11/20/S – Hold On to What You Have

Amos 4:1-5:9; Revelation 2:18-29; Psalms 129:1-4; Proverbs 28:3-5

NT: “Write to the angel of the church in Thyatira: Thus says the Son of God, the one whose eyes are like a fiery flame and whose feet are like fine bronze: I know your works — your love, faithfulness, service, and endurance. I know that your last works are greater than the first. But I have this against you: You tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and teaches and deceives my servants to commit sexual immorality and to eat meat sacrificed to idols. I gave her time to repent, but she does not want to repent of her sexual immorality. Look, I will throw her into a sickbed and those who commit adultery with her into great affliction. Unless they repent of her works, I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am the one who examines minds and hearts, and I will give to each of you according to your works. I say to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who haven’t known “the so-called secrets of Satan” — as they say — I am not putting any other burden on you. Only hold on to what you have until I come. The one who conquers and who keeps my works to the end: I will give him authority over the nations — and he will rule them with an iron scepter; he will shatter them like pottery — just as I have received this from my Father. I will also give him the morning star. Let anyone who has ears to hear listen to what the Spirit says to the churches.”” (‭‭Revelation‬ ‭2:18-29‬ ‭CSB)

Thyatira was a wealthy Ancient Greek city in Asia Minor, now the modern Turkish city of Akhisar. Thyatira was a prosperous trading town that was situated on the Roman road from Pergamum to Laodicea. Thyatira was home to a major cult of the pagan god Apollo. The city was also famous for its dyeing and was a center of the indigo trade.

In Acts 16:11-15 is the story of Lydia. Lydia, who was a dealer in purple-dyed cloth, was from Thyatira. She encountered Paul and Silas on one of their missionary journeys, heard Paul speak, and came to faith in Christ. There is a good probability that Lydia returned home to Thyatira carrying the gospel and was instrumental in the birth of the church there.

Apparently, there was also another prominent woman involved in the church in Thyatira. However, this woman was not a positive influence. The Lord Christ referred to her as Jezebel. The real life Jezebel is considered one of the most evil people recorded in the Bible. She was the wife of King Ahab of the Northern kingdom of Israel. She was a priestess in the worship of Baal and was responsible for leading Israel into one of its darkest times. This “Jezebel” in the Thyatirian church was doing the same thing. Apollo was considered the god of prophecy, and “Jezebel” considered herself a prophetess.

Though the church in Thyatira had a reputation of love, faithfulness, service and endurance, there was a growing number of members who were being led into sexual immorality and pagan worship by this self-proclaimed prophetess who knew and was teaching the “so-called secrets of Satan.” The Lord said that He had given “Jezebel” time to repent, but she did not. Apollo was also considered the god of health and healing. In response to her pagan worship, the Lord said that He would allow sickness to overcome her to her demise – along with anyone else who followed her teachings and did not repent. Christ called Himself the one who had eyes of fire and feet of bronze. He was able to see all – even that which was done in secret – and would bring appropriate judgement to that which He considered evil.

Many time, immoral and unfaithful people who have the heart and spirit of Jezebel will seek to establish themselves within a family of faith and attempt to lead them astray. The easy thing to do is to tolerate those people instead of confronting them and driving them out. Those people may be wealthy and hold a great deal of power and influence in the world and may even threaten to bring about your ruin. But we serve the Lord who has eyes of fire and feet of bronze. He sees all, He knows all, and He will stomp out evil from our midst if we trust Him and obey Him.

To those who had not been led astray, Christ gave them one simple charge: “Hold on to what you have until I come.” In other words, don’t go looking for some new revelation or new truth. You have been given the words of truth… the words of life… true words of prophecy from God Himself. Hold on to those… guard them… treasure them… don’t stray from them…remain faithful to them until the end. Those who conquer the efforts of the enemy by remaining faithful to the word, will and ways of Christ will be given authority over the nations in the life to come.

Proverbs: “A destitute leader who oppresses the poor is like a driving rain that leaves no food. Those who reject the law praise the wicked, but those who keep the law pit themselves against them. The evil do not understand justice, but those who seek the Lord understand everything.” (‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭28:3-5‬ ‭CSB)

Destitute leaders, like the “Jezebel” who was maintaining prominence in Thyatira, do not bring life. They only bring destruction. Those who do not honor the word, will and ways of the Lord and keep the word of God hidden in their heart will be deceived by those destitute leaders and praise them. Those who do keep the word of God will find themselves pitted agains them. We do not need to leave in fear of destitute leaders and their followers. Instead, we need to place our faith in the One who sees all, knows all, and will judge all according to His righteousness. Hold on to what you have in the Lord and don’t allow yourself to be led astray by leaders who appear to bring life but only bring destruction.

Prayer: Lord I thank You that You are the one with eyes of fire and feet of bronze. You see all and judge all according to Your righteousness. As long as I hold on to You and what I have in You, I never have to be afraid of prominent and powerful people who have pitted themselves against You. Help me to resist the temptation to tolerate evil people, but instead resist evil and hold fast to You by grace. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

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