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|SERMON TEXT: REVELATION 2:18-29|
Turn tonight to the book of Revelation, the second chapter beginning with the 18th verse, as we study tonight the fourth of the letters of our Lord to the churches of Asia Minor. Every one of these letters has a message for us; it has a message for us personally because at the conclusion of each one the Lord says, He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. So we apply these messages to our own hearts but we also apply them to our church because in these seven churches and the problems dealt with there, the Lord deals with every conceivable difficulty and problem which arises in the church of the Lord today. Revelation chapter 2, beginning with verse 18...
It's rather ironic that the longest letter of our Lord is addressed to the church about which we know the least. We really do not know a great deal about the city of Thyatira itself. We do know that it was located very near to the city of Pergamos which was the capitol of Asia. It was in the line of attach always when invaders came to attach the capitol city. So because of the location of Thyatira and its constant invasion by enemies it was destined to be torn down and rebuilt, torn down and rebuilt. We also know that it was a very important trade center and it was known for a very fine quality of wool and for a very precious dye that was produced there. In the city of Thyatira they made the royal purple, or the garments of purple. We know in those days that the Roman emperors wore these beautiful garments of purple and it was a very expensive kind of cloth. The garment was dyed with a purple dye that was acquired in a rather interesting way. They'd take a shellfish and slit its throat and from the throat of that shellfish they'd get a drop of that purple dye. So you can imagine how expensive it was to get enough dye to dye a garment in purple. Now because of the fact that it was a trade city and there were many different crafts there it was also a guild city. In other words these various craftsmen organized themselves into societies or to guilds. Now this will be important in a moment as we go down into this message. Another matter of note about the city of Thyatira is that it was also a center of the occult. There was a temple there dedicated to fortune telling, there was a female sorceress who ruled over that temple named Sambothee. So into this city the grace of God went and the Lord planted a church.
Now we do not know anything about this church beyond what we read here. There is a rather interesting statement though over in the books of Acts that may tell us how this church came into existence. Keep your place for just a moment here and move over to the 16th chapter of the book of Acts and I want you to notice a statement or two that's made there. We have the account here of the apostle Paul going to the city of Philippi, there preaching the gospel and founding a church. So in that 16th chapter of the book of Acts and in the 14th verse we have an interesting notation made. Notice what it says in Acts chapter 16, verse 14. Paul has gone down to the river side on the Sabbath day and he has found a group of women who have met there for a prayer meeting. Verse 14 says...
Now there is a statement about a woman named Lydia who was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira. She must have been quite a well-to-do woman, she must have been a woman of tremendous wealth in order to be a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira. She was over there in Philippi, the apostle Paul opened up the Word of God, and the Holy Spirit opened her heart and she was saved. Now that's the way it always works, that's the way people are always saved. The Bible says faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. Nobody is ever saved apart from the Scriptures. Somebody somehow has to share with you the Word of God, God's wonderful plan of salvation, if you're going to be saved. That's why we believe in personal soul winning, that's why we believe that we ought to go out into the homes of people with the Word of God opening up the Word and sharing with people what God has to say in the Scriptures. But you will notice that's our part, to open up the Word of God; God's part is to open up the heart. And isn't it a wonderful miracle how God does that? Isn't it a beautiful thing to see how God opens up the hearts of people and prepares them to receive the Word of God. So Paul opened up the Word, the Lord opened up her heart and she was saved, and in turn she opened up her house to become a center for the dissemination of the gospel of Jesus Christ. There are some who believe that this Lydia went back to her hometown of Thyatira, carried the gospel, and was responsible for the founding of this church. Well whether that be true or not I think it's an interesting conjecture. I think it is a rather fascinating thought that maybe this church was founded by a woman because as the letter of our Lord reveals it was confounded by a woman too.
Well I want you to notice now the Lord's letter as He writes to this church. He begins by giving a description of himself in verse 18, He always does this at the beginning of every one of His letters, and the description of himself has a special application to the need of that church. So to the church of Thyatira He says, These things saith the Son of God; He presents himself as the eternal Son of God to this church; and He says, who has His eyes like unto a flame of fire, reminding us of the discernment of Jesus, the ability of Jesus to see to the very heart of a matter, our Lord's ability to pierce even to the in-most thoughts of an individual. His eyes as flame of fire and His feet like fine brass. Brass in the Bible is a symbol of judgment. This morning I was preaching about Samson who was bound in fetters of brass, and the brass there was the symbol of the judgment of God upon this man who disobeyed the Lord. Well the Lord Jesus says to the church of Thyatira, I am walking in your midst, I am in your midst and my feet are like fine brass. And what the Lord is saying here, I am coming to judge this church, I am coming to judge a problem which has arisen in this church. So with that description of himself the Lord then begins to speak specifically to this church.
