Jesus' Authority Over The Church

Letters to the Churches  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Revelation 2:18-29 shows 5 ways that Jesus has authority over the church so you would endure to rule with Him in the end.

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Don’t read this line - Things are Getting Worse

We are continuing our journey through the first 3 chapters of Revelation.
We are looking at the 7 churches of Asia Minor.
This is the area now known as Turkey.
These are 7 very real churches.
They were in real cities.
They had real people.
They had real problems.
They were arranged in a giant semi circular shape.
They were a series of postal hubs.
John was on Patmos, just off the coast of Turkey.
He wrote the letter, and from there, Revelation went to the church of Ephesus.
Then it was passed onto Smyrna.
On to Pergamum.
From Pergamum it was passed onto today’s church Thyatira.
The first 3 churches were good churches.
They had their problems, but they were good churches.
Ephesus was an active church.
Ephesus was loyal, but they lacked love.
They were a good church.
They were a hard working church.
Smyrna was loyal, and they suffered.
But they didn’t have love.
Smyrna was in a difficult town.
Pergamum was loyal, but lacked moral passion, and failed to practice church discipline.
These churches had difficulty.
The towns grew worse and worse.
There was persecution.
Jesus said that Smyrna had the synagogue of Satan there.
People were dying.
He said that Pergamum was in the town where Satan’s throne was.
Pergamum was a capital town.
That brings us to Thyatira.
It was a wicked town.
But they weren’t practicing church discipline.
There were some there who had embraced their culture.
That brings us to Thyatira.
Jesus says that there were people in that church who taught and held to the deep things of Satan.
Evil was working it’s way from the surrounding community, into the church.
Thyatira is a sad church in a sad town.
Poor Thyatira.
Thyatira started as a military base.
Pergamum was the capital, about 40 miles to the west.
Thyatira was established to slow down approaching armies.
So if an enemy wanted to attack Pergamum, they’d have to go through Thyatira first.
Thyatira is described as a speed bump on the way to Pergamum.
I couldn’t tell you how many times poor Thyatira was destroyed and rebuilt.
I think of kids building forts on the beach.
They know the tide is coming in, so they make a fortress to stop or slow down the waves.
They set up layers of small walls to stop the water.
In between the waves are moats to redirect the water back to the ocean.
But really a kids fort on the beach won’t stop the water.
It gets plowed over by the water.
And that’s the fun of it.
Once it’s destroyed, he gets to rebuild his fort.
Thyatira was like a kids fort on the beach.
It’s purpose was to slow down armies that wanted to attack Pergamum.
Once the Romans were in charge, they adopted Thyatira, and there was a period of Roman peace.
They were not longer being attacked and destroyed.
With their newfound peace, and finally found some stability, their economy grew, and commerce developed.
The city specialized in dyed fabrics, and especially purple fabrics.
The book of Acts tells us about a woman in Philippi, Lydia, she was originally from Thyatira, and she was a seller of purple fabrics.
She was a great representative of the business of Thyatira.
The other cities that we have looked at were fiercely religious.
Thyatira, not so much.
They worshipped Apollo, but it wasn’t as fanatical as in other towns.
But their main goal was happiness.
They were a secular city.
They liked their freedom.
They liked their money.
They liked life without borders.
They were about making money.
Personal happiness became their driving force.
And in this city there was a church.
This was a church that mirrored the culture around them.
They have made their personal happiness the main authority.
And Jesus writes to remind them of who is in charge.
And that’s who Jesus writes to.
He reminds them of His authority.
Acts tells us about a woman in Philippi, Lydia, she was originally from Thyatira, and she was a seller of purple fabrics..
Open your Bibles to .
Read Revelation 2:18-29.

This letter to Thyatira is about The Authority of Jesus.

