Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Church report card - 2 (not straight A's)

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Revelation 2:18-29

TO CHEW ON: "And he who overcomes and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations." Revelation 2:26.

Continuing on with these church report cards, today’s reading contains an evaluation for the church at Thyatira.

The Thyratira church was given an A for its work, love, service, faith, and patience. But they tolerated a Jezebel figure  (1 Kings 16:29-31) who “led people into literal and spiritual fornication” (endnotes – New Spirit Filled Life Bible, p. 1820). Jesus warned them that their tolerance and unwillingness to rid themselves of this influence would lead to deadly consequences.

After the warning, Jesus' message to Thyatira continues in a sympathetic tone. To those who have resisted this evil influence, He says, "... I will put on you no other burden. But hold fast what you have till I come." 

Finally He gives them a promise. For those who overcome and stay true to Jesus, the ending is triumphant rule over nations (Revelation 2:27 - compare Psalm 2:8,9).

What can we learn about the church and God’s standards for her from Thyratira?

1. The church has enemies. 1 Peter 4:12-16. Possibly some of the worst are those who infiltrate its membership, causing dissension and disunity (as in Thyratira’s case).

2. Jesus prayed for the unity of His followers (present and future) (John 17:20,21). Unity in the church was also one of the Apostle Paul’s great aspirations for it (1  Corinthians 1:10). 

3. God sometimes uses harsh and unpleasant circumstances to discipline us toward maturity  (James 1:2-4) and repentance(Matthew 18:15-17).  This discipline sometimes comes as punishment for a refusal to repent (1 Corinthians 5:1-5,12)

4. Jesus is sympathetic to our humanity and its challenges. In this regard I love verses like: "A bruised reed He will not break, / And smoking flax He will not quench..." Isaiah 42:3 and
"'Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls'" (Matthew 11:29).

5. Our lives here on earth are a proving ground and basis for eternal reward (Matthew 19:28,29; 2 Timothy 2:11,12; Revelation 20:6). 

The things in the above list apply to and impact not only church congregations but individuals who make up those churches. Are we experiencing opposition? It shouldn’t surprise us. Are we working for unity. We should be. Are we learning from God’s discipline? Are we persevering, and living in hope because of the amazing future God has prepared for us?

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, what a privilege it is to be part of Your church. Help me to be a healthy member in this, Your body on earth. Amen.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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