Now the first time the Lord looks at this church He is delighted, He is delighted by the things He sees in that church at His first look. Look at verse 19: I know thy works. And of course here's another example of the fact that it was a working church and a church always is to be a working church. There is never any room for laziness and half-heartedness and slothfulness in the work of the Lord. I heard about two fellows walking along one day and they saw three bums over in the gutter and one said to the other, "Which one of those three guys do you think is the laziest?" And he said, "I don't know, let's see." So they walked over there and he said, "Say, fellas, I want to give a $20-bill to the one of you who is the laziest." Well one of those jumped up immediately and said, "I'm your man, give it to me." And he said, "No, you're not the laziest." The second guy kind of rolled over a little bit, raised up his hand, said, "I'm your man, give it to me." He said, "No, you're not the laziest." The third guy just laid there and said, "Just stick in it this pocket right here." And he was the laziest. I hope he wasn't a Baptist. God doesn't expect His people to be lazy. So the Lord says to the church at Thyatira, I know your work and I am delighted about this.
He is delighted about the motives of their work. Look at the words He adds alongside works. He said, I know your charity, that's love, your service, your faith, and your patience. These are the motives of their work, these are the things that caused them to work the way they were working. In other words work that was motivated by love. Loving the Lord Jesus is the basis of genuine work for Him. All of our work for the Lord must be motivated because we love Jesus Christ. I said some time ago that you can labor and not love but you cannot love and not labor. If you really love Jesus you'll work for the Lord Jesus Christ. And of course that's what takes the drudgery out of it isn't it? I mean when you're thoroughly and totally in love with Jesus then it's not too very hard to work for Him. So He says, I know thy works and thy love.
And then He says, I know thy service. And the word "service" there would be better translated, I know thy ministry. Here was a church that had a ministry, here was a church that did what it did as a ministry. There's a difference between church activity and church ministry. It is possible to get involved in church work and not be doing the work of the church and there are a lot of churches where there is a great deal of activity but there is not a great deal of ministry. Ministry must be based upon love for the Lord Jesus, as I have suggested, and it must be based upon the particular calling that God has given to that congregation. God raises up churches at specific times in order to perform specific ministries and a church is to carry out its ministry, a church is to do what God has placed it in the community to do.
I know thy love, I know thy ministry, and then He says, number three, I know thy faith. In other words a work that stems from faith. And then He says, I know thy patience, and the word "patience" there means endurance, it means to stay with it, it means to keep on keeping on, it means that stubborn refusal to quit, it means that tenaciousness of spirit that causes us to just keep on doing the things God wants us to do. Well this is a delightful picture, the Lord looks at the motives of their work and He is delighted, but He also looks at the maturity of their work and He is delighted. Did you notice the Lord's commendation begins by saying, I know thy works, and it concludes by saying, I know thy works? And He says about those works in verse 19 that the last are more than the first. In other words there was maturity in their works, they were doing now more than they'd ever done for the Lord. In other words there was development, there was progress. I think this is what God wants us to do. I was thinking the other day about a verse in the Psalms where it talked about the child of God shall flourish as the palm tree and it says they'll still bear fruit in old age.
Occasionally I run into somebody who is inactive and maybe they need to move their letter. Isn't it amazing how people wait so long to move their church letter? You go out here and visit somebody in Jacksonville and they say, "Well where do you belong?" And they say, "Oh, I belong back at First Cemetery Baptist Church back yonder somewhere." And you say, "Well we'd like for you to pray about moving your letter to First Baptist." "Well we're not sure we're going to be living here permanently." "Well how long have you been here?" "Oh, 25 years." And occasionally you run into those folks and they'll say, "I used to teach Sunday School, I taught Sunday School for 15 years, but I've hung it up now." That's what they're basically saying. Now of course I know that there are reasons why some of God's people can't do the things they used to do. That's true; there are times, because of health or change in circumstances, you may not be able to do the things you used to do, but I want to tell you something, I do not believe there is any such thing as retirement from serving the Lord Jesus as long as you have breath on this earth. When the Lord Jesus was hanging on the cross and both hands were nailed to the cross so He couldn't use them, and both feet were driven to the cross so He couldn't walk on the paths of Galilee any more, He was still praying for others. So there's always something to do. I'll tell you what I want to do. I don't want to retire from the work of the Lord, I just want to get re-tired, that's what I want to do, just get re-tired and just keep on working for the Lord. And I want my last works to be greater than my first works.
