seven letters  thyatira part III

"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)" (Revelation 2:24 NIV).

Sometimes a secret isn't always worth knowing- it all depends on what that secret is and where it comes from. Take the church at Thyatira, for instance. Judging from what Jesus says above, it appears that some people in this church were drawn in by the attraction of a "secret spiritual truth" that had nothing to do with the real spiritual truth as found in the Scriptures. Unfortunately, there are many today who also believe that "spiritual enlightenment" can be found in places other than in God's Word too. However, people can easily avoid making this same mistake by taking the path to real spiritual truth that never, ever fails and is totally, 100% God-approved...

"When the Holy Spirit, who is truth, comes, he shall guide you into all truth, for he will not be presenting his own ideas, but will be passing on to you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future" (John 16:13).

Real spiritual understanding happens when the Holy Spirit helps people to understand and apply the truth of God's Word (John 17:17). The Bible tells us that every Christian has God's Holy Spirit living within them (see John 14:16-17, Romans 8:9 and 1 Corinthians 3:16, 6:19) and Jesus promised that the Spirit would show the way to all truth just as we see in the Scripture quoted above. Since the Holy Spirit is God (Acts 5:3-4) and God can never tell a lie (Numbers 23:19, Titus 1:2), you never have to be afraid that He will lead you down the wrong path like those people who got messed up in Thyatira. Besides, God has a few spiritual "deep secrets" of His own to share- and His are a lot better...

"No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him"-- but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God" (1 Corinthians 2:9-10 NIV)

God has plenty of good things to share with you- things that you've never even imagined! So the next time you open your Bible, ask God to help you understand and apply His Word through the Holy Spirit. Remember, any real "spiritual truth" must come from God through His Spirit- anything else comes from the enemy!

"Only hold on to what you have until I come" (Revelation 2:25).

Since the Christians at Thyatira were already increasing in things like love, faith, service and perseverance, there was nothing bad that could be said about them. The only thing left was to avoid this so-called "prophetess" and keep right on doing the good things that they were already doing!

"To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations-- 'He will rule them with an iron scepter; he will dash them to pieces like pottery'-- just as I have received authority from my Father" (Revelation 2:26-27 NIV).

One thing that Jesus repeats over and over in His letters to these seven churches is a promise to those who prevail, conquer or "overcome" as it says above. Now someone may read this and say, "Yeah but prevail over what?" Well, if you remember from when we talked about this before, there are at least three obstacles that every Christian must overcome in their life…

  • The everyday world that goes about it's business as though God did not exist (Romans 1:18-21)
  • Your own natural desire to think and act in ways that are out of line with what God created you for (Galatians 5:19-21)
  • A powerful, unseen enemy who hates God and wants to crush anyone who loves Him (1 Peter 5:8)

So how can you overcome these things? Well, one of the best ways to do this is to follow a few easy principles that the Bible talks about in Acts 2:42. In this verse, we find that the early church did some basic but very important things...

"They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer" (NIV).

We can apply this verse today by concentrating on the four things that it mentions: prayer, Bible study (the apostles' teaching), communion (breaking of bread) and going to church (the fellowship). If you really want to be someone who does Jesus' will to the end (as it says above) then these are things that you should definitely commit to doing. If you ask God to help you do these four simple things, it will really benefit you in overcoming anything that might wreck your relationship with Him.

Jesus then ties these commands to a promise: "To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations..." This tells us that there will come a time in the future when Jesus will take on the leadership responsibility for everything, everywhere. When that happens then, there will also be a place for everyone who is really serious now about following Jesus without slacking and doing what He says. Knowing that Jesus will give His followers such important responsibilities in the future should definitely impact the way that we live for Him now.  

So that sounds pretty good, right? Well, there's an even better reward than that…

"I will also give him the morning star" (Revelation 2:28 NIV).

What does this "morning star" mean? Well, if you look at Revelation 22:16, you'll find that Jesus applies this term as a personal title for Himself. So Jesus is not only going to give you the gift of responsibility and authority, He will also give you the greatest gift of all- the gift of Himself!

"He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches" (Revelation 2:29 NIV). 

These messages are not only for a small group of churches that existed 2000 years ago- they're for anyone who is willing to listen. In other words, don't allow your love to get cold like the people of Ephesus did. Don't be afraid of those who come against you for what you believe as Jesus said to the church at Smyrna. Don't put up with false teaching like the church at Pergamum. Don't compromise and call it "tolerance" like the people of Thyatira did. So consider the things that Jesus says to these churches and then see if there are any changes that need to be made in your own life.

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Except as indicated, all Scriptural references taken from The Living Bible, 1971, Tyndale House Publishers


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