelation. To the Ephesians, Christ applauded their works and theology, but He condemned their lack of love. For the church in Smyrna, Jesus had nothing to say against them; with the world attacking them, He encouraged them to persevere throughout hardship. The church in Pergamum was a mixed bag: some were holding firm during persecution, but others were conforming themselves to the society around them.
The church in Thyatira is essentially the foil of the Ephesians. Jesus begins by commending the works and love of the Christians there. They were succeeding where the Christians in Ephesus were failing. However, Jesus then rebukes them for tolerating false teachings in their midst. So the success of the Ephesians was Thyatira’s failure. Thyatira and Ephesus were in this way mirror opposites of one another.
It could also be said that Thyatira was the unfortunate progression of Pergamum. Both churches were guilty of the sin of comprising with the society around them and tolerating the false teaching within the church. The letter to Pergamum focused more on former, while Thyatira exemplifies the latter. It is too true that compromise with the world is a stepping stone toward the blatant accepting of false teaching within the church.
Read verses 18-19 and discuss the following.
- Christ begins His message to the church of Thyatira by commending their love, faith, service, and works. They were triumphing in the areas that the Christians in Ephesus were failing. Could Jesus’ say of you His words in verse 19?
- Like those in Thyatira, are you continuing to grow in good works?
Read verses 20-23 and discuss the following.
- In the Old Testament, Jezebel was a wife to the king of Israel, who incited Israel to worship the false god, Baal. Jesus is likely using this as a symbolic name for one or more false teachers within the church of Thyatira who were leading the believers away from the truth. What sorts of heresies might have been taught to Thyatira?
- What are some false teachings that are prevalent within our culture?
Read verses 24-29 and discuss the following.
- Like the church of Pergamum, Jesus urges the Christians within Thyatira to hold fast until He comes. In what ways can we hold fast and guard ourselves against false teaching?
ACTIONS TO CONSIDER
- Take time this week to pray specifically for people being deceived by false teachings and for those who are holding fast to Christ in the midst of false teaching.
- Prayerfully reflect upon your works, love, faith, service, and patient endurance for Christ, and consider how you might continue to grow in weaker areas.