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Repentance From Dead Works (20)

We shall begin today, by reading Revelation 2:18-29, our scripture text: And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass; I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first. Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works. But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden. But that which ye have already hold fast till I come. And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. And I will give him the morning star. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

For some weeks now, we have been looking at the Lord Jesus review of the works of seven churches, around the 1st Century A.D. These churches were located in the Roman region, then known as Asia; what is today, the nation of Turkey. So far, we have reviewed three of the seven churches, namely; the churches in Ephesus, Smyrna, and Pergamos. We have also learnt some fundamental lessons about good works and dead works from the Lords review of these churches thus far. For one, we have seen that everything that we do on earth, whether or not they are known to men, is known by God! Secondly, our acts and activities are assessed either as good works, and thus rewarded in eternity with eternal rewards; or as dead works, and thus punished in eternity with eternal punishment in hell; based on criteria which the Lord Himself has documented in His word, the bible. For instance, all our labour in the Lords vineyard, our patient endurance of hardship, our rejection of the proponents of false doctrines, of the false doctrines themselves, and of the practitioners of false doctrines, which should ordinarily be considered good works, are tantamount to dead works, if they were not done with love for God which was poured into us by the Holy Spirit. Also, not all suffering is sin or the result of sin; neither is all poverty a curse or the result of a curse; nor is a condemnation from so-called Christians to be taken seriously. What is significant is whether the deprivations we suffer, our poverty, and the condemnations or insults from these so-called Christians are in accordance with the will of God, and for the sake of the gospelif they are, they are good works, and shall be rewarded in eternity; if they are not, they are dead works, requiring repentance, otherwise, eternal judgment in hell is all that awaits! Finally, in our last broadcast, we saw another instance of what constitutes dead works; and that is, our toleration of sin and sinful conduct among believers in Christ, to the point of condoning its entrenchment in the house of God, just because we dont want to lose members, or so that we can have more people come into our church. Sadly, this is bringing us to the brink of losing all our good works; hence, we must speak up and speak out against sin and sinful living in the body of Christnot just speak against it among unbelievers! For this reason, those of us who are believers in Christ must begin to address the issues of dressing, appearance, conduct, speech, and mannerism that are unbecoming of those who profess the kingdom of God, which unfortunately, is now prevalent and has reached unprecedented levels in this generation. Church leaders must take the lead in speaking forcefully against many of the syncretic practices in the church, or else, both they, and the believers in their local assembly will lose everything, including eternal life!

Our scripture text today, tells us of the Lords message to the believers in Thyatira, and it was a mixed review. On one hand, the Lord commended these believers for their good works of love, service, faith, and patience; and that their good works, was in ever-increasing dimension, for their latter works were far better than their earlier works. On the other hand, however, the Lord indicted them of allowing a woman, who called herself a prophetess, but whom the Lord called, Jezebel, to teach, and seduce Gods servants into fornication, and to eat what had been sacrificed to idols. To understand who is being referred to here, we need to see what is said about the only other woman called Jezebel in the bible. The story of this other Jezebel traverses 1 Kings 16:312 Kings 9:37. This Old Testament Jezebel was the daughter of a heathen king, and a worshipper of the idol, Baal. Through Jezebels influence, her husband, King Ahab, who was not only weak, but also smitten by her, more or less yielded the control of the nation of Israel to her. Ahabs wife was a seductress, who used make-up to lure men, and her husbands authority for personal gains. On one occasion, she seduced the elders of a particular city to bring false accusations and witnesses against Naboth, a man who had refused to sell his land to King Ahab. As a result, Naboth was found guilty of the trumped up charges and summarily executed, thus, leaving King Ahab to take over the land of Naboth, without having to pay for it. Jezebel also had in her employ, over 400 prophets of Baal and of the goddess Asherah, and they were on hand to prophesy and so, deceive her husband, King Ahab, into committing evil. Through her scheming, she led Israel firmly into the path of spiritual adultery and apostasy, converting almost all the powerful men in the land, leaving only 7,000 men plus Elijah, who God noted had not bowed to Baal. This is the kind of stuff you read about politicians wives. You wouldnt expect it of a pastors wife, but the Lord Jesus revealed that there was a Jezebel in the church in Thyatira; a replica of Jezebel, King Ahabs wife.

