Strong in Purity
Thyatira’s sexually promiscuous pagan worship was seen as normative for much of the population. Consequently, this sexual immorality also became prevalent in the church in Thyatira.
Similarly, sexual immorality has infiltrated the American culture. Even some church attendees embrace licentious living. Christians who refuse to embrace this sexual revolution are sometimes viewed as judgmental bigots. Believers must, however, be countercultural and remain biblically faithful. After all, we are called to be holy as He is holy. As with the ancient church at Thyatira, we must remain firm in purity.
Increase your love and service for Christ. (18–19)
Unholy living cannot escape the gaze of the Son of God who has eyes like fire. Jesus does not and will not tolerate sin. His feet of bronze draw attention and remind the reader that Christ will pursue and tread down all that is evil. Before Jesus mentions what He has against Thyatira, he commends their love, faith, service and endurance. These virtues can be paired together. For example, love for others produces service. Faith in Christ results in perseverance.
Thyatira was not content to stay where they began. Instead, the believers there were growing stronger; there was steady progress in these qualities. A challenge for each of us is to increase our love and service for Christ. Let’s not be satisfied to remain the same. Commit today to grow in love and service.
Do not permit immorality in the church. (20–23)
Growth in love and faith is for naught if we embrace immorality. The church was tolerating and embracing improper teaching from “Jezebel.” She promoted sexual immorality and eating food sacrificed to idols. This “prophetess” tempted God’s people to turn from the one true God by “winking” at the sins of society while maintaining membership in the church.
Jesus says, “No one can serve two masters” (Matt. 6:24; Luke 16:13). James states, “Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God” (James 4:4). God will not tolerate immorality in the church. Jesus makes it clear; He judges those who refuse to repent.
Instead of a comfortable bed where sexual sin takes place, Jesus will cast them violently on a bed of horrible suffering. Their end is death — how tragic. I am heartbroken over numerous professing Christians and churches who have redefined morality and embraced the modern teaching of Jezebel. I have witnessed the horrible consequences some have endured because of their misguided choices. Others will one day reap the penalty of their rejection of the clear teaching of Christ.
Remain faithful to the gospel. (24–29)
In the church in Thyatira, there is also a group of faithful believers who do not embrace Jezebel’s seductions. God’s advice for them is to hold on until He comes again. We should not look for dark secrets or new teachings. Instead, believers should remain committed to the unwavering tenants and moral standards of the gospel. While Jesus warns that punishment and death await those who dabble in immorality, believers who remain faithful to the gospel will share in Christ’s authority over the nations while being rewarded the morning star.
Christ is called the bright Morning Star. Our reward, then, is Christ Himself. Grow in your love and service for Him. Reject immorality.
By Rob Jackson, Ph.D.
Jackson has served in a variety of ministry roles, including pastor and state missionary.