Did you know we've got some folks in our congregation right now who are more effective for the Lord than they've ever been in their lives? They've been members here for years. In fact we've got some folks who became soul winners when they got to their retirement years. I think that's a wonderful thing. Folks, don't ever ever get the idea that you can just kind of retire from God's business. I don't know about you but I don't want to cut myself off in the latter years of my life from those things that have given me such joy and fulfillment and contentment in the rest of the years of my life. Some of God's people do that. Did you know that? I mean they found their joy in being in the house of God and in serving in Sunday School and going out visiting, and then they get to retirement and they get them a camper (nothing wrong with a camper), they get them a Winnebago (nothing wrong with a Winnebago, all that's fine), but then somehow they think they're going to find joy out here traveling somewhere taking themselves away from the very things that gave them joy in the first place. I'll tell you what, brethren, I want to have my joy in Jesus and I want to keep serving Him just as long as I possibly can.
Well the Lord looks at the church and His first look, He is delighted, but now His second look, He is disturbed. When the Lord looks a little bit deeper in this congregation He is disturbed by what He sees because the Lord sees a heresy in this church which is so dangerous that if left unchecked it will absolutely destroy this church. All right, look at it in verse 20: Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest... That word "sufferest" means because you tolerate, because you permit. This is the age of tolerance isn't it? We are taught today to be broad-minded. We're taught today that everything that comes along, just be tolerant, now don't be extreme. So the Lord deals with a church that prides itself in its broad-mindedness. Thou toleratest that woman Jezebel. That's pretty blunt isn't it? That's pretty specific. He doesn't just say "some" woman, He says "that" woman. Now I'm confident her name was not Jezebel by the way. I don't think that was her name at all. But the Lord is very specific when He points out a particular woman. There was a woman in the church who was introducing heresy in the congregation and her heresy was such nature that the Lord gives her a Bible name from the Old Testament: that woman Jezebel.
Now what do you know about Jezebel? Let's talk about Jezebel for a little. All of my children, I've given my children Bible names or some part of their name may be a Bible name. It's a wonderful thing to do. I had a lot rather you give your children Bible names than to name them after the rock stars and the movie stars and all of these kinds of people. I really would like to see God's people let their heroes be people in the Bible rather than people in the world. I think there's something to be said for that. But do you know, I have never known a boy named Judas. I have never known anybody to name their boy Judas. Now I had a professor in school who had a dog named Judas one time. He had a dog named Judas and if you'd known him you would have known he was named correctly. We name our dogs Judas but we don't name our sons Judas. And I have never known a girl named Jezebel. I have never had a young couple come up to me and say, Preacher, we want you to see our little girl Jezebel. We just don't name our little girls Jezebel do we? Well why is that? Why don't we name them Jezebel? What is it about Jezebel that makes us cringe?
Well when you go into the Old Testament you learn the story of Jezebel. Jezebel was the wife of king Ahab and she was a devout worshipper of Baal. In fact she was a zealous missionary for Baal and when Ahab the king of Israel, the people of God, married Jezebel, when she moved into the palace she brought her pagan religion in at the same time. Now Baalism was a nature cult and its priests were sex perverts, it was a very depraved and godless kind of religion. And she taught Israel to commit fornication and she led Israel not only into immorality but she led them into idolatry and she became a curse upon the people of God. And of course you know what happened. One day Jezebel's husband Ahab came down to breakfast and he wasn't eating and he was pouting and he turned his face over against the wall and Jezebel came in. Jezebel spent the first half of the day putting on war paint and the rest of the day on the war path and she had herself all floosed up and had all that mascara and all that other stuff you put on, looked like she was growing her own penicillin and the whole bit. And she comes walking down and there's old king Ahab and he's pouting. She walks in and says, "What's the matter, big boy?" And he says, "Well, I wanted the vineyard of Naboth and he won't give it to me and I'm pouting." She said, "Well don't you worry, son, I'll get that vineyard for you." You know the story don't you? You know the story. Poor old Naboth, they just set him up, they lied about him, they stoned him to death, and just as soon as the news came of the death of Naboth Jezebel said to Ahab, "Go on down now, sugar, and get the vineyard, I got it for you."
