The book of Revelation begins with messages to the seven churches (that means the members, not the building – it is the meaning of the Greek word ecclesia). We can view these churches as representative of all the different types of communities of believers that have existed through the ages.

The message to the believers at Thyatira begins with praise, “I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first …” (2:19). How great it is to increase in zeal when working for our Lord, but then come words of disappointment because some are led into the “practice of sexual immorality”, and these, says Jesus, “I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent” (verse 22) along with the one who has led them into this behavior who will be throw(n) “onto a sickbed” – probably the result of that behavior.

May it be that the believers in Thyatira learnt lessons from this, a lesson which has probably been learnt in many generations in the centuries since: “and all the churches (true believers) will know that I am he who searches mind and heart and, I will give to each of you as your works deserve” (verse 23).

It is evident that this type of fleshly influence, while true in every generation, is flagrant in our era, so much so that it is now widely accepted as normal. Therefore, the message to believers at Thyatira is appropriate to believers in the 21st Century. Let everyone of us be conscious that our Lord “will give to each one as (y)our works deserve”. Now it is true that we are saved by faith, but remember what James says, “You see that faith was active along with his (Abraham’s) works, and faith was completed by his works … you see that a person is justified by works and not by faith along” (2:22,24).

Finally, recall what Peter told Cornelius, the Roman Centurion when he was teaching him about God and His son, “I understand that … in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him” (Acts 10:34,35) and of course Cornelius did “what is right” by being “baptized in the name of Jesus Christ” (verse 48). Let us always be mindful that our Lord “will give to each as (y)our works deserve”.