Peter Barnes: Revelation 2:18-29
(17 December 2017)
SERMON NOTES : THYATIRA: TOO TOLERANT (Revelation 2:18-29)
Pliny the Elder said that Thyatira was ‘a city of no first-rate dignity’. It was known for its many trade guilds, each with its patron deity. To get a job in Thyatira, one needed to join one of these guilds. Was that why Lydia left Thyatira for Philippi? – Acts 16:14. Christ comes as the Son of God who has all knowledge of the human heart and soul, and who possesses all power (2:18).
1. We are to press on in the things of Christ.
– 2:19. There are a series of five commendations here:
(a) their deeds. What they were doing was right and good;
(b) their love for God and for His people, and indeed for all;
(c) their faith. They trusted God’s Word.
(d) their service. They ‘deaconed’ one another.
(e) their patient endurance or perseverance.
– unlike Ephesus (2:4), Thyatira was pressing on in the things of Christ – 2:19b. Philip Doddridge:
That to perfection’s sacred height
We nearer still may rise,
And all we think, and all we do,
Be pleasing in Thine eyes.
2. The sin of tolerating evil.
– Prince Philip in 1997: ‘I think the main lesson that we have learnt is that tolerance is the one essential ingredient of any happy marriage.’ But everything depends upon what is tolerated. Christ says that the church at Thyatira tolerated the wrong things – 2:20-23.
– 1 Cor.5:1-2, 13; 2 Peter 3:9; Rom.1:32. God never tolerates evil.
3. Repent and Reign.
– 2:22-23, 2:24-25, 26-27. Christ fulfils Psalm 2, but His victory is shared with all who repent of sin and cast themselves upon His mercy. 1 Corinthians 6:1-3.