“But I also have a message for the rest of you in Thyatira who have not followed this false teaching (‘deeper truths,’ as they call them—depths of Satan, actually). I will ask nothing more of you except that you hold tightly to what you have until I come.”
Revelation 2:24-25 NLT
It appears that not all the Thyatiraeans followed the false teaching of the Jezebel in their midst. The church there must have been divided and in conflict, riven by the sinful practices of some of their number. Perhaps the church leadership were involved in the sin as well, or they were at least turning a blind eye to what was going on. Perhaps they were intimidated by the Jezebel woman, afraid of the prophetic messages she was uttering. Afraid to cross her in fear of being cursed. Or elevating church unity above the sinful practices. We don’t know. But what we do know is that there were some in their fellowship who had rejected Jezebel’s false teaching.
In His message through John, Jesus called the sinful practices promoted through Jezebel “false teaching“, coming straight from the devil himself. Apparently, its adherents tried to sanitise the sin by calling it “deeper truths“. And Jesus commended those who refused to get involved. He encouraged them to keep going in their faith. To maintain its purity. And not to let go of what they believed.
The problem of letting sinful practices enter the church is one not just relegated to history. It is still with us today. There is a constant battle between those who maintain the integrity of the Bible and believe it is the inspired Word of God and want to follow its ways and teachings, and those who want to replace or ignore certain parts of it so that social customs of the day can be absorbed into church or denominational liturgies. The debate in the US over the practice of abortion is such an example because the Bible is clear that new life starts at the moment of conception, even though Western thinking says otherwise, as we all are aware. And there are other issues regarding relationships and sexual customs that are at odds with the traditional and Biblical teaching of the Bible. So the question must be asked – would Jesus be equally as scathing over these matters today as He was 2000 years ago? To bring it up to date, will He consign those who allow sinful practices into their denominations or churches to a “bed of suffering“? Will He withdraw His Spirit from such places allowing them to wither and die, cutting them off from the source of His sustenance and life (John 15)?
For today’s pilgrims, we must stick tenaciously to Biblical teaching, checking out our faith regularly to ensure compliance. This is not a legalistic practice. We have a loving Heavenly Father and the last thing we would want to do is to engage in anything that would drive a wedge between Him and us. Bluntly, if God has said that something is sin, then it has to be repented of to maintain the purity of our relationship with Him. Psalm 24:3-5 says, “Who may climb the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in His holy place? Only those whose hands and hearts are pure, who do not worship idols and never tell lies. They will receive the Lord’s blessing and have a right relationship with God their Saviour“. That’s the place I want to be – receiving the Lord’s blessing and in a right relationship with my loving Heavenly Father.
Dear Lord. We pray for the discernment we need to call out the devil’s practices. We pray for wisdom when we come up against sinful ways in our churches. And we pray for forgiveness for all our sinful thoughts and deeds. Please help us in our daily walks in this life, as we look to You for our spiritual food. Please help us to maintain the integrity of Your Word in all we do. In Jesus’ name. Amen.