March 9, 2022
CAVING IN TO HOSTILITY
Of the seven letters to seven churches, five of them identify serious problems that Jesus addresses, and serious warnings, and even threats that come from him. Let that settle there for a moment.
This week's letter is to the church at Thyatira. Life was not all good for them. In a contemporary application, the situation is equally as dangerous for any church or denomination that is not Right-to-Life. Any church that mirrors cultural values is hard-pressed to say they uphold Biblical teachings and values.
Antinomianism has been a point of doctrinal contention in the history of Christianity. We believe in justification through faith alone by grace alone through Christ alone rather than justification based on good works or acts of merit or works of mercy. Salvation does not depend on good works. Rather, salvation produces good works.
Martin Luther talked about antinomianism. Some say he coined the term. What he meant was that Christians are obligated to keep the commands of Christ and the moral laws, as outlined by the 10 Commandments and "Love the Lord your God with all…and your neighbor as yourself." Other Old Testament civil laws or ceremonial laws are not applicable or relevant.
Someone once said, "The Gospel proclaims liberty from the ceremonial law, but binds you still faster under the moral law. To be freed from the ceremonial law is the Gospel liberty; to pretend freedom from the moral law is Antinomianism."
Here at Thyatira, large numbers of people in the church were actually giving in to the wretched influences of false teaching and immorality.
Now to the Jezebel reference. According to the Book of Kings, Jezebel, along with her husband, Ahab, instituted the worship of Baal and Asherah on a national scale. In addition, she violently purged the prophets of God from Israel, damaging the reputation of the rule begun by King Omri. They brought orgies and all other kinds of abominations and false worship into their rule. Here's one of the more graphic passages of Scripture. It has to do with Jezebel's fate:
When Jehu came to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it. And she painted her eyes
and adorned her head and looked out of the window. And as Jehu entered
the gate, she said, “Is it peace, you Zimri, murderer of your master?” And
he lifted up his face to the window and said, “Who is on my side? Who?”
Two or three eunuchs looked out at him. He said, “Throw her down.” So
they threw her down. And some of her blood spattered on the wall and on
the horses, and they trampled on her. Then he went in and ate and drank.
And he said, “See now to this cursed woman and bury her, for she is a
king's daughter.” But when they went to bury her, they found no more of
her than the skull and the feet and the palms of her hands. When they
came back and told him, he said, “This is the word of the Lord, which he
spoke by his servant Elijah the Tishbite: ‘In the territory of Jezreel the dogs
shall eat the flesh of Jezebel, and the corpse of Jezebel shall be as dung on
the face of the field in the territory of Jezreel, so that no one can say, This
- 2 Kings 9:30-37
Who can imagine a more horrific demise? Jezebel was an idol worshipper. And when you connect the dots, that's exactly what happened in Thyatira. Their Jezebel introduced immorality and idolatry into the church. She led them into iniquity. What would become of them?
The hope of the letter is addressed to those who do not hold to this teaching. They are encouraged to hold on until the end. No hardship or persecution will ever be able to separate them from the love of God in Jesus Christ. So hang in there. Be faithful. You will be with Christ forever. What a beautiful promise!
Think about that amazing promise. The world is messed up. It almost seems like you wake up every morning to news of depredations, tumult, and turmoil. And what are we to do? We are called to remain faithful in Christ. Hold fast to the one, true gospel. Be a part of the worshiping Body of Christ, love each other, love our community, and let the Fruit of the Spirit flow through us. And in the end, I will give them the morning star. In other words, Jesus will be our shepherd and he will guide us in all things, forever. What a beautiful promise!
May we be a place of life and joy and holiness.
And now, your Moment of Spurgeon:
Live while you live. Let there be no drivelling and frittering away
of time. Live so as to demonstrate that you possess the noblest
form of life.
With Much Peace, Love, and Understanding,