The Lord was speaking about a woman in the church, perhaps, the wife of the pastor, evangelist, bishop or the apostle (whatever title you may have in your church); she may also have been the wife of an influential minister in the church, or an influential member of the church herself. Whichever she was, the Jezebel in Thyatira, had a prominent place in the church, and she used it to her advantagegetting Gods servants to commit fornication and idolatry. The Jezebel in the church in Thyatira, is symbolic of any woman with the nature and disposition of Jezebel, King Ahabs wife.

There are women in the church today, who have left their God-ordained roles of help-meet, and have forayed into roles that God did not ask of them. These women have usurped the authority of their husbands in the church, and are acting independent of them. Sadly, there are many church leaders who teach an unscriptural tolerance in marriage; so, instead of teaching women to be in subjection to, and reverence their husbands, women are being encouraged to act independent of them and to usurp authority in the home; and this has caused the growth of many Jezebels in the church of God. Some pastors wives are truly Jezebels. The story is told of a woman who went to see her pastor because her family was being ravaged by a disease; on getting there, the pastor was not at home, but the pastors wife was. So, she decided to tell the pastors wife what had brought her to the pastors houseand by all standards, this is not a bad thing to do. Unfortunately, she did not realize that the pastors wife was the head of a witches covenan original Jezebel. After hearing the matter, the pastors wife introduced the woman to the coven, ostensibly as the place for her deliverance, but before long, the woman had become a witch herself, and began offering her family whom she had gone to the pastors wife for help for in the first place, to her bloodthirsty coven.

Friend, you may be ignorant of what true scriptural marriage is, and there are indeed, ministers of the gospel who are married to Jezebels. When these ministers got married to these Jezebels, they probably didnt know that they would be involved in ministry, but the Jezebels knew and married them for that very reason! Hence, we continue to advocate that young people, who are born again, pray to God and hear clearly from Him, before getting married to anyone. Marriage in Christianity is not about love (which in most cases is really lust), neither is it about how well-to-do the person is, nor is it about how good looking or shapely he or she is; rather, it is about the kingdom of God, and Gods assignment for you in the kingdom. Please listen very carefully, marriage is not about what you see in a person; it is about the future of your eternal salvation which only God has seen. Thus, God will reveal as your spouse, the man or woman who will be instrumental to your making it to heaven at the end of the Age.

Like Jezebel, King Ahabs wife, and the Jezebel in the church in Thyatira, there are many women, including wives of church leaders who are seductive in their dressing, and who are teaching all kinds of heresy, and calling it deep teachings; no wonder the Lord called it the depth of Satan, for they truly are teachings from the depth of hell! Through so-called revelations, these women have lured the children of God, into committing fornication and idolatry! These women teach and practice lewd dressing, and pornography, and claim that it is how a woman can keep her husband and even husband-to-be, interested in her. The result is lewdness in the church and promiscuity among the members, and some church leaders see nothing wrong with that! These Jezebels oversee the church as a family business, and not as the Church of God!

Even though the Jezebel in the church in Thyatira, was teaching and seducing Gods servants, which is very bad and very sad; the real issue which the Lord had with the church was that she was permitted by the church to continue to do so, even though they knew that what she was doing was evil and wrong! This was what one high priest of God, Eli, did in 1 Samuel 2; he did nothing about his two sons, whom the bible called sons of belial, and who were covetous, unruly, adulterous, and so on. Today, there are many church leaders who are not on top of the situation in the churches they are overseeingthey have left those matters in the hands of men of questionable character and their wives, unchecked! The Good News Translation of the bible says in 1 Timothy 2:9-14, that women in the church should be modest and sensible about their clothes and dress properly; not with fancy hair styles or with gold ornaments or pearls or expensive dresses, but with good deeds, as is proper for women who claim to be religious. Women should learn in silence and all humility. I do not allow them to teach or to have authority over men; they must keep quiet. For Adam was created first, and then Eve. And it was not Adam who was deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and broke God's law. Contrary to what some people may think, this isnt a gag order, but an instruction which seeks to make Christian women live as God wants them to, in the light of their antecedent and history, vis--vis, Eve!

It is comforting to note that the Lord observed that there were some believers in the church, who had not been seduced by the erroneous teachings of Jezebel. Of these believers, the Lord demanded nothing more but promised the bestowal of Gods authority upon them, with which they would be able to rule and reign on earth in the end; provided they continued in their devotion, dedication, loyalty, and patience, till the end of the Age. But to all the Jezebels in the church, and those who have been seduced by her, including their husbands, the Lord asks that you repent, or face the certain eternal fire of hell, which will never be quenched!

Let us pray!