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Revelation Commentary – the Seven Churches – Part II

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I did not complete our study on the church at Thyatira in the last segment. There is a couple points that I want to add, so, let’s do a quick review:

 

Jesus condemned the church at Thyatira for tolerating Jezebel.

 

a) Jezebel led the church members to commit sexual immorality

b) Jezebel led church members to eat food sacrificed to idols (the practice of superstition) 

c) Jezebel was defiant

d) Jezebel used religious bamboozle or Satan’s “deep secrets” theology.

 

In other words, Jesus was upset with the church in Thyatira because they had not removed Jezebel from church membership.

 

a) Jezebel led church members to commit sexual immorality

b) Jezebel led church members to eat food sacrificed to idols (the practice of superstition)  

c) Jezebel was defiant  

d) Jezebel used religious bamboozle or Satan’s “deep secrets” theology.

 

In other words, Jesus was upset with the church in Thyatira because they had not removedJezebel from church membership.

 

Carefully consider these words:

 

1 Corinthians 5:9   I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people –

 

1 Corinthians 5:10   not all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world.

 

1 Corinthians 5:11   But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother (in the Lord) but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.   

 

1 Corinthians 5:12   What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside?

 

1 Corinthians 5:13  God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked man from among you.”

 

These instruction bother a lot of Christians today because many Christians thank that (a) we should not judge one another and (b) it is “Christ like” to be tolerate of sinners… But, Christians cannot afford to underestimate the lure and transforming power of sin.

Paul says “yes,” Christians should be respectful toward those who are sexually immoral or idolaters if they are not church members. But, he said that church members are not to associate or tolerate church members  who are greedy, sexually immoral, drunkards or slanderers (liars). Why did Paul insist on this harsh form of discrimination? Why are Christians supposed to treat sexually immoral pagans with respect, but they are not to allow sexually immoral brothers or sisters like Jezebel to remain in the church? 

 

There’s a divine principle behind Paul’s words that needs to be explained…

 

Leviticus 18 is an interesting chapter. God explicitly identified numerous forms of sexual misconduct that are an abomination to Him. Toward the end of the chapter, God said:

 

Leviticus 18:24   “’Do not defile yourselves in any of these ways, because this is how the nationsthat I am going to drive out before you became defiled.

 

Leviticus 18:25   even the land was defiled; so I punished it for its sin, and the land vomited out its inhabitants.

 

Leviticus 18:26   But you must keep my decrees and my laws. The native-born and the aliens living among you must not do any of these detestable things,

 

Leviticus 18:27   for all these things were done by the people who lived in the land before you, and the land became defiled.

 

Leviticus 18:28   And if you defile the land, it will vomit you out as it vomited out the nations that were before you.

 

Leviticus 18:29   “’Everyone who does any of these detestable things—such persons must be cut offfrom their people. 

 

Cut off means: shunned / disinherited / excommunicated / rejected

 

On the basis of the principle stated in Leviticus 18, Paul stated that sexually immoral people were to be cut off from the church because the church is a corporate body of Christ’s followers. The church is a trustee of the gospel. It was set up to reflect the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit and the teachings of Jesus. If the body of Christ does things that offend Jesus and are openly defiant to His teachings and the directives of the Holy Spirit, then the message of the church harms Christianity. This is worse behavior that that of pagans who profess nothing. How can a church bear the name of Jesus but refuses to represent Jesus?

 

This is why Jesus warned the church at Ephesus: Revelation 2:5 “….If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstandfrom its place.”  The reputation of Jesus among pagans is determined by the behavior of Christ’s followers. Our behavior reveals what we truly think about God and His will. Our actions and words reveal our true purpose and mission in life. This is why God judges us by our actions – and incidentally, so do the pagans!

 

Matthew 5:16   In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in Heaven.

 

Revelation 22; 12   “Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.

 

The primary mission of the church of Jesus Christ is to reveal the love of God and the transforming power in the gospel of Jesus.

 

 


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