Service Video Message Video Message Audio %} Lakeside Christian Church · The Wrong-Doctrine Church | Dear Church episode 04 Scripture Verses Revelation 2:18-29; 2 Peter 3:5-9; Romans 2:4-11 Worship Playlist Holy Holy Holy (We Bow Before Thee) by Shane & ShaneBigger Than I Thought by PassionThis I Believe (The Creed) by Hillsong Downloads & Resources The Wrong-Doctrine Church Dr. Jon Morrissette - 8/13/2023 Dear Church. This morning we consider what Christ had to say to the fourth of seven churches at the beginning of Revelation. Each of these churches is “dear” to Christ. But not every church is the same. And not everyone within each church is the same. In each church there can be differences and factions—and we see that in the church at Thyatira. Some are taking their stand here, and some there… Some have Christ’s approval, and some certainly do not. You look at churches today—and how many denominations do you see? Within individual churches, there are factions. You can’t just look at the denominational label, you have to look at the people. I believe God’s elect are scattered across the churches. But depending on the church, the elect might be quite marginalized. At the church in Thyatira you have three groups of people. You have a group of people filled with love and faith, who are serving God and persevering, who evidence real transformation. They are doing more, and being more fruitful for Christ, than ever before. Don’t judge a book by its cover. Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. I’ve been at Lakeside over 23 years. Every now and then, some beleaguered soul, or couple, begins attending. They clearly love the Lord—and are eager to obey him in every way. They’re delighted to find a church where the Bible is actually taught, and where the name of Christ is actually said (verbally). So, you ask, “Where have you been all these years?” They’ve been part of a church or denomination that was once alive in Christ—but then “influencers” crept in—a little yeast worked through the dough—and soon the church was no longer alive in Christ. Even a powerhouse Church like Ephesus can drift from its love for Christ. Even Smyrna. Pergamum. Now Thyatira. At first the drift is subtle, and undetectable. But then in time, it’s quite pronounced. It’s sad but a lover of Christ, a lover of God, a lover of the Word (the good and faithful) can suddenly find their church’s fire or lampstand extinguished. It’s the frog in the kettle. The temperature changed so slowly the frog didn’t notice but then he’s boiled alive. Maybe you were in a church that slowly began to sell out our savior. By the grace of God you leaped before it was too late--you got out! That’s the church at Thyatira. First, you have the holy and faithful. But second, you have a group of “Influencers” who are really a group of “corruptors.” In our letter they are referred to as “Jezebel” and “Jezebel’s children.” And third, you have a group of followers. But in Christ’s Church, there is only one Lord, one Christ. And what should matter supremely isn’t our opinions, or beliefs, or viewpoints—but what our Lord Jesus’ Christ has spoken! What is his divine viewpoint or perspective? What does he see? What should we see? And what should matter supremely isn’t where some “wanna be influencer” stands … What matters is where the Lord of the Church—the Son of God—stands! Are you ready? Buckle up. Revelation 2:18, “To the angel of the church in Thyatira write: These are the words of the Son of God, whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze.” His eternal word! His penetrating eyes that see through everything, even the heart, that alone are fit to judge! His burnished bronze feet. Jesus doesn’t “drift” from us. We drift from “him.” We’re lured away and enticed by the “Jezebel Influencers” of this and every other age. Thyatira was city where metal-working was the prominent industry. (Alexander, metal worker, rough dude, persecutor, “hammer man” from Ephesus a city over). Thyatira was known for its merchants, crafts, and their guilds. But no economy in the world is morally and spiritually neutral. It was economic suicide for you not to do what the guild demanded. They worshipped the gods. They would share common meals, they’d have meetings where certain rituals, commitments, and declarations demanded of you. If everyone goes out after work, or on weekend for XYZ, it was suicide not to imbibe, eat, drink, worship, celebrate whatever the guild asked of you. At what points do you get embarrassed about teaching of Scripture? Which doctrines make you blush? Make you hide? Run? What about the offense of insisting friends, family, coworkers are unsaved if they don’t come to God through Christ? In what ways have modern trade guilds—government (all levels), corporation, workplace, union… education system, denomination, or church (!!!) co-opted your faith, coerced you to abide against your conscience with all manner things? Jesus commends the faithful first. Revelation 2:19, “19 I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first.” They had one more thing than the Ephesians—they’d not lost their first love! Revelation 2:20, “20 Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols.” Could there be a more stark warning to the church today than Revelation 2:20. All it takes to destroy a great church, a great denomination, is a little tolerance. Just change the temperature a half-degree. Just crack the door open a teeny tiny bit. Just turn down the volume of Christ’s words a little, just avert your gaze from Christ a few seconds, just take a half step away from where Christ would have you stand. Jezebel Influencers know that can’t yank you from your secure place in Christ—they wouldn’t dare try! But if they get you to tolerate their presence (if you’ll accept their yeast), and then if they can multiply their offspring, if they’re given enough time, their yeast (influence) works through the whole dough of the church. Godly people are waking up these days, finding themselves in churches, misled, now tolerating, now promulgating a kind of sexual immorality that even the general public would have decried a decade earlier. They find themselves in churches accommodating every imaginable wave of thought, teaching—moral or spiritual or political or worldly or godless or even satanic. Tolerance is not a virtue, a Satanic vice, a Satanic play, to woo us from godly affections. For all our talk of tolerance, the portrait of Christ in Revelation 2 is quite intolerant. Revelation 2:21-23, “I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. 