RECAP: MORAL COMPROMISE based on Revelation 2:18-29
No one who is a Christian set out to morally compromise. Yet, we all know people of faith who have morally compromised, including some with a high profile. Jennie Allen, in her book, Get Out of Your Head, identifies a “spiral” that all people go through. We could either spiral down, out of control, and allow the enemy of our souls to lead us down a dark path, or we could spiral up and draw closer to God. Emotion leads to thought; thought leads to behavior; behavior leads to an effect on relationship; and relationship leads to a long-term consequence.
The church at Thyatira did not set out to morally compromise. Yet, they were caught up in a spiral that had as its end result moral compromise and disaster. How bad was it at the church? There were only a few who did not give in, and when Jesus had to address the church, he claimed the highest authority as the Son of God. This was a church that was in deep trouble, completely given over to moral compromise. How did they get there?
1) Emotion–Fear embraced toleration. The church had one identified as “Jezebel” that had set herself up in their midst. The association with Jezebel was deliberate; she was the most ruthless, evil, wicked queen in all of Israel. Even though she died, her spirit endured and is known as the Jezebel spirit. The Jezebel spirit is a dark, demonic influence that loves control, manipulation, and fear; it despises truth and tries to ensnare genuine people of faith in its net. They are not afraid of hiding even inside the walls of a church, taking significant places of leadership, in an attempt to destroy the church from the inside out. Further, what comes out of her mouth is nothing but lies, but in the guise of prophecy!
Thyatira tolerated Jezebel. Instead of addressing her and removing her from their midst, they tolerated and allowed her to coexist and endure. Why? Because at the core of toleration is fear–fear that one might offend or push away, fear that unless we embrace, we will dwindle in number, etc. That fear of decline, pushback, and offense manifested itself in this church allowing this evil influence to stick around and dwell in their midst.
2) Thought: embracing heresy/false teaching. As they allowed Jezebel to stick around, they began to embrace her teaching. They stopped actively reading and pursuing the Word of God in exchange for a false gospel–one that sounded a lot like what they wanted to hear. The words of the Bible are unpopular, calling us to act and change; but they began to set aside the word of God, at Jezebel’s suggestion, to pursue the “so-called secrets of Satan,” a higher form of knowledge. The serpent in Genesis 3 appealed to this, pointing out to Adam and Eve they would have the same knowledge as God if they ate from the tree. But this special insight and knowledge is corrupted and far from God’s holiness and Word. And the more you allow something to stick around, like an earworm or bad song, it sticks in your head!
3) Behavior: immorality, especially sexual immorality. As they tolerated Jezebel and began embracing her teaching, the people eventually fell into sexual immorality. The Jezebel spirit usually encourages sexually immoral behavior. That which the Word of God called sin was ignored and instead replaced with an anything goes mentality, that one can fully act upon lustful impulse without consequence or effect on the eternal soul. The immorality leads to even deeper sin, causing the church to drift further and further away from God and his holiness.
4) Relationship: idolatry. Over time, the decline in behavior destroyed their relationship with God. They began worshipping idols and eating the meat offered to them. But even more troubling was the false image of Jesus that was constructed. They began to worship a Jesus that had no call for repentance, righteousness, or holiness. Their Jesus allowed them to live as they saw fit in their own eyes. They stopped praying, or if they prayed, God simply told them what was already on their heart.
5) Consequence: lack of repentance. After tolerating Jezebel, they began to embrace the heresy. Over time it changed their behavior and damaged their relationship with God. In the end, they had not only morally compromised, but they lacked repentance. There was no longer any desire to change.
When passages like this are in Scripture, they can teach us. Do we in the United States tolerate evil in our midst? Do we embrace false teaching? Do we see an increase in immorality, especially sexual immorality in our day? Do we have our own constructs of Jesus that are far from the Jesus of the Bible? Do we see a lack of repentance?
Jesus encouraged the church to take some steps and put things in order. Unfortunately, the church did not do so, and in the end, it ceased to exist. As Jennie Allen said, when the emotion comes in, what causes one to spiral up instead of down is realizing you have a choice. Look at what Jesus encouraged the church to do, and what he encourages us today:
When you feel the urge to tolerate out of fear…
1) Choice: strike it out. Jesus said he would strike the children of Jezebel dead. In other words, we need to remove all evil in our midst, taking those thoughts captive, tearing down the strongholds, and submitting them to Christ (2 Cor 10:5).
2) Thought: examine your hearts and minds. If we choose to strike out Jezebel, we should regularly examine our hearts and minds. Are we thinking about God? Are we striving to live according to his way? What in us does not look like him? Self-examination is the ultimate expression of humility.
3) Behavior: bear fruit of repentance, righteousness, and holiness. If we are examining our hearts and minds, then what comes out of us will look like Jesus. We will live according to the Word; we will strive for holiness, for God calls us to be holy as he is holy (Lev 19:2).
4) Relationship: listen to God’s voice. Those who are trying to live in holiness will strive to hear God’s voice. For what God says on something matters more than anything!
5) Consequence: holding tight to our faith. Jesus encouraged the church, if they strike out Jezebel, examine their hearts and minds, bear fruit, and listen to God’s voice, they will hold tight to their faith. It will deepen, no matter what Jezebel or others might through at us. Instead of the temptation to compromise, we will cling to God all the more, and we will be able to have dominion over the spiritual forces of darkness.