Well when Ahab went down to claim his vineyard God sent His prophet Elijah down there to meet him and when Ahab saw Elijah it scared him to death and he said, "Hast thou found me, O thou he that troubleth Israel?" And Elijah said, "I have not troubled Israel but you and your household, you and your wicked wife, you're the problem." And Elijah pronounced the judgment of God upon Ahab. He said, "Ahab, the dogs will lick thy bones in Jezreel and the dogs will eat Jezebel." R. G. Lee said from that time on every time Ahab heard a dog bark he jumped. And just exactly what God said would happen happened. And then one day God sent His prophet to anoint Jehu to be the successor to Ahab and he took off to Jezreel, where Jezebel was, that the judgment of God might be carried out. When she heard Jehu was on the way the Bible says she painted herself up, she got herself a new hairdo, and she was standing up there on the second floor looking out. When Jehu came she said to him, "Are you the one who's been rebelling against your master?" and Jehu said, "Everybody on the Lord's side, throw her down." And that's exactly what happened. And they threw her down and her body burst like a ripe watermelon on the ground, and her blood splatter up against the walls, and her bones looked like chunks of ivory in buckets of blood, and he rode his chariot right on top of her and went on in to eat. And after the meal was over he said, "Go on out and bury that wicked woman Jezebel." And when they got out there they discovered that the dogs had eaten Jezebel except her skull and her hands and her feet. And that is the Old Testament account of Jezebel. It is the truth of the heresy of bringing immorality and idolatry into the people of God.
Now whoever this New Testament Jezebel must have been, we do not know specifically who she was, but we do know that this woman professed to be a spokesman for God, she professed to be a prophetess of God, and she was permitted by the church to teach and to seduce the people of God with a very damnable doctrine. Now when you study the Bible you will discover that a woman can be a great blessing. A good, godly woman can be a great blessing. Women were the last at the cross and they were first at the tomb. And some of the greatest servants of the Lord in the Bible were godly women. And through the history of the church of our Lord the women have played an invaluable and they have played an important, vital role in the life of the church. You ever thought about what we'd do here without our godly women to serve? Do you realize how many of our women faithfully serve in our Sunday School every Sunday? You just think about it, in our preschool area most of the folks who work over there are women. And you think about the women who teach Sunday School and you think about these dear women who sing, and these dear women... You ought to be here on Tuesday morning, you ought to just come out here some Tuesday morning and see that new members' classroom over there just packed with women who have met to share testimonies, to pray together, to take names of prospects and go out and knock on doors and win souls to the Lord Jesus Christ. Oh, thank God for Christian women who love the Lord Jesus, and a woman who is where Jesus wants her to be and serving the way God wants her to be can bring literally multitudes into the kingdom of God.
But the wrong kind of woman can be a terrible curse. I was preaching on this one night in a church and I made that statement, I said, A godly woman is a great blessing but the wrong kind of woman is a great curse. And after I got through preaching some woman came up to me, I think she was a feminist, she looked like a feminist. I mean she really did, she looked kind of like a bulldog, kind of looked like a Bella Abzug. You ever seen old Bella Abzug? I think the problem with her is her shoes have been too tight all her life. And all I said was that the wrong kind of woman is a great curse. That's true. You believe that? She came down to me and she said, "What you got against women?" I said, "I ain't got nothin' against women, my mama's a woman." And I said, "And furthermore my wife is a woman and my two daughters are women. I haven't got a thing against women." I love women. Amen. In fact I married one woman. I wasn't trying to throw off on the women, I was just preaching the Bible. That's truth. Did you know, if you'll study it carefully, most of the heresies were begun by women. You just check it out. There's a reason for that, there's a scriptural reason for that. That's why Paul warns young Timothy to warn the young ladies that they be very careful not to let false doctrine enter into their house because he talks about them being led astray. The woman sometimes leads with her heart instead of with her head, she thinks with her emotions instead of her mind. This is exactly what you find in the book of Genesis. The devil knew just exactly how to attack the man and how to attack the woman. What did he do? He attacked Eve in the direction of her emotions and she thought with her emotions. So a woman in the wrong position can bring great problems into the house of God.
