THYATIRA – a city of the province of LYDIA in western Asia Minor (modern Turkey) situated on the road from Pergamos to Sardis. The city was on the southern bank of the Lycus River, a branch of the Hermus River. Although never a large city, Thyatira was a thriving manufacturing and commercial centre during New Testament times. Archaeologists have uncovered evidence of many trade guilds and unions here. Membership in these trade guilds, necessary for financial and social success, often involved pagan customs and practices such as superstitious worship, union feasts using food sacrificed to pagan gods, and loose sexual morality. (from Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright © 1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers)
“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.”
“eyes like blazing fire”: the One who is able to see and examine our motives! : “feet are like burnished bronze”: the One who is capable of conducting swift and righteous judgment. “All a man’s ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the LORD.”: Why are we doing what we are doing? Why are we involved in our acts of service? What is the driving-force in our service for God? Formality; pride; to appear active? Does our service increase only in quantity? “I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first.” . All service for God must be rooted in works produced by our faith in Him; labour prompted by our love for Him; endurance inspired by our hope in Him.
“Nevertheless, I have this against you….”. As the “blazing fire” of God’s eyes search the hearts and motives of His servants He finds there are two types; those who serve God in sincerity and those who just serve.
THOSE WHO JUST SERVE: These are usually driven by formality and pride and appear to be ever increasing in the quantity of work they are doing. Such service is “man centred” in that it appeals to the approval of those in charge or those who benefit. As a result, false teachers and false teaching plague the church, and so enter the “Jezebels” and “idols” and people are entertained rather than fed. “….You tolerate that woman Jezebel ….who…By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols.” . When God’s people fail to honour Him in all their ways, and fail to be examined by His “eyes like blazing fire”, they become easily “misled” by false teachers and their service for God is not effective. They serve because they are driven by the desire to be successful at all costs, or by attempting to please others rather than God. In such situations, God in His mercy warns His servants and gives them time to repent and change their attitudes and motives: “I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling.”; and, as is always the case, some will heed the warning and repent; but there are those who will continue in their desire to be “men pleasers” and ultimately suffer the judgement of God. “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…..”. God’s purpose in all of this is to purify His Church, and to make His people aware that He is in control: “……..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.”.
THOSE WHO SERVE GOD: History has shown that no matter how far people turn away from the true service of God, God always maintains a “remnant”, and there is that group of believers that cling to the true teachings of the scriptures. Such was the case at Thyatira, and the Lord Jesus commends them for this. ” 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): Only hold on to what you have until I come.”
THE OVERCOMERS: Those who through their faith in God, and by the help of the Holy Spirit, hold on to the spiritual things they have been taught and live a life that is pleasing to God in every aspect of their service to Him.“This is the fate of those who trust in themselves, and of their followers, who approve their sayings. Selah Like sheep they are destined for the grave, and death will feed on them. The upright will rule over them in the morning; their forms will decay in the grave, far from their princely mansions.”
“Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints, the people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.”
“Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life!”