Thyatira tolerated Jezebel; in the end, it led to moral compromise. Jezebel’s goal was achieved–the church was destroyed from the inside out! But if we learn from Thyatira and choose to spiral up and not give into the compromise, we can be a shining light in this dark world!
Questions for Reflection
1) Why can toleration put you in a position of compromise? What should be the limitation?
2) Why is it important to remain connected to the Word of God and examine everything we hear or read by the Word?
3) Is your life bearing the fruit of righteousness and holiness?
4) Who do you believe Jesus to be? Does it align with the testimony of the Word?
5) Are you growing in your faith? Are there areas you are holding on to that you need to repent of and let go to God?
This Sunday, Pastor Ryan will continue the series called “Faithful in Unfaithful Times” with the sermon titled, “Alive, but Dead,” based on Revelation 3:1-6. Of what did God warn the church at Sardis? What can we learn from this stagnating church? Come or tune in Sunday to find out!
Daily Bible Readings for August 23 – 29
August 23: Genesis 38 What was the effect of Judah’s moral compromise?
August 24: Numbers 20:1-13 What was the effect of Moses’ moral compromise?
August 25: 1 Samuel 15 What was the effect of Saul’s moral compromise?
August 26: 1 Kings 11 What was the effect of Solomon’s moral compromise?
August 27: Acts 5:1-11 What was the effect of Ananias and Sapphira’s moral compromise?
August 28: Leviticus 10:1-20 What are the dangers of spiritual apathy?
August 29: Numbers 25 What are the dangers of spiritual apathy?
This Week’s Events:
Sunday, August 28–Chasing the Lion Bible Study at pastor’s study in parsonage @ 4 pm
Sunday, August 28–Lenten Vespers @ 6 pm w/ catered meal from Bojangles
Sunday, September 4–return to normal hours!
Sunday, September 11–Instachoir practice begins
Monday, September 12–Pastoral Epistles Bible Study Begins @ 7 pm
Sunday, October 9–Love Feast
Saturday, October 15–Fall Festival
Saturday, October 22–Men’s Fellowship Chicken BBQ
Sunday, October 23–Chili/Soup Cook-Off & Council Meeting
If you are a newer attendee at Beaver Creek, please call the office or leave in the offering plate your birth date so we do not miss anyone!
Bible Study Opportunities!
The Chasing the Lion Bible Study continues this Sunday at 4 pm. We will meet in the pastor’s study of the parsonage this week. This study meets every Sunday at 4 pm.
Pastor Ryan will also start a new study on the books of 1 and 2 Timothy. Paul shared his heart with Timothy and gave him instructions for himself and the church after he was gone. Most of these letters are reflected even today. How can we live our faith? I encourage you to dig deeper into these two short books!
We will meet on Monday evenings beginning on September 12 at 7 pm. Location is still to be determined. We plan to meet for only one hour each week until 8 pm.
Take advantage of one of these two Bible studies today!
We will have our final summer vespers on Sunday. We will gather for a catered meal from Bojangles, sing some hymns and camp song favorites, play a camp-style game or two, and conclude with a vespers devotional. Come out and enjoy!
Call for Worship Leaders and Children’s Story
We are still in need of both worship leaders and children’s stories. If you would like to serve, contact Alice Over (worship leading) or Tammy Stine (children’s story).
Call to Prayer
Let us continue to pray for our nation in the following ways:
1) National return to God
2) Repentance of personal sin
3) Repentance of corporate sin
4) Healing for the brokenness of relationships
5) Our leaders
7) Guidance for our congregation in the days ahead
What do you want to see at Beaver Creek? What are some ideas you have for the long-term growth of our congregation? Any outrageous outreach ideas? Please either email Pastor Ryan or write them down and place them in the brown suggestion box in the narthex. Dream big!
The Christian Education Team is looking for volunteers for the nursery during the Sunday School hour. If you are willing to help, even if it is just for a Sunday, please reach out to the Christian Education Team and let them know.
Four Ways to Give!
1) Mail your tithe into the church office
2) Drop it by the church office on Tuesday, Thursday or Friday, 9 am – 1 pm
3) Our online giving platform: https://beavercreekchurchva.churchcenter.com/giving
4) Drop off in the offering plate on Sunday!
Continue to Keep in Prayer our members in Skilled Care Facilities: Mary G Miller, Shirley Miller, Stanley Suter & Carolyn Wine
John Bennington (health)
Sandy Bennington (health)
Donnie Cornwell Sr (health)
Patsy Dastoli (health)
Elijah Tucker Dean (health)
Natalie Dodge (health)
John Fix (addiction)
Cindy Heatwole (health)
Bob Hess (health)
Tori Jackson (peace)
Darlene LaPrade (health)
Leroy Makely (health)
Mark Martin (health)
Barbara Meadows (health)
Torrey Meyer (well being)
Meda McNett (health)
Alda Miller (health)
Betty Miller (health)
Mary G Miller (health)
Marty Moore (recovery)
Tami Plaugher (health)
Lottie Ritchie (health)
Ann Simmons (health)
Crystal Smith (health)
Whitmore family (various)
Mary Whitmore (health)
Winnie Wilfong (knee & COVID)
Shelvy Wittig (health)
Owen Wright (health)
Pastor Ryan Cooper
Beaver Creek Church