God's Design For His Church
“But I have this complaint against you. You are permitting that woman—that Jezebel who calls herself a prophet—to lead my servants astray. She teaches them to commit sexual sin and to eat food offered to idols. I gave her time to repent, but she does not want to turn away from her immorality. “Therefore, I will throw her on a bed of suffering, and those who commit adultery with her will suffer greatly unless they repent and turn away from her evil deeds. I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am the one who searches out the thoughts and intentions of every person. And I will give to each of you whatever you deserve.”
Revelation 2:20-23 NLT
The name Jezebel is mentioned in the King James, New King James, and New American Standard Bible 20 times. The New Living Translation has it 19 times because verse 37 of 2 Kings 9 refers to Jezebel in the pronoun "her". 19 of the references are Old Testament (I Kings 16:31; 18: 4, 13, 19; 19:1, 2; 21: 5, 7, 11, 14, 15, 23, 25; 2 Kings 9:7, 10, 22, 30, 36, and 37). Only one in the New Testament (Revelation 2:20).
Jezebel was the wicked queen of Ahab, king of Israel. “Ahab son of Omri began to rule over Israel in the thirty-eighth year of King Asa’s reign in Judah. He reigned in Samaria twenty-two years. But Ahab son of Omri did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, even more than any of the kings before him. And as though it were not enough to follow the sinful example of Jeroboam, he married Jezebel, the daughter of King Ethbaal of the Sidonians, and he began to bow down in worship of Baal.” 1 Kings 16:29-31 NLT She ruled the roost and dominated his kingdom. Jezebel was a rebellious heathen. “(No one else so completely sold himself to what was evil in the Lord’s sight as Ahab did under the influence of his wife Jezebel.” 1 Kings 21:25 NLT This same spirit was embodied in a woman in Thyatira. She was usurping authority and leading people astray from the ways of the Lord. This woman was a false prophet. Her teachings were carrying the bride of Christ, the church, away from faithfulness to God into straight up spiritual and sexual adultery. Instead of the church keeping its vow to Christ, the church was now celebrating it's marriage to the world. In Pergamum, the church married the world. In Thyatira, the church was happily celebrating the adultery. The church in Thyatira had crawled up into Jezebels bed and was, without conscience and conviction, committing grievous sin. In the three previous churches (Ephesus, Smyrna, and Pergamum) there were segments of the church falling into sin. Here in Thyatira, a large number we're accepting the sinful ways of Jezebel. Smyrna had a synagogue of Satan, Pergamum was the throne of Satan, and now Thyatira was the servant of Satan. A regression into sin began with Ephesus leaving it's first love, Jesus (see Revelation 2:4). This lead to Satan setting up his church (see Revelation 2:9) in Smyrna. The result was Pergamum becoming the seat (throne) of Satan (see Revelation 2:13). Now, here in Thyatira, the majority of the church has succumbed to satanic behavior. Jesus had already complimented the good things they had done, now He is revealing His displeasure at the evil they are doing. Just like most of us today, we see the "good" that the church has done but we do not see the evil that lies in its midst. We are comfortable, complacent, and unconsecrated. Satan has crept into our churches and has usurped what God has consecrated as His. We have become so comfortable with our religion that we have lost the relationship. We are on the verge of God's angry, righteous judgment. He has seen our adultery and our acts of perversion. He is calling us back to righteousness. If we do not repent, He will let the sin take its course and ultimately destroy the lives of those who refuse to repent. The church is the lighthouse of God to the world. We cannot be slumbering in bed with the devil while souls of men are dying. The city of Thyatira was a military outpost to help guard Pergamum, the capital city of Asia Minor (modern day Turkey). The city had apparently seen destruction and rebuilding multiple times over the years. Just as it was a place of war physically, so it was spiritually. The church was under attack and going down fast. This church was being destroyed from the inside out. They didn't have a love problem. They didn't have a faith problem. They had a sin problem. They had let a wicked woman become their leader instead of a godly man that God had ordained. Men are called to lead the church. “But there is one thing I want you to know: The head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.” 1 Corinthians 11:3 NLT
Just as Ahab had let Jezebel rule the roost, so we are falling prey to the same tactics. “For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church.” Ephesians 5:23 NLT If a man is supposed to be the head of the home, let me ask you one simple, yet probing question: How can the woman rule the church? “I do not let women teach men or have authority over them. Let them listen quietly.” 1 Timothy 2:12 NLT “So a church leader must be a man whose life is above reproach. He must be faithful to his wife. He must exercise self-control, live wisely, and have a good reputation. He must enjoy having guests in his home, and he must be able to teach.” 1 Timothy 3:2 NLT Did you notice the masculine pronouns "he"? Women are created by God and are a vital part of life. However, they are designed by God uniquely and differently than men. Theirs is a different call. This doesn't make them less in value or importance. Both men and women are unique. God has created and called us both to serve within His design and purpose. When we get outside that, we implode. Men must learn to lead in our homes and churches, in the biblical way, if we are to have God's pleasing. The church is God's. We must structure our operations within the church by qualifications of scripture. This JezebeI had taken them away from God's design and desire. I see this in many of our churches today. I realize that I take a minority position here, but I believe it is sound biblically. We must let God's Word be the basis of our doctrine and practice. We have become more concerned about programs than principles and proper practice. We are service oriented - faith and love, yet we are not sin conscious. We are comfortable with our religion. We don't look at things biblically. We see them culturally. Our relationship with God is superficial at best. We only want to see the good we are doing, rather than the sin we are committing. God help us!!!
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Rev. Curtis Norris