- Renée Coventry
He Who Has Ears to Hear! Part 4
What a church! In Rev. 2:19, Christ points out their works, love, faithfulness, service, endurance – oh, and did I mention works? Jesus mentioned works twice, pointing out that they had only grown in scope, being more significant than what this church began doing. Who wouldn't want to be a part of a church growing in influence as it meets the needs of its body and community with love and patience? However, there was one major issue that Jesus had to address. Jezebel.
That name alone can conjure an image in just about anyone's mind. This Old Testament queen manipulated everyone around her, anointed herself a prophetess [she knew of Baal, but if others thought differently, she allowed it], and encouraged idolatry and sexual immorality (1 Kings 21-25). She thought nothing of chasing the true prophets of God underground and even threatened their lives, and Jesus says this church tolerates her!
This spirit of old has wreaked havoc on the lives of many churches and ministers of the Lord. The problem is, Jesus states, is in that word sufferest sometimes translated tolerate. That particular word in Greek is not done justice in my estimation, for what Jesus is saying is that this church allows Jezebel to do what she wants and does nothing to restrain her. WHAT?! That's the point. Jezebel is content to let you have your good works and even allow you to tout that "Love is the answer," as long as she reigns supreme. Anything that challenges her authority (and Jesus and His prophets do) finds themselves in her crosshairs, and she'll do whatever it takes to incapacitate your call.
But, you may say, Jehu eventually overcame Jezebel. The dogs licked her blood! The problem is that Jezebel reproduces herself into an even greater evil. Jesus says that unless the church repents of her practices (again, idolatry and sexual immorality), He will throw it into great tribulation, as He throws her into a sickbed, and kill her children with the plague! Not singular, but plural. In Scripture, just one daughter is mentioned, Athaliah, and she was worse than her mother, killing off her grandchildren to procure Judah's throne for herself (2 Chron. 22:10). If just one child is full of such wicked intent, imagine what a multitude of Jezebel's offspring would do! And this spirit of Athaliah will lie dormant until a prime opportunity arises in which to attempt a radical coup of leadership over the people of God.
Church, we cannot allow our minds to be swayed regarding righteous and holy living. Leaders, we cannot be persuaded to abandon the pure and glorious message of the Gospel of Christ in exchange for carnal pleasures. Christ calls them in verse 24, the "deep things of Satan." Oh, there is no doubt Jezebel will pursue you. Satan wants you taken out. However, we must arise in the power of the Holy Spirit and slay her so that her seed is not planted within us. The only way to remain outside of her grasp is to throw ourselves on the mercy of Christ.
In verse 23b of Revelation, chapter 2, Jesus is emphatic that when He deals with Jezebel and Athaliah, His churches will know that "I am the One who examines minds and hearts, and I will give to each of you according to your works." We should then question ourselves continually, "What spirit is guiding my works?" For some in Thyatira, that spirit was not holy, but Jezebel hidden in plain sight. Christ doesn't condemn those who are not affiliated with Jezebel, but you are obligated to deal with her if you recognize this spirit. Jesus will stand for nothing less. He considers this spirit enough of a burden and encourages those who refuse to play her game to hold on to what they have (verse 25). What of Jesus do you have? Dear one, He has made all of Himself available to you. Hold fast.
Yesterday I mentioned that we need, like David, to cry out Psalm 51:10-11, "Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from Thy presence, and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me." The Hebrew word for right means to be firm, established, stable, and prepared. Church, if there was ever a day when we needed to be firmly established in Christ, it is now. If there was ever a time we needed the Holy Spirit manifesting Himself through our lives to a lost world, it is now. If there was ever a season we needed to live entirely and unapologetically in the presence of God, it is now.
To those who will keep HIS works until the end, He will grant authority and the morning star. Let's make sure we are employed with the Father's business and not anyone or anything else's. Let's determine to be a people who watch diligently and remain firmly rooted in Christ, that no demon of hell can sway us from the cause of our Lord Jesus.