Meet a man who was known for the way he drove a chariot…
Jehu (2 Kings 9-10) was a man infamous for his zeal for righteousness and for the Lord’s commands.Most of us would dispute any claim that he displayed love. In fact, all of us would say he displayed the opposite of love. After all, agape love is:
… Patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. Love never ends. … 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.
However, Jesus wants us to know of an important aspect of His Divine Love. We must make this aspect of Divine Love part of our love if we are to see the Real Jesus…
Jesus dictated the longest letter to the smallest of the seven cities. This church was in a town in Turkey named Thyatira. Let us read his introduction:
“And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: ‘the words of the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like burnished bronze. “
JESUS IS THE STANDARD FOR THE CHURCH AT THYATIRA
Jesus wanted them to see His flaming eyes and his bronze feet. We know the flaming eyes represent that aspect of His love that is discerning, that sees the heart, sees the evil, the intents that if allowed to grow, will destroy your love for Jesus Christ.
The Love of Christ is discerning, for it demands total trust in Him, and so requires we abandon what we want, what we think is best, and abide in Him.
Not only does He present them with His eyes of flame, but also He wants them to see His feet.
His feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, Rev 1:15
FEET OF BRONZE
Bronze to men of war always symbolized strength. It is an alloy of naturally occurring metals, that when combined produce strength to arm and battle.
In the Kingdom of God, bronze has another meaning.
With God, there is no power or strength apart from Righteousness.
“Give attention to me, my people, and give ear to me, my nation; for a law will go out from me, and I will set my justice for a light to the peoples. My righteousness draws near, my salvation has gone out, and my arms will judge the peoples; the coastlands hope for me, and for my arm they wait. Isaiah 51:4-5
His arm is the strong arm of righteousness. Therefore, to know His love is to love righteousness.
Evil men have always thought they had the strength. Evil men have always thought they are strong and if they believe in God, they certainly do no fear Him.
Once an evil King heated a furnace used for smelting copper 7 times its normal temperature. Tin melts at 449 degrees. Therefore, the oven could have been over 3100 degrees. That is hot enough to melt your titanium watch. That is enough to melt the titanium armor protecting Soviet Helicopter gunships like the ones you saw in Rambo movies. Those Soviet gunships have a titanium tub around the cockpit that could withstand the blast from a 37mm antiaircraft cannon. Titanium is strong, but this furnace would have melted it like butter.
Well, King Nebuchadnezzar thought that would be the end of Shadrack Meshach and Nebednago. Their skin should have fried like bacon, but old’ Neby saw them walking around and playing charades. In fact, he saw another man, but this man looked like a god.
It was Jesus! In addition, his feet were burnished bronze that could take the heat and keep on walking.
Yes, the feet of Jesus are strong, stronger than anything you can imagine. However, the material does not make them strong. It is Jesus Himself. Jesus is righteous, and righteousness is strength in the Kingdom of God!
The feet of Christ are Bronze, flaming bronze. These are the feet that have trod through the fiery furnace. These are the feet that were righteous, and stood the test of sin and the unrighteousness of the world.
THE SERPENT was made of bronze that hung upon the staff. By looking to the righteousness of God, their sins could be forgiven and the plague of unrighteousness was stayed. Numbers 21:9
In the temple, THE ALTAR was made of bronze, with bronze grating for the sacrifice to rest upon while the fire burned underneath. The fire of God would burn the sacrifice, until the righteousness of God had burnt away the sin of His people.
THE PRIESTS would wash themselves in a basin of brass, to cleanse themselves lest they would be killed for performing their duties in unrighteousness
CHRIST WILL JUDGE the nations firmly planted upon His Holy Hill, because He alone is righteous.
Putting everything in subjection under his feet. Hebrews 2:8
The Lord says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool”. Psalms 110:1
“As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.” Psalms 2:6
You shall break them (the nations) with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” Psalms 2:9
Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. He will receive blessing from the Lord and righteousness from the God of his salvation. Psalms 24:3-5
Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness, he judges and makes war. Revelation 19:11
The Righteousness of Christ is the basis of His strength, the basis of His love, the basis of His judgment. Everything He does is the reflection of His righteousness. He never does anything wrong.