Jesus begins by describing Himself.
He’s the Son of God.
He’s divine.
He has eyes that are like a flame of fire.
It’s as if He has laser vision that can expose everything beneath Him.
This is a church that has forgotten the Lordship of Jesus.
They have fooled themselves into thinking that God doesn’t care about how we live or what we do.
That He’s not so concerned with our actions.
In fact they belittled it so much that they didn’t think Jesus even saw their actions.
And yet Jesus has eyes that are like fire, and they expose all of mankind’s actions.
It’s as if He has laser vision that can penetrates into the thick fog of our own sin and darkness.
As He writes this letter to Thyatira, He begins with His knowing authority.
He is concerned with actions on the earth.
He sees the things that happen on earth.
His feet are described.
They are like burnished bronze.
They aren’t just the color of bronze.
They are the quality of bronze.
They are described like metal boots.
They are designed for one purpose, to trample on things.
The boots of Jesus trample on His enemies.
Later on in Revelation, in , it says of Jesus, “He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty.”
Some of you have had the privilege of going to the Mandio’s and stomping grapes.
They crush the grapes with their own feet.
I’ve never done it, but I imagine it’s fun, feeling the grapes pop beneath the pressure of my toes.
Jesus has bronze feet, they are weapons in themselves.
The world, and everything beneath Him is His footstool, and His bronze feet will crush and pop His enemies beneath Him.
Why would Jesus begin this letter this way?
Because the church in Thyatira has forgotten who is Lord.
They are a church that has forgotten the majesty and the supremacy of Christ Jesus.
Back in , Paul said, “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.”
When you remove the authority of Jesus, what becomes the authority?
What I want.
What my heart wants.
What my desires are.
When you remove the authority of Jesus, you become the authority.
That’s what had happened in Thyatira
They removed the authority of Jesus.
Personal happiness became king.
Sexual immorality was present.
They disobeyed God in their church leadership.
They became entirely subjective, rather then living on the word of God.
Jesus starts off His letter with a bang.
He sees all with His laser eyes.
He crushes His enemies with His bronze feet.
He has all authority.
He is to be feared.
He is to be listened to.

That brings us to the second point of this letter, The Authority of Jesus Over the Church.

Jesus will certainly reprimand the church of Thyatira, but tucked away inside of Thyatira are a few good Chrisitans.
Look at verse 19, “I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first.”
With those eyes of fire, that see all things, He commends some of the Christians in Thyatira.
He sees:
Their works.
Their love.
Their faith
Their service.
Their patient endurance.
These are notable.
As bad as Thyatira is, there are a few good Christians.
There is something in this church that has not been mentioned in any other church … love.
No church in Revelation so far has been commended for their love of Christ, and yet, this dark church, Thyatira, has some who genuinely love Christ.
The few Christians that are there are growing in maturity.
He says, “your latter works exceed the first.”
“You’re doing more now, then when you first became a Christian.”
Hopefully, that’s true of all of us.
This commendation, this compliment is important, because Jesus values the church.
Thyatira had one church.
We have forgotten what this is like.
Murrieta and Temecula are like the Bible belt of Southern California.
Who would have thought that Del Rio Road, would have 2 churches on it.
There is a church on every corner.
When you don’t like a church, it’s not hard to leave and find another church.
But suppose you lived in Thyatira, and the church is bad, where you gonna go?
That’s 40 miles away.
Pergamum’s an awful town, it’s Satan’s throne.
How you gonna get there?
You’re not going to drive there.
It’ll take days to commute to church.
If you are a Christian and you are in Thyatira, you’re stuck with that one church.
Jesus commends the Thyatiran Christians who are in a bad church.
Jesus commends Christians who are in bad churches.
He commends them.
I see your works.
I know you love me.
I know you have faith.
I see your service.
You are enduring a bad church.
He commends them.
You see how much Jesus values the church.
Jesus died for the church.
Jesus appoints leaders over the church.
The plan is that you be in a church … even if its not the best church.
There’s no option to stay home and do church in the living room.
Watch TV church, or stream a service from another church.
Jesus’ plan is that you be in a church.
The church might not be the best.
The preaching might be boring.
The music might not be rocking.
But it’s the church.
And Jesus sees your commitment to Him when you are committed to the body.
It’s a reminder to pray for those who suffer in bad churches.
The Church of England is going down a dark path.
They are in the only church in town.
There are some good Christians there.
And the Christians are against their view of baptism, and church membership, but it’s a church.
They are baptists and they have to go to a Presbyterian church.
And they go.
But they’re feeling the squeeze.
But they are being obedient to the Lord.
You can be pr

Jesus loves the church, and protects the church, and has authority over the church, and He has Authority of Over the Church’s Leadership.

