Learn from the fourth and fifth churches mentioned in Revelation, Thyatira, and Sardis:
4. Thyatira (Revelation 2:18-29)
Positive Characteristics: They were faithful, filled with love, served and persevered, and did more than they first started out doing.
Negative Characteristics: They tolerated false prophets ("You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet." v.20), committed sexual sins, ate food sacrificed to idols,
Jesus' Command to Smyrna: "I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely unless they repent of her ways. I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds. Now I say to the rest of you in Thyatira, to you who do not hold to her teaching and have not learned Satan’s so-called deep secrets, ‘I will not impose any other burden on you, except to hold on to what you have until I come.’" (vs.21-25)
Jesus' Command to Us: "To the one who is victorious and does My will to the end, I will give authority over the nations— that one ‘will rule them with an iron scepter and will dash them to pieces like pottery’—just as I have received authority from My Father. I will also give that one the morning star. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches." (vs.26-29)
5. Sardis (Revelation 3:1-6)
Positive Characteristics: A few of them had remained faithful and alive for Christ. "Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy." (v.4)
Negative Characteristics: dead inside and had unfinished deeds.
Jesus' Command to Sardis: "Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you." (vs.2-3)
Jesus' Command to Us: "The one who is victorious will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life, but will acknowledge that name before My Father and His angels. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches." (vs. 5-6)
What can we take away from these two churches? The Christian life involves continuous growing and learning. We need to do more good and more for God than we have done in the past. We should be filled with love and remain faithful to Jesus. We are made new and brought to life by the blood of Jesus Christ, therefore we need to be passionate and filled with joy in being His beloved disciples. Are you living or just barely alive? Are you tolerating false prophets and holding onto idols in your life? Are you working for God each day or do you have unfinished work? Wake up today with a new attitude, one that is all for Jesus holding nothing back from Him.