Well here was a false teacher, a Jezebel if you please. Now what was she teaching? What was the heresy? What was the danger that so disturbed the Lord Jesus in this congregation? Well, here's what I believe was taking place. I said to you a little while ago that in this city there were trade guilds and that these craftsmen organized themselves into these trade guilds. So, of course, they met together for common purposes, for common enterprise and these kinds of things, and in their meetings they would find themselves confronted many times with gross immorality and things would go on in these guild societies that were immoral and incompatible with the Christian faith. And the believer, confronted with those kinds of meetings, had to make a choice. He either had to take his stand for the Lord and refuse to participate and encounter ridicule and persecution, or he had to compromise and go along.
Kind of like Christmas parties, kind of like some of those office Christmas parties. Did you know Christmas time is one of the main times of the year when families break up? And did you know some of the office Christmas parties are the reason? Now let me tell you something, Christian, you're going to have an opportunity when Christmas comes around and some of these parties come around at your office, you may have to go, but I want to tell you something, you don't have to compromise when you get there. You say, If I don't I'll lose my job. Well lose it. Just lose your job. You say, Well I've got to eat. Listen, the David said, I have been young and now am I old and never have I seen the righteous forsaken nor his seed begging bread. Now I want to tell you something, you just take your stand for the Lord and if you lose your job for it then God is obligated to feed you and take care of you, and if God can't do that you better find that out just as soon as you can, brother. If our God is not able to take care of us when we take our stand for Him, the sooner we know that the better. But I don't believe that, I don't believe that. I have known some Christians who dared to take their stand, not obnoxiously but lovingly and sweetly and graciously, and God has honored their testimony. I was talking to one of our men just recently and he was telling me about being in the office of a very prominent man in this city. You would know the business he's associated with, you would know the man if I told you the name. And he said he was in there and he said that when the meeting was over the head of this company said, It's now time for the drinks, and they got out the drinks and began to pour the drinks. And when they came to him they offered him a drink and he said, No, I don't drink. A very simple answer, that's all you've got to say, No, look them right in the eye, No thank you, I don't drink. That's simple enough isn't it? No thank you, I don't drink. And you know what the man said to him? He said, Well I admire you. Friend, you are never going to win this lost world compromising with them, and you can sit there with your little 7-Up or with your Canada Dry and compromise if you want to but you're not going to be a witness for the Lord Jesus that way.
So there they were, they were confronted with a real decision. Well, Jezebel came along and she said, "Oh, I can solve that problem, there's nothing to that. Let me tell you what you do. You just go on over there, you're saved, you're going to heaven when you die, and you know that because you're saved that sin's not going to send you to hell, so what you do you just go on over there and you participate with them. It won't be so bad. In fact it will just give God's grace an opportunity to be more magnificently displayed because of your sin." It is Paul's old question where he said, Shall we sin that grace may abound? Her doctrine is the doctrine of minimizing sin, to minimize the seriousness of sin. And I want to tell you it's a problem we're facing right now in the modern church, it is the heresy that would teach God's people that just because you're saved it basically doesn't matter how you live, that sin somehow is not serious any more. Now this morning I preached the other side of this truth, I preached the doctrine of liberty this morning, but on the other extreme from the doctrine of legalism is the doctrine of license. Legalism is the doctrine which denies liberty; license is the doctrine which perverts liberty and teaches that because you are free in Jesus Christ therefore you are free to sin. Well I want to tell you something, friends, if you have bought that you have bought the Jezebel doctrine. Our society is absolutely filled with it. Jesus on one side, the devil on the other side; hold on to the world, hold on to the Lord. We see it in the quote converted singer who still sings his or her filthy, lewd, immoral songs and then closes it out with, "I'd Rather Have Jesus," and somehow that makes it all right.