That’s our next point.
Now we start to see some of the problems with the church in Thyatira.
Look at verses 20-21, “But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality.”
We see problems with their leadership and with what is being taught.
First, their leadership.
He says they “tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess”.
They were caught under the spell of a women, who Jesus calls Jezebel.
This probably wasn’t her real name.
Jezebel is well liked name.
Today you don’t find many people named:
Adolf or Judas for obvious reasons.
The history of Jezebel is found in the I and II Kings.
She was the wife of Ahab.
She was instrumental in Israel’s sin, and a major part of King Ahab’s evil reign.
She was a curse upon Israel.
The prophecy of her death is a fitting description of how God felt about her.
God spoke through the prophet Elisha (), and prophesied that she would be devoured by dogs.
Her violent death is a fitting description for how God felt about her.
records her death.
She was thrown out of a window.
Horses trampled her body until only her skull, feet and palms of her hands were recovered.
No one ever names their daughter Jezebel.
Jesus calls this woman leading the church in Thyatira, Jezebel, but this probably wasn’t her real name.
No one ever names their daughter Jezebel.
Jezebel is well liked name.
Just like for obvious reasons, you won’t find someone named Adolf or Judas, you won’t find anyone named Jezebel.
Today you don’t find many people named:
The name alone, Jezebel, should give us an idea to watch out for this woman.
Another thing wrong with their leadership is who is leading, this woman.
We go through Scripture, and church leadership is appointed for men.
describes the qualifications of an elder in a church, and he is the husband of one wife.
Emphasis on he.
says that an elder is to be anyone above reproach, and the husband of one wife, emphasis on husband.
Going back to , who are the teachers of the church?
, “I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man ...”
And yet, what had Thyatira done?
They’ve got a woman leading them.
Something to watch out for is who leads a church.
A church that adopts women as their pastors, and women as their preachers, that says something about how they view God’s word.
That says something about how they view God.
They are willing to disobey God and His qualifications.
Don’t be surprised, when you see them compromising on even bigger issues.
What else? This woman calls herself a prophetess.
She’s not actually a prophetess, but she calls herself one.
Jesus has a problem with what the leadership of this church is teaching.
This Jezebel is teaching and seducing Christ’s servants, those in the church to practice sexual immorality and eat food sacrificed to idols.
And if you skip down to verse 24, we see more about this teaching.
Some were calling it the “deep things of Satan”.
We see the culture’s influence entering the church.
There was this heresy that was entering the church at this time called gnosticism.
It’s an early church heresy.
Gnosticism said flesh is evil, and the mind is good.
And gnosticism separated the two completely.
They said, you can do whatever you want with your body, and it will not affect your mind, or your soul.
Effectively, it gave Christians a free pass to sin.
Your flesh is going to do what it wants to do.
So let your flesh do what it wants.
And they believed, that it could never touch your soul.
They believed the works of the flesh couldn’t affect your soul.
When the opposite should be taking place.
If you are a Christian, you have the Holy Spirit within you.
In , Paul says that you are a temple of the Holy Spirit.
That you are to use your body to glorify God, not for more sin.
Yes we are covered in grace and forgiven by Christ.
But we have been covered in grace, and our bodies have been redeemed to glorify God.
For the few true believers that are in Thyatira, Jesus knows the damage that Jezebel is doing to His church.
With His eyes of fire, He sees.
And with His feet of bronze, He will acts.

Which brings us to The Authority of Jesus Over Judgment.

