I recently read a great article entitled, “America’s Moral Decay” the writer of this article stated that, “America is incrementally and systematically Rejecting God. As a result, our nation is experiencing unparalleled moral decay. National immorality flourishes when the hearts of a nation's citizens reject God and His principles. Simply stated, "Spiritual decline leads to moral decay!" Ever wonder why America appears to be sliding down a slippery slope? Ever wonder where is the Church in all of this? Well, I have and I have come to the conclusion that there is a dangerous practice taking place within the confines of our churches in America today.
We are warned about this practice in 2 John 9 - 11, “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.” In other words, those of us who do not fully follow the doctrine of Christ and at same time claim to follow His are compromisers. There are individuals who compromise, and there are entire Church congregations who compromise as well and they indeed follow a compromising doctrine.
A compromised church will endeavor to isolate those of us who see their compromise. And the danger of this is while in isolation we fight to maintain our faith in the Word of God. It can cause us to even question ourselves with questions such as, ““Is it me, did I something wrong.” It is no wonder that many people are walking out the back door of the Church and in turn depriving themselves from all that the Lord has in store for due to a few inside of the Church who are hungry for the world’s acceptance.
One of the biggest problems with the Church today is that we have a few churches that are hiding their light within the church walls that will pass up their mission on their way to mission. When we consider the pertinent issues in America today such as same-sex marriage and abortion on demand, late term, partial birth or otherwise, well-known humanist with very popular talk shows and networks no less, who don’t call themselves humanist but they are. In fact, there is one extremely well known humanistic celebrity who argued with a few members of her studio audience that in her very influential opinion, “Jesus Christ could not possibly be the only way to the Kingdom of God!” —with this, one can easily ask the question where is the voice of the Church these day?
All across America today, pastors and church leaders are being silenced. And when the church is silent, that’s when society as a whole suffers, and compromise begins to set in. With compromise, people both young and old, no matter their race, creed, or color will simply go along to get along; they will do almost anything…to get attention, to be popular and acceptable, to secure their jobs, to get promotions, good grades, more money, a bigger house, live in a better neighborhood, obtain more and more power and the list goes on.
In short, they will compromise what they know is right in order to get what they want. This is what the members of the church at Thyatira were doing—Thyatira stands a model, a constant reminder of what a permissive church with a liberal theology looks like today, a church full of believers who engage in compromise almost in lock step with the world in order to fulfill their own personal desires. This is really nothing new, in other words it didn’t start manifesting itself here in the 21st Century, over 100 years ago a great English preacher by the name of Charles Haddon Spurgeon sounded the trumpet concerning this topic with his with writings concerning “The Downgrade of Christianity” however, other preacher pastors in England were very offended by what Spurgeon had to say and as result he was censured by the Baptist Council of England and in effect drove him to a clinical depression. However, through the years Spurgeon was indeed proven correct.
Here in text Jesus is speaking to ”the angel of the Church”, namely the pastor concerning a woman named Jezebel; there are two Jezebels in the Bible. The first one is found in the Old Testament, and the second one is found in the New Testament. The first time the name Jezebel occurs in the Bible is when she is getting married to King Ahab in 1 Kings 16, “And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the LORD more than all who were before him. And it came about, as though it had been a trivial thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he married Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Sidonians, and went to serve Baal and worshiped him. 1 Kings 16:30-31 (NASB). This Jezebel was for sure a very evil woman who tried to kill Elijah one of God’s prophets and died a horrible death herself.
And now the name Jezebel is used once again here in Revelation 2:18-29. This New Testament Jezebel is described as a prophetess, a false teacher, immoral woman and idol worshipper. She attended the church at Thyatira. She encouraged those who attended the church to engage in sexual sin and worship other gods. And so Jesus through the revelator addresses this church in three ways; first He offers them a compliment.
1.) Jesus Complimented The Church At Thyatira
Jesus said, “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.” This particular church actually did have the works of love and service, like many churches of today they had wonderful auxiliaries and ministries that concentrated upon showing care and interest, concern and provision to the community, which surrounded them. Jesus commended this church in six crucial areas. He gave them a good grade in their deeds because they actually were seeking to do the right thing, not just holding assemblies. He commended them in the area of love, which unlike the Church of Ephesus, they operated their church with the right motive. Jesus even commended their faith—they sincerely trusted in Jesus. Their service received a commendation from the Lord, as well as their perseverance because they did constantly face adversity. And lastly Jesus commended the growth, as their faith grew so did their deeds, holiness, service, love, et cetera.
On the surface they appeared a wonderful and vibrant church, you and I personally know many churches within our communities that can be described as being dynamic, vibrant, and alive. We know of many churches that are very involved in meeting all the social need of the community. They have all the pertinent ministries that range from feeding the homeless, visiting the incarcerated and the sick and shut in. We all know of churches with powerful youth and senior ministries, a church full of activity and energy and crowed with people. A church known for taking in many new converts and transplants after listening to soul stirring sermons given by a well-known charismatic pastor.