22 So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways. 23 I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds.” Now hold up a minute and listen carefully. Patience is not tolerance. You can exercise patience without changing your worldview. You can exercise patience without changing your stand. You can exercise patience without bending, or changing like shifting winds or shifting shadows. The Lord of the Church has given even Jezebel “time to repent.” But Christ has bronze feet—he’s not shifting his stance. Jezebel has time to repent but Christ hasn’t averted his gaze, he hasn’t suppressed his own word. His word rings out. His gaze, his face is set like flint. His stand is resolute. Jesus is waiting for us to “shift or change or repent” toward him, not him shift or change or repent toward Jezebel. In 2 Peter 3:3-9 we read these words, “Above all, be aware of this: Scoffers will come in the last days scoffing and following their own evil desires, 4 saying, “Where is his ‘coming’ that he promised? Ever since our ancestors fell asleep, all things continue as they have been since the beginning of creation.” The Jezebels always claim to have a deeper, more penetrating, modern and updated understanding of God’s word! “5 They deliberately overlook this: By the word of God the heavens came into being long ago and the earth was brought about from water and through water. 6 Through these the world of that time perished when it was flooded. 7 By the same word, the present heavens and earth are stored up for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. 8 Dear friends, don’t overlook this one fact: With the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. 9 The Lord does not delay his promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance.” Christ’s patience is not to be confused with tolerance or accommodation. Patience makes room for a person’s redemption. They need time to come to their senses—but come to their senses they must! Tolerance is different. Tolerance affirms a person’s sensibilities, no matter how godless, immoral, or corrupt. Tolerance has no need to wait because no change nor repentance is warranted. Tolerance denies there’s neither danger nor fear, nor any moral accountability, nor justice, nor truth, nor judgement, nor any hell. Jesus doesn’t sound very nice, or tolerant. “I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways. I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds.” Let me parse this. Jezebel is unwilling to repent, she has squandered God’s patience. “Those who commit adultery”… in other words… those who have invited her influence in to the church are unwilling to repent. “Her Children”… in other words… “her disciples… every Influencer has their sycophants, their minions, their toadies, their flatterers, their admires, their followers.” Jesus says I will cast Jezebel unto a bed of suffering. I will strike her spiritual, moral, philosophical, social offspring dead. You mock. You scoff. You jest. But Christ isn’t laughing. Revelation 2:23, “Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds.” Romans 2:4-11, the apostle Paul. “Do you despise the riches of his kindness, restraint, and patience, not recognizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance? 5 Because of your hardened and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath, when God’s righteous judgment is revealed. 6 He will repay each one according to his works: 7 eternal life to those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor, and immortality; 8 but wrath and anger to those who are self-seeking and disobey the truth while obeying unrighteousness. 9 There will be affliction and distress for every human being who does evil, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek; 10 but glory, honor, and peace for everyone who does what is good, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek. 11 For there is no favoritism with God.” God is patient. God is Kind. But tolerant, he is not. Repent! The original Jezebel of the Old Testament (1 Kgs. 16:31–21:25; 2 Kgs. 9) passionately promoted the worship of the Canaanite deity Baal. She led 850 false prophets, killed God’s true prophets, seduced Israel into spiritual idolatry. Judged by God, she met a violent death! Jezebel here claims to be a prophetess (2:20) and to offer “deep secrets” (2:24) into Satan, special wisdom about worldly systems. She is seducing Christians to compromise into idolatry of trade guilds, and into sexual immorality. She invited them to violate their conscience. Revelation 2:24-29, “24 Now I say to the rest of you in Thyatira, to you who do not hold to her teaching and have not learned Satan’s so-called deep secrets, ‘I will not impose any other burden on you, 25 except to hold on to what you have until I come.’ 26 To the one who is victorious and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations— 27 that one ‘will rule them with an iron scepter and will dash them to pieces like pottery’—just as I have received authority from my Father. 28 I will also give that one the morning star. 29 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. Jesus is himself the morning star (Rev. 22:16) Most of the Greco-Roman world believed the stars ruled over their lives—Venus (the morning star) being one of the most powerful stars. But for the believer to be given the Morning Star was a way for Christ to affirm they would share in his rule over all creation.