Well I want to tell you something, beloved, God does not condone in His children what He condemns in a lost man, and the wages of sin is still death and the saved man is going to pay the penalty of sin in his life if he doesn't repent just like the lost man is going to pay for it. In fact I can build you a case from the Scriptures that it is more serious when a child of God sins than when a lost man sins. Oh, don't you let the devil trick you into thinking you can sin. Some of these young people around here, some of these precious girls, the devil's got some boys, girls, who'll try to feed you that doctrine. The devil's got some boys who will try to say to you, "Now wait a minute, love is of God and if you really love me you'll do favors for me." I'll tell you what you do. You let some boy try that on you, you say, Junior, you go home and let mama tighten up your diapers, I don't fall for your words. Isn't that right? Listen, friend, listen, the devil's got all kinds of folks out here teaching false doctrine.
It is amazing, I am amazed how people condone profanity on the part of God's people. They do it in the name of freedom. Did you not hear what Dr. Lindsay preached from today when the Bible says let no filthy communication proceed out of your mouth. There is no room for profanity in the vocabulary of a child of God. Profanity is nothing more than the effort of a feeble mind to express itself forcibly, and when God saves you He can give you enough vocabulary from the Bible to express yourself without having to dig down into the devil's garbage pail to get your language. I get so sick of these people who say they're saved and they use filthy language. I saw one quote converted movie star on a T.V. talk show some months ago and he and two preachers and the head of the talk show program spent an hour and a half justifying him continuing to be featured in movies where there was profanity because he said he was being a witness for the Lord Jesus. Brother, I want to tell you, God in His Word says come ye out from among them and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing. Now if you misunderstood me this morning, I don't think you've misunderstood me tonight. Brother, I am free in the Lord Jesus Christ but my freedom is freedom to live the way Jesus wants me to live. And, brother, I want to tell you something, the further along I go the more old fashioned I get. Brother, I want to be an old timey Christian, I don't want there to be anything about my words, I don't want there to be anything about the places I go, I don't want there to be any suspicion on the habits I have, I don't want there to be anything in my life that would cause anybody to raise any question about whether or not I was totally sold out a hundred and ten percent to the Lord Jesus Christ. And, brother, you live for the Lord, don't let old Jezebel trick you up. She taught and seduced the people of God to commit immorality and idolatry.
Well the Lord says in verse 21, I gave her space to repent, she wouldn't do it. She misunderstood the patience of God. Some of you sitting here tonight, you say, Well I've got sin in my life, I'm saved. I really think most people who've got sin in their life and claim they're saved are not really saved. I really don't believe they're saved. Now I don't know their hearts but I just can't believe that a person that talks like the world... Listen, if I see an animal that walks like a duck, that looks like a duck, that quacks like a duck, that associates with other ducks, I about decide he's duck. And, brother, when I see somebody that talks like the world, that acts like the world, that lives like the world... Listen, I hear people talking about a worldly Christian. That makes about as much sense as talking about a heavenly devil. I don't think a lot of these people are saved, I just really don't. But some of you sitting here tonight and you've got sin in your life and you're doing all these things and you're flaunting it and you're arrogant in your sin, you say, Well God hasn't dealt with me. Well you have misunderstood the patience of God. The Bible says the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance. God has simply been patient with you to give you an opportunity to get that sin out of your life.
He said, I gave her space to repent and she would not. So the Lord says in verse 22, I will cast her into a bed and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation. Did you know when the great tribulation comes there's still going to be churches on this earth? There are. There's still going to be some professing Christians on this earth. Now I do not believe the church will go through the great tribulation, I don't believe this. He's talking right here about a lost church, He's talking about people who claim to be saved and yet their lifestyle proves they're not saved, He says you're going to go into the great tribulation. I've got news for you, when the Lord takes out His believers there will be churches still having services. They will. And there will be preachers still preaching, trying to explain why the rest of us are gone. And I'll tell you what, friend, I'm going up with the Lord Jesus. But the Lord says to this apostate church, to this worldly church, I'll put you in the bed of affliction and you'll be in great tribulation.
