Emails to Churches- Thyatira
"I know all the things you do -- your love, your faith, your service, and your patient endurance. And I can see your constant improvement in all these things. But I have this complaint against you. You are permitting that woman -- that Jezebel who calls herself a prophet -- to lead my servants astray. She is encouraging them to worship idols, eat food offered to idols, and commit sexual sin. I gave her time to repent, but she would not turn away from her immorality.”
The church at Thyatira gets a very similar message to that which was given to Pergamum. Jesus commends them for all the good things that they are doing. He even mentions their improvement. They are a group of Christians that are growing in their faith. However, He addresses the same sins as well. As was mentioned in the last post, idolatry and sexual sin often went together in the ancient world.
The Church has gone to two extremes in the area of judging.
The warning here is much more direct and pointed than the one Jesus gave the church at Pergamum. Jesus said that He had given the false teacher He refers to as “Jezebel” time to repent. Instead of turning from her evil ways, though, she has continued to lead others astray. It is clear that whoever this Jezebel is, she is a part of the church at Thyatira.
Over the years, the Church has gone to two extremes in the area of judging. On the one hand, there is the anything goes, “sin so that more grace will abound” attitude in some Christian groups. At other times, the Church is rightly perceived as harsh, judgmental, and condemning. In many cases Christians are accused of judging non-Christians, as well as other believers.
The church in Thyatira was permitting someone to lead people astray in their church. She called herself a prophet and was evidently regarded as a leader in the Christian community there. Rather than confronting and removing this “Jezebel,” the Christians were permitting her to lead others astray.
This is unacceptable and shows a lack of leadership. The Apostle Paul dealt with a similar situation in the church at Corinth. A man was living in flagrant immorality with his father’s wife. The church did not feel that it was their place to judge the man so they did nothing. Paul’s response to this attitude was, “It isn't my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your job to judge those inside the church who are sinning in these ways. God will judge those on the outside; but as the Scriptures say, "You must remove the evil person from among you."
"It isn't my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your job to judge those inside the church who are sinning in these ways." Paul
Jesus’ words in the Sermon on the Mount are often quoted, “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged.” The whole passage must be read, however, to get the full impact of what He was saying. Jesus made it very clear that we must deal with our own sin before we can deal with someone else’s. Jesus’ words are referring to our interpersonal relationships.
In the area of someone leading another person astray, as was happening in Thyatira, Jesus had some very harsh things to say: “But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”
The Church is always supposed to be a place where people can come and find healing without judgment.
The Church is always to be a place where people can come and find healing without judgment. We must constantly guard against judging people who are struggling with sin and other issues in their lives. Rather, we should be extending grace to people so that they can be healed. At the same time, the Church must deal firmly and quickly with anyone of our number that is leading others into sin. We must police ourselves.
In your experience, how has the Church done in this area of judging?
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