To Thyatira, from the Son of God who has eyes like a flame of fire and feet like burnished bronze. Because I am the Son of God I search not just with my eyes but also my heart and I find that which is profitable but not that which is beneficial. I commend you for the love you have for others and how faithful you have been to My Church. You work tirelessly for the poor just as I did. Your works now are greater than when you began and for that you are to be commended.
However, I see a glaring sin. In fact, you have lived with this sin for so long that your eyes are clouded to its impact upon your flock. You no longer call sin sin but have bought into the lie of love the sinner and hate the sin and that is true. However, hate demands action and you have not taken that step. Instead, your actions reveal that you have fallen like King Ahab to the ways and mores of Queen Jezebel, an outright idolater. She has taken captive your mind and swayed you to offer sacrifices of my children to the idol god Baal. It would be better to put a millstone about your neck and throw you into the sea than to allow her to lead and teach. I love you and that is why I have been so patient with her and you. But, my patience will come to an end. Her message kills because it denies Me. Be careful lest you be judged along with her by my penetrating eye.
Father, may Your eye reveal to us where we have accepted that which you call an abomination. May we hold fast to the truth that only through the blood shed on the cross can one be saved.
Perhaps you know of someone, like I do, who shared his kidney “just because” it was as he said.,..the right thing to do. He stepped up and offered a kidney to save another whose life hung in the balance. But here is the question: what if God said you could give your salvation to someone who is in need—would you like Paul be willing to spend eternity in hell so they could spend eternity in heaven?
Thankfully we know that for certain that we are redeemed and sealed and our salvation is secure–and this would not be a possibility but there still is that question: would we be willing? What does our response say about our heart?
As Paul continues to pour out his heart to the unbelieving Jew his heart is literally broken as he knows what lies before them if they do not repent. So it is with us who have unbelieving loved ones, friends and those across the world that are following false religions seeking to earn their place in paradise/heaven. But, is our heart as broken as Paul’s? Does it send us to our knees praying diligently for them daily because we know they are seeking eternity on their own terms and they will with all certainty fail? One day they will only hear “I never knew you” from the lips of the Savior because “they pursued it not by faith but (as if it were possible) by works.” In contrast “the one who believes in him will not be put to shame.”
May we earnestly not only contend for the faith but pray for those who are walking in darkness.
Do you know of anyone you might call a “prayer warrior?” I knew a precious lady who was in my Bible Study who was nearing the 100 yr mark in her life. She would often arise as early as 5 a.m. When I asked her why she got up so early she told me “if I don’t get up then I can’t get all my praying in before I start my day at 9.” Talk about being put to shame and what a model of living life in the presence of God! The NT is replete with men and women who model for us what it means to be true prayer warriors and Paul is one of them.
As Paul is writing to his beloved Timothy he urges him to remain in Ephesus to help this precious group of saints to remain faithful to the doctrine he had taught them. In chapter one he reminded Timothy of the God whom he serves. Today in chapter 2 Paul underscores the power of prayer.
First is the instruction for prayer and its subsequent reasons: “requests, prayers, intercessions, and thanks be offered on behalf of all people, even for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life in all godliness and dignity”
Secondly the purpose of prayer: God “wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” thus echoing Peter’s words “The Lord ….does not wish for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” [2Pe 3:9] and the words of Matthew “ In the same way, your Father in heaven is not willing that one of these little ones be lost.” [Mat 18:14]
Thirdly, Jesus is our mediator or intermediary between God and humanity and thus when we pray, Jesus is sitting at the right hand of the Father interceding for us unlike the sigh of Job who said “Nor is there an arbiter between us…” Jesus has paid the price and thus has the right, the privilege and the honor of being our mediator.
Paul continues on with these words of counsel: “I want the men to pray in every place, lifting up holy hands and likewise the women.” Prayer is something both men and women can do with holy hands coming before the Father that His will for all men to be saved can be accomplished.
We marvel at how God planted the seeds of salvation in the hearts of the early believers and how it has been transmitted to us via that same train of thought and action. One of the basic principles of the early church and Paul’s ministry has been this: “Gentiles do not need to become Jews in order to be saved. Jews who are saved do not need to completely forsake their Jewish heritage.”[Deffinbaugh] So whether you who are reading are a Gentile or a Jew, know this—God’s gift of salvation is for you based upon faith alone. Secondly, the truth of the gospel message causes one to make a choice…either for Christ or against Christ. It matters not whether you are a Gentile or a Jew, when Christ the Messiah is preached all men must choose to believe or to reject.
“In Acts, it is the Hellenistic Jews who took up the cause of opposing the gospel.” [Deffinbaugh] This occurred when Paul by saying the word “Gentiles” opened the door to reveal the heart of the Jews and their hatred of the Gentiles. They ignored the OT prophecies and the fact that God would choose to bring His salvation to them freely and that they would not have to become a proselyte to Judaism. To a Jew that would equality and that was an anathema to them. Today we find that this intolerable acceptance of certain people groups to receive salvation has raised its head. Thus what we saw in the first century has filtered down to us.
In addition we also saw that it does not take very much to incite a crowd to draw illogical conclusions. We saw it in Acts 19 when one lone man, Demetrius, incited and encouraged an entire city to drown out any presentation of the gospel message and thus that city lost the opportunity to have the precious Light of the Gospel message. But, God is in control and He is fulfilling the prophecy about Paul that he would bear witness before Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel. [Acts 9] Oh the wonder and majesty and mercy of God who has continued to draw his children from apostasy and yet as Jesus said: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those who are sent to you! How often I have longed to gather your children together as a hengathers her chicks under her wings, but youwould have none of it!” [Luke]
Beloved, Do you have misconceptions about others to whom the message of salvation is to be preached based upon a racial or cultural bias and ignore the avenue God has placed before you? The fields are ripe and we are to be the workers in the harvest. Will you come and work?