But I say to you, the rest who are in Thyatira, who do not have this teaching, who have not known the deep things of Satan, as they call them—I place no other burden on you. Nevertheless what you have, hold fast until I come.
And he who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations; and he shall rule them with a rod of iron, as the vessels of the potter are broken to pieces, as I also have received authority from My Father; and I will give him the morning star.
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. (Revelation 2:24-29)
The Lord knows those that are His. There are those in Thyatira who don’t hold to “the deep things of Satan.” And to those, Jesus says, “I ask nothing more. You don’t have a burden beyond having to go on resisting this teaching. Be faithful; that’s all I ask. Hang on, hold fast, don’t listen, don’t buy in, be strong.”
And then comes a promise to “he who keeps My deeds until the end.”
In other words, the promise is for those who demonstrate true saving faith. The evidence of true faith in Christ is endurance, obedience, and good works to the end.
If you demonstrate the genuineness of your salvation, this promise is for you: “To him I will give authority over the nations.” What an amazing statement.
What does that mean? You will reign with Christ. You will share His millennial rule.
We actually began to see that in Revelation 1:6: “He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father.” We are a kingdom of priests. It’s reiterated throughout the book of Revelation that we who belong to Christ will reign with Christ. He will rule the nations and we’ll rule with Him.
It’s an amazing thing to think about the future. The world is such a mess, but Christ is coming to set up His kingdom. Those of us who are glorified believers in the kingdom, when Christ sets it up on earth, will assist Him in judgment and the care of His own. What an amazing promise.
But there’s more. Not only will we be given the privilege of authority, but verse 28 simply says “and I’ll give him the morning star.”
What is the morning star? Well, we know the answer, because in Revelation 22:16 we hear this: “I, Jesus, sent My angel to bear witness to you of these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”
So what does the promise mean? It means this: “I’ll give him Christ. If you’re among the faithful, I will give you the kingdom, and I will give you the King.”
Then the letter concludes with this common word: “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
Are you listening? If you’re listening, what did you hear in this letter? You heard about a church that had activity, that was marked by love and faith — but a church that had invited the world in.
They allowed a false teacher to bring in pagan idolatry. And pagan idolatry could never be divorced from pagan immorality, and so this is a church full of iniquity and doing nothing to eliminate it. This is a church that is under judgment. This is a church to which the Lord says, “I may need to come and kill some of your members,” to send a message to other churches about righteousness and holiness and sin.
If you’re listening, do you hear the seriousness of tolerating sin in the church? Do you also notice that the evidence of being a true believer is not succumbing to false doctrine, not succumbing to immorality, but holding fast? And did you hear also that for those who are the true believers holding fast, the promise of God is “the kingdom and the King will be yours”? That’s His message to the church.
In our day, churches across the world need to take a look at themselves and ask, “Are we at all tolerating sin? Do we have any room for false teaching or immorality?”
If we do, the Lord is at the door with penetrating, sovereign gaze, ready to activate judgment and even death. It’s not how it should be in the church. The church should be a place of life and joy and holiness.
This post is based on a sermon Dr. MacArthur preached in 2015, titled “The Lord’s Word to His Church: Thyatira.” In addition to serving as the pastor of Grace Community Church and the voice of Grace to You, Dr. MacArthur is the chancellor of The Master’s University in Santa Clarita, Calif. You can learn more about TMU at masters.edu.
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