December 15, 2019
How Best to Respond to Christians In Compromise
- Revelation 2:18-29
- Josh Akin
Hold Fast to What You Have Till I Come
What do we do when the church lets us down?
Have you seen what a mess we have made of the church?
In this letter to His church Jesus says, “I have a few things against you.” He calls out the churches failings. It’s not hard to see that He feels the same way about many of the maladies we see in Christians and churches today.
Love of money-
Oh how we flock to churches that teach us the good life, success, and comforts and conveniences.
Too many of our church leaders are no better; taking the resources of the church which should be used for helping other grow in Christ, but they use it for their own pleasures.
(Have people raise their hand if they are tired of Love of Money working it’s way into churches today.)
Love of Programs rather than Jesus-
Oh, how we run to a church that entertains, and amuses, that baby sits our children. Too often Christians choose a church for it’s pep talk, laundry list of activities, happy, shiny people everywhere you look! Oh there’s something for everyone! But is there room for Jesus. In all our programs how often we neglect the one who really matters!
Raise your hand if they are weary of churches that are filled with programs and activities, yet have no room for Jesus.
Love of World not the Word-
Or have you seen how Christians, and the churches they are a part of, have chosen to believe whatever trend or belief of the hour? What the churches do, and what Christians believe isn’t led by Jesus, who we claim to follow, rather we are too often led by whatever is popular with others and beneficial to ourselves. We do what works, not what is true and right. To our shame we choose to walk blindly with the crowding of the sheep, over the call of our good Shepherd Jesus Christ.
Raise your hand if you are weary of Christians and churches changes what they believe with every new wind of culture?
How do we respond to the failures and compromises of Christians and their churches in a way the both honors Jesus, and helps heal His church?
Let’s to the letter to Thyatira to find out.
18 “And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write,
“These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass:
19 “I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience, and as for your works, the last are more than the first.
He encourages them. He opens every letter with encouragement. Find something good to find in the most rotten churches! Why?
One, because it opens a relationship and provides opportunity through relationship to help them.
Think for a moment about a person fallen on the ground who is in great need. If he has an enemy come over and reach out his hand the hurt man will cower away. But if he has a friend appears and reaches out his hand the hurt man will grab hold of that outreached hand. The same action will be understood different depending on whose side you are on. Every Christians is on Jesus’ side. Let your words show that we are one in Christ. Later, you may be able to help that believer stand in Christ.
Secondly, we encourage Christians no matter how great their mistake, because that is how Jesus sees them and thinks of them. Jesus is willing to see them as perfect and forgiven through faith alone. Do the same. And when the opportunity comes to give correction or admonishment, give it.
20 “Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.
21 “And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent.
22 “Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds.
23 “I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each of you according to your works.
WHAT A MESS WE MAKE OF LOVE!
At this time and place, the Christians are messing up sex. Rather than sex being a powerful and beautiful expression and opportunity to grow a husband and wife closer together, it’s being used to literally destroy families. In Thyatira’s case, children are dying. Men and women are in sick beds. All are going through what Jesus calls ‘great tribulation.’
Jesus refers to this falsehood as ‘the depths of Satan’ in 2:24, because it is indeed Satan’s most powerful tool against us and he is still at it today. His goal is to destroy sexual intimacy from within our marriages, and grow and multiply it everywhere else. This way Satan can grow the relationship that are false and temporary, and kill the relationships that form the bedrock of family and last for generations.
Where is this teaching coming from? Christians and their church. Isn’t Satan clever?
How does Jesus want us to respond? He says, in 2:20 ‘I have it against you that you allow it.’ God will take care of those who keep passing these lies as truth, but it is for us, to determine who we give the reins of influence to in our lives.
HOW DO WE GIVE INFLUENCE TO FALSE TEACHERS IN WBORO?
“45% of Christians attend church at least one a month, down from 52% a decade ago, according to an October Pew Research Center report. That’s 25 million people walked away from even basic involvement with the church, in only 10 years. So, in other words, in the last decade 25 million Christians have relinquished the influence of their life from the body of believers, and the word of God, to some one else.
They/we are allowing the false teachers of 2019 to influence our hearts and minds.
24 “Now to you I say, and to the rest in Thyatira, as many as do not have this doctrine, who have not known the depths of Satan, as they say, I will put on you no other burden.
25 “But hold fast what you have till I come.
Hold Fast What You Have, Till I Come-
Remember this Fire Safety Nets Fire departments used in the old days? The firemen would gather around this large net, and each person would hold on tight and support the net, so that when someone was trapped in a building the person could jump from the building into the net.
Isn’t that similar to what the church is called to do? Each of us hold fast and together we can save many lives. Here’s the problem: we see that some of the other fireman have left their post. That guys not holding his side of the net! So we are tempted to let ours go as well.
Jesus is saying, when you see Christians and entire churches shirk their responsibility to do what I’ve asked them to do, you don’t let go! You hold on all the tighter. Your role is, now, all the more vital.
27 “And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations—
27 ‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron;
They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’—
as I also have received from My Father;
28 “and I will give him the morning star.
29 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
Verse 27 ‘shall rule them’ is literally the word to pastor, to feed or tend the flock. Jesus will come back to us and the pastor we all need. Now, that’s a big job, pastoring everyone. He’s going to need some help. And Christians, with the faith we learn in this life, will be those helpers. There are hundreds of examples of this in scripture. Here’s one:
1 Corinthians 6:2 Do you not know the saints will judge the world?
Now, imagine you are Governor of Virginia and you lead the commonwealth for four years. Then, after that you are elected President of the United States. Who would you choose as your cabinet, and ministers? Well, you’d would choose from the people who worked faithfully for you in the Governor’s office. Those who faithfully helped you carry out each of your decisions. Those who were loyal even when it didn’t help them to do it. Those who helped you get things done right, and they did it whether you were present or not.
How likely would it be that you give important responsibilities to someone who did some of what you needed them to do, but not all of it? Usually they would do what you needed them do, but only if it helped themselves. No, I don’t think so.
Jesus will choose who will serve Him in the future, based on who will serve Him in the present.
This applies to the church in conflict, and in compromise!
In America we tend to think the only challenge to faith is, say, overseas. With the church in conflict. Whoa, they are carrying off believers! Tearing families apart for their faith! If someone has faith in that environment, then they pass the test! But there is another test just as valid for you and I not in the church in conflict, but the church in compromise.
Example: Brother Yun.(See the biography “Heavenly Man”)
He endured, after becoming a Christian in China, jail, beatings, hunger, stripes. But it was nothing compared to being brought before the church in North America where he suffered their doubts, their criticism, their misguided judgements.
Brother Yun was tempted to let go of his side of the net.
But for you and I this is the test of faith we face daily.
Will we let go when we see others do the same?
Or will we be faithful, even in the face of compromise.