In Jesus’ kindness, He has given Jezebel, time to repent.
And He has done this will all people by the way.
The reason why Christ hasn’t returned yet is He is giving people time to repent.
But this patience will not continue forever.
And just as the original Jezebel was thrown out a window, trampled by horses, and then devoured by dogs, this Jezebel will be punished as well.
Verse 22, “Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works,”
Jesus cares for His church and He will fiercely protect her.
says that teachers will be judged stricter than others.
In Jesus says that if someone leads His people astray, “It would be better if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea ...”
He says that the day is coming when teachers will be judged.
Jezebel, and those like her, will be thrown into a great tribulation.
They will suffer tremendously.
Notice this, Jezebel is not alone in her punishment.
Yes, Jezebel will be thrown into a great tribulation, but who else is going to suffer?
Her lovers and her children.
Those who follow her.
I get angry at bad churches.
I get angry at preachers who take the pulpit and aren’t qualified.
I get angry about heresies being taught to the church.
I get angry and I get sad knowing that there are people that I love, who are caught in these deceptions.
I often wonder who is held accountable for false teaching, especially in a church.
She’s leading people into sexual immorality.
There are weird churches out there that teach weird things.
And who’s guilty, the teacher or the student?
The pastor or the flock.
Is it the pastor who is at fault, or is it the church … who hired the pastor?
Notice who receives judgment?
Jezebel, and those who help her, and her children, those who she is leading.
They will all be judged, and they will all be accountable.
The presence of Christ in His church is very real.
Thyatira had forgotten who they were.
The gnostics said, deeds don’t matter.
They were only playing church.
They were a pretend church.
They said our actions can’t affect our minds.
They were toying at religion.
They forgot that the church is the body of Christ.
They forgot that He is present in His church.
Do you remember how Jesus started his letter to the Ephesians in ?
He walks in the midst of the church.
He not only has eyes of fire that see all things.
He walks among His church.
He is present with us.
He cares about what is going.
He is going to make an example out of Thyatira.
Jezebel, and those who follow her are going to be put on a sickbed.
He is going to judge them.
Notice that verse 23 says “And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works.”
Jesus’ response to Jezebel and her followers will strike fear in those who haphazardly follow Christ.
“All the church will know ...”
He’s going to act, and His actions towards false teachers will bring a message that churches should pay attention to.
Christ cares how His church behaves.
There are other examples of Christ judging those in His church and people being afraid.
Ananias and Sapphira lied.
They claimed to have given more than they did.
The problem wasn’t that they didn’t give enough.
The problem is that they lied about how much they gave.
The result was that this husband and wife team, died on the spot.
And do you know how the church responded to Ananias and Sapphira dying?
, says, “And great fear came upon the whole church and upon all who heard these things.”
The response was fear.
“Oh God cares how we act.”
, Paul is addressing the Corinthians and how they are taking communion.
They are concerned about the Lord’s supper.
Paul says, “For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.”
People are dying.
And they are wondering?
Did someone forget to put the wine back in the fridge?
Did the grape juice spoil?
Have we been poisoned?
No, they are being judged.
The Lord cares how His church behaves.
The gnostics taught the deep things of Satan. and they said actions didn’t matter.
And Jesus said they matter.
We are saved by grace.
But our works damn us.
Obedience is evidence of a changed heart.

And like the other letters Jesus finishes with a promise, He reminds us that He has The Authority to Give Authority.

