What Happens Next? Revelation 2:18-29, to the church at Thyatira

A Bit of Background Concerning the Church at Thyatira

  • Although we’re uncertain how the church came to be in Thyatira, Acts 16.14-15 mentions the conversion of Lydia who was from the area.

12 and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We remained in this city some days. 13 And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to the riverside, where we supposed there was a place of prayer, and we sat down and spoke to the women who had come together. 14 One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul. 15 And after she was baptized, and her household as well, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” And she prevailed upon us.

  • A small city, but important for trade. The major road that led to Pergamum ran though Thyatira.

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The Danger of Superficial Distinctions

I. The Dangers of Superficial Distinctions (2.1-7)

My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court? Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable name by which you were called?

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What Happens Next? Revelation 2:12-17, to the church at Pergamum

A Bit of Background Concerning the Church at Pergamum

  • about 60 miles north of Smyrna.
  • known for being a great religious, intellectual, and medical hub of the day.
  • the city was known for containing the alter of Zeus, one of the 7 wonders of the world. Also had the first temple dedicated to Ceasar.
  • the city contained a medical center which accompanied the worship of the deity of medicine, Aesculapius (signified by a coiled snake on a pole).

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What Happens Next? Revelation 2:8-11, to the church at Smyrna

A Bit of Background Concerning the Church At Smyrna:

  • A port city located about 35 miles north of Ephesus. Current location is known as Izmir, Turkey.
  • A disciple of the apostle John served as pastor there until he was martyred around 155 AD.
  • A city of obvious wealth, known for its resorts, spas, and market places (Hunter, 29). First-hand geographical accounts in the first century describe Smyrna as “a beautiful city”.
  • We are not told in the Bible how the church came to exist in the city, many assume the gospel spread there from Ephesus.
  • The normal pattern for the letter given to each of the churches includes a: Commendation, Correction, Consequence of unheeded correction, and Conquering Promise. The church at Smyrna is one of two churches (along with Philadelphia) not given a Correction/Consequence.
  • This is also the shortest of the 7 letters.

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What Happens Next? Revelation 2.1-7, to the church at Ephesus

A Bit of Background Concerning the Church At Ephesus:

  • A thriving metro area at the time of John’s writing.
  • The capital and largest city of Asia (southwest Turkey) the city had a large seaport which made it an influential city of trade.
  • Enjoyed much freedom as a democratically self-run city within the Roman Empire.
  • The city has been described as being wealthy, cultured and corrupt (Summers, 108).
  • Chiefly known as the city which hosted the worship of the goddess Diana, thus it was a hotbed for Asian-influenced dark arts, necromancy, and exorcisms (Hodge, vi).
  • Acts 18-19 highlight Paul’s ministry to the city, staying for 3 years to teach the gospel. Acts mentions a who’s who of sorts of those involved in ministering there. Timothy was later placed in charge of the churches in this area.
  • Church tradition holds that the Apostle John ministered there in his later years and that Mary, the mother of Jesus, passed away in the city as well.
  • The church that was birthed there is thought to be quite large and influential.

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