The risen Christ in glory addresses the angel (or the elder) of the Church in the same format as he does with other churches. He lets a window open so John can see the particular aspect of God that is germane to the state of the church in question. Secondly he knows what goes on among them.He shall address their problems as the Householder in the parable of the wicked husbandmen (Matt.22:33-41). His warning is clear:””I will give unto every one of you according to your works (2:23).” Here what we can learn is the significance of works. We are kept by grace and in the face of it works present a problem. A church is made up of as many points of view as many members it holds. Nevertheless supremacy of Truth demands every member subject their all so God is worshiped in spirit and in truth.”For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God (Ro.8:14). Where there is Spirit working there is liberty (“….And where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty(2 Co.3:17).”) So the work has to follow where the Spirit is leading. Simply put the spirit of truth leads whosoever willing to be guided to the Truth. Works as stated by Christ in glory is liberty of the church to subject whatever stands against Truth, and whatever is done in sincerity and love is to the glory of God. The Son of man did not please himself but humbled himself even to death so his Father’s name was glorified. Members may have their standing in the world but in the worship only Truth and nothing but Truth is worshiped. When we consider works we may well do to keep this in mind. Paul’s attitude explains how we we should consider the works:
“but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified (1 Co.9:27-NASB)”. When we glorify our body by fasting and other means we establish our self which is will-worship.It shows the seat of Satan instead.
To the Church at Thyatira Jesus Christ presents as the Son of God.”These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass (v.18).”Jesus Christ having fulfilled the divine Will now is the Son aspect about to come into his own. He presents himself as the householder (‘as a son over his house…He.3:6). He is now as the taskmaster, which is different from the role of the Good Shepherd.
“I know thy works…”(v.19) His eyes are like a flame of fire going right into the depths and while he commends their works abounding ever (compare with the Church at Ephesus whose first love growing colder) he states what is troubling indeed. They allow a specific doctrine and it could taint the other traits notwithstanding otherwise commendable qualities namely patience, charity, service and faith. It is like dead flies in a pot of ointment. “Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savor: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honor (Eccl.10:1).
“Because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess…vv.20-23)” This specific reference to Jezebel is both historical as well as metaphorical that we need understand as a red flag in the Church Age. Where grace operates the Body of Christ in a figurative sense is compared to a woman. She is subservient to Christ the Head. This being the case there should be no distinction between male or female where the ministry is concerned. As several gifts are distributed severally for the edification of the whole, what criteria we apply has to be: Does it serve wholesome doctrine or not? By the pejorative epithet of Jezebel we may deduce from the context that her doctrine had many takers within the church. It had become like a bone stuck in the throat so the church has to resort to some drastic remedy. The verse,’and she repented not(v.21 informs us the works that the risen Christ spoke approvingly of was inadequate.
(To be continued)