Look at verses 25-29, “Only hold fast what you have until I come. The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself 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.’”
We are back to talking to Christians, to the few in Thyatira who are enduring a bad church.
Hold to truth.
Follow Him.
Don’t succumb to the culture around you.
Jesus says that the one who conquers will be given authority over the nations.
, Jesus says, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”
This is His Kingdom.
This is His World.
The reign of Christ is something that has been prophesied.
We look forward to Christ returning and having authority over the earth.
But I want you to see something spectacular.
Christ will return, and not only will He have authority.
But we,
Who’s the we?
The conquerers.
Those who hold fast.
Those who hold to truth.
We will have authority with Him.
Have you ever been given a job, only to find out that you didn’t really have the job?
You had a boss that micromanaged you that you couldn’t do anything.
He sold you on the job, made it sound like a promotion, but at the end of the day, you didn’t gain anything.
He said, “You can do whatever you want … except really you could do nothing at all.”
When Jesus says that He gives authority, He means it.
Those who remain steadfast, will in the end truly be conquerors.
This is very interesting.
The hope that we have in Christ is not some super spiritual, mind game.
There is a real hope.
There is a literal hope.
This is why it’s important to remember that the events in the Bible are real.
There’s a real creation.
The flood was real.
Abraham was real.
The judges were real.
Samson was real.
The slaying of Goliath was real.
The miracles were real.
The Cross was real.
The resurrection was real.
Because when you start to make the Bible and everything in it mystical and only spiritual, then the future promises become pretty hard to believe.
Jesus is going to return, and He will give us authority, and we will rule
And who will we rule over over who?
Not pets.
Not ant farms.
Who will we rule over?
You see it at the end of verse 26, and maybe it’s a little unnerving to read.
We will have authority over the nations.
The ethnos.
Different nations.
Different languages.
Not just one nation.
But all the nations.
Now remember, this is real authority.
Jesus isn’t a micromanaging boss.
He says you have authority, He’ll give you authority.
Remember, Christianity isn’t mystical pie in the sky religion.
These things are real.
We talk about becoming Christlike.
That means something.
That’s a real thing.
We call becoming Christlike sanctification.
The day will come when we will be perfect.
We will no longer sin.
Your attitude will be perfect.
It’ll be glorious.
But our sanctification, our Christlikeness will go beyond mere attitude.
is a great Psalm about Christ.
Listen to what it says in -9,
“I will tell of the decree: The Lord said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”
That’s about Christ.
That’s about His authority.
That’s about His authority over the nations.
Do any of those words sound familiar with our passage in ?
Verses 26 and 27, “The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father.”
Jesus says you will have authority.
You have it.
What does this authority look like?
It’s over the nations.
You aren’t a puppet authority.
You will have a rod of iron, and you will rule.
You will discipline.
Now fast forward in your Bible .
Let me bring you up to speed.
There will come a day when Christ will return and He will bind Satan.
Satan will be tied up and thrown into a bottomless pit for 1,000 years.
We will return with Christ.
Christ will have an actual kingdom on this earth.
Real kingdom.
Real nation.
1000 years.
Now look at
To the one who conquers to the end.
What will we be doing?
That rod of iron … using it.
There will be people here.
Babies will be born.
Work will continue.
There will even be sin.
It’s only Satan who’s bound.
But who’s got the authority?
And His people.
And we have a rod of iron.
This is Christlikeness.
Yes, there is the emotional, mental, spiritual side of it of following Christ.
We will be glorified as well.
I feel like the infomercial, because, “But wait … there’s more.”
Keep your finger still in , but let’s go back to , there’s another promise to the one who endures.
He will have a rod of iron and He will crush His enemies.
“And I will give him the morning star.”
Now look again at Revelation.
In the very end.
He says that those who keep His works to the end, they will be given authority over the nations.
He says that they will be given a rod of iron.
After the millennium.
After Armageddon.
After all of that, God will make a new heavens and a new earth.
Look at
There will be a new city of God.
There will no longer be a sun or moon, because God and His shekinah glory will shine on the earth.
The lamb will replace the sun, and be even brighter.
Look down at
Same thing.
This will be glorious.
And again, there is no outside light.
Because God is light.
And we are reigning with Him, there’s that language again.
, read it.
Back in , we were told to the one who conquers we will receive the morning star.
Who is the morning star?
You saw it at the end.
It’s Jesus Christ.
He is the morning star.
What a tremendous thing to have Christ for all eternity.
To see Him, clear as day, pun not intended but totally true.
To know Him, intimately and closely.

Jesus is writing to a church, where most of them are only playing church.

But to those who stay true.
He calls them conquerors.
There are great promises for those who have love, faith, serve and endure.
They will receive authority.
They will rule.
And they will receive the morning star, Christ for all time.
One of my favorite memories was when Amanda walked in those double doors in the back, and came down this center aisle to be my bride.
I am looking forward to the day when the church is united with her bridegroom.
Jesus Christ.
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