WE NEED HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS. The very fact that bronze is a compound derived from two naturally occurring elements indicates that man can become righteous through the Son of God. We can become righteous like Him. In fact, it is our purpose to strive for His Holiness.
STRIVE FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS-For the moment, all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Therefore, lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. Hebrews 12:11-14
Strive or follow after comes from a word which pictures persecution, such as that zeal which Paul had when he went after the Christians. It pictures the zeal of Jehu as he sought to rid Israel of the evil Baal followers.
We are to strive for righteousness in all our relationships, in our friendships, and in our secret lives.
SEA OF HUMANITY
In the Temple, in the court in front of the altar, a huge basin of bronze was set on the backs of twelve bronze oxen. This was called the Sea of Humanity, and was 15 feet across, 8 feet deep and held over 10,000 gallons of water. It represented humanity, you and me, and pictured the fact that one day we would be judged based on our righteousness. However, the fact that the altar was there indicated that none of us was righteous, that each of us needed a sacrifice, a perfect sacrifice to atone for our sins. (1 Kings 7)
The fact that it is the feet of Jesus means that His ways, His goings, His paths are always Righteous. Can we say that about our lives?
THE BRONZE MAN OF EZEKIEL
In Ezekiel 40:3, (…there was a man whose appearance was like bronze, with a linen cord and a measuring reed in his hand. And he was standing in the gateway.)
We see a man who is like bronze (not his tan). In addition, he is holding a measuring stick. He goes to the Temple and starts measuring it, for three very detailed chapters the bronze man records the measurements of the Temple of God. Then he measures the wall around the temple, finding it 750 feet by 750 feet. The purpose of the wall is “to make a separation between the holy and the common”. Ezekiel 42:20
Why is the wall needed? Why must the Temple be found to be in order? Why must the common (or dirty) be kept from that which is holy? Because the Lord God Jehovah is coming.
THE GLORY OF GOD IS COMING – Then he led me to the gate, the gate facing east. And behold, the glory of the God of Israel was coming from the east. And the sound of his coming was like the sound of many waters, and the earth shone with his glory. And the vision I saw was just like the vision that I had seen when he came to destroy the city, and just like the vision that I had seen by the Chebar canal. And I fell on my face. As the glory of the Lord entered the temple by the gate facing east, the Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court; and behold, the glory of the Lord filled the temple. While the man was standing beside me, I heard one speaking to me out of the temple, and he said to me, “Son of man, this is the place of my throne and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the people of Israel forever. And the house of Israel shall no more defile my holy name, neither they, nor their kings, by their whoring and by the dead bodies of their kings at their high places,
Jesus wants us to see HIs feet and be aware of an important aspect of our agape Love
AGAPE LOVE IS:
Uncompromising Love for the Cause of Righteousness
BACKGROUND OF THYATIRA
There were several temples, but the most prominent was the Temple to Apollo, the “sun god”, – which may be why the Lord introduced Himself as “the Son of God” (the only time in Revelation this title is used).
One thing unique about the town of Thyatira:
Thyatira was home to many local industries including bakers, painters, tanners, potters, coppersmiths, along with all of the trade guilds which formed to support these industries. To belong to one of these particular trades also meant belonging to the appropriate guild associated with that trade. Much like a modern labor union, a baker didn’t bake, and a painter didn’t paint, a shoemaker didn’t make shoes, unless they belonged to the local guild. But belonging to one of these guilds, often times meant participating in pagan feasts, various temple rituals including prostitution, and fertility rites.
These guilds met frequently, and they met for a common meal. Such a meal was, at least in part, a religious ceremony. It would probably meet in a heathen temple, and it would certainly begin with a libation to the gods, and the meal itself would largely consist of meat offered to idols.
(MANDALAY WAS LIKE THIS.)
