Hold On To What You Have

By Pastor Teck Uy

Writing to the church in Thyatira, Jesus introduced himself as one whose eyes are like blazing fire. This description is similar to how the Word of God is portrayed, in that it “penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow…everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Heb. 4:12-13). Since there is nothing that can be hidden from his eyes, he appropriately assessed the church and said, “I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first” (Rev. 2:19). Unlike the church in Ephesus, this church was doing very well; in fact, it was doing more than what it did in the past. They had not wavered in their faith—they went from faith to faith and from strength to strength.

While this church in Thyatira appeared to be a perfect church, the penetrating eyes of the Lord exposed a fault that threatened those who refused to repent. He said, “Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols” (Rev. 2:20). This Jezebel was a self-proclaimed prophetess, yet she was very influential, just like Jezebel, the wife of King Ahab. She was also as wicked, for not only did she promote sexual immorality, but also idol worship. The severity of these sins is seen in the penalty imposed, unless she and those that commit the same sin repent. He said, “So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways. I will strike her children dead” (Rev. 2:22-23).

In his epistle, the apostle Paul also magnified the severity of sexual sin when he said, “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body” (1 Cor. 6:18). Indeed, the body will suffer as it is thrown onto the bed of suffering, just as the Lord Jesus warned the church in Thyatira. If there is any sin that is oft repeated in the letters of the Lord to the seven churches in Asia, it is the sin of sexual immorality. It is because it significantly affects family relations and weakens the very foundation of our society, which has family as its core.

While those who followed in the teachings of Jezebel were sternly rebuked, the rest in the church were commended in a special way for their deeds and faith. The Lord said, “I will not impose any other burden on you. Only hold on to what you have until I come” (Rev. 2:24-25). For those who are walking uprightly, the Lord asks for nothing more than to continue to persevere in their walk with him. There will be trials and temptations that will come their way, but those who endure to the end will be saved. No one should take these warning for granted and just rest on what they have already attained. Until the Lord come, everyone should be on their guard. It is our standing before God at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ that will counts and not what we have done in the past. Jesus asked, “When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8)

The promised reward of those who overcome is authority over the nations. This is in accordance with the words of Jesus to his disciples: “I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Matt. 19:28). This authority to judge others is given to believers today, but only as far as those who are in the faith is concerned. This is not a sweeping authority where believers go around judging everybody they meet. The apostle Paul put the limit when he said,” What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside?” (1 Cor. 5:12) Friends, let’s take heed of all the warnings in this letter. Jesus promised to give the morning star to those who overcome. Yes, there is a future for the man of faith. He will have Jesus himself—the Bright Morning Star. Hallelujah!