Counter Culture - May 27, 2018

Counter-Culture: Triumphant Living in a Turbulent World

Week 4: Revelation 2:18-29

Our current series examines the powerful and encouraging message Jesus Christ sent his church in the New Testament book of Revelation. In the first three chapters of Revelation, Jesus Christ messaged seven third-generation churches about how to live God-honoring lives in a culture that disregards or opposes him. This week we’ll focus on the church at Thyatira, which addresses the internal corruption of the church due to acceptance of a false teacher. Jesus’ tone was of indictments and judgement. The church lacked discernment and succumbed to false doctrine. Their tolerance led them to spiral into idolatry and immorality. Unlike Thyatira, Jesus will not tolerate sin within his body, the church. As the body works to expel the virus from the body, Jesus will expel those who refuse to repent. The health of the church is Jesus’ top priority. Jesus’ command is to hold fast to the truth and remember he is near. As a church family, may we commit to strive for personal holiness.

Discussion Starter:

Can you think of a time recently when someone made something more complicated than it needed to be?

Getting into the Text:

1.     (Rev 2:18) The blazing eyes and bronze feet are symbols designed to draw our attention to distinguishing characteristics of Jesus. The remainder of the letter (especially verses 23 and 26-27) helps to interpret these. What aspects of Jesus’ character are we reminded of here?

2.     (Rev 2:19-20) Compare and contrast the positive and negative things Jesus identifies for the church in Thyatira with the positive and negative things he raised for the church at Ephesus (Rev 2:1-7). Considering what he said to both churches, what does a full picture of a healthy church look like? How might an overemphasis on one dimension lead to neglect of another?

3.     (Rev 2:20-23) Jesus perfectly represents the appropriate balance of grace and truth (John 1:14) and of compassion and justice (2 Pet 3:7-10). How are both aspects on display in his treatment of the woman Jezebel and her followers? Is there a point where God’s patience with a lack of repentance runs out?

4.     (Rev 2:24-25) What is Jesus encouraging the believers in Thyatira to hold on to? How is this also relevant for us today?

5.     (Rev 2:26-29) In each of the letters to the seven churches, Jesus ends with promises and previews of what it will be like when he returns to establish his kingdom in full. Here he promises that believers will participate in judging the nations (see also Rev 3:21 and 1 Cor 6:2) and that believers will receive Jesus himself as the “morning star” (see Rev 22:16). How would these promises have been important for the church at Thyatira to hear? How might our responsibility to discern and address false teaching in the present relate to our ability to judge the nations in the future?

Application:

1.     Wrong thinking often creeps into our lives or the church by the subtle twisting or distorting of a good thing. For example, the sexual relationship between a husband and wife is a good thing but it can be distorted in various forms of sexual immorality. Socializing with unbelieving friends or colleagues is a good thing but can lead to situations where you are tempted to compromise your convictions. Are there areas in your own life today where a good thing might be getting twisted into something that Jesus is not pleased with? Ask the Holy Spirit to help identify those areas.

2.     Pastors and elders have the primary responsibility to protect our church from false teaching and to encourage spiritual health (Titus 1:9, 1 Pet 5:1-4) but everyone has a role to play. Given the ministries and areas where you serve or participate, how might you contribute to a healthier church?

3.     Jesus offers himself as a resource and a prize. He is enough for us. How might he be calling you to live this week in light of that truth?