As wonderful as this church Thyatira was it still couldn’t rest upon these accomplishments aforementioned because it was a far cry from what it should have been. It was also a compromising and corrupt church. The church on the surface appeared to be the most alive and dynamic church in the area, almost everybody in the community most likely spoke highly of this particular church and recognized it as the place to be on Sunday morning or whenever they met. It was the pillar of the community and highly effective church to them, but not to the Lord. The Lord says, “Notwithstanding I have a few things against you…” because you tolerate that woman Jezebel” first He compliments them, but He also has problem them.
2.) Jesus Had A Complaint About The Church At Thyatira
He charged the church with allowing Jezebel to teach in their church. Jezebel in the Church today is an evil spirit, better known as “The Jezebel Spirit”. And so again, in verse 20 Jesus speaks of “…that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess.” In 1 John 4: 1, we are commanded to test the spirits, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world” here John is addressing believers, notice he says “Beloved…” and he wants us to test the spirits of those we listen to every Sunday or whenever we meet in order to make sure that they are really of God.
And you may ask how can we know for sure if the Jezebel Spirit is among us today within the local church community? How do I “Test every spirit?” Well, you have to know whatever information is coming to you by its source. In others words, “You shall know a tree by the fruit it bears” there are many telltale signs, so many in fact until we do not have the time or space to deal them all. But first, a church or person with the Jezebel Spirit wants to be relatable to the world. They keep a close eye on what the world is doing and try to somehow incorporate it into the Church.
The Jezebel spirit tells God we want to do it our way and not His way and normally acts upon this desire. To a person or church body with the Jezebel Spirit often believes (although they may not verbalized it) that biblical doctrine has become irrelevant to some churches and is considered to not be that important. They say just give them (the congregation) some short entertaining sermons with human solutions to difficult eternal problems—let the choir sing about five, six songs or more and then follow up with a 15 minute sermonette so everyone can leave early to enjoy the rest of their Sunday.
The Jezebel spirit insults the poor – James 2: 5 – 6, the Jezebel spirit sees God in a casual manner, and refuses to see Him in all His glory – Ps. 50: 21. And The Jezebel spirit does not want worldliness and the wages of sin to ever be mentioned in sermons. People possessed with the Jezebel Spirit loves control and always have the desire to dominate.
They just love the use of manipulation. They are constantly looking for someone to praise them and to always be in agreement with them. They love yes men and self-serving sycophants to keep stroking the oversized ego. When they walk into the church they walk in like the Pharisee, always with their head pointed upwards and chest stinking to signify their great importance.
People who have the Jezebel Spirit is a master of criticism, murmuring, and complaining. Jezebel actually hates repentance and humility, and very able to express fake compassion if it will elevate them before the congregation as a strong man or woman of God. They never admit being wrong to them it is always the other person’s fault. They have unrealistic expectations of others because others cannot meet their demand for complete submission to them.
Because they are perfectionist any fault found in someone else is grounds to label him or her as being disobedient to their authority. And they try to manipulate the entire church to look down on this particular person
Those who dance with the Jezebel Spirit will try to appear perfect even when they clearly are not. And as you can see, the Jezebel Spirit is a very malicious spirit. And is why Jesus gave us a warning concerning this spirit in the Church. Actually the Jezebel Spirit is anything done or taught that is contrary to God’s Word. If this evil spirit continues to destroy the Church and if the Church continues to “sufferest” or tolerate it the Church will be utterly destroyed Rev. 2: 22 – 23. However there is good news, there is still time! Whoever is tolerating this Jezebel Spirit can repent, in fact, Jesus calls for everyone of us to repent, and if we repent, He saves us from the judgment to come—but now is the time for repentance! Christ in dealing with this church at Thyatira complimented them, gave His complaint against—but He also counseled.
3.) Jesus Gave Counsel To The Church At Thyatira
Jesus wants them to “hold fast” and notice He mentions “The Depths of Satan” which also means the depths of sin. The “Depths of Satan” refers to the doctrine or teaching of the false Prophetess Jezebel. Jesus counsels those in the Thyatira who have not given in to Jezebel or the Jezebel Spirit. He says those of you who are not and refuse to dance cheek to cheek with Jezebel, those of you who have discerned that what the Jezebel Spirit teaches is nothing but false doctrine and have not engaged in Satan’s deep dark secrets I will not impose any burden on you. In other words, as long as they “hold on” and continue to do what they are doing and not give in to the seductions of the world they will be save. This promise still stands today!
Jesus says He’s looking for some overcomers, those of us who and when He finds them He will reward them—overcomers are those of us who refuse to compromise with the world—those of us who don’t do what we use to do because we love God. Those of us who at one time was lost but now we are found these are the overcomers. He says our reward will be ruling and reigning with God Himself for all eternity. What a promise! And Jesus is a promise-keeper!
Keep a close lookout because one day Jesus is coming back! Every eye shall see Him; every tongue will confess that He is the Lord of the universe. Jesus is coming back, He is coming back and when He does we don’t want Him finding us to be still dancing with Jezebel. Amen.