Written by: Dr Siva Moodley
Article source: JOY! Magazine
The fourth church of Revelation is Thyatira (Rev 2:18 – 29). The Thyatira-style church is a busy, active church. Something is happening in this church every day of the week, and it is filled with active programmes. Jesus praises this church for its love, faith, commitment, perseverance, and good works. Anyone attending this church will be proud of its accomplishments and impact on the community. This is not a selfish church that only concentrates on its members but forgets the dying world. Instead, this church is leaving a legacy behind, impacting communities with the Good News. Jesus also speaks about how this church has grown over time and become more effective. Looking at the Thyatira-style church one would think that this is how churches should be run, however, there is a serious problem with this church that no one has paid attention to.
The church members could not identify what was wrong
Some may have noticed the cancer eating away at this church but ignored it, balancing the good works with short-comings. They thought it was nothing serious to worry about, however it was a major problem for Jesus. God’s thinking and our thinking are not always aligned (Isa 55:8-9). We might not give certain things serious attention, thinking it’s under grace and God understands, yet God takes it very seriously. Heaven understands the spiritual impact. Jesus says that Heaven has been patient with this church on this matter but cannot any longer. There will be consequences. What surprises many is that the members of this church are full of faith and good works, yet cannot identify this major problem. Jesus told His disciples to “watch and pray” – Matthew 26:41.
God’s Word should never be substituted
While Thyatira might have been passionate in prayer, they lacked discernment of the spiritual environment they were in. Demonic spirits of oppression and heaviness surrounded them, tempting them to sleep. Because they did not obey the Word, their prayer was of no benefit. Jesus had given them the word to “watch” while praying, but the need to pray seemed more important than discernment. God’s Word (Heb 4:12-13) brings revelation and should never be substituted if it does not align to our thinking or doctrine.
What was the major problem in this church?
A witch was allowed to influence this church. The spirit behind this witch was Jezebel (a demonic spirit that possesses both male and female, that attempts to usurp spiritual authority, thereby destroying the destiny of its followers). This witch had turned people away from spiritual authority by undermining the God-ordained authority, possibly through gossip. Cliques had formed in the church and the discussion centred around who was more anointed. Christians then followed her and not the senior pastoral team. She then successfully turned God’s people away from God. Church programmes turned into ‘hook-up’ sessions to find people to have sex with. Adultery and fornication were made acceptable in the church through the influence of this woman.
Embracing other religious practices
Christians were then taught to embrace other religious practices in addition to their faith. Attending other religious festivals outside of Christ, even participating in them was considered acceptable. This made it easy for demonic possession to take place. Finally, she called herself a prophet with “new revelation”. While new revelation is welcome in the church, it must always align itself to the Word of God. This witch brought prophecy that contradicted the Word of God. Still today there are many ‘prophetic’ churches where the word of the prophet overrides the Word of God. This is a Thyatira-style church.
In complete opposition with the Word of God
Everything this woman did was against the Word of God. The Thyatira church did not mind this. When she spoke against the church leadership, they did not stop her. This witch was also involved in mission work, prayer meetings, and professing to have great faith. She may have been involved in feeding the poor. This cemented her hold over the church. She could even have started her own fellowship and had many followers. Now, with so many lives (“servants”) being destroyed, God steps in to put an end to this carnage.
Measure your actions against the Word of God
Being a prayer warrior does not mean a person has discernment. When actions are measured against the Word of God then discernment is possible. The faithful Christians had tolerated this witch in their church, even though all her actions went against the Word of God. To protect the remnant, Jesus steps in. The church, including the witch, is cleansed through suffering (possibly some sickness). Those Christians who followed this witch (even those who allowed her to destroy the church), will also suffer through this deadly sickness. Eventually many, if not all, will die. There is still hope in this judgement. If they repent in time, they can be restored.
Good deeds do not equate to salvation
Any church that tolerates sin and disobedience will face similar judgement. They will have Jesus fighting against them. If you are part of a Thyatira-style church that prays without watching and obeying the Word of God, then preach repentance to your church family. If they will not listen, then find a new church so that you are not part of the judgement. There is no perfect church, but a church where sin is so rampant is dangerous – even if they do good deeds.
Siva Moodley is a pastor and author. Visit sivamoodley.com for info on our daily TV programmes, weekly interactive livestreams with Apostles Siva & Jessie Moodley, conferences, prayer requests, bookshop details, and more.
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