One of most influential figures of the Reformation was a monk by the name of Martin Luther (1483-1546). Luther was a man full of self-doubt, guilt, and worry. In his early 20s, Martin Luther was nearly struck by lightning while crossing an open field during a storm, which led to his vow to become a monk. As a young monk, the corruption of the church, the debauchery of priests, and the power of the Pope disturbed him, disgusted him, and depressed him. He did everything possible to appease his anguished soul: from climbing the 28 stairs of the famous Scala Sancta to going to regular confession, but for all the vigils and fasts and penances, he still felt empty, accursed, and worse.
Why did he not experience the assurance of salvation? Why did he still feel so rotten in spite of all efforts to please God? Why was his soul at war and peace so illusive?
The dramatic turning-point of Luther’s life occurred when he was sitting alone in his study at Wittenberg. His eyes fell on a passage from the first chapter of Paul’s letter to the Romans. It says: “the just shall live by his faith.” He couldn’t believe his eyes, he couldn’t contain himself, or keep to himself the simplicity of God’s ageless path of salvation: faith in God.
That discovery changed the course of the church, the course of Western civilization, and the course of history. So on October 31, 1517 Luther nailed his famous Ninety-five Theses onto the door of the castle church at Wittenberg, 60 miles from Berlin that resulted in his excommunication from the church, the start of the Reformation, and the division between the Protestant and the Catholic church.
The city of Thyatira was about 40 miles away from Pergamum. The city of Thyatira known for being a manufacturer of purple dye. Lydia, (Acts 16:14) the purple-seller of this city, having been converted at Philippi, a Macedonian city (with which Thyatira, as being a Macedonian colony, had naturally much interaction), was probably the instrument of first carrying the Gospel to her native town. Christ acknowledged the church for a pattern of good works. The church of Thyatira was commended for their love, faith, service perseverance and special recognition for their works. The church received kudos for its activity, but no real results came to fruition. There is a dichotomy between doing a lot of activity on the one hand and accomplishing the plenary will of God on the other. The church of Thyatira was busy but became barren. The church’s lack of leadership caused its demise. The church of today is suffering from an acute case of spiritual ambivalence about pastoral leadership. The church of today views the pastor as chaplain, CEO and contracted worker. But the biblical model is diametrically different: he is like a shepherd, he is like a father, he is like a physician.
The church of Thyatira permitted overt apostasy and idolatry within its hallowed walls. There was an influential woman whose name was Jezebel or she had the same characteristics of the Jezebel of the Old Testament. The Jezebel of the Old Testament has been described in the following way: Jezebel, wife of Ahab (1 Kings 16–2 Kings 10) She was a heathen woman, daughter of a priest of Baal; and she promoted Baal worship in Israel. Jezebel of the Old Testament was guilty of whoredom and witchcraft (2 Kings 9:22) as well as idolatry, murder, deceit, and priest craft. The Jezebel of Thyatira began teaching and leading the servants of God into sexually immorality (fornication=porneia sex outside of marriage). Christ gave Jezebel of Thyatira and those involved an opportunity to repent but they wouldn’t comply.
In conclusion, as you read this blog what are you being influenced by: friends, family, music, TV, relationships, social media, pornography, money, job, power, materialism fame or narcissism.