If you were a Christian and happened to a coppersmith, in order to get work, you had to join the local coppersmith guild. But the coppersmith guild may have identified itself with a pagan deity in order to invoke that deities’ blessing upon the local coppersmith industry. Guild meetings were probably held in the temples devoted to that deity. Guild members may have been encouraged to participate in all kinds of ungodly behavior to honor the pagan deity to whom the guild was devoted.
The official position of the church meant that a Christian could not attend such a meal.
I. THE LETTER
A. Approval (v. 19).
The believers in Thyatira were a busy group! They were involved in sacrificial ministry for the sake of others.
Their works(ergon-manner of life) were increasing (excelling)
Characterized by faith (pistis), love (agape), and patience (endurance).
This church was real! They were growing and excelling as a body of believers in love with Jesus.
B.Accusation (vv. 20-23).
Jesus had something against them. Their Love was Impure
But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. Revelation 2:20
They tolerated someone who was causing people to sin.
She could have been Jezebel, but this may be a generic name, based upon the name of the most wicked woman in the Bible. Not too many parents want to name their precious baby girl “Jezebel”. Some say she could have been the Pastor’s wife. She could also be seen in a more spiritual sense.
The seductive teaching of Jezebel was similar to the “doctrine of Balaam” that the Lord condemned in the church of Pergamos (Rev. 2:14). She taught believers how to compromise with the Roman religion and the practices of the guilds, so that Christians would not lose their jobs or their lives .
We read in 2 Kings 9 that Jezebel was the source of the “witchcraft and idolatry” then present in Ahab’s family.
JEZEBEL HAD BEGUN TO TEACH that it was all right for them to go along with the requirements of the guild, that they needed to submit to the pressures of the world around in order to make a living, and that God would understand and overlook this.
Her philosophy was what you often hear today: “Business is business.” or “You gotta do what you gotta do”. If business practices collide with your Christian principles, then your principles have to go — because you have to make a living. Have you ever heard that argument?
1. The Danger of Tolerance
Tolerate: ἀφίημι aphiēmi, really means “to let go”
Many of the folk at this church were truly in love with Jesus Christ. However, they “LET GO” of this Jezebel, as far as holding her to the righteousness that God demands. They let her go out, pollute, and corrupt the thinking of Christians, to the point that compromise in the form of sexual immorality and worshiping other idols was going on. Their ‘letting go’ allowed the ‘world’ to come into the church.
We can have true agape love for Jesus and for others; we can be doing many great works. That is not enough to know the Real Jesus.
Agape Love never lets go!
We have to be concerned for more. The Love of Christ is not impure, not mixed, but it comes from His character, from His very being. Jesus Christ has feet of fiery bronze. He is righteous, He is holy. While Jesus died for the sin of humankind, He did not die without a purpose. That purpose is to bring sinful men to Holy God!
Not all the love, faith, and sacrificial works can make up for a tolerance of evil.
You parents and grandparents know the heaviness of your heart because of a child or a grandchild that was good, kind, and loving and came under the influence of evil friends. You have seen how they changed. You have seen the pain that results.
Balance is Needed
1. The church of Ephesus was:
Growing in their hatred for false doctrine
Weakening in their love for the Lord
2. The church of Thyatira was:
Weakening in their hatred for false doctrine
Growing in their love for the Lord
Both extremes must be avoided in the church. “Speaking the truth in love” is the biblical balance (Eph. 4:15). Unloving orthodoxy and loving compromise are both hateful to God.
A little faith will bring your soul to heaven; a great faith will bring heaven to your soul.” Spurgeon
2. PROUD AND UNWILLING TO REPENT
I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality. Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works, and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works. Revelation 2:21-23
The Lord gave the false prophetess time to repent, yet she refused. Now He was giving her followers opportunity to repent. His eyes of fire had searched out their thoughts and motives, and He would make no mistake.
In fact, the Lord threatened to use this assembly as a solemn example to “all the churches” not to tolerate evil. Jezebel and her children (followers) would be sentenced to tribulation and death! Idolatry and compromise are, in the Bible, pictured as fornication and unfaithfulness to the marriage vows (Jer. 3:6ff; Hosea 9:1ff). Jezebel’s bed of sin would become a bed of sickness!
