The Seven Gifts of Christmas #4
Heresy was a huge problem back in the early days of the church and Thyatira was not exempt. The message from the Lord to the church specifically mentioned a prophetess by the name of Jezebel who was leading people astray through her teachings.
The church in Thyatira remained strong and the Lord commended her for it: “I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that now you are doing more than you did at first” (Revelation 2:19).
But in the next breath, John drags out the accusation. The church remained strong for the most part, but was tolerating Jezebel’s presence and teaching (2:20). The Lord issues a warning about what is going to happen to both the so-called prophetess and her followers, some of whom were part of the church.
But here’s the gift that I can give to the Lord as one of the seven birthday presents. “Now I say to the rest of you in Thyatira, to you who do not hold to her teaching and have not learned Satan’s so-called deep secrets...hold on to what you have until I come” (2:24, 25).
There is lots of “stuff” out there. Many preachers actually get their sermon material off the internet or from other sources rather than doing the research themselves and allowing the Holy Spirit to direct their minds and thoughts into the truth that is needed for their people. Some of this material is good, but there are dangers out there. A slip in theology here and a slide in interpretation there, a bit of laziness in investigation, and before we are aware we are believing something that is not true.
The fourth gift I can give to the Lord this year is faithfulness to His Word. I can take care to rely on the Scriptures and the Holy Spirit speaking through HIS Word rather than the world’s word. I can do as Paul encouraged Timothy and handle the Word with care (2 Timothy 2:15) and “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season, correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, so the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry” (2 Timothy 4:5).
Faithfulness to the Word of God requires that first gift, the return to my “first love” and that intimate communion with the Lord that gives me the discernment to know truth from fiction. Both are good gifts to give back to the Lord.