And then He says, I will kill her children with death. Do you know who suffers most in a worldly church? Do you know who suffers the most in a church that has the doctrine that you can sin and get by with it and that sin is no longer serious? Do you know who pays the greatest price? It's the young people, it's the young people of that church. You run into young people all over this country and they've never had the advantage of being brought up in a Bible-teaching church, they never had a pastor that ever preached against sin. Dr. Lindsay and I were talking about that this week. If people today, if folks don't hear from the pulpits of the land about sin, where are they going to hear it? Now you explain to me where are they going to hear it. They're not going to hear it in school. Now, thank God we've got some find Christian teachers in our schools, in our public schools. We've got some teachers who love Jesus and witness for Jesus and serve Jesus in the public schools but I'll tell you something, they're not going to let them teach it in the public schools. And they're certainly not going to get it on television. And they're not going to get it in the magazines that are published. Well if the young people are not given moral guidance in their church pray tell me where they're going to get it. Yet did you know that there are literally multitudes of young people who are brought up going to churches Sunday after Sunday after Sunday and they never hear the Word of God about sin, they're never warned about the dangers of sin and the problems and the troubles that sin bring, and they just don't know any better. It's pitiful. It breaks your heart to think of young people... That's one of the reasons young people have rebelled against the church. There are young people who have been brought up in churches where there was open hypocrisy, where there was open sin, and they knew that there was a contradiction there, so they rebel against the church. But they are not rebelling really against a real church, they're rebelling against the caricature of the church. Oh, listen, I thank God that my children have been brought up in churches where the Word has been preached and where there were faithful Christians who taught them the truth.
The Lord said, I'll kill her children, they'll pay the price, and I'll give every one of you according to your works. The Lord says be not deceived, God is not mocked, whatsoever a man sows that she he also reap. And the worldly church is going to have some real problems down the road. And I'll tell you what, folks, we ought to live just as close to the Lord and as clean for Jesus as we can possibly live. That not only applies to the pastor it applies to the staff members. None of these staff members should ever do anything that the youngest Christian in this church couldn't follow and grow and be blessed because of it. And every deacon in this church ought to live in such a way that every young person in this church could follow them anywhere they go and see anything they do and be helped and not hindered by it. And no Christian in this church should have any habit in his life that he couldn't recommend to a 16-year old girl in this congregation. Amen? Amen and amen.
Well the Lord looks at this church and He is delighted, He looks again at this church and He is disturbed, He looks again at this church and He is determined. He says in verse 24, But I say unto you and unto the rest. See that? The rest. The rest in Thyatira who have not had this doctrine, which have not known the depths of Satan as they speak. In other words they said, We're going to the deep things, deep things. Let me tell you something, friend, any doctrine that minimizes sin or denies the reality of sin's punishment, it's deep all right, but it is the depths of Satan. But He says there's a group in there that's the rest. In other words there was a faithful remnant in this church that was true blue for Jesus. I mean there was some folks there in that church... It's an amazing phenomenon to me but in the churches I have gone to in revival meetings in past years, you can go to some of the deadest, some of the worldliest churches you ever saw and in those churches there will be some folks that really love the Lord Jesus Christ. Isn't that an amazing thing? I call them the faithful few on fire, I call them Gideon's 300, the Master's minority, and they're the hope, they're the hope, it's that core. I used to think to have revival that everybody had to get revived. I have come to understand now that God works with a few.
Vance Havner used to use the illustration of kindling wood. He said the way you start a fire, you don't put the flame under that back log but, he said, what you do, he said, you get some kindling wood and you bunch it up together and get it burning and then you get that old back log to burning. See, God works with His kindling wood, the rest, that faithful, that inner core, that sold out, praying, dedicated, soul-winning people. Unto the rest of them, He says, I will put upon you none other burden. What Jesus is saying is you just keep on doing what you're doing, just keep on winning souls, just keep on having a burden for souls, just keep at it. And He says in verse 25, that which you already have hold fast till I come. What He's saying there is, Just stay with it till I come, stay with the Book, stay with the blood, and stay with the blessed hope until I come.
A young preacher before the days of electric lights and flashlights was preaching in a camp meeting and after it was over he had to walk a good way to where he was staying for the night. One of the old men in the church there gave him a piece of wood, a knot, a knot on fire and he said to the young man, "Son, you take this knot on fire and it'll see you home." And the young man said, "But what if it goes out before I get there?" He said, "Young man, it'll see you home." He said, "Well what if the wind blows it out?" He said, "It will see you home." He said, "Well what if it rains?" He said, "Son, it will see you home." Well let me tell you something, child of God, this old Book will see you home, this old book will see you home, you just stay with it. Hold fast till I come.
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