C.Admonition (vv. 24-29).
But to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not learned what some call the deep things of Satan, to you I say, I do not lay on you any other burden. Only hold fast what you have until I come. The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father. And I will give him the morning star. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’ Revelation 2:24-29
1. Keep Pressing On
Sometimes the best you can do is to keep holding on. Things are so tough, so dark, that at best you are trying to keep your grip.
It is like that woman who held on to the windshield wiper while her husband sped down the highway. She was going somewhere, but all she could do was hold on and pray.
Some at Thyatira were doing just that. They had separated from Jezebel; they were serving and loving the Lord. However, the pressures to give in were so hard.
Jesus says, “Hold on” until I come.
You may think it is impossible, it would be so easy just to let go…
Look at the promise.
If you learn to love with an uncompromising love. If you learn to love with His righteous love, He will set you over nations, and there you will rule as His vice-regent. You will rule with the strength of righteousness!
You will receive the morning star!
Jesus Christ is “the Bright and Morning Star” (Rev. 22:16). The promise in Revelation 2:28 suggests that God’s people shall be so closely identified with Christ that He will “belong” to them!
2. Love for the Real Jesus is Uncompromising Desire for His Righteousness
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. Matthew 10:34-39
Example of Nehemiah-no compromise, no tolerance.
If you love anything more than Jesus, you are not worthy of Him. One of the hardest things a Christian ever has to do is confront someone who is going the wrong way. It is easier to just let them go on.
I do not know the degrees of reward in the new heavens and earth.
I know that it is possible to lose your reward. I know that not everyone will live in the mansions that Jesus is building. I know that not everyone will have a position of responsibility in the millennial kingdom and the New Jerusalem.
I do know that your place and responsibility in all of eternity depends upon your grasp of this aspect of Divine Love.
Uncompromising love for the righteousness in Christ gives us strength and power in our prayers and in our walk.
Righteousness exalts a Nation, and those who will rule the Nations must prepare with a zealous love for righteousness in this life!
God does not tolerate a compromised life.
Double-minded people have no power in their prayers, in their standing before God.
Believers who have compromised their faith to the point of including the world in their walk are enemies of God.
We are going to rule in the ages to come…Love is the standard of governance.
Paul prays in his letter to Ephesus… –
“may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:18-19
RIGHT AT THE HEART IS FIRST LOVE, FULL LOVE, AND THE OUTCOME OF THAT IS AUTHORITY OVER THE NATIONS.
3. His Coming is our Incentive to Holiness
Everywhere in the New Testament, the Second Coming is associated with the matter of growth in holiness and Christian character.
Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. 1 John 3:2-3
Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! 2 Peter 3:11-12
Look at His feet! They are as though glowing in a furnace. He is the Jesus who knows what it is to walk through the fiery furnace of life sufferings, and so it follows that He knows how to sympathize with us when we have to walk that way.
I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. For your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, but I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil. The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Romans 16:17-20
Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the judge of the Nations, and He is standing before the church at Thyatira. He is standing before the churches of the World, and He wants us to see His feet, to know that He is coming in righteousness, and He will rule with righteousness and justice, and He will trod upon the unrighteous, and break them like pottery, because He has been given authority from His Father.
IF WE ARE TO SEE THE GLORY OF GOD, if we are to see the Morning Star, if we want to rule the Nations with Him, we must conquer unrighteousness and hold Him fast until the end.
Jesus has the bronze feet, He has walked among us, he knows our troubles and temptations, yet He has overcome, and He offers us the Hope that we too will overcome!
Just as Jesus washed the feet of His disciples, so too He says, we must be washed daily, to be cleansed.
We must strive for His holiness; we must have love with agape love, a love that is uncompromising in pursuit of righteousness.
This Man of brass stands at the gate, and that means that there is no way in for the unrighteous man. The man of the flesh cannot enter this gate. There is no place for the flesh in this House. It is only the Righteous Man who may come in here, and everything is going